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Carnivorous Plants/follow-up question


Hi there again.  The medium I am using is coco peat(70%) and perlite (30%), water source is tap but goes through a filtering system.  No fertilizers given to the pitcher plants. They are situated under polycarbonate roofing receiving about 7 hours of light.  The temperatures here in the Philippines ranges from 29-32 degrees Celsius.  They do not sit in water.  I really hope you can help me.

Hi Phil,

Thank-you for the follow-up information.  You didn't mention what kind of a filtration system, or if your water is hard (high in minerals) regularly, and this is very relevant.  Your plants look like they have some kind of mineral or salt damage, and since you don't fertilize your plants this could be form a couple different sources.

The first is your coco-peat.  All coco-peat (coir) when it first comes out of the package has some salt in it despite what is says on the package.  It has to be soaked and rinsed several times before use or you tend to see problems from salt damage.

The other possibility is your water.  If your water is hard, and your filter is a simple carbon filter, those don't remove minerals.  Only reverse osmosis filtration does that.  Depending on how hard your water is you're probably seeing mineral build-up, and that would be consistent with taking about a year considering Nepenthes are less sensitive to minerals than many other carnivorous plants.  The mineral build-up can also speed the breakdown of your coir, so it exacerbates the problem.  If your filtration is a softener, softeners replace hard water minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron with salt.  If that is the filtration, then we are back to the salt problem.

For now what I would try doing with your plants is to transplant them into fresh media if it's been awhile since transplanting.  If you use coco-peat again, be sure to soak it a few hours first, then rinse it several times to remove the salt.  After than try to water with rain water or distilled water as much as possible.  Tap water is fine once in awhile, but you need to find out your total dissolved solids of your water, and what kind of filtration it has.  If the water has a TDS of 50 parts per million or less it's fine to use.

Let me know how it goes.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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