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Growth and feeding poll - How do you feed and it's effects

  • They catch lots of insects on their own and I don't suppliment.

    Votes: 36 19.4%
  • They infrequently catch insects and I don't suppliment.

    Votes: 22 11.8%
  • They are not able to catch insects and I don't suppliment.

    Votes: 7 3.8%
  • I regularly put food into the pitchers.

    Votes: 61 32.8%
  • I use liquid fertilizer sprayed onto the leaves.

    Votes: 10 5.4%
  • I use fertilizer at the root zone (liquid or slow release).

    Votes: 7 3.8%
  • I drench the entire plant with fertilizer.

    Votes: 9 4.8%
  • I feed the pitchers AND use fertilizer on the leaves or roots.

    Votes: 34 18.3%

  • Total voters
    186
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
4,641
Location
Far Away NY
Thought it would be fun to revive some feeding talk after seeing some explosive growth on my own plants.  I am a big advocate of feeding Nepenthes as my feeling is that many plants are starving because of the very high quality water growers use, the inorganic potting mixes, and the lack of significant insects inside terrariums.

Here are a few pics I took to show the kinds of growth these plants are capable when growing conditions are correct and there are no major limiting factors to their growth, such as a lack of nutrients.

N. veitchii highland x lowland in a 3inch pot
Ngrow1.jpg


N. mira in 1gallon nursery pot.  This leaf really surprised me as it is already putting out very large pitchers on a good sized plant.
Ngrow2.jpg


N. diatas meadow form
Ngrow3.jpg


My method is slow release fertilizer although I occasionally feed dried/canned crickets or freeze dried bloodworms to select plants as well. If I could have my way I would just feed all my plants with insects. Out in the greenhouse they do catch a few bugs here and there but the pitcher density is so high there are not enough natural bugs to go around, so some form of supplimenting is needed.

How do you feed (or not feed) and how do they respond in growth?

Tony
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Messages
8,124
Location
Cernunnos Woods
If they are cuttings with no pitchers or otherwise small plants that I can't feed with crickets then I do spray them with Growmore orchid fertilizer:  1/4 ts of bloom and 1/4 ts of tropical formulas to 1 gal of water and 5 mls of Yamato Green aquarium plant micronutrient fertilizer (lotsa Fe!). I mixthis up in a gallon sprayer and use this blend on everything I grow, not just neps but once in a while I will hose down all the neps with feedable pitchers with this Growmore solution just as a makeup to get them those micros they probably like. I do think there is more nectar and pitcher size/fluid production when feeding is concentrated through the pitchers but that might just be my perception and not actual fact. I do know my N. ramispina did not appreciate fertilizer and I won't ever intentionally spray him again, crickets only!
 

superimposedhope

Somewhat Unstable
Joined
Feb 20, 2004
Messages
1,697
Location
Where the Slime Live; Where the Slime Breed
I have began adding ants and flies and lightning bugs and really any bugs I find that are small enough to fit in the pitchers. I release them in the chamber and they go about their business or fall into a pitcher. I did notice however the ants have began to make a home at the base of my bical, with a tunnel that goes down into the LFS. I figure this would likely happen in nature so I let it be.

Any comments on that?
Joe
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Messages
8,124
Location
Cernunnos Woods
The only thing I would fear is the ants possibly farming fungus in their nest (maybe only a few species do this?) that wouldn't be so great for the Nep but it would be a steady supply of food if they were relatively benign. I'd just keep an eye on the plant for any possible problems.

I noticed this morning that there is a small mushroom growing out of my N. hamata pot!
 

superimposedhope

Somewhat Unstable
Joined
Feb 20, 2004
Messages
1,697
Location
Where the Slime Live; Where the Slime Breed
Right now my bical is livin it up. 2 pitchers are full to the lip with ants. I do not feed them they either fall in or they don't. I just let chance or nature or whatever decide the ants fate and the bical is sooo full the ants walk in and out now. No rotting is happening though. My camp. X veitchii is getting its fare share as well.

Swords, I'll keep an
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out for that though.

Joe
 
Joined
May 4, 2003
Messages
3,077
Location
San Francisco, CA
It's hard to argue with your results, Tony. Personally, I feed dried crickets, and koi pellets, but not much of either one. I'm wary of spraying them for fear of spurring growth of all kinds of things in the lfs mix. And even though they're almost all in my house, they get a small share of flies, mosquitos, and fungus gnats.

So, just to be clear, Tony, you use those little pellets, and you place them on the surface of the soil mix?

Capslock
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2002
Messages
3,928
Location
Central Coast of California
My plants catch many on their own, but i DO dump in a bunch of fruit flies now and then (have thousands of extra)

Tony cleaned his rubber hand! AND THERES A RING ON IT!
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Never knew his rubber hand was married...
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smile_k_ani_32.gif
Take a pic with the female rubber hand with the male one next time!
smile_n_32.gif
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2004
Messages
723
Location
Hawaii
I'm a newbie at this so I'm still trying to feel around and see whats best. Right now my Nep also has an ants nest in it and it gets a few ants now and then. But they're so tiny I highly doubt it does the plant any good. I can't see how those lil things would have any nutrients to offer. So when ever I come across a bug like an ant or crickets I'll give it to the plant.

I also have koi pellets and I'm thinking of using those as well. And I'm thinking of giving it crickets more often because I grow crickets for my two green tree frogs.

But the good thing is I must be doing something right cause my plant looks happy and is growing new leaves with pitchers. Which is a relief because when I bought it, it wasn't in good shape.

The other day I went back to the store where I got it and the other Neps that were there when I bought mine were doing so bad. It was sad
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I wish I had the money to rescue them. But, maybe they'll mark the price down once they don't look sellable.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Messages
1,433
Location
Lartnec Yellav, Ca
I fertilize my plants once every month with orchid 30-10-10 and it works very well I've noiced increased picther size and they look much more lush. I used to feed mealworms but it seems they had a hard time digesting them. So I switched to wax worms since they are very soft bodied. They also seem to be fattier so I have to be careful not to overfeed and kill the picther. Since feeding wax worms I've noticed they respond to these alot faster then meal worms. For my smaller plants that can't fit worms in thier pitcher I use cichild pellts crushed into little pieces. The cichild pellets have more protein then the koi pellets and the plnts can digest them really fast. I've noticed that my N. nothiana has started growing much faster when I started feeding crushed pellets. Its tendrils elongate much faster then before.
 

elgecko

I've got a magic window!
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
3,065
Location
PA, USA
I feed crickets to newly open pitchers. I just started to try some fish pellet food because my discus do not eat them.
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
4,641
Location
Far Away NY
Looks like the overwhelming majority suppliment in some fashion.

Osmocote works great for me but has it's drawbacks. Algae and moss can be a big problem. It can be difficult to apply to flats of tightly packed plants. If the prills lodge in the leaf axils or growth tip it can burn the plant around the prill. Frequent overhead watering to keep the fertilizer moving through the root zone and out the bottom to prevent high salt buildup and root burn. Estimating when to reapply can be sort of a guessing game.

Tony
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
3,134
Location
Missouri,zone 5b
I feed my plants pill bugs and flies,fertilze ocasionaly using a 50% miracle grow african violet food solution,applyed with a Q-tip to the leafs.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Messages
1,272
Josh,
I noticed a mushroom a few weeks ago in my rajah pot... I don't think it has to do with impurities, but where your soil media is stored. Fungi supposedly can grow on zero nutrients for short periods of time, so perhaps spores got into my media and sprouted? I did repot recently just because it is getting so big, and there were no signs of this mushroom...

As for feeding... I made a long post in the other pinned feeding thread, but generally weekly suitibly sized dried insects hit the spot...
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Joined
Sep 3, 2004
Messages
415
Location
california
As a dual purpose supplement I like to release a pack or two of ladybugs into each grow chamber. They do a great job of keeping pests under  control(some pests anyway).
Then, when they are done cleaning, they kindly hurl themselves into the pitchers. Lady bugs are just smart enough so they last a month or so before the last one falls in. Then I get more......>;-D
I have also started using orchid fertilizer 1/4 strength on a regular basis(thanks to everyone here for that seemingly obvious tip), and WOW! What a difference! Everyone is nice and green, and a few (macrophylla) are doing that huge leaf thing Tony has going on there.
 

seedjar

Let's positive thinking!
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
Messages
4,067
Location
Olympia, Washington
For a while I didn't feed my N. alata anything except some occasional cactus/succulent 7-7-2. It caught the occasional fruit fly or ladybug. I recently began watering with 'egg water,' as reported in Chris Creel/David Parks' Nepenthes guide; charred eggshells broken into fine peices and left to brew in some water for a week or two.
In the past two months, since starting the egg water, my plant has pitchered more than it did in the entire two years I had it before that. It put out two new vines at its base shortly after I began watering, and has developed four tiny pitchers on the new leaders and three modest 2" pitchers (it was in a 2" pot until last week) on the original shoot since.
Before the egg water, I'd had four, maybe five pitchers total in almost two years. I know that isn't much output in general, but I've had this guy on fairly low light (western window and one two-foot 40-watt fluorescent) for the majority of his stay with me. I consider the results I've seen with that egg water stuff to be pretty impressive, and I recommend that everyone try it if they haven't already. The details can be obtained off of Barry Rice's sarracenia.com FAQ page (it's in the FAQ library, with the Nepenthes guide.)
I know this thread is a little stale, but everybody should know about this stuff!
~Joe
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
463
Location
US
Egg water sounds very useful and very easy! I need to try that... My house has huge amounts of ladybugs in it. They both wander in and I feed them by hand, so there was no accurate choice for me on the poll, and I chose the "infrequently catch their own prey" choice. In any case, DON'T FEED YOUR PLANTS LARVAE!!! Maggots or ant larvae or anything are high in fat and your plants will rot every last pitcher off.

-D. Lybrand

BTW- for those of you who use orchid fertilizer, should I use half-strength? That's what I've heard. Also, I have some 20-14-13 but also some 11-35-15 which is used for inflorescences. Because Nepenthes put a lot of energy into their pitchers, which are very colourful and presumably use many of the same resources as flowers, might this work well also?
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
463
Location
US
It is possible that it is only ant larvae... they are extremely moist and simply rotted in the pitcher. Maybe they were too big for the pitchers, as they would be quickly digested if small enough. You are right, probably just too large, but I have heard elsewhere that other larvae are also bad...

-D. Lybrand
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
163
Location
Singapore
Hi, I voted for the option that my plants catch all the food they need and i dont feed them at all. I live in Spore (tropicla) so I only rear lowlanders but one thing I realized over the years is that ants and lowlanders(because I cannot make this generalization to include plants I dont keep) have a some relationship because of 2 points:
1. The more plants I have, the more ants and ant nests there are around my garden
2. I observed and also read about the relation of ants and Neps where the plant rarely catches any ants but actually feeds them with its nectar. The ants depend on the plant for survival and frequent it. once in a while, 1 or 2 ants fall prey but this is insignificant to the colony and this is all the plant needs to pile up tens of thousands over time and get all the nuitrients it requires, hence it isnt a one way thing.
Lastly, want to just tell all those out there who feed your plant: When a pitcher opens, its contents are pure water and probably some superoxide. However, when prey fall in and STRUGGLE, the pitcher is stimulated to release enzymes...So, if you want to feed the plant, make sure the first meal each pitcher has is a LIVE INSECT and not fish food freeze dried etc.
Lam
 
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