Fertilizer for Streps?

Cabarb(Z 9- Fresno, CA)September 29, 2004

I am new to this strep hobby, and recently received some babies I ordered. Question is...when do I start fertilizing them (they have 2-4 little leaves)? Also, I have seen different recommendations for "strength" of the fertilizer solution. One place says 7-7-7 and another place says 15-30-15.

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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

There are three numbers on ever container of fertilizer. The first number is for healthy, green foliage; the second is for more buds, the third is for general health of the plant. 7-7-7 us a balanced fertilizer which means all parts of the plant are getting the same amound. 15-30-15 favors more blooms.

You want a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) 1/8 to 1/4 strength to a gallon warm water so they can make strong healthy leaves. Since the flowers stalks come from the strong leaf, use balanced fertilizers most offen. Change types every few months. One leaf can produce as many as 12 bloomstalks, one at a time.

Streps in my experience do not need nearly as much fertilizer as AVs. They do like foliar feeding--putting the fertilizer in the spray bottle and spraying the leaves but don't foliar feed too often--about once or twice a month.

Nancy

Nancy

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 5:07PM
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Cabarb(Z 9- Fresno, CA)

Thank you Nancy - that was quite helpful. You mean I can spray the strep leaves (last paragraph of your comments)? I know you don't do that with AV...
Barb

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 5:36PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

I generally feed at a rate of about 1/4 teaspoon of water soluble fertilizer per gallon every time I water (more or less). This is a good safe low dose feeding.

I use a 17-17-17 fertilizer, so I am giving my plants a balanced feed. The numbers are the percentages of the ingredients, nitrogen, potassium and phosphate. Nitrogen, as Nancy pointed out is what gives plants their fast growth and deep green leaves. Fertilizers also generally contain trace elements which also help with growth, such as iron. Streps are not big feeders but will grow and flower much better if given a light feeding while in active growth.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2004 at 2:04PM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

I must correct myself after reading Dibley's book "Streptocarpus," his second book. Dibley says to use fertilizer with high potash, the third number. In fact he says the third number should be twice as high as the first number, Nitrogen. So look for a fertilizer which is similar to 10-20-20. He mentions when going to show to stop fertilizing in November and to begin again in February.

But remember, he is in Wales, which has different conditions that we have here.

Personally I would feed small plants at 1/8 strength of a balanced fertilizer until the plants have flowered, then switch to a high potash fertilizer.

Nancy

    Bookmark   September 30, 2004 at 10:59PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Nancy, that sounds good to me. I suppose my all purpose 17-17-17 works well but perhaps not as well as something like the formula you suggest. The danger in using high nitrogen would be getting huge leaves when ones space is limited, and at the same time not getting huge floral counts to match the foliage.

In one of the recent Gloxinian's (last issue?) there was a great article with color photos of streps grown in England. They were spectacular plants--compact and full of flowers.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 3:53PM
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maggie99(8)

I saw those pictures as well as the Britsh Strep Society site. I have never been lucky enough to get that head of bloom all at once. Maybe will figure that out in the future,,,LOL. I use 1/8 tsp. of fertilizer per gal every watering unless I have just repotted.

Maggie

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 4:34PM
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Cabarb(Z 9- Fresno, CA)

Wow...I went to the British site and they certainly do have alot of flowers! Thank you all for your input..I appreciate it!! Barb

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 6:23PM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

Barb,

Foliar fertilizing is used for Streps and AVs as well. You won't likely get the centers too wet when spraying the foliage of Avs and when you foliar feed, say twice a month, the plants are actually able to take up 95% of the nutrients.

Foliar fertilizing is especially good when the root systems are to undeveloped to get the nutrients for themselves.

Nancy

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 9:31PM
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