The Sugar Experiment

moonwolf_gwAugust 13, 2010

Hi everyone,

I read about someone putting sugar on their hoya and it bloomed for them. I tried it only on a few plants before and I think it might have helped my Red Buttons plant to bloom if memory serves me correctly. So now, I'm trying it again on almost all of my hoyas (plus my epiphyllum and even my morning glories and moonflowers). My only concern is with ants, which I can get rid of with cayenne pepper.

I'll keep everyone posted on how they do and if they bloom.

I put sugar on the carnosas, Red Buttons, obovata, obscura

fungii, RHP and verticillata (which has a set of buds on it right now, so I'll be able to tell if the sugar helps if all the rest of the peduncles bud up). Did I go overboard? LOL

Meanwhile, the only fertilizer I've been giving all my plants is MG tomato fertilizer and they have responded in quite a positive way! New vines are appearing right and left on most of my plants. I usually mix it up in a gallon with tap or rain water (this batch I just made I used rainwater) and pour a little bit into my can (I think it's a little over a quart) when I fill it up.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

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So are you watering the hoyas with a sugar water mixture or are you sprinkling it on the soil? How much are you using?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 5:05PM
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I put the sugar on top of the soil then put a little water on it to make it moist (I didn't want to water the plants as I just watered them or they were already wet.)

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 5:46PM
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this sounds like a neat experiment! can't wait to hear what happens.:)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 6:56PM
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I found some kind of white mold/fungus (damp off?) on top of the soil, so I sprinkled cinnamon on top and it appears to be working. I also poured some weak chamomile tea (well, crushed flowers with rainwater) over the soil. Hmmm, I wonder if cinnamon sugar would work?

I remember reading about people having fungus problems when they used the beer fertilizer.

As for results, here's what I found. I found a new peduncle on mindorensis and carnosa, new leaves sprouting from verticillata and I think they've all grown a little.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 12:33PM
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lollol! This is all new territory to me, so I have no opinions to offer, but I had to laugh at your elegant "cinnamon sugar" solution. I love the way your mind works.

This would be an example of what an old prof used to call a "cute experiment" - one characterized by an ingenious simplicity that is harder to invent than understand.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 12:48PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Well interesting to hear, but in my eyes, the problem is that you've got several different things going on in this experiment.

Now that you've introduced yet another element (the camomile tea) you'll be unable to attribute changes to one particular thing over another.

Cinnamon sugar is (IMO) not a great thing to put on plants, the sugar is attracting bugs, bacteria, & maybe even fungus, the cinnamon is supposed to be at least anti-fungal (if not anti-bacterial as well).

Hope you're doing this out of doors; could turn into quite a buggy mess.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 3:58PM
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PG, no bugs in sight, knock on wood. I wasn't really considering cinnamon sugar to put on my plants, I just was hypothosizing. All of my hoyas are outside and they won't be back in the house at least the middle of next month.

All I did for the "tea" was take some chamomile flowers, crushed them in a mortar and pestle, and stirred in with rainwater. I just poured a little over the plants.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 5:11PM
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Have you ever considered MSU or VF-11 or even Bloom Booster to promote flowering?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 7:05PM
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I did use VF-11 when I got my sample bottle and I loved it! I used Bloom Booster last year and it didn't do a thing compared to what the tomato fertilizer is doing! I've never heard of MSU.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 7:34PM
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Well, PG's points are certainly legit. If you want to be able to draw clear conclusions from your experiment then you will need to control your variables more tightly.

Buuuuut, it seems like this is a more lighthearted endeavor.
After all, chamomile and cinnamon aside, it isn't clear whether there are 'control' plants of the same variety not being given sugar. And of course you'd need to run a longitudinal study so one didn't give sugar credit for growth that was simply the result of a nice long summer of sun and rain.

We all probably err on the side of making gut level causal assumptions that the variables we are consciously manipulating are the ones causing the changes we observe. But how we learn all boils down to how much we relish the scientific method versus how much we enjoy tinkering instinctively with our plants like a cook in a kitchen.

Gosh, now I kind of want to run a personal fertilizer trial. Has anyone here done this in a serious way? Any suggestions on fertilizers to include?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Jan Sword

I've used beer fetilizer, worked well but smells bad. As far as sugar, I'll not use it because ants down here. Cinnanmon is good for fungus on the leaves but not on the roots because I read some where cinnamon will stunt the root growth.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 11:13AM
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