Phosphate and African Violets

odaybeaNovember 16, 2008

My daugter would like to test the effects of giving her miniature African violets additional phosphate to see if it will affect blooming in her plants. We have not been successful in finding out how often she can give the plants phosphate and in what quantities (beyond a typical fertilizer). Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you.

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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

As you know, we give very high phosporus (middle number) just before a show. This is similar to 5-52-15. This fertilizer shouldn't be given for longer than a certain period because there is not enough nitrogen for leaves and if they deteriorate, the whole plant is not very good.

We had a horticulturalist from Montreal Botanical Garden speak at our last AV meeting. She is saying we need to give LESS and not More fertilizer. She said plants get food and energy from the light source, and not so much from fertilizer.

My son grows my cast-off plants--those that lack the spots they are supposed to have, or have mutated in some way. He grows without any fertilizer at all simply because he ran out of what I gave him. His plants flower beautfully for long periods of time. BUT his foliage shows its lack of nutrients. His plants could get a blue from the flowers but the foliage is really terrible.

I'm not ready to cut down on my fertilizer but I want to experiment with it using two plants to see if one is given fertilizer and light and compare it to another which gets light only--just to see what happens.

Most horticultural people say flowers are made by the third number in fertilizer and not so much by the second number.

Experiment to see what develops and let us know.

Nancy

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 8:53PM
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timestocome(8b)

I tend to be very light handed with fertilizer using light more to force blooms than fertilizers.

It is more difficult to find fertilizers high in phosphorus because it is bad for the environment. But they can be found and are believed to help force spectacular blooms.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 6:31PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

You can try adding a small amount of a bone meal. It is a slow release organic fertilizer- a bit of nitrogen and phosphorus - and if you put a tablespoon per gallon of soil - it very possibly will give it a boost.

Otherwise - Nancy is absolutely right = balanced is better in a long run - every watering with 1/4 teaspoon per gallon lets say Peters African violet - phosphorus there is already on a high side - and just for the experiment - Peters Bloom fertilizer for the boost same proportion - if Odaybea's daughter wants to force an abundant bloom for a short time.

Otherwise - you can more or less predict what will happen - if you start poisoning AV with way too much phosphorus - or stop feeding them at all and see how long it takes them to starve.

The lady from Botanic Garden is right in a sense that the main "bricks" are water, oxigen, carbon dioxide and source of energy is sun. But if we are not to give them the N-P-K and trace elements - we are trying to build a brick house without cement.

Cheers and time to go home

Irina

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 8:51PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

You can try adding a small amount of a bone meal. It is a slow release organic fertilizer- a bit of nitrogen and phosphorus - and if you put a tablespoon per gallon of soil - it very possibly will give it a boost.

Otherwise - Nancy is absolutely right = balanced is better in a long run - every watering with 1/4 teaspoon per gallon lets say Peters African violet - phosphorus there is already on a high side - and just for the experiment - Peters Bloom fertilizer for the boost same proportion - if Odaybea's daughter wants to force an abundant bloom for a short time.

Otherwise - you can more or less predict what will happen - if you start poisoning AV with way too much phosphorus - or stop feeding them at all and see how long it takes them to starve.

The lady from Botanic Garden is right in a sense that the main "bricks" are water, oxigen, carbon dioxide and source of energy is sun. But if we are not to give them the N-P-K and trace elements - we are trying to build a brick house without cement.

Cheers and time to go home

Irina

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 2:55PM
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lathyrus_odoratus(5A-IL)

I know this is a bit older thread, but I was reading all threads as I prepare for the arrival of leaves that I haven't a clue how to propagate then take care of.

I was curious about fertilizer in general because of some recent research I found about vegetables- the amount of fert taken up by the plant is much less than most fertilizers are manufactured - vegetables pretty much take up about 3-1-2.

So, I did a search to see if I could find any research about AVs. I read that the standard is any balanced, such as using a 20-20-20 at half strength.

Imagine my surprise when I found a document (below) that recommends that same ratio as I use in my self-watering containers for veggies.

Of course, it's the only thing I've found that recommends that. I'm not sure what I'll do, but I may try this. My only time growing an AV was one I didn't care for correctly, but that grew for many years and flowered almost continuously. I certainly didn't feed it based on the ratios I'm reading you should use.

At any rate, I thought I'd throw this out here for what it's worth...which may be not a lot to some.

Here is a link that might be useful: U of Florida fact sheet on AVs

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 3:28AM
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