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Thread: Nepenthes: Best Fertilizers and Feeding

  1. #1
    I Am the Terror Of the Night! NemJones's Avatar
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    Nepenthes: Best Fertilizers and Feeding

    Lately, the insect populations have been decreasing as the impending doom
    of winter looms near. As a result, I see that the grow chambers are in need
    of more food.

    My question to those who answer:

    What fertilizers do you use on your Asian pitchers, and why?
    Which brand is better for which application?

    Also, what is everybody feeding their plants besides the ferts?

    Just curious as my chambers need a new revolution of their own.

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    I used to go to the pet store and buy dozens of crickets to put in Nepenthes pitchers. I quit doing that two years ago, as it seemed to make very little difference, and it was a pain to do.

    I've used MaxSea, other brands of Seaweed extracts, DynaGro Orchid blend, and Osmocote pellets. They all work. (I've used coffee as well, but I can see no evidence that it does anything that a balanced fertilizer doesn't do better.) Is one conspicuously better than another? Not as far as I can tell. Nepenthes are not like the other genera of insectivores - they are perfectly capable of taking up nutrients through their roots, as long as you fertilize at low doses and flush with clean water between fertilizings. ANY material that delivers a broad spectrum of nutrients to the root system is just fine. One of these days I'm going to assign one plant as the "sacrificial lambkins" and give it dilute feedings of Miracle Gro to see how much and how well it tolerates it.

    One comment about Nepenthes and fertilizers I feel compelled to issue: many novices starting with Nepenthes have this idea that fertilizer will fix whatever problems their plants may encounter, as if feeding the plant will compensate for poor lighting, low humidity and a general inattention to the plant's core needs. It doesn't work that way. Don't think you can prop up an ailing/underperforming plant by stuffing food in its pitchers or giving it a hefty shot of coffee or MaxSea. Please - make an effort to engineer ideal climate conditions for the plants first. Fertilizers and "pitcher feeding" are tonic to a healthy plant, but feeding isn't going to fix problems that arise from inadequate cultivation technique.

    (This isn't aimed at you, Gage - its just something that I feel needs to be said once in a while, to inform new readers)

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    I Am the Terror Of the Night! NemJones's Avatar
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    Thanks Paul, that really helps.

    Lately Ive been looking for something to supplement the plants along,
    I generally like to feed a few times a year (notjust nepenthes or carnivores.)

    Also, is there a certian point you can begin feeding nepenthes seedlings, and what
    Brand is a good choice? I feel that the yearlings could use a slight push in the
    Future.

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