Hoya fertilizer

lboyce(Z5NY)March 25, 2007

For those of us who are not using VF-11 plant food on our hoyas, would someone recommend what type of fertilizer to use? Would it be a cactus/succulent fertilizer or something like 10-10-10? I'm not all that thrilled with the VF-11 plant food on my hoyas and want to use a fertilizer. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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Thirston(7/Charlotte, NC.)

I believe I've read about folks using miracle grow and osmocote (sp?) type ferts. Others will certainly chime in here though.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 7:03PM
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I've read of others using fertilizers with a bigger "middle" number (e.g., 10-60-10)...a bloom booster fertilizer like Shultz bloom booster or something like that. I'm just guessing at the numbers but I put an example up to show what I meant by a bigger middle number.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 7:58PM
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Linda, I am not a fan of miracle grow except for veggies. I am a fan of the home brew beer fertilizer. I have new growth on everything and buds and blooms on things that have not bloomed in several years. Even my H. serpens has buds for the first time! I do water with bloom fertilizer on ocasion, but since using this home brew I have not had to. Just my opinion. -HN

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 9:47PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I use MiracleGro or Osmocote on all types of indoor tropicals, including hoyas, and they seem happy enough.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Just curious - you've TRIED VF-11 and don't like it?? If so, I'm really surprised... If you'd rather use a bloom booster, Gabi's right - a fertilizer with a bigger middle number is what you want to look for.

HN - can you please repeat the beer recipe? I'd like to give it the old scientific test - two like plants, same conditions except one with VF-11, one with beer. I know which one I'd prefer (tee-hee!) but I'll see which one the Hoyas prefer!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 11:38PM
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Denise, no problem. I have a similar study going with the home brew and another fertilizer. I use Elenor's everytime I spray and always have. I used it in the water as a fert but didn't see much change. The home brew calls for 4 tbs. bloom booster but I don't add it.

12 oz. beer (NOT LITE)
1 cup epsom salts
1/2 cut ammonia (household)
2 cups water
1/2 molasses (I use black strap)
4 tbs bloom booster

you use 1-2 tbs/ gallon of WARM water.

I love what it has done for my Hoya and my AV's have not stopped blooming since I first began to use it. My H. pottsii did NOTHING for a year and now the new stems are growing over and inch a day and sometimes more. I made my daughter 'witness' the growth by marking the placement of the stem then measuring the next day. She is now a believer :~) -HN

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 12:30AM
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Just wondering how often you use the beer fertilizer. I use the same one (without the molasses), and I use it every time I water my office plants. I use VF-11 at home, and the beer fertilizer in my office. I spray everything with VF-11 as well. How long have you been using this fertilizer for?

Also, do you think it's necessary to use warm water in the gallon for watering? I use hot water when I'm making the fertilizer (the "2 cups of water") so that it melts the epsom salts. That way the undiluted mixture already has dissolved epsom salts.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:57AM
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Gabi, I use it everytime I water for 4 waterings then use nothing on the 5th watering. I do think warm water is good to use no matter what you use to fertilize. I know people who water with well water and put a fish tank heater in a 5 gal. bucket to warm the water. May be in the summer it would be less helpfull or if you live in a warm zone. After a lot of reading and asking questions, I think the molasses is one of the key ingredients.

I don't want to 'recommend' this formula (I would hate for someone to use it with poor results). I am just telling you how much I like it and the results that I have had. I am running some experiments.

I have been using it for about 3-4 months. I got the recipe from epiforums.com. I watched and waited for over a year to see if what they claimed stayed true. So far so good so I tried it and am happy with the results. Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth. I am no expert, just a hobby grower having great results with the home brew. -HN

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 11:15AM
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Thanks HN,
I might just have to add some molasses to my mixture! I see what you're saying about using warm water...I thought it was because of the salts. I think more and more people are getting curious about this beer recipe. Hopefully one of our really curious members will do an experiment soon between VF-11 and the beer recipe :-)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 11:31AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Well Gabi you read my mind on that, I guess I have to go get some beer & molasses. Am wondering if pure maple syrup (the real thing) could be used in its place as that's what I have on hand. Think I could probably split up some Curtisii to test btwn VF-11 vs. beer recipe.

To answer the original Q, I wouldn't use a C&S fertilizer (typically 2-7-8, or 2-8-6, traditionally a lower 1st number so as not to encourage overly lush foliage) as Hoyas aren't really succulents; at least that's what I've read, more epiphyte than succulent anyway.

I tend to use balanced fertilizer 20-20-20 for routine fertilizer (Peters), & if pushing for bloom, then a bloom buster like 10-50-10 or 10-60 10 (Peters or Schultz), if I recall correctly, have to check those numbers). I must say bloombuster hasn't produiced blooms for me. I'm not a crazy, rabid fertilizer, sort of conservative on this; I tend to do it once or twice a month for May-Sept, depending on the plants.

I tend to avoid things like Osmocote or Nutricote (tiny capsules, often blue) that are good for 3-6 months; as they are time-released & I'd rather control the timing myself. That said, I do have some acid-loving time release fert. that I may try on my new Gardenia.

I have used Miracle Grow just 'cause I had some old stuff left over, tended to use that only on the Houseplants (Aralias, ZZ, Aglaoenemas, etc. (oh look, an Aroid collection w/out my realizing it ;>) )).

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 12:41PM
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I'd like to try the beer fertilizer on my "baby" Hoya. It's just a start that has taken root well, but not put on any new growth yet. I probably won't go through the mix very quickly. How long can you store the fertilizer for?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:53PM
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I have to say, I used the beer fertilizer for a while, and then I found that my soil had gone mouldy... I don't know whether this was because my fertilizer had gone off, but it put me off using it. Before that, however, it did seem to work pretty well.
I used to add a drop of Superthrive to mine as well,and I still add that when I remember to my fertilizer. I'm using the cactus fertilizer (10-30-29 or similar, at half the reccomended concentration) during the summer at the moment.

Which reminds me... now it's warm, maybe I should start fertilizing again...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 7:11AM
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kellyknits(6/WV Eastern Panhandle)

I've been recycling aquarium water and occasionally throwing in 2 tbsp of hydrogen peroxide per gallon. Was using Eleanor's and really liked it, but all seems to be well with just the aquarium water for now!


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 7:39AM
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What benefit does hydrogen peroxide hold for hoyas? Is it that it fights bacteria in the soil? Just curious. I am strongly considering the beer formula if I can handle the smell during mixing. How long does it withstand storage? Anyone use it on orchids? Don't know if I'll attempt it on my orchids just yet, but the rest of my plants maybe.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 2:34PM
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Hoyanut, the beer recipe sounds interesting.
Like Kellyknits, some times I use aquarium water. My steady is seaweed extract diluted waaaay down for every time watering.It seems to do a good job without buying a lot of other stuff. I use it on my sansevieria, and every other plant I own as well.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:17PM
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rexedwardfairy(Zone 11)

Thanks for all the info everyone. I created the beer fert for my epiphyllums (after reading about Connie's cactus over at Dave's Garden). I cannot believe how much my epiphyllums love it. So does my jade and so does my senecio rowleyanus. I've just aquired a coupla hoyas, one an established plant, the other a cutting.

I've been wondering what to feed them and was hoping they might like the beer brew. Excited to see that they most likely will. I wont feed the cutting yet (just a baby!), but I'll feed the other hoya and report back the difference. Till now I've just been feeding it fish fert, so if feeding it the cactus fert delivers drastic results (as it did with the epis, jade and senecio), I'll report back to let you know.

I'm also wondering now whether my pelargoniums with a fleshier more-succulenty stem might enjoy the beer brew... (dare I feed it to them and cross my fingers? I think I just might...).

And i'm still puzzled that my ZZ's (zanzibar gem) dont seem overly fussed about the beer brew. (Those ZZs are a weird crew. I can't work them out! ie I can't work out what to feed them to make them SMILE BIG...they are so 'nonplussed' by everything!).

anyway, will report back on hoya if i see a noticeable difference (which i'm expecting i will).

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 10:59PM
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