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Thread: Coffee and Nepenthes

  1. #17

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    The one thing I can say for sure is that the smaller plants that I used it on seemed to have the biggest immediate change. The medium sized plants I gave it to showed substantial gains in leaf size, trap size, color change, and growth rate when compared to the plants that did not get the treatment, but those changes were more drastic in the smaller plants. I have a few large plants that I used it on (a huge Miranda and a 4 growth point Maggie Jones) and didn't notice a huge difference, but still noticed some difference and I would definitely call the effects beneficial. Based on all the feedback I'm seeing on this forum and 2 others I'd say there's more to it than just people "seeing what they want to see".

  2. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whimgrinder View Post
    I wish someone would do a proper control study. You know; split a group of identical plants into two and treat half with coffee and the other half without......
    I think the "sudden" dramatic results people see are often the result of normal growth behavior and the "leap" in size is attributable to other factors, like long-term good health and natural progression of leaf/pitcher sizes. People tend to see what they want to see.... ;-) I'm not saying coffee has no value, but from my own experience with it, I'd say its beneficial effects are minimal.
    I tend to agree with you. I think there needs to be a real study done before the benefits can be recognized as truth. At first I thought that coffee would lower the pH making some nutrients more available to the plant and would cause the growth (they after all do love acidic soils). However after some research I found that typically the pH of coffee and the medium we use for nepenthes tend to be around the same pH. Of course there is always the extremes, I'm just talking averages. For instance if you use a very dark roast the pH tends to be lower compared to a light roast. Also if your media for some reason has a higher pH, the combination of the two could yield a change in pH. But again, averages speaking, they should be around the same pH (4.0-5.0). Although who knows, maybe the benefits have nothing to do with pH?

    I've tried myself to conduct my own experiment using some seedlings, but since they were hybrids I found quickly that hybrid differences were going to skew my results (before treatment there was already huge differences in vigor between each seedling), so I abandoned the experiment. I'm currently trying to getting cuttings off my maxima to do this experiment instead. I figure clones would yield more accurate results. We shall see if I get enough cuttings to take to do the experiment. I for one would really like to see it happen.
    ~Michelle (AKA Geva or Jennifer)

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  3. #19
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    i agree ,clones have got to be the best bet,seed grown plants show far too much variability ,you would need a larger number of seed grown plants for the experiment and take an average ,but clones have got to be better,i personally thought coffee was beneficial to my plants,but that said an experiment would be a great idea,we need someone with good growing conditions and plenty of plants,Paul?afraid my conditions are rubbish and my plants spend half the time sulking

  4. #20

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    Hey guys, I am glad I joined this forum because I may be able to shed some light on this coffee phenomenon.

    I am taking a Plant Physiology course in college right now and today we went over plant hormones, and skimmed over one particular part of information related to a chemical present in coffee that has large effects on plant hormones - in particular Auxins (IAA and related compounds).

    The information I am about to share with you really makes sense to me on why we see good growth results when we water our plants with coffee. It all stems from the specific chemicals produced by coffee plants that are present in coffee. Particularly the compound called Caffeic acid. Now it may be found in all plants, but I believe it is present in higher concentrations in coffee beans. It's effects on plants has been described to be almost like a hormone. A plant can actually intake this chemical through its tissues so when you water your plants or spray them with Caffeic acid, it is going to have similar effect.

    So what makes Caffeic acid so special? aside from being a normal part of plants' various metabolic pathways, it is actually directly related to the plants' auxin hormone. Or rather the auxins' regulation.

    So as we all know auxins are plant hormones that have a role in a huge amount of plant processes including growth, flowering, in this case also pitcher formation since it is a form of growth, and many many other things. Auxins do not act alone. for example, auxins are involved in flowering by interaction with other hormones such as ethylene.

    Plants have numerous systems of auxin regulation. one of these is permanent auxin degradation by the IAA oxydase enzyme (this is more or less a hypothetical enzyme that is very recently described in the field of plant phys). IAA oxydase and similar enzymes are responsible for taking IAA and other forms of auxins and degrading them into non-active compounds. What does this mean for the plant? A plant with more IAA oxydase will remove most of its active Auxin from it's system and will show stunting and very little growth since auxin is so vital in growth.

    Now, here is where Caffeic acid comes in. Caffeic acid - due to its diphenol arrangement acts as a competitive inhibitor of the IAA oxidase enzyme. it binds to the enzyme instead of IAA and blocks the reaction of IAA degradation. When we water our plant with Coffee, we are putting a lot of Caffeic acid into the substrate, which the plants can absorb. This acid then travels throughout the plant, inhibits a lot of the IAA oxydase found in our plants, which as a result increases the concentrations of IAA in our plants (since much less of the IAA is now being degraded by IAA oxydase). It is important to note that the degradation of IAA and similar auxins via IAA oxydase is a normal process that all plants are doing in order to regulate growth (ie seasonal growth spurts). By adding caffeic acid, you are artificially modifying the plants' normal hormonal actions. This stimulates growth because auxins are not being degraded as much and are acting on the plant.

    It would then make sense to get more growth out of a plant that has been watered with coffee! by adding coffee we are essentially helping the plant "obtain" more Auxin hormones for the better growth that we often see. Auxin hormones are responsible for a good amount of the growth!

    What do you guys think about this as being a possible explanation? You can read about this in most plant physiology textbooks available at local libraries if you are interested. This information is mentioned in the section on Auxin hormones in any textbook.
    Last edited by Newman; 11-14-2013 at 04:21 PM.

  5. #21

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    If the above is true, then it would be beneficial to wash out the coffee after a period of time and let the plant restore its normal hormonal growth processes. I wouldn't use coffee in the winter time when growth hormones are not naturally being synthesized (in high amounts like in spring and summer) because of the hindrance of growth we normally see in plants in the winter. but this does not apply to greenhouse plants or plants in climates that aren't really affected by seasons and grow year-round.

    I am also not saying that this is the only thing happening here. the lowering of the pH in the substrate is also an interesting concept, and there are likely many other chemical aspects of plants that are being affected by coffee compounds. The auxins were just one major aspect i looked at at length.
    Last edited by Newman; 11-14-2013 at 04:26 PM.

  6. #22

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    Hi Newman,

    Thanks for sharing this information.

    I was aware of the presence of quick release nitrogen and other nutrients in coffee.

    However, this is the first I've heard of the presence of growth regulators in coffee.

    Coffee just became more intriguing for me, thanks to you.




    dvg

  7. #23

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    That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  8. #24

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    no problems, I found this very interesting too!

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