Osmocote or Miracle Grow for annuals?

lindaw_cincy(6)May 21, 2010

Which is better for annuals? Osmocote or Miracle Grow? I always use Miracle Grow but I am tired of mixing the powder. This year I sprinkled Osmocote on everything. I have always had great results from Miracle Grow. I grow Geraniums and Vinca.

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I use time releaser fertilizer--it's sold under a few names besides osmocote-- in all my pots and have luscious flowers all summer. Be sure to put some soil on top of it so it doesn't wash away when you water. I usually add a bit more in August. Sure beats the water soluable stuff

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 5:13PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Miracle Grow needs to be reapplied, Osmocote is timed-release, one application lasts all season.

I use Osmocote for my annuals, it is easy to use - one shot does it all season. That said, occasionally a plant needs a "shot" of something, a boost - and for that I have been known to use Miracle Grow (rarely).

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 11:40PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

there are differing formulas of time release....

4 to 9 month ...

most of us do NOT have a 9 month growing season.. and such could be detrimental ... not allowing plants to head towards dormancy ... or harden off properly... so be careful


    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 8:18AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

True, Ken, but the title of the post specifically referred to annuals - so not hardening off is a mute point (assuming the poster is in a colder zone like us - ?).

Fertilizing perennials is a whole other ballgame, obviously (I do not use the above on perennials/woodies).

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 8:35AM
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I use 4 month time release for perennials and apply it sparing in the spring. It works fine for my perennials. I have never seen a 9 month one. All time release fertilizer sold here is 3 or 4 month. I think if there are longer ones like you say Ken they are sold where the climate dictates

Certain perennials sucumb to over blooming not fertilizer--like Correopsis. It will literally bloom itself to death if you let it, which is why I cut off all blooms the first part of September so it can prepare for winter. Mine did this before I started using time release fertilizer.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:34AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

osamocote pound for pound is extremely expensive .....

so, if budget is an issue . ... skip it ...

you would be better off getting a $15 dollar 50 pound bag of 16-16-16 ... or 19 cubed .. or 12 cubed .... and putting a quarter handful [couple tablespoons] around each plant.. in june and july ... and lighter in aug ..... depending on your zone.. you dont want they hyped up an fert.. if they need to harden off in fall ... perennials, of course.. as compared to annuals ...

you can store to rest in a 5 gal bucket that seals with a rubber gasket.. for a decade ..... in the garage ...

as compared to maybe $100 for half that much ... of the foo foo stuff

when it all boils down.. the point of osmacote.. is for quantity POT producers.. to be able to touch the plant once... and then just use their drench watering... because they tend to wash out the good stuff.. hence the multi release ...

frankly.. as far as mother earth is concerned.. time release is just a foo foo marketing tool to make you spend a lot of money ...

using a small amount in your own pots is ok ... since you are using the engineering of the product


    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 10:50AM
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They sure sell fertilizer cheap in your neck of the woods. Here it is $30 for a 50 pound bag. It is $12 for 1 KG(2.2 pounds)of time release, and it lasts me for 2 years and I do a lot of pots.

I use the time release for convenience and results. I fill my pots 3/4 full and set in my plants add some more soil and sprinkle the time release between the plants then I cover them in completely. The fertilizer when released slowly does not burn the roots. It is under the soil so it won't wash away with watering.

You can't do that with regular fertilizer and I would be afraid of burning the plants if I just sprinkled it in, not to mention it could be washed out of the pot when watering. No, if I didn't use time release I'd use water soluable and that is just as expensive.

You use the 20-20-20 --I'll stick with my way

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 1:47PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i have no problem with you doing it your way..

especially in pots ... thats what it is made for ...

i am just trying to teach newbies the difference ... and why it MIGHT not be such a good idea.. IN THE GROUND ...

i gave up on pots a long time ago.. just not worth all the hassle ....

what little pots i do.. i use 1/4 strength water soluable ... with every watering ... no brand name.. generic ...

live long and grow oily...


    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:03PM
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Well ken In the ground is a different matter. I use 20-20-20 when I first plant and the watersoluable after that.

To each his own. I tell newbies--listen to all opinions and then use your common sense and find the way that works for you. All gardeners are different and many times have different ways of doing things that work for them to get to the same result.

Happy growing ken

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 4:24PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I'm with Oil re: convenience and results. Plant/fertilize annuals once, as far as I'm concerned - I don't want to be bothered fertilizing repeatedly throughout the season, not to mention I will probably forget, and annuals really benefit in terms of flower power with regular fertilization. For that reason, I'm an Osmocote gal when it comes to annuals. The bulk of my annual plantings are in pots, but I do have some here and there throughout the beds, and it's the same story - plant, scratch in some Osmocote, I'm done. :o)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 6:05PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I use a timed release fertilizer in all my my pots,when potted up and also use a water soluble as needed. However I do not ever use either in my garden soil, as a good garden soil should not require a synthetic fertilizer. I buy my timed release at a landscape supply paying about $60 for fifty pound bag. I prefer a 18-6-12 formula with all the minors. My water soluble is the same formula, a different brand. As long as fertilizer is kept dry it will last forever, so buying in small quantities is hard to justify. Al

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 8:40AM
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Well Al:

Your fertilizer is very high in nitrogen and not something I'd use in my pots of flowers. I want lots of flowers not dark green leaves. That's all some flowers would give with that much nitrogen. I think your landscape supply company is selling fertilizer for grass.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 4:11AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I am using a potting mix that does not contain fertilizer. My fertilizer formula is based on the requirements of the plants, knowing that the plants are completely dependent on what I am feeding them. I grow between 300 and 500 one gallon pots of ornamentals for resale and to make the sale the plants and their flowers must look good. It has taken me 20 years to evolve to this feeding routine. My planting mix is sold in bulk for use by propagating nurseries and is bark based, using NO peat. Al

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 8:16AM
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