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Thread: Cutting Pitchers vs Feeding Pitchers?

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Cutting Pitchers vs Feeding Pitchers?

    So I guess what I want to ask is... Is feeding pitchers going to provide more energy for plant growth than cutting the pitchers so the plant doesn't have to focus on putting out pitchers?

    There's a few neps that I don't enjoy as much as I could and I think I would really enjoy the larger adult pitchers. For example, N. singalana. If I feed the pitchers a big meal, will it help them more than if I just cut the pitchers off? You know, because they're growing in nutrient poor soil and aren't getting any minerals other than bi-weekly fertilizing... So it would make sense that they would need the pitchers for extra nutrients to grow faster. However, if they didn't need the pitchers, why would they have them? We're growing them in nutrient poor soil like they live in in the wild. It makes sense both ways to me.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Peatmoss's Avatar
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    Feed em, small pitchers are better than no pitchers...
    <Av8tor1> as big as peat is, the bear runs not him

    Big Boss, Founder, and Major Cheese of the Canadian Association for the Cultivation of Carnivorous Plants... Ask if you want to join, I'm the only member...

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    swords's Avatar
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    Peat, no I'd leave them on, they are intended to make pitchers so let them alone if they are making them. If they don't or they are small and misshapen or juvenile shaped/sized when they should be larger and more colorful it will help you identify cultural problems like too low of humidity , too low of light, improper temps for the specific variety of the plant you have, etc.

    If you want to move your plants forward by forcing them to grow bigger faster you can use a gentle orchid fertilizer on them, it should be Urea Free, if the label says "Nitrogen derived from Urea" (which most are) don't buy it, these are often too strong for use on Nepenthes. I use Grow More brand Urea Free Orchid Fertilizer green formula which is 20-10-20 and has all the micro nutrients as well you can order 1 pound cans of the powder (mix 1/2 teaspoon to 1 gallon of R/O water).

    After begining a regimen of bi weekely fertilizing (followed by flushing a day afterwards to was away any excess nutrients) your Nepenthes will put on size much much faster than allowing for just carnivory alone. Then you will get to see your adult pitchers (and flowers) far sooner. At first the leaf size will increase in a very dramatic fashion, sometimes the first leaf after fertilizing will be twice or three times as large as the previous leaf, but the growth doesn't continue like that, it levels off. Be warned if you over fertilize your plant or the soil becomes too nutrient heavy the plant will not pitcher until it gets repotted and spends time in a "sterile" soil. So you don't want to go overboard, once or twice a month is a good target to shoot for if you want to speed up growth and overall plant health. I even use fertilizer in the pitchers instead of insects, just turn my mister to "stream" and target shoot at the open pitchers with a jet of fertilizer, more fun than playing with dead bugs!

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    The ones I was thinking about cutting off were really small plants, like 2" leaves and such. My signalana produces massive pictures for its small size and is continuing to pitcher through the move out to the greenhouse. It's just too small to hold anything significant to growth.

    I have an ant problem in my greenhouse and about 75% of the pitchers on all of my Nepenthes have at least 20 ants in them. My spath x spath x bosch has at least a few hundred sunked in the bottom of the pitcher. So they're getting tons of ants, or at least the larger pitchers are. Things like singalana aren't getting anything to feed on more than an ant or two they they catch on their own.

    I fertilize with Maxsea on a regimen that is even safe for sphagnum. It is dosed as high and it can go without drosera leaves curling I have been told. I spray them foliarly once every two weeks or so. I never fertilize roots so that I don't have to deal with flushing.

    Anyone else have opinions on cutting pitchers off smaller plants? Anyone that does this that can vouch for its usefulness? Anyone that has done it that didn't like it?

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    hcarlton's Avatar
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    Large pitchers on small plants means health. If you want fast growth on it as well, like everyone else is saying, fertilize it somehow (I have always found insects betterfor the plant though).
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
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    Edward Rokosauros's Avatar
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    Don't over feed....otherwise the poor pitcher will go through post traumatic disorder syndrome (PTDS) and shortly thereafter, become an 'ex-pitcher'.

    Here, I have tons of ants that fill up every pitcher in my plants without pause. Must be a few dozen in every old pitchers at least. They love all the nutrients from it. I find that adding fertiliser in pitcher (a small amount) works best compared to foliage spray or direct soil application.

    I never cut my pitcher till it completely dries as I believe it's always absorbing some nutrients in the green parts. After all, they've evolved to suck the life out of prey and gorge it up in their pitchers. Cutting it off would be tantamount to sadism
    Edward

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    does this rag smell like chloroform to you? boxofrain's Avatar
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    I used to use maxsea as a "pour through" soil feeding. It left a nasty mess in my trays after a week or two. I have since gone to feeding each pitcher with betta-bites. The growth is more rapid and the plants are much healthier with clean water at their feet and full bellies.
    "the memories of a man in his old age, are the deeds of a man in his prime"

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Nepenthes produce pitchers for a reason. Cutting them off, regardless of their size, defeats that purpose. Don't!!!

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