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Formerly known as Pineapple
I got some MaxSea fertilizer that I use foliarly on my Nepenthes. It has a ratio on the thing of like 1tbsp per gallon, but I do 3/4tsp per gallon like directed by the nursery owner that uses it on all of their CPs. I want to fertilize my sundews and my sarracenia. I have 15+ of each aliciae and spatulata that are kinda small and I have a couple capensis. Also have 11 seedling sarrs, one massive leucophylla and three medium-small purpurea. I know somebody said that South American dews can't take fertilizer, which species are those? Are any of mine South American? ???



can't speak for the sarrs, but if you let ferts even TOUCH the droseras they'll die. And good luck trying to propagate from the remains, as fert burn will still ravage the propagated plantlets.
trust me.. I learned the hard way not to mix ferts and sundews.
I don't firtilize my larger sarrs at all, but I regularly use osmocote to fertilize my seedling sarrs to speed them along, and you can spray them with fertilizer too. Your smaller purpurea would probably greatly benefit.

I have been known to use 1/4 strength miracle grow orchid fertilizer to lightly spritz some of my prey-deprived dews on occasion with no negative effect. That was mainly with D. capensis and multifida 'exrema', but my general rule is not to spray them, and I would be very careful if you try it. Maybe only spray on a single plant, or even a single leaf to see how the plants are affected, and be careful not to get it in the soil. Some CP's seem to be very particular about the brand of fertilizer used, so i can't speak for Max Sea.

None of your dews are South American, but you also don't want to fertilize the queensland 'three sister' dews, as they are called (adelae, schizandra, and prolifera). The Savage Garden says you can LIGHTLY firtelize other dews (light foliar spray ONLY), but procede at your own risk. Start slow and with low amounts and go from there.

If you want to play it even safer, then consider feeding your dews beta pelets, or something along those lines.
Just follow the recommendations of the CP nursery owner who foliar feeds just about all his CPs at the recommended concentration - twice a month. 25 or more years experience growing CPs should count for something. A test run on a small batch would be wise.
If you like your sundews, I wouldn't recommend trying it at all.
Invest $3 in a container of freeze dried blood worms. It's safe, and a good feed for ALL droseras.
I won't do it. I'll feed them bugs instead.
good call.
I've lost WAY too many of my most prized dews to ferts in the tray water (from other plants), experimenting, etc..
Would hate to see someone else have to deal with similar losses when I could have helped to prevent it.

If you like, I can show you some horrorific pics of my droseras dying from fert burn back in the day.
There's no secret to foliar fertilizing Drosera. If they burn it's because you used the wrong fertilizer or too high of a concentration or both. The Maxsea product has gotten so popular with CP growers because it doesn't seem to cause burn whereas similar products do. Finding the right concentration isn't difficult to do either as long as have some patience. Peter D'Amato has done a lot of the heavy lifting by determining that 1/4 - 3/4 a teaspoon of the 16-16-16 MaxSea per gallon of water is the safe range for nearly all CPs.

Peter D'Amato, Lois Ochs, and Bob Hanrahan all foliar fertilize their Drosera.

Here is Bob Hanrahan's article on fertilizing CPs including Drosera in the June 1986 issue of The Carnivorous Plant Newsletter vol. 15, no. 2.
Indeed he uses the tentacle/leaf curling reaction as the gauge for determining the ideal concentration.

CP growers have been following his guidelines to great success for over 25 years. If you don't know who Bob Hanrahan is then Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200 dollars.
I foliar fed my sundews over the summer and most seemed to like it. The petiolaris complex and cape sundews reacted with the leaf curl as if they had caught prey. I'm still experimenting with it but I was doing it roughly once a week with a dilution of a little less than 1/4 tsp of neptune's fish & seaweed to 25 oz of water and misted the plants moderately.
  • #10
D'Amato recommends no more than twice a month.

I foliar feed my indoor plants including Drosera and sometimes my outdoors ones with a dilute solution of Alaskan Fish Emulsion fertilizer. Been doing so for close to two years now.
  • #11
I use Maxsea, D'amato is who I talked to and he typed up the directions for all of the jars he sold and stuck them on the lid with a label. That's what I follow for my Neps, but with Mass sharing his opinion, I think I'd rather be safe than sorry.
  • #12
Peter D'Amato knows what he's saying. Period.
  • #13
Peter D'Amato knows what he's saying. Period.

I know that. :p

Just wondering if I should take the risk. If mass's drosera died, I wouldn't want to induce that on mine. Should I start a little at a time foliarly and then change out the water in the bog monthly?
  • #14
I'm also not saying those people don't know what they're talking about. But I think we established a long time ago that what works for some, doesn't work for others.
If it comes down to fert brand and strength, then so be it.. I've never used Maxsea.
But what I DO use (OrchidFocus & GrowMore) is most indeed deadly to sundews.
What I've learned about ferts and dews in my own experience is, better safe than sorry.
freeze dried blood worms from here on out..
  • #15
To put it in context, what Travis stated is: "If it comes down to fert brand and strength, then so be it.. I've never used Maxsea." Peter's advice was specifically for that fertilizer, and he speaks from experience. Mass also speaks from experience (I am not suggesting otherwise) but by his own admission, he does not have any experience with that specific product. I would, however, agree with him in stating that most all other fertilizers pose significant risk in terms of damaging Drosera and unless you have advice from someone who has used a specific product on the same species you grow, then it is best to avoid them entirely. Peter offered you specific advice about a specific product and exactly how to apply it. I don't think you should be overly concerned about damaging your plants if you follow his directions to the letter.

All of the commercial growers who have shared information about fertilizers and Drosera have been adamant that the product should not be allowed to go into the soil, but be applied only to foliage as a very dilute mist. I second the suggestion to follow Bob H's recommendations as well.
  • #16
yeah, I'm terrible at following ingredients, measurements, and instructions.
I don't make my woman cook. She tasted a few of my meals and volunteered..
Now just to get her to feed the plants for me and I'll be all set.
  • #17
Alright, I'll mist them a TINY bit with the ferts and see what happens.

Does fertilizer do much good for drosera? Do they speed up in growth?
  • #18
As far as I know the only Drosera that I can think of which benefits greatly or maybe is even dependent on fertilization through the soil is D. regia, who I guess behaves somewhat like a Sarracenia in that sense. Other Drosera, like others have said can benefit from light foliar feeding, which I imagine would give similar results as feeding with insects, though maybe minus some of the pain of actually using insects as well as maybe less of a chance of fungal growth from the presence of the organic solids.

But D. regia really likes some (light?) soil fertilization, from what I have read.
  • #19
For long term growth health and vigor CPs need the nutrients that they get from digesting prey. If they only needed the carbohydrates from photosynthesis there would be no need for carnivory. With indoor grown plants given sufficient conditions such as temperature, light, water and humidity:

If you have Drosera seedlings that stalled in terms of growth they will most likely benefit from feeding or fertilizing. If you have Drosera that flower but the flowers abort or have sparse seed sets they will probably benefit from feeding or fertilization. If you have Drosera that does not flower then they would probably benefit from feeding or fertilizing. Many rapid growing Drosera, typically annuals, will not survive or flower without adequate nutrition. Plants like Drosera linearis, D. uniflora, and D. arcturi will not survive dormancy unless they had adequate nutrition during their short growth periods (2-3 months). The Diva - Drosera glanduligera which grows so rapidly it produces new leaves every two to three days will not live to maturity if not adequately feed.

If you find you don't have to feed your indoor seedlings it's probably because your environment is rich enough to support fauna in sufficient populations such as springtails.

Feeding with crushed bloodworm, dried insects or fish food flakes/pellets is fine but often requires a cleanup a few days later. Otherwise you can get fungal growth from the undigested bits - fatal more often than not with seedlings. If you have only a few dozen plants and plenty of time on your hands more power to you. If not, look into foliar fertilizing with liquid fertilizers.
  • #20
I crush up fish food very finely and sprinkle a SMALL amount on my dews once in a blue moon. No problems at all. I do not feed my Sarrs.