Whether you’re in the Philippines or not, if you’ve been researching about carnivorous plants then you’ve probably read that you’re not supposed to fertilize them. This is somewhat true.
You’re not supposed to fertilize them because they get their nutrients from the bugs they catch.
However, there’s a kind of fertilizer that you can use, just in very small amounts: Maxsea fertilizer.
It’s like a vitamin for carnivorous plants: you don’t need to use it, but when used correctly, they provide a great boost for any carnivorous plant’s growth.
This guide aims to help you understand what Maxsea fertilizer is, and how to use it for your carnivorous babies 💚
What is Maxsea fertilizer?
Maxsea fertilizer is a water-soluble blend of seaweed and primary plant foods designed to be readily absorbed by plants.
What I and many other growers use is Maxsea All Purpose 16-16-16 plant food.
According to its label, it’s designed for all year round use on all plants and is an ideal formula for the growth cycle of annuals (plants that only live for one year).
If you want to use it for regular plants, you can! As far as I know, it’s not available for sale in Philippine stores. I get mine from Amazon.
Proper dilution ratio
Make sure that you mix only one-fourth (1/4) tsps. worth of the fertilizer into a gallon of low ppm water (rain, distilled, or aircon water are examples).
What I do is use a thoroughly cleaned and repurposed fabric conditioner gallon container, then mix in 1/4 tsps of Maxsea using a measuring spoon used for baking. I shake the container to mix, then fill a spray bottle with the diluted solution.
If you want to get properly diluted Maxsea that’s ready to use instead of mixing it yourself, I have it available in convenient ready-to-use 300ml or 500ml bottles that you’ll just need to put in a spray bottle. I even have it available in a 200ml spray bottle for fine misting.
Take note, I don’t measure ppm when I dilute Maxsea, so if you ask me how much ppm the solution should be, I don’t know. As long as you use 1/4 tsps per gallon, you’re ok!
Using Maxsea fertilizer
Spraying fertilizer onto just the plant itself (leaves and stem) is called foliar feeding. Like in the video below, I just lightly mist my plants, not to close, not to far.
It won’t harm the plant if a bit of the Maxsea touches the media. I just eyeball things and sometimes top water the media to help avoid Maxsea buildup, which often causes pesky algae.
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I also spray inside one or two of the pitchers of my nepenthes and sarracenia, and sometimes I use a dropper to apply a bit of Maxsea on a leaf of seedling venus flytraps, flowering drosera or juvenile pitchers.
When to use Maxsea fertilizer
You can overdo Maxsea if you’re not careful, which is why it’s recommended to only spray it onto your carnivorous plants twice a month. I spray mine every other Friday, and I know some who sprays every payday.
As long as you remember not to overdo it, you’re ok! If you’re in doubt, less is more.
Patience is key, with or without Maxsea
Using Maxsea can speed up the growth of your carnivorous plants, but keep in mind that by nature, carnivorous plants grow slow. Some grow even more slower than others, depending on their cultivar (like the Korean Melody Shark venus flytrap). Annual plants like byblis grow quite quickly and grow even bigger with Maxsea, but this is because their lifespan is only one year.
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Observation is key in checking the growth of your carnivorous plants, but if you think your plants aren’t growing, try to take pictures every week to track them. You’d be surprised at how much they can grow possible without you noticing, and more so with Maxsea!