FlytrapCare Carnivorous Plant Forums

Sponsored by

Discuss fertilization techniques here. For advanced growers only!

Moderator: Matt

User avatar
By Adrien
Posts:  791
Joined:  Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:13 pm
Might be an iffy topic to bring up but I’m here to do it anyway! I have been working to innovate carnivorous plant fertilization and want to share what I’ve learned.

For many years people in the carnivorous plant community use max sea as the go to source
for fertilizer, but what if I told you it's not that good?

MaxSea is an organic seaweed fertilizer with most of its ingredients being seaweed extract and blood meal. These forms of organic sources require a long breakdown period with microbial and bacterial activity. This means that as a foliar spray you are getting almost no absorption through plant tissue. The plants can hardly use any of it! Let alone the fact the it is 16% nitrogen, yet only 4% of it is actually used by the carnivore.

How is only 4% used? Many
Carnivorous plants prefer nitrogen in the NH4 ammonium form. Ammonium nitrogen can be found through urea, ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, and ammonium phosphate. MaxSea claims 4% Ammonical Nitrogen.

With this in mind, it's clear that max sea does not provide the right amount of sourced nitrogen for these plants, worse yet, they have an excess of other minerals that negatively impact the plant and the soil, causing build up of minerals.

Furthermore, many people in the community use a dose of 1/4 tsp per gallon of water and spray weekly. This with the fact that most of the fertilizer is not readily accessible to the plant means you're better off feeding it real insects since it dilutes the effectiveness exponentially.

Like many other fertilizers within the community, foliage pro does not provide sufficient ammonical nitrogen (NH4), only 2.9% of dyna grow is NH4 nitrogen out of 9% total nitrogen. This means that a lot of nitrate builds up over time that could lead to complications later on.

The use of Calcium Nitrate in
DynaGro, on calcium sensitive plants (Some Carnivores) can be detrimental. Worse, the application rate recommended for foliar
application is 1/4 tsp per gallon, which again, hardly does anything with the very low NPK concentrations.

The reason so many growers believe these fertilizers are too strong and can’t use higher concentration is because of the amount of minerals and organic matter that builds up and is detrimental to these plants.

For many years this community has relied on fertilizers made for other plants. Most of the fertilizers chosen within the community, were chosen because they were determined to be relatively safe. Although this is true, and a few fertilizers have been proven to be safe over the years, there are things to consider. Most of the fertilizers used are not efficient and build up minerals over time, contributing to the growth of algae. Thus requiring frequent flushing.

In recent years, some growers have tried experimenting with other fertilizers, and to their surprise, found astonishing success.
However, the fact remains that there is no fertilizer designed with carnivorous plants in mind. Individual growers have done experimentation with fertilizer thresholds and have found that these plants can tolerate far higher concentrations than originally thought.

Throughout my journey, I have learned that Urea and ammonium containing chemical fertilizer far exceed their organic counterparts. I’ve seen within the community that urea should be avoided, however, Urea has been used as a foliar source of nitrogen for many years and has a proven track record within the agricultural industry. Urea as a foliar spray can directly be absorbed and broken down within the plant through urease activity. My experience with urea on these plants have been favorable and it does not seem to harm my plants in anyway.

What experience do I have with chemical fertilizers on carnivorous plants? I have been using fertilome 20-20-20 fertilizer which has the chemical ingredients of Ammonium Phosphate, Diammonium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, and Urea. There are no added minerals or organic matter. I used to use 3tsp, 1 tablespoon, or 15 grams, of fertilome per gallon of water with an additional 1/4tsp of nitrogen urea. I sprayed every 3 days consistently for under 2 years. These plants took it, did not get burned, and grew better than ever. Keep in mind that I sprayed a concentrate of 3 tsp fertilome + 1/4 tsp urea every 3 days!! As compared to what the majority do, which would be 1/4 every week or even twice monthly with a fertilizer that isn’t readily accessible.

With all this in mind, I decided to create my own carnivorous plant fertilizer and it has already begun the testing phase. I have several volunteers spraying their plants throughout the spring, my mix is a 22-16-16 NPK that has 100% water soluble ammonical nitrogen, 100% water soluble Phosphate, and 100% water soluble potassium. I chose every ingredient on their ability and effectiveness at foliar application.

Throughout the spring I will be checking in on everyone using my fertilizer blend and I will let you guys know the results. If you would like to volunteer and become a product tester, my DM’s are open. Thanks for reading!
User avatar
By ChefDean
Posts:  9501
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
Rather than everyone arguing about the merits of his idea or, in your opinion, lack thereof, I've locked the topic. It was devolving into a pissing match between people with no skin in the game.
If you're intrigued or interested, do as the author implied and shoot him a PM.
If you're not interested, disagree in any facet, or otherwise have reservations, scroll on.
Progress Pictures

You should be fine taking them out to the greenhou[…]

Cephalotus for sale!


Dewy Pine seed planting advice?

I.T.S. - How did you get on with your seeds? Chee[…]

Drosera seedlings moldy

What are your conditions? mould is normally associ[…]

Transaction with BumpyEvergreen

I can attest to the same fact for dewsandtraps as […]

How to clone this pitcher plant?

For the most part you'll just have to wait. You ca[…]

Weird Venus Flytrap

Grow them anyway? If they look nice, the name does[…]

Support the community - Shop at!