I have never used Jack's Classic fertilizer and I want to try it. The african violet formula is 12-36-14 but I want to try a balanced formula. The all-purpose is 20-20-20 but both formulas have urea nitrogen. Any thoughts?
Linda - the main thing - Jack has WAAAAY too much urea. I used Peters specialty AV with similar numbers - until they switched to urea...
That's what I was thinking. I just cannot find any fertilizer that doesn't have urea nitrogen. I tried E Bay but the postage is astronomical. Any thoughts on what to use and where to get it? I am using an orchid blossom booster now and getting some very strange reactions so I need to switch.
I've used the Optimara 14-12-14 for years with good results. I find the 20-20-20 numbers are given just to tell people to use a balanced fertilizer. The Optimara is urea-free (8.7% ammoniacal nitrogen, 5.3% nitrate nitrogen) and contains trace elements as well. Selective Gardener sells a 1 pound container for $14.95 at the moment.
Here is a link that might be useful: Optimara fertilizer
Thanks! Problem solved!
We ordered fertilizer from Plant Marvel for the club - we got 2 25 pounders - one for grow one for bloom - both without urea - and mixed them - the result would be about balanced - and added a package of Epsom salt to the barrel - the result was about $2 a pound. They have smaller bags too.
Optimara is a very good fertilizer. DynaGro is excellent- but it gets to be even pricier.
The only Dyna-Gro I can find is in humongous amounts.
I'd been wanting to try it but I think it will probably have to be Optimara.
I think a quart of DynaGro is a way to buy it. I use it at the 1/4 per gallon rate.
If your collection is small (yet) - i looked up at the Violetshowcase.com - 8 oz DynaGro is in their catalog for $8.49
Here is a link that might be useful: catalog
Thanks for the help. I think I may have to order the Dyna-Gro from VS. Who would have thought finding suitable fertilizer would be this difficult???
Your mentioning Violet Showcase brings back memories. Many years ago, I lived in Loveland, Co and would visit there every time I got to Denver. There weren't any nearby clubs or E-Bay back then so a chance to buy violets came about rarely so it was always a fun trip.
As to my collection size....I'm afraid to count individuals but I have over 125 varieties. I know...it's a sickness. :)
Thanks for the info and the memories.
Linda - then it makes sense to try to get a quart!
I hope Doug Crispin - the Violet Showcase owner - will live long and prosper! They survived several last very lean years. He is my source of an excellent soil, all kind of supplies, advice and support.
We have an AV club in Loveland CO - "Loveland Sweethearts" - so you can come back to this very nice to live place - together with your 125 varieties and join them ;-)).
So many of the many big AV growers are gone now. Do you remember Tinari's and Granger's? Many years ago there was an AV wholesale grower here in CIncinnati named Peterson's who shipped worldwide. He would sell retail on Saturday mornings only. It was so much fun prowling through all those greenhouses looking for the new and different. He's gone now, too.
When I lived in Loveland I did have my priorities straight. I had a TV, a bed, and my light stand with my violets. I know...it's a sickness... ;)
It is a very nice addiction, much better than any other addictions.
I grew some varieties hybridized by Tinari and Eyerdom. (Granger's Greenhouses). Now it is for the next generation to carry the torch. Sometimes it gets scary - people changed - and they do not enjoy growing things that much, they want to have a finished product right now. But looks like the certain percent of babies is born with green thumbs in every generation.
I am not a fan of fertilizers. I would liketo know more about the way you can grow plants organically... Fertilizers are just chemicals,
ps: whitelacey you are totally right ... they are gone forever...
The soil in your houseplants pots - is very limited -plus it doesn't have all the good bacteria working on the fallen leaves, or rain - that soaks the soil, water goes down = and when it is dry - it comes back from the deep - carrying minerals. So - I am thinking that organic growing is very good outside. But - probably not that wonderful for houseplants.
If you do not like salt type fertilizers - you can use other sources - like fish emulsion, worm castings - but there are minerals you cannot replace 100% with organic fertilizers.
Fertilizers are chemicals, but, like everything else in life, there are good chemicals and bad chemicals. The salt you season your food with is a chemical as is water. Now, contrast that with DDT or neonicotinoid pesticides which is suspected in the decrease of the bee population and you see that some chemicals are necessary for life while others are life-threatening with everything in-between.
That said, plants that are grown indoors, which is an artificial environment, must be provided with a fertilizer with both macro-and micro-nutrients just as people and animals must have vitamins and minerals, (again chemicals), in their diet.
I have been raising plants for many years and I have a degree in horticulture and I have never heard of hobby use of fertilizers causing any damage to people, pets or the environment. Not saying it's not possible but I've never heard of it nor have any of my colleagues. Do a little research and see if there's one you might feel comfortable with and see if anyone here has had experience with it. You might get some reassuring answers.
Also, I do agree with you about using chemicals with caution. I keep bees and the Colony Collapse Disorder partly attributed to neonicotinoid pesticides is a major problem. I can't tell you how many hives I've lost over the last few years. Very frustrating and very sad. You open the hive in the spring and there are masses of dead bees lying on the bottom. Again, good chemicals and bad.
In addition to being a plant nerd, I'm also a history nerd, (That's why I was interested in your story. Social history is fascinating). The more I study history the more I come to the conclusion that people are basically the same as they always have been, Customs and mores change but there are always going to be people who live to get their hands in the soil. My step-son is 22, lives for hard rock music, hasn't seen a barber in months and is totally fascinated by plants and their care, The only problem is he's into cacti and I have to slowly wean him onto violets! I did slip him a leaf or two a couple months ago and on last report, they were doing well so he's on his way. It's how we hook unsuspecting innocents :)
I think there are always going to be people who delight in the fact that you can stick a leaf in some soil and end up with totally new plants. I think it's a thrill that never gets old which is probably why I ended up with so many violets!
Going to bed. It's very late!
@johnx33: Some people use brewed tea to fertilize their plants. I haven't tried it, but I think it's worth looking into. Ditto about the good vs bad chemicals. I understand your concerns, but I also try to keep in mind that just b/c a chemical is "synthetic" or "derived" doesn't necessarily make it harmful or bad. Likewise, just b/c a chemical is "natural" or "organic" doesn't necessarily make it safe or good. After all poison ivy is 100% all-natural and you wouldn't want to rub that all over your body!
I do not think you can use old brewed tea indefinitely...probably sooner or later the mineral deficiency will take over and the plant will not be looking as good as it can be.
Outside - using peat and compost and aged manure - is very much preferable - because it improves the quality of soil - while salt type fertilizers do not do squat for it and probably suppress the beneficial bacteria and salt the soil if overused. Inside - it is a controlled environment, soilless mix instead of the soil, no bacteria. So in my experience - you need to use the fertilizer - in a low dose and a good one. Worm castings, old tea, fish emulsion supplements are very beneficial as a part of the program.
True story - the lady tried to grow her violets in organic way - so she called somebody who gives advice in African Violet Magazine - and asked why the plant doesn't perform. The question was - what did you use - she said - I put a dead fish in the bottom of the pot expecting it to feed my violet.
Actually - you can do something like that - outside, not on your windowsill.
Linda - you need to try involve your talented step-son in Sinningia growing. For whatever reasons people who like cacti and other succulents - like tuberous plants.
I was thinking about my attempts to get my step-son hooked on AV's and it occurred to me that maybe he is turning the tables on me. I now have two lithops taking up valuable AV space. Hmmmmm.