Multiple plants in container=more fertilizer?

TenmaruMay 30, 2013


Due to space I'm doing container gardening; some are in Island Grow Pots, but I also have one of those suncast upside-down planters, where you can plant vines out the bottom and herbs or other things on top.

I haven't been really happy with the growth in my the last three weeks since things have been planted, it doesn't seem like they've grown much. That could be to blame on the cloudy and wet weather we've had here.

In any case though, most frustrating is my upside-down planter. The tomatoes (San Marzano, Boxcar Willie, and Brandywine Black) don't seem to be growing much. I sprayed fish emulsion on everything last weekend, which caused the San Marzano to go crazy--but the others are suffering from some purple leaves/veins (there is some green growth though).

These tomatoes grow out the bottom and on top I have basil plants, oregano, thyme, sage, and parsley. None of those are really growing well, and seem to be in a holding pattern.

In a container like this that has many multiple plants, is the need for comprehensive fertilization greater? Thank you for any input.

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Mike Larkin

There are lots of factors that could cause poor plant growth, and one of them may be the type of container you are using.
Tell us about the potting soil you use, the exposure, and typically what type and how much fertilizer. There is lots of good reading you can find on this site to learn about how plants sucessfull can grow in contains. Seach on fertilizer and 511.
Do you have any plants growing in a traditional pots, how are they doing?
As gardeners we sometimes do things that dont work well for the plants and then wonder if fertilizer can fix it.

There is one thing that I have learned from this site, that more fertilizer is not best and the right soil mix, and container are the key to sucess.

Here is a link that might be useful: For your viewing pleasure

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:27PM
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Thanks for the reply!

My peppers are in island grow pots (, 5 or 10 gallons depending.

The tomatoes are in one of these:

I have the three tomatoes on the bottom, an eggplant coming out of the other hole, and various herbs on top that I mentioned above.

The soil mix was Miracle Gro Organic Garden Soil. I then worried about it not being potting soil, because it was getting rock hard when dry. So I mixed in some Epsoma Potting Mix, Sphagnum Peat, and some Perlite. I probably left it at 1/2 Miracle Gro per container. For the other half, it was mostly the peat, then the potting mix, and then the perlite.

Not sure if there should be enough nutrients in there. It seems like it should, but things are kind of at a standstill, like I said. But we haven't had it too hot (barely in the 80s so far) and it seems like hardly any just sunny days.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:55PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

So, other than spraying with fish emulsion, you haven't applied any fertilizer beyond what might be present in the potting soil/mix?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Yep, that's right. I wasn't sure if there was some pre-existing in the other mixture since it's organic.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:14PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

I took a look at this upside down thingy. If I'm understanding it correctly, the soil volume in the grow box is just under 8 gallons, and that soil is shared by four tomatoes and an assortment of herbs. Those are very, very tight quarters. You're going to really need to feed those tomatoes in order for them to thrive, and I highly doubt that the potting mix is going to have anywhere near enough nutrition to support a single tomato plant, let alone four plus some herbs. So, were I in your shoes, I'd start with a weekly application of a soluble fertilizer at full label strength. The fish emulsion might work for you, but I suspect that you'll have much better results with something like Miracle-Gro.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:31PM
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