Oh No! Did I buy the wrong liquid fertilizer? Kim???

fogrose(zone 10/sunset 17)May 22, 2013

I was trying to follow Roseseek's advice for a sluggish Annie Laurie McDowell and went to buy from liquid Miracle Grow to use half strength. I ended up buying a 4pak of "Miracle Grow Liquafeed" without really studying the label til I got home and discovered the bottles were meant as refills for a foliar feed spraying system.

Wondering if a diluted application to the soil for pot ghetto roses (not as a foliar feed) would be a good or a bad move. If good, then what dilution?


Here is a link that might be useful: Liquafeed details

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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Diane: I look at your link, and the Liquafeed NPK is 12-4-8 ... looks good to me. Last year my Annie in pot was slow due to my alkaline tap water, pH 8. Then I put acid fertilizer Lilly Miller, slow-released NPK 10-5-4 ... and put citric acid in my tap water. She roots better when it's slightly acidic like rain water, pH 5.6.

That Annie is in the ground now ... I want blooms, less leaves, so I used soluble low-salt monopotassium phosphate, NPK 0-52-34. She has 15+ buds, pretty good for being pruned down to 4 inches early April, due to severe winter-kill on most branches.

I would dilute by half. Below is Annie, when she was 2 months old band. Picture taken last June when she was in full sun.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Wed, May 22, 13 at 23:43

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 10:37PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

If it is 12% nitrogen (check the label), an appropriate dilution would be 2 TBS/gallon of water for soil application.. Regular MG is around 24% N, so the liquid product would be half as strong and you would use twice as much.

Applying this at 50/50 dilution, as StrawberryHill suggests, would kill plants outright.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:48AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

I meant using half-strength, I think Michaelg misunderstood me. Michaelg, would using half-the dose kill plants? Did that happened to you before? Why do you shoot me down?

I had posted plenty on how I zapped Lauren rose using MiracleGro soluble fertilizer NPK 18-24-16, due to the high salt content of its high nitrogen 18. I even posted a picture of that rose looking bad in Alana's thread "My first blooms".

That's why for Annie in the ground, I use zero nitrogen, but applied SOLUBLE, low-salt, monopotassium phosphate 0-52-34. We had snow & hail early April, Annie had winter damage, so I pruned her down to 4". She went from a 4" stump, no leaves in April to looking like this .... picture taken today, with 15+ buds:

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, May 23, 13 at 11:31

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:16AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

Fogrose, it may be easier to take the 4-pack back to the store, and get the product that you need.

I have stopped using high phosphate fertilizers, due to concerns about leaching into the water table.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Hi Diane, I'm sorry. I was out all day yesterday and didn't get to the forums until a minute ago. When I use MG or Vigoro, I buy the crystal version and mix it myself. I usually buy Vigoro because they are usually a few dollars less expensive, probably because they dont' advertise as much.

The label says to use a tablespoon per gallon of water. For "infant plants" I mix it half tablespoon per gallon. You can always add more, but it's really difficult to remove once applied. I don't know what the concentration is for the liquid through the feeder. It MIGHT be a tablespoon per gallon, or it may not. You'd probably be best off buying the liquid feeder and just using it that way. I have used that product in others' gardens to feed potted plants and give an extra "push" around patios for special occasions and it's worked as expected. If you're concerned about over dosing something, just spray it lightly instead of holding it in one place for a longer period. If you can't reduce the amount of concentrate per gallon, you CAN reduce the total amount of solution applied. You can also hit the plants lightly with a water wand or spray of water after application to reduce the total concentration of the salts, if you really are concerned about how much you've applied.

If you have a Home Depot nearby, take a look at their Vigoro water soluble fertilizer. If you don't want much, pick up the smallest box for about $4 and use it in a bucket or watering can for your cuttings or any seedlings you want to push. Half a tablespoon per gallon applied after a good watering is just fine and not so much salt or total nitrogen to hurt anything. Kim

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 12:00PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

I have to defend everything I do. There will always be attacks on me, since I advocate cheap & organic ways to control black spots rather than Bayer spray.

The reason why I use low-salt monopotassium phosphate, NPK 0-52-34 is:

1) My alkaline soil, pH of 7.7 is tested very deficient in phosphorus and potassium.

2) According to Robert Morris PLANT foundation, nitrogen mobility is a 10, it moves with water. Potassium mobility is a 3, somewhat mobile. Phosphorus mobility is a 1, it stays put where applied.

3) The phosphorus leaching that Diane_NJ mentioned is due to phosphates in detergents that EPA banned years ago. It does not apply to phosphorus in fertilizer, like bone meal, which stays put where applied.

4) Phosphorus is immobile in my heavy clay, with a limestone base at bottom. Plus I use a soluble fertilizer right at the roots. Nitrogen moves with water, leaches out and is an ecological problem. Here's a quote:

"about 60 percent of the nitrogen contained in applied fertilizer is never incorporated into plants and so is free to wash out of root zones, and then pollute rivers, lakes, aquifers and coastal areas through eutrophication."

Wikipedia wrote this on nitrogen: "High levels of NO3 in water can adversely affect oxygen levels for both humans and aquatic systems. Human health issues include methemoglobinemia and anoxia, commonly referred to as blue baby syndrome. .. Eutrophication, a decline in oxygen content of water, of aquatic systems can cause the death of fish and other marine species.

Finally, leaching of NO3 from acidic sources can increase the loss of calcium and other soil nutrients, thereby reducing an ecosystem's productivity.[2]

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia on nitrogen leaching

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Fri, May 24, 13 at 7:35

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 12:24PM
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fogrose(zone 10/sunset 17)

Thanks to everyone for all the chemistry and recommendations.

Kim, if you're not sure it's ok to use just as a soil drench then I guess I'll return it and look for the crystals.

I want to avoid having to buy a device for spraying. Teach me to always read labels BEFORE buying something.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 1:45PM
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I've never used that one without the feeder, Diane. The crystals are significantly less expensive, and versatile to use. Plus, you have a choice of brands in many cases. As long as the guaranteed analysis and sources of the nutrients are similar, the plants don't care which you use. And, you aren't using it as the only source of food. If you can, I'd return it and buy the other. You don't need a drum of it, unless you want to use it extensively. The pound or so box goes a very long way for primarily this use and it lasts indefinitely as long as you keep it from dissolving and washing away. It's salt so it lasts forever. Kim

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 2:03PM
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fogrose(zone 10/sunset 17)

Happily, my local Ace Hardware had a weekend sale and I was able to get a small box of Miracle Grow crystals for $.49 so will follow Kim's advice and use 1/2 tbsp to a gallon.

Thanks everyone.

Hope it will help wake up Annie Laurie McDowell.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Cats, rats, misbegotten neighbors...stand still too long and you're in danger! Hey, whatever works. Add a little heat to the mix and you'll wake her up. I know, "heat" is Kryptonite to your climate! Kim

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 11:20PM
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