good 2-1-2 liquid fertilizer with micros?

rooftopbklynNovember 22, 2013

So after reading way too much about fertilizer on Gardenweb and elsewhere (but mainly here), I do understand the wisdom of using an NPK of 3-1-2 with appropriate amounts of micro-nutrients. I also understand the fallacy of high P bloom boosters, and that while they may have the effect of stressing a plant into producing more fruit/blooms than vegetative growth, they are actually not good for overall vitality.

I read a few places where it was recommended that slightly lowering the amount of N is really what should be done if you want to force plants to put more energy into fruit/flower than vegetation, maybe something like 2-1-2. However, I haven't seen any recommendations for actual products that are 2-1-2 with a correct distribution of micros.

Is there a product anyone could recommend that is similar to Foliage Pro, but with a 2-1-2 ratio? Dyna-Gro does not seem to produce one.


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The product I prefer IS a Dyna-Gro label - Liquid Grow (7-9-5). Yes, it is not precisely a 2-1-2 formulation but I think we get a little fixated on the need for adherence to these ratios. I use this for all my containerized plants (including house plants) and find it promotes/provides both healthy, lush foliar growth and plentiful flowering and fruiting. And it has an excellent range of micronutrients (similar to Foliage Pro in that regard).

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 4:09PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I think the so-called ALL PURPOSE fertilizers ( with 1-1-1 ratios) are better. Then you can supplement now and then with Epsom Salt and Calcium, if you like. That is what I sprinkle all by garden with early spring before planting, along with some manure compost. Later in the season, I have different fertilizers for different plants. For example I fertilize all onion family, cabbage family and other leafy veggies just with Ammonium sulfate (N). Because I want just the green foliage, no flower or fruits.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 6:42PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

What I understand is that generally a 3:1:2 ratio fertilizer with all micronutrients will meet all your plant's needs through the growing cycle. I have found this to be true in my vegetable garden and with my house plants. In fruiting annual plants like tomatoes, reducing the amount of N at the point in the life cycle where the plant is flowering and forming fruits can slow down vegetative growth. If the plant continues to get adequate P and K, while getting slightly less than adequate N, the theory is that flowering and fruiting will be enhanced. The way I have tried to do this in the past is to cut the amount of Dynagro Foliage Pro I give the plants in half and also give them Dynagro Protekt, which has a 0-0-3 NPK formula.

Recently I found some FoxFarm Grow Big hydroponic liquid fertilizer on sale for 80% off. It's formula is 3-2-6, and it has almost exactly the same micros as FoliagePro including calcium and magnesium. Plus, it doesn't use urea as a nitrogen source. I bought it and intend to use it to try to encourage my clivias to bloom this winter and my tomatoes to fruit next summer. I have only just started using it on the clivias, so I don't know how it will work. It's normally about $25 a quart, but I got it for $5.

Note that I am talking about container plants, not garden plants. The grower needs to be more focused on providing all nutrients in the right ratio to one another in a form the plants can use when confined to a container.

This post was edited by Ohiofem on Sun, Nov 24, 13 at 19:04

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Thanks everyone. Some good suggestions. Still open to hearing about a 2-1-2 fert if anyone knows of a good one. I do pretty good with Foliage Pro, but like to experiment since thats how I learn. Perhaps a lower-than-normal
for-me-N blend of foliage-pro & pro-tekt is the way to go.

Ohiofem, on foxfarm's website (here) they describe the fertilizer as being meant for vegetative growth, but we've learned fertilizer marketing is mostly fiction, though this is still curious. Can't wait to hear how it goes, once the season rolls around.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 8:07AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I do pretty good with Foliage Pro, but like to experiment since thats how I learn. Perhaps a lower-than-normal

Experimenting with different fertilizers for a backyard gardener, in my opinion, is not feasible. To study the effects of various fertilizers you have to have an elaborate set up; Say, have X number of identical plants in identical media and containers. Then divide that X into Y groups .... Then implement various fertilizing material and methods and observe the result. Otherwise the conclusion that we may reach is not scientifically valid.
That is why we often trust some university studied on the subject.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 7:02AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Daniel: You have to keep in mind that FoxFarm is marketing to a different kind of audience than many other fertilizer companies. Their biggest audience is probably interested in "healthy branching that youâÂÂll need later in the season for more abundant buds and blooms" of a plant is only legal in certain parts of the country. Also, many fertilizer companies try to convince you to buy different fertilizers for different growth stages because that leads to explosive growth of their bottom line. I really think you'll be fine sticking to one complete fertilizer throughout the growing season.

Seysonn: The term all purpose is almost meaningless when it comes to fertilizers. There are dozens of different fertilizer ratios that are labeled all purpose, like Miracle Gro 24-8-16 for example. Check out the long running Fertilizing Containerized Plants thread for an in-depth understanding of why many of us consider fertilizers with a 3:1:2 ratio "all purpose."

Here is a link that might be useful: Fertilizing Containerized Plants

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 8:55PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Seysonn: The term all purpose is almost meaningless when it comes to fertilizers.
Ohiofem, You are right. But conventionally the granualle fertilizers with 1-1-1 ration ( such as 10-10-10, without any trace elements) are referred to as ALL PURPOSE. It is all purpose without addressing special plants needs. That is why it has a 1-1-1 ration

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 12:23AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I think the Scotts MiracleGro company would disagree about what is the conventional definition of an all purpose fertilizer. But, the more important question is what is your evidence that a 1:1:1 ratio is "better" for plants in containers?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 12:54AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

@ Ohiofem

OP is looking for a 2-1-2 (1 -0.5 - 1) fertilizer. And I said that any fertilizer with a 1-1-1 ration is the closest you can get.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 7:51PM
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