How much food for clematis?

dublinbay z6 (KS)April 5, 2010

I've always heard that I can feed clems with the same fertilizer I use on my roses--in my case, that's RoseTone or PlantTone (whichever I can get my hands on locally). If so, how much PlantTone should I put around a clem? Should I feed new clems differently than established clems? Is one feeding a season sufficient?



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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

Hi Kate!!...Yes same fertilizer as for your with a higher middle number the "P" in the N-P-K ratio..regardless of size/age...I give my clematis a handful sprinkles around the outer edge and water well..Fertilize in early Spring when they first start to set their first leafbuds and AGAIN after the first flush of blooms are done & over...Jeanne

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 7:23AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Thanks, Jeanne, for the timely answer. Clem feeding is on my schedule for today. : )


    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 8:20AM
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katie(Zone 8a NoCA)

I use an organic Rose & Flower food. It's 4-8-4. I tend to use 1/2 to 1 cup per plant depending on size and like Jeanne I feed once in the early spring and then again after bloom. Because it's organic I don't have to worry about burning the plant. Jeanne I wanted to ask you - what kind of tea do you make - compost, alfalfa, manure, etc?


    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 11:36AM
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alameda/zone 8

Do clematis like the same alfalfa tea that roses love? I have some made up.....wondering if I might use it on the clematis?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 5:31PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

I have Mills Magic Rose Mix, which doesn't have a higher middle number. I think it's something like 6-5-1. Will that work? This is my first year trying Mills Magic. Anyone else use that and how does it do? It calls for 2 cups around each rose bush, but I'm going with half strength at 1 cup. Or should I be also adding bonemeal with the Mills?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 5:53PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

alameda, my understanding is that alfalfa works on just about anything that grows!

kenstar, Mills Magic Rose Mix is a well-respected name. I think you can trust them. In fact, I think those numbers are similar to those in RoseTone. It is also my understanding that adding bonemeal is somewhat useless since it is difficult to get it down to where it can benefit the roots, plus roses have need for that extra bit of N. Now whether clems need some extra K, I don't know, but if other clem-growers are using their rose fertilizers like RoseTone or PlantTone, I think you can use Mills Magic Rose Mix on your clems without worrying about it.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 6:00PM
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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

One Sliiiiiiiight adjustment to my comment on feeding clems..I don't fertilize newly planted ones until they start growing new leaves and then I know it's safe to feed!!
Yes I use "Alfalfa Tea" on all my plants..My clematis adore that stuff and really respond well !!
Kent use Rose or Tomato fertilizer for best results the Middle number Should be higher than the other two..that is for blooming power...and remember to NEVER use those fertilizers on clematis once you see flowerbuds forming for it you do you'll only rush the bloom period...Jeanne
ps...Katie's Right Mill's Magic is another great one

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 6:50PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Thanks all! It's what I had on hand this spring :) I am going to be making some alfalfa tea soon. I ordered a 50 lb bag of alfalfa meal which should be coming in about a week. Got it from Exemely Green. I'm going to be making it in a 32 gallon trach can. If I've fertilized with Mills Magic, can I still use the alfalfa tea? Or would that be overkill? Maybe I could just use the alfalfa tea after first blooms?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 7:30PM
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Yep, I also use alfalfa pellets in the spring, and the tea a couple of times in the summer, on both my roses and my clematis. Like Jeanne says, they LOVE it.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 7:40PM
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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

Alfalfa tea can be used with any fertilizer at no risk to your plant but truly many many benefits!!The main ingredient in Alfalfa tea is the hormone "Triacontanol" which is a naturally occurring plant hormone that acts as a growth promoter. Triacontanol raises plant yield by improving photosynthesis and cell division. You will see immediate results in your Roses as new Basal Cane breaks are everywhere...You'll see a bigger stronger rootsystem in your plants and they in return are more disease resistant..I've been using Alfalfa tea on everything in my garden for years and am amazed and a believer..I also put the pellets in my spreader and spread on my about a gorgeous green lawn..I also sprinkle the pellets all over my flowerbeds before laying my mulch..I could go on and's phenomenal in my book!@!...Jeanne
Alfalfa ingredients:
Triacontanol (growth stimulant)
Vitamin A (high concentration)
Pantothenic Acid
Folic Acid
Crude proteins (16 - 25% in dry alfalfa)

Amino acids (% in alfalfa meal).
Tryptophan, 0.3 %
Aspartic Acid, 2.3%
Threonine, 1.0 %
Serine, 1.0%
Glutamic Acid, 2.7%
Proline, 1.2%
Glycine, 1.1%
Alanine, 1.1%
Cystine, 0.2%
Valine, 1.0%
Methionine, 0.3%
Isoleucine, 0.8%
Leucine, 1.6%
Tyrosine, 0.5%
Phenylalanine, 1.0%
Histidine, 0.4%
Lysine, Total, 1.1%
Arginine, 1.1%

Minerals (contained in dry alfalfa)
Nitrogen 3.75-5.5 %
Potassium .75 - 3.5 %
Phosphorus .3 - .7%
Calcium 1 - 2 %
Magnesium .30 - 1 %
Sulphur .2 - .5 %
Manganese 30-200 ppm
Iron 20-250 ppm
Boron 20-80 ppm
Copper 5-20 ppm
Zinc 20-70 ppm

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 9:02AM
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Oh Jeanne, I never thought of using it on my neighbour is going to be so jealous LOL Thanks for the tip!


    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 5:46PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

I thought about making the tea and using my hose end sprayer to deliver it to my lawn he, he yes the neighbors will be so jealous! I think since my roses and a few of the clems are just coming into their second year here I will just use a smaller amount of the alfalfa meal around them. I don't want to push too much top growth at the expense of roots. They tell me on the rose forum not to use for immature roses, so I have to be careful I guess. :)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 4:06AM
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carolfm(z7upstate SC)

I am lazy and don't like the "fragrance" of the tea so I just spread the meal around my roses and clematis and then water it in. Works just as well and my nose is happy. :-).


    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 2:15PM
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Do you make the alfalfa tea from the alfalfa pellets used for rabbit food. If so, how do you make it? If not, where do you get the alfalfa?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 9:13PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I've heard that the rabbit food alfalfa pellets might not be good choices--salt in them (or something like that). I went to my grain feed store and asked for alfalfa pellets. When they brought a bag, I made them get down and read the fine print to make sure there was no salt in them.

You can also spread the pellets around and water in well. It will take longer for the complete break-down, but the effect will be the same--and I'm too lazy to make tea. : )

For the tea recipe, go over to the Rose Forum and type "alfalfa tea" in the search box. Any number of recipes should come up.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 10:18PM
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I'd love to try the alfalfa pellets, but I'm worried I'd have all the rabbits in the neighborhood in my backyard. Is this not a problem?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 7:50AM
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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

Don't buy the rabbit food...ask for "Cattle Feed" at your Feed's cheaper and better...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 8:35AM
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