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leaf scars


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My ant plants have been displaying scars on the leaves sometime after the emergence of the new leaves. I have been noticing this on both my Myrmecodias and Hydnophytums. The new leaves always emerge looking healthy, but then show the scaring. I grow my plants in an orchidarium under cfls and I water with RO. I dont fertilize them. Can anybody help me gain some onsite on why this is happening? Any help is greatly appreciated.







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There are, in my experience, two factors than can generate this type of unsightly scarring on leaves of myrmecodias. The primary cause appears to be wide fluctuations in ambient humidity, with RH whipsawing between too low and too high (i.e. saturated). Even under near-optimal growing conditions in a large commercial greenhouse with various and stable temperature and RH ranges available, I see it from time to time in the summer. I would also opine that spider mite infestations, which may be found in plants from some inattentive sources or may colonize from other types of host plants, will also cause this kind of damage if left unchecked.


Far less commonly, thrips and other sucking insects will damage leaves, but generally not as much as you are showing in the attached images. 


Note that not fertilizing these plants is unwise if you want them to look their best. If you use pure sphagnum or coco fiber/peat as a growing media and RO water as irrigation source, I suggest that you look for a balanced orchid type fertilizer that has a COMPLETE set of micros incorporated, particularly calcium and magnesium, which appear to be key to getting "perfect" leaf growth from these plants. You can use  5 ml x 3.80 lt water every 21 days with complete impunity and it will definitely improve the overall vigor of your plants.


Note that for ages people have recommended no/low fertilization for nepenthes and so forth, yet it now appears clear that if you are flushing the media frequently with volumes of RODI or distilled water under optimum growing conditions, many species and hybrid nepenthes will RIP with fairly straightforward epiphytic orchid-type fertilization regimens.





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for me I think that the orchid fertilizer type is too low in nitrogen.

I recommend instead a 23-5-5 NPK fertilizer to compensate  the loss of nitrogenous subtances granted by ants, which are often not present in culture ex situ.



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Stone Jaguar,

Thanks for taking the time to help me understand my current issues. From what you have stated, I think the issue may be the fluctuations in humidity in my orchidarium. Im having trouble regulating it but something im working on. The plants are healthy, blooming and producing seed, but unsightly.

I also will be getting a fertilizer that is close to what Jeff has described, thanks Jeff. I keep so many different kinds of plants that I am not the best at fertilizing all of them, but I will make sure to help my ant plants along

Thanks again


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