How much Miracle Gro for potted figs

keepitlow(6)May 16, 2010

The instructions say 1 teaspoon per gallon. Seems like that is so little. Should I use more for potted figs? Maybe 1 tablespoon per gal?

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To me it depends on the size of the pot and age of the plant.
First of all, I water the plants and wait a couple of hours before I use fertilizer.
If my plants are newly potted cuttings in a 1gl. or 2gl. pots then I give them a lighter dose than recammended.
I would split that gallon with the fertilizer with about 4 to 6 pots.
But the larger 10gl. or 15gl. or even the 25gl. then I bump it up just a bit more. For instance, I would dump the whole 2gl. bucket into one 15gl. or 25gl. pot.

I don't use Miracle Gro, But if that's your choice then that's your choice.
I'm sure others would have more to say. So wait till you hear from everyone else and weigh your options then.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 9:55AM
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Hi Keepitlow,
I use what is called Miracle Grow All Purpose Plant Food water soluble 24-8-16 for a a long time on my fig plants and flowers.
The instructions on the economy size box and also on the bags inside say 1 Tablespoon per gallon of water, i use the green measuring spoon that is supplied with it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 10:25AM
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I use miracle grow. I have used it both full strength and at the Half-Strength some members here have suggested.

Using it full strength in a "Grow Box" for tomatoes I pour the mix into a water reservoir below the soil mixture and it is wicked up into the root area. The tomatoes are luxuriant, dark, deep green and blooming like mad. THE SOIL MIX IS GOING ON THREE YEARS OLD AND THE FERTILIZER ORIGINALLY IN IT HAS BEEN USED UP. I don't think that point can be overemphasized if you use a commercial potting mix.

Using MG full strength on figs, after watering first, seems to make the figs grow "leggy". My preference is half strength or not at all as the commercial potting soils I have to use have slow-release fertilizer incorporated in them. Where figs have been in the same pot for two years I fertilize.

The figs that I have let "starve" just a little bit have short intervals between nodes and already have figlets showing. The "leggy" ones show no signs of figlets.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 11:19AM
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The solution Keepitlow stated is recommended for indoor plants (presumably for containerized plants/trees) every two weeks. The strength Martin mentioned is for outdoor gardens.

Another option is to use it 1/4 - 1/2 strength at every watering. Once every week or two flush the container.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 12:33PM
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I failed to mention and maybe im stuck in my ways which is probably the case. Hardheaded me. ; )
But as in other past threads what i have always done is put a half dose in a milk just and fill with water or rain water if available and water plants till it runs out the bottom once a week and during week they get regular water when needed till it runs out bottom. I suppose thats why i buy the big economy box as my 4 big containers can take lots of it during summer months the little ones not so much and the flowers to.
Just so no misunderstanding by no means what i do is the best way its just the way i have been doing it for good amount of time (stuck in my ways) im sure there are many many other fertilizers and ways of feeding fig plants in containers.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 2:18PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think it's particularly important to consider the soil you are using and your watering habits when it comes to deciding what a suitable fertilizer solution concentration might be.

I happen to grow in very well aerated soils that drain so quickly you can let the hose run on full pressure and not overflow a 3 gallon container. With this type of soil, you can fertilize practically as often as you want and not risk issues from high levels of fertility (TDS and EC). Any fertilizer can quite easily be overused, but the concern is diminished in soils that allow you to flush accumulating salts from the soil each time you water.

Conversely, if you are using a soil that retains so much water you need to water in small amounts to diminish the risk of root rot, ALL the dissolved solids in tap water and in the fertilizer solution will continue to accumulate in the soil if not used as building blocks for plant growth. With these soils, you need to be far more conservative in your approach to supplementing nutrition.

Two of the benefits of using highly aerated soils are that they take a lot of the guesswork out of both watering and fertilizing, and they are much more forgiving - a greater margin of error - than heavier soils. You can water when plants don't really need water with no ill effects unless you REALLY go overboard, and you can fertilize with relative abandon because AS you water you are flushing some of the fertilizer from the soil.

I suppose the crux of what I just said would be that how you fertilize depends on the relationship between the size/type of the plant material, the physical (and to some degree chemical) properties of the soil you are using, and your watering habits.

Basically, in the soils I use I try to fertilize at half to full recommended strength weekly, depending mostly on temperature. When temperatures are above 85* or below 55* I withhold all fertilizer. For a lot of the woody plants I grow in containers, appearance is extremely important, but I have found that good looking plants are always healthy plants. I've never heard anyone say, "Oh look at that pretty sick plant", though I've heard them say, "Oh that plant looks pretty sick" (Not about MINE, of course!) Lol. If you're growing in slower soils, you might want to try reducing the dose by half or doubling the interval.

I hope that made sense.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 3:07PM
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Thanks for the help.

I'm using high water retention mix with with 65% garden soil, and rest is bark, peat and sand. I sometime leave my potted figs for 2 weeks with no H20 in the June.

Sounds like I should stick with the rec MG schedule as it may build up in my type of soil.

Do you think I should stop the MG fert in June or July? I was planning on using it every 2 or 3 times I water the pots.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 8:50PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I don't know what to tell you about trying to deal with a soil so heavy, other than to proceed with and err on the side caution. Do you have the containers partially set into the ground?


    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 9:46PM
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No, not set in ground. But was thinking of it to keep the pots cooler and wetter when I'm away.
Also forgot that some of the mix is pearlite or vermiculite.

With your low water retention mix Al, how often do you have to water in the hottest days of summer?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 8:53AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Usually every 1-3 days, depending on the plant material and container size. I do tend to grow in much smaller containers than most of you guys do though - mainly because of how I treat the roots. That necessitates more frequent watering. Also, there is nothing stopping you from changing a 1:1:1 mix of bark:Turface:grit to a 4:5:3 or even a 4:6:2 ratio of bark:Turface:grit, which would up the water retention considerably - but still, the soil would hold no (or very little - depending on how you make it) perched water.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 6:31PM
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Hi al

I am the french guy you helped 2 years ago with the poted fig trees. Thanks to you, everything is much better now as I use your mix to grow my trees. I have read your previous posts and I have a question. As the medium (mix?) is very drainy I thougt I had to fertilize a little bit each time I water my plants (wich is a lot of work). I use a 6-2-4 ferilizer and I add to the water 1 ml per liter (1 liter = 1000 ml) . The label on the fertilizer says to use 5ml/liter. . You said ealier that you use the recomended strength weekly .
To be honest I am a litle confused with the quantity of fertilizer I should be using . . . . Especially when my trees are not growing that much when I should be triming them to stop their growth. Fig trees are fast growing plants. Sometimes a branch is growing much slower than the others, or the growth stops after 5 leaves.

So a little bit each time I water them ? 5 ml every week but with such a drainy medium my trees are gonna starve after the next watering/flushing!
A little help is needed

Thanks again for your help.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 12:11PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Haloo, French guy! ;o) I recently helped some of your countrymen from Paris develop a soil for their street tree plantings, too. I'm glad your trees are faring well, and hope that you can report to us as being as fit as your trees.

I over-winter some 75-100 trees in a grow room under lights, many of them tropical species of Ficus. These trees get about .2 ml/liter of 9-3-6. You can easily convert your 6-2-4 by dividing by .67 because you are also using a 3:1:2 ratio fertilizer, so you would use .3 ml/liter under the same circumstances. I only offered that info so you can see that fertilizing at a weak dose each time you fertilize is possible and actually a very healthy way to maintain fertility. It allows you to fertilize at the consistently lowest rate of EC/TDS possible and still not have individual nutrient deficiencies.

In the summer time, I have all the temperate trees and display plantings to tend to, so it's not realistic for me to fertigate 300+ plantings with a watering can every time I water. So I usually fertilize at either full or half the recommended strength weekly. I think I covered upthread why you can/should fertilize more heavily in fast soils and have a more reserved hand on the watering can when slower soils are in play.

Let your trees talk to you and temper what they say with your growing experience. Try the 5 ml/liter weekly. If your plants show some yellowing of the older foliage, then step it up a little. Maybe you'll find you need to go to 3 or 4 ml twice each week, or 6-7 ml weekly. If soil temperatures rise above 27-29*, you might wish to reduce substantially or withhold fertilizer. The same holds true if temperatures fall below 13*.

Just don't be tricked into buying into the 'false prosperity' and soft, succulent growth excess amounts of N bring, because that WILL occur before your trees' foliage show symptoms of over-fertilizing.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Take care Marc.o - good to hear from you again!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 3:41PM
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Thanks for your quick answer. Heu, When you say :" so you can see that fertilizing at a weak dose each time you fertilize" you mean each time you water your plants ? So 3ml/liter each time I water my plants it will be.
In the case I would ferilize weekly, is there still some fertilizer in the medium since everytime I water my trees a lot of water flushes out of the pot; the medium is "rinced" . Does the plant still get some nutrient then ?
Bytheway I am fine thanks a lot, here we are just out of a long and cold winter; let's hope that summer will be nice. I hope you are fine , your plants also and thanks again for your help.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 4:28PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Use 3ml/liter as a starting point. In the sun and during the active growth phase I suspect they just might need a little more, even though rinsing fertilizer from a soil isn't quite as easy as rinsing soap suds from your hands. ;o)

A lead in: 'How to water', is a very underrated skill when it comes to container culture. I've mentioned before that many people pay bonsai masters big bucks to be their slaves while serving an apprenticeship for a couple of years. The FIRST thing the apprentice MUST learn, is proper watering technique. It isn't unusual for an apprentice to go 6 months or more without ever significantly touching a plant - while only learning how to water to the satisfaction of the master.

If I had to try to distill the best watering technique for containers, it would probably start with applying enough water to wet the soil mass, but not enough that any exits the pot. Wait about 10 minutes (while you're watering your other plants), then return and apply enough additional water that about 10-15% of the total volume of water applied exits the drain. The first watering allows any accumulating salts to go back into solution, and the second watering flushes only a part of the salts from the soil and prevents build-up.

CEC (cation exchange capacity - the ability of a soil to hold nutrients) is closely related to bulk density and to surface area of the soil particulates. Because highly organic soils have low bulk density, they also have low CEC. That isn't to say that if you apply a fertilizer and water heavily 2 days later, that all the fertilizer washes out of the soil, though some does. Much of it remains attached to organic molecules so the plant can access nutrients, but it does need to be replenished more often in the highly organic low bulk density soils based on peat and/or bark.

The soils like many of us use that are comprised of bark, Turface, and granite have greater bulk density and better CEC. Turface has a VERY good CEC, due in part to the fact that it is so porous - that it has 14 acres of surface area per pound of Turface. Don't ask me how they know that - it's in their statistical specs.

.... that cover it?


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 5:07PM
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Hi Al

Sorry , I was interupted by the night; I guess it's your turn now! Very interesting technique on how to rinse (and not "rince" as I wrote before, you will pardon my french). Most of the time I water my pots every 2 or 3 days in the spring time but when it gets warmer it's every day or even twice a day. So 3ml or even a little more every time I water my pots (reducing when it's Cold or to hot; I got that) most of the time every day is not going to be too much or create an accumulation of salts in the pot ? If you say it's fine I will do it. Anyway I must admit that at 1ml a day the growth of my tree is very slow! So I must incease the "dose" of ferilizer. I am still a little confused with 3ml a day ans 5ml a week.
Very sorry to be a little slow to understand.
Thanks again


    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:03AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

When using fast soils like yours and watering so you're flushing the soil: If fertilizing every time you water - start with 25% of the recommended full strength solution (FSS) and see how your trees do. If you are going to fertilize on a weekly basis, start with a 50% recommended FSS and if fertilizing every two weeks use a FSS. Adjust upward as required to keep the plant's color good and downward to allow for temperature fluctuations or correct any symptoms in foliage of high EC/TDS levels.

Hopefully, approaching it like this will eliminate measuring confusion. Take care, Marc.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 2:59PM
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That's very clear that way . Thanks a lot for your help.

Take care.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 3:58PM
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That's very clear that way . Thanks a lot for your help.

Take care.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 4:40PM
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