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Questions about Maxsea fertilizer

Hey, everyone. I have questions about the Maxsea fertilizer. I had heard about it on this site. I know I hadn't see it at my local stores, so I went to my trusty amazon.com account and found a 1.5lb container of the 16-16-16 for $19.98 and free shipping. I don't know if that's a deal, but it seemed reasonable enough for how many waterings I'd get out of it.

I found some Q&A's on this site, but nothing that answered all my questions, so I thought I'd ask. I'd like to know how well it would work if I made it my go to fertilizer. I actually bought it for my carnivorous plants. I have VFT's, Sarrs, and thanks to an awesome user on this site as well as an online retailer, I have my first three nepenthes. Having consulted my copy of "The Savage Garden", it looks like he recommends 1/2tsp to 1gal of water for CP's. I just have a few additional questions.

  • Is the 1/2tsp to 1gal a good ratio for all my CP's?
  • What's the best way to apply? Water it in or spray the leaves with it?
  • If I make a spray bottle of it, does it keep well at room temp when mixed with water?
  • Does it gum-up spray bottles?
  • Would it be a good fertilizer to use on my orchids? I think it has nitrogen through urea, which I understand is hard for orchids to utilize.
  • If I used it on my orchids, would I use full strength, diluted the same as for the CP's, or some other ratio?
  • Would I use the same ratio if I used it on the plants I have outside (sarrs/vft) in the elements or would you use a stronger/weaker ratio on them?
  • I've heard some people flush their pots afterwards and some don't. Would you flush the fertilizer?
  • How often would you say it's safe to fertilize? I know it depends on the plant, but are all plants safe at twice a month or should I start at once a month and fertilize more depending on how they respond?

Thanks for the help everyone. I think this is going to be a good product, even though some people have had issues (mainly algae) with it. I have searched and read posts on it, on this site, but I couldn't find all the comprehensive info I needed. I figured I could ask them all here and it would not only answer my questions and concerns, but be a good reference thread.
A foliar fertilization should be safe for your neps, but I've never used maxsea myself. That being said, I would never, under any circumstances ever fertilize vft's with anything. Ever! I hope that helps.
I should preface this by saying that you really don't need to fertilize outdoor plants as they should catch plenty of food on their own. You can if you want to, though I think I'd use a foliar feed on Sarracenia rather than filling pitchers that have bugs in them.

You can probably foliar feed everything with 1/4tsp per gallon, possibly 1/2tsp per gallon if you're careful with more sensitive plants. On pitcher plants you can add the liquid fertilizer (I have tested up to 1/2tsp per gallon on Sarracenia, Nepenthes, and Heliamphora) directly to the pitchers. Sarracenia can be filled up all the way, while Nepenthes you have to be careful to keep the liquid level within the digestion zone. If you raise it higher, the pitcher will burn (I discovered this the hard way recently.)

Soil fertilization is something you have to be really careful with. I've heard plenty of reports about people doing it successfully with Sarracenia, and plenty who killed their plants doing it. Nepenthes are supposed to respond very well to it, though it's a good idea to flush the soil afterwards. I personally would not try it with flytraps or sundews as they are much more sensitive. Keep in mind that soil fertilization is likely to cause the soil to degrade more quickly and result in algae growth.

I have not had any issues storing it in a spray bottle for several months. It dissolves well and does not seem to clog up the spray nozzle.

Once a month is a good starting point for fertilizing, and you can increase the frequency if the plants are responding well.
Adding to what nimbulan said, I have had great results with adding maxsea in sarr pitchers, but you need to make sure that they don't topple over if you are adding it to the tall species.
Thanks for the answers so far, everyone. It's very helpful. I don't really plan to do too much fertilization of the outdoor plants. I just wanted to ask while I was asking. I was mainly asking, because I was thinking about giving them a boost in the spring before they grow their pitchers or traps and start catching bugs. My sarr caught plenty on it's own last year. Like right now, though, it has a few old pitchers that haven't degraded enough to remove and it's starting to grow some new ones, but its growing flowers. I don't know if a spray of foliar fertilizer would help give the flowers a boost or whether they strictly grow off of the energy stored in the rhizome from last year.

Also, I thought of a another question I'll add to the top. Would you use a full or diluted version of maxsea on cacti or succulents. I have some Christmas cactus I started from a cutting and they're growing pretty decent. I'd like to give them a boost as well, though.

So it looks like, from your answers, that I can get a dedicated spray bottle and fill it up with the maxsea at either 1/4-1/2tsp/gal and start spraying the leaves of my plants with it once a month. If they show no ill affects, I can move to twice a month. I'll keep it to the foliage or pitchers of all plants, excepting the occasional soil watering of nepenthes, to be flushed after about a day.

Thanks for the answers so far. I'd still also like to hear from anyone who uses it on their orchids. I've got a 'Maxillaria Tenuifolia' and a Phal in bloom currently and a 'Miltassia Shelob' that is currently spiking. I really don't fertilize them at the moment. I bought the phal on sale with the blooms, but the others bloomed under my care. I'd like it to happen a little more frequently, though. So I want to start a fertilization program for them.
In my experience, in order of questions posted:
1. Anything from 1/4-1/2 tsp. per gallon is fine for CP's, some of the sensitive Drosera etc. doing best with lower concentrations
2. Save for Sarracenia, Nepenthes, and D. regia, CP's generally do not like fertilizer in the soil, at all. With the ones mentioned, putting it in/on the traps is still better as well. If it gets in the soil, sphagnum might utilize it but it can also encourage algal blooms, best avoided.
3. Keep a spray bottle clean and it should last a while; that said, I use pipettes to apply it to my plants as my one spray bottle became useless a couple years ago and this method lets me be exact with how much any trap or plant gets, and fully avoid it in the soil.
4. Should be fine with orchids; the urea-source nitrogen I believe is an issue with some CP's and they seem to process this fine, plus as a seaweed extract there are multiple N-sources anyway.
5. Outdoor plants should be able to catch their own prey and you shouldn't have to worry about feeding them. If you do, just make sure you don't topple Sarracenia pitchers, and Dionaea might have a hard time dealing with it unless it's on like a piece of sponge or other material they can clamp on to (very young Dionaea don't have this issue and can process small drops of fertilizer just fine).
6. If the fert gets in the soil, flush immediately if it's a root-sensitive plant; for Sarrs, Neps etc. that won't be hurt by it, a couple days and then flushing excess is advised.
7. How much food depends on the plant, and your schedule. They don't necessarily need to be fed, but often do better with nutrients, so somewhere between once every 2 weeks to once a month is fine. Exceptions can include D. regia and South African or tuberous sundews which need a lot of food and will benefit from feedings multiple times a week.
Has anyone measured EC (or TDS) of this fertilizer at your working concentration?
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The stuff I just pour on utrics or as a spray for D. schizandra is ~ 70 ppm. Pings and some other plants (mostly Drosera, as a foliar feed) get about 160 ppm. I measure by tds though, so I don't know the equivalent in tsp/gal.
I use MaxSea at 1/4 tsp per gallon of distilled water.

I'm starting a light foliar feeding routine for all my CP twice a month. A light foliar feeding is a quick spritz with a spray bottle (set for a mist) at each pot.
The first time, I sprayed only half my plants in case they had a fatal reaction to being fertilized. Nobody died, so far. The Drosera had some tentacle reaction but didn't go into spasms of movement.

I checked the TDS of my prepared MaxSea liquid. It read 380 ppm. My tester is from Hm Digital. It is a model TDS-4 unit
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Just a note on using it for orchids. Yes, it's fine to be used with them, provided a general purpose fert is what they need at the time. Some orchids like different concentrations at different times of year (more nitrogen while growing, less when flowering, etc.)

Even so, the ratio I would use is half of the recommended amount, which would be 1 1/2 tsp. per gallon, iirc.
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