fertilizing mysteries

greentoe357June 8, 2013

I am hoping you knowledgeable folks can help me solve some fertilizing puzzles I am wondering about.

1. After I repot into 5-1-1 mix (without CRF), how soon should I start fertilizing my (mostly tropical) plants with Foliage-Pro? I read somewhere after a week or two when plants settle a bit. Does this sound right?

2. All my plants have widely different fertilizing needs according to what I've googled up - anywhere from every couple of weeks full strength to every several months or even once a season at half strength depending on the plant. Then I read Al who fertilizes ALL his plants "weekly weakly" or even with every watering - which I think he does every day. Such drastically different advice can't all be right, no? Logistically, all plants on the same schedule is the best way for me, but I do not want to over- or under-fertilize.

3. What role do my conditions play? E.g., there is not much light in my apartment, certainly no direct light - how should that affect my fertilizing program?

4. Should I vary doses by season or by plant or by life-stages? (e.g., growing/dormant, fast/slow growing plant, likes more/less water, healthy/unhealthy looking, blooming/not etc.)

5. Can I dissolve Foliage-Pro into a 2 gallon bucket for convenience and then let it sit there for weeks until I use it up? What's the expiration date on the dissolved fertilizer?

6. Where can I read more about fertilizing? (a book or a reputable source for a non-pro online).

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Here it is. I read it a while back and it made my brain hurt.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ferts for containerized plants (by Tapla)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 8:36PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

You asked some really good questions. And you seem to have a handle on what the variables are.
I disagree with fertilizing every watering for some plants. Most are fine with it, but many, many exceptions exist.
With no direct light, you certainly want to error on the too little side. I think you already know the answers to most of your question, use common sense. Observe your plants, and learn from it.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 1:08

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:05AM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

I am going to write more expression than the answers of your questions, sorry.

I like the word "mysteries". Still I am not able to find out the solution of this mysteries. Soil testing may be so important to take an appropriate step to solve the fertilizing problems. For a professional grower he or she may need soil testing equipment or chemical to solve the problem but how many of us use all these equipment and chemical it is very much questionable to my mind. When something goes wrong to the plants we addressed our problems here or somewhere, advice and feedback coming up. Sometimes we got positive result sometimes negative.

I use the same soil recipe for my plants in same size containers I do the same treatment for these plants. One of my best ever grown plants has slightly pale leaves to compare with the others but still she is the biggest. It has grown so good except a bit pale leaves. Still I cannot solve this problem, I used most of the advice and feedback to solve the similar problem but there is no sign of progress. It is a real mystery for me. Or may be the mystery may be solved by time.

Al is right about his fertilizing program. The source of nutrients for the container plants is come from the grower so regular feeding is so important for the medium like 5:1:1, just my opinion :-). Al has a lot of experiences theoretically and practically I believe. So he knows his plants and the medium very well, his plants may not get the problems of nutrient deficiency. Some of us are not very good to understand the soil/medium, fertilizer we use and the plants we have grown, that's probably our weakness.

If the plants do not get enough lights artificial or natural it will be huge effect to the plants growth/life.

I agreed with "observe your plants, and learn from it". Practical experiment and learning from my experiences is very essential for me. Growing chili should not be complicated and it should be natural and easy. No one can tell this soil or that soil gives bigger size pods or huge amount of yield (May not be relevant the plant you have grown). For me I am looking for problem free medium and easy to use/maintenance. Whatever I have done to the plants within a short period of time the plants revealed they like it or not :-) accordingly I started to do new things again.

Someone may provide you more better answer than me, just wait and good luck.


This post was edited by chilliwin on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 8:19

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:22AM
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double post, so throw another pic in for fun.

its a wattle bird I think :)


This post was edited by bitzppa on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 9:59

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 9:54AM
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sometimes I think it maybe the seed or its parent that has a lot to do with how a plant grows.

unless we grow in a super controlled environment there are so many factors involved, when it comes to growing the best plant.

I like fiddling around with things and finding what works best in my little part of the world, in regards to time of year , light, heat, humidity...I guess it takes time to find what works best where I am or you are, using 5.1.1 and parts there of is from what I am seeing a great place to start and work out from there.

find something that works and do it again ?

that's why its enjoyable for me its fun trying different things, example for me is grow 3 tomatoes in the same mix and the same time from the same seed and use 3 diff fert options and see what does better or 3 diff percentage mixes and same fert , so many different things to try :)

I have bugger all experience with pots, so its fun messing around with things.

I think its about having fun and to be enjoyable :)


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 9:55AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

plants need access to nutrients while growing. Some people like to provide this by watering with a dilute nutrient solution every single time. Hydroponic systems constantly circulate a nutrient solution. Others, like farmers, only have time to lay down a lot of fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and that is supposed to carry the plants through to harvest. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, they apply a nutrient solution on a relatively frequent basis that is supposed to be enough to carry the plant through to the next application.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:26PM
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Spaceman, I've seen that thread, but it was good to re-read and I suspect I'll come back to it again.

Drew, good point about observing how my plants react and learning from it.

Caelian, yeah, I am probably overthinking this. I am an engineer, and it's hard to understand sometimes that dealing with living things is different. :-)

BZ, looks like your bird is not impressed by my lack of fertilizer understanding. haha.

I am leaning toward fertilizing ALL my plants with Foliage-Pro at 1/4 strength at every watering, which will be anywhere from every 5 days to every week or two. In the winter I'll fertilize half the time or half the dosage further to 1/8th. Once every month or two I'll flush most containers with just water. Do you think it's ok for all of these plants, or some need more specialized treatment?

alocasia polly
bird's nest fern
maranta (the red-veined kind)
philodendron "prince of orange"
ficus burgundy / rubber plant
hoya carnosa
satin pothos
pothos "marble queen"
cycad / sago palm
Rhoeo âÂÂTricolorâ / âÂÂMoses-In-The-CradleâÂÂ
wandering jew

Thanks, all.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:26AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

bitzppa, That's how the birds around my house look when they are eyeing our blueberries. He looks a little angry though :-)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 6:30PM
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greentoe357 you will do fine read experiment etc... its all part of the fun :)

angry blueberry thief Ed not so good :( nicking blueberrys not a nice bird, that one just sips nectar so he's ok :)

a better shot ?

This post was edited by bitzppa on Thu, Jun 13, 13 at 1:20

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:18AM
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