6-24-24 Good Fertilizer?

nikkit(9)July 13, 2010

Went to OC farm in Orange County on Sat, and the sales rep. recommended that I use 6-24-24 fertilizer by Best on the Plumies every 6 weeks and sprinkle worms casting once a year and then water with Seaweed Extract...what do you guys think of this regimen? Any advice is greatly appreciated!!! Thanks in advcance.

Nikki T.

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tdogdad(Zone 9)

That is a very good combination and easy to do. I give small bags of the Best to friends when I give them a plant. It is an easy mix to use although I use a water soluable by Growmore, the Best is far less work. Bill

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 10:32AM
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Thanks Bill for your great input, I feel better now following this regimen...:)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 2:33PM
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I was searching for a place to purchase this, not finding it easily in Florida. So this is what Bud has used for many years.... even with that scary higher middle number and super low nitrogen, LOL! All of his trees are absolutely gorgeous!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:29PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Powerder I feel that same way. My first thought was wow low N and high PK but if it works for Bill it has to be good. Its hard to find anything but Miracle grow around here.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:34AM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

Miracle grow is just about the worst thing to use on plumerias in my opinion. Google problem with miracle grow and read some of the articles. For seedling and new plants I use a 20-20-20 but when a plant gets established, it seems to get too leggy with too much nitrogen so I have found that lower nitrogen works very well. I also feel that organics with micronutrients like Dr. Earth replenish the soil health that can be weakened by chemicals. Since plumerias are really trees that take years to grow, the health of your soil is critical for plant health and growth. The Best does have some micronutrients included.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:18PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Thanks for info Bill. I have been using Foliage pro on all my plants. I may need to dig a little deeper around town
See if anyone has something else.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 8:15AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Nikkit - are your trees in pots or in containers?


    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 5:02PM
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Bill, any changes to that formula for zone 7? Certain sites say 10-50-10, but I'm still a rookie on plumeria. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 9:11AM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

Fertilizers seem to be like colors on cars- many opinions. I am not a plant scientist but I have been growing plumerias for decades. I have tried almost everything and most of it works. For regular plants I like higher nitrogen (like a 3-2-1 ratio) but I have found that my plumerias seem to be just as healthy but not as leggy if i cut the nitrogen down. The Best 6-24-24 is used by many big collectors and growers who want something that works but is not too expensive. I have used it on plants in civic areas or gardens that I have donated the plants but for my own plants I use an organic (4-10-7 with 7 calcium and sulfur) with many micronutrients because they stimulate soil health. It is almost twice as expensive but I like the results over a long time. Mike- I think that very high middle number, which is recommended in many books, is way more phosphorus than needed and perhaps will mess up the soil chemistry. I used it early on. It did work. I just think that a plant that has to be in soil for fifty years needs healthy soil. You will be exposed to more opinions than colors of cars but until some college tests plumerias on various formulas using identical cuttings over years to see actual results, what we see are chemical company studies on other plants which try to sell chemicals. Growers for sale will focus on quick growth to get plants out the door as soon as possible. Jamming out flowers may make quick sales but not be good for long range plant health. I wish I had a true answer. I just try this and that until i like what I see. Not too scientific. Al (Tapla) is more of a plant scientist but has a short experience with plumerias and is in a colder climate where plants are not outside all year. I read what he says and appreciate his facts and explanations. I just prefer less nitrogen than he. Otherwise, I would recommend you read his posts. Bill

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 2:46PM
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plumejunkie(9a SF Bay Area)

I'd say that phosphorus that high may kill of a lot of the microbial life in the soil, so unless your using a gritty mix low in organics....probably not a good idea!

If you have organics in your soil and you want more phosphorus available, I would look into making a slurry from soft rock phosphate. You'll get the phosphorus, but also the calcium needed for new cell development.....as well as all kinds of minerals.

If your using gritty mix and fertigating, this fertilizer would probably be more effective a couple weeks before the setting of blooms.

Experiment & find out what works for you.

Good luck

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 4:33PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks, Bill.

There are some general things that can be said about growing in general that applies to all plant material. First, if you're growing in the ground without having had your soil tested, it's almost a 100% certainty that any commercially prepared fertilizer isn't going to be a good choice. Also, since soils can be different in the extreme with less than 100 yards distance between testing sites, it's almost a certainty that the regimen that works best for grower A is not going to be best for growers B-Z due to soil diversity. IOW - if you're growing in the ground and aren't following the directions of an entity that does soil testing and offers remedial recommendations, you're flying blind. You simply can't know what's best for your in-ground plants w/o a soil test, and by extension, it's impossible to give meaningful advice to someone else about what might be best for their particular application w/o due consideration given to the results of a soil analysis. Fertilizer applications w/o a soil test are as apt to be limiting as helpful; again, this is for in-ground applications. Any of you who have had Master Gardener training will recognize this as a basic tenet of the course.

Re plants in containers: Plants used about 6X as much N as P. 1:1:1 ratio fertilizers supply 2.3X as much N as P, so they would be considered very low N fertilizers based on the amount of P they supply. There is no possibility of any increase in blooms resulting from massive overdoses of P; there is only the potential for the excess of P to be limiting.

Nutrients are more closely comparable to vitamins in humans. We know that humans need a certain amount of K to keep their systems orderly, but an excess of K or even a minor imbalance between K and Mg or other electrolytes leads to severe consequences in short order. Severe imbalances of nutrients in plants cause similar disorders in plant systems and upset important relationships between nutrients in soils. Again, this applies to ALL plant material.

When greenhouse growers start plants from seed or cuttings they usually start plant material out on something very close to a 3:1:2 RATIO fertilizer. The idea is to get the photosynthesizing machinery (foliage) in place before any manipulation of the plant commences. We all have seen the short, stocky plants that are already blooming in cell packs at the greenhouse. They got that way through manipulation, of growth hormones and fertility.

After the plant is of sufficient size, the growers often spray the plant with chemicals that mimic natural growth regulators to reduce elongation of internodes. At the same time, they reduce the N supply to reduce vegetative growth, which induces blooming. The plants photosynthesizing machinery is already in place, so it keeps making food. With reduced N (and the growth regulators), the plant is prevented from using the energy normally allotted to vegetative growth, which forces the plant to bloom induction.

When the N supply is reduced, the end ratio is usually something close to 2:1:2. Note that massive amounts of P are avoided (it's not 2:10:2, it's 2:1:2) because it's known they are unnecessary and limiting. High P levels make it very difficult for plants to take up Fe (iron) and cause other problems related to pH and unnecessarily high EC/TDS (electrical conductivity/total dissolved solids).

If you really want to try reducing the N supply, use a 1:1:1 fertilizer like 20-20-20 and supplement the K with ProTeKt or another soluble K supplement such that the end result is something like 1:1:2.

We already know that using commercially prepared fertilizers on plants in the landscape is a crapshoot, but there is a hidden problem in using high-P formulations in containers. Since the massive amounts of P cause (antagonistic) Fe deficiencies, chlorosis is a regular problem. People usually think the plant needs more N when foliage turns yellow, so they reach for the fertilizer, and in the process of adding more, compound the problem.

Keep in mind that everything I said is true of ALL plants. Plumeria just happen to be included because they ARE plants. Some growers never leave the stage where they try to emulate everything the guy with the pretty pictures does. The problem with that is, they never really learn how to reason through their own individual growing problems, which is a considerable impediment to consistently rewarding results.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:20PM
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Bill and Al, thank you both. My outdoor landscaping was designed and maintained by a horticulturist, not a Landscape Architect, who was a fanatic about soil quality and soil prep. He had all of his own magic formulas and was constantly sending soil samples to the Univ. of Md. Extension Service. He once used something on my lawn that made it as lush as Augusta National, but I could literally stand outside and watch it grow. Nice but extremely high maintenance. I shut that program down after one season. I am a rookie to plumeria, but used a 1/3 cactus/palm/citrus soil mix to 2/3 perlite. I like Bill's suggestion of the organic 4-10-7 that can be top dressed based on pot diameter. First full growing season coming up. Bill, also replied to you on my earlier posting about the big cuttings I received in Key West. Thanks for the great suggestion. The cuttings were about three weeks old, but got them done this past weekend. Hope they root as well as my first, which is now coming out of its dormant period.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 8:37PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Mike!

I'm sure you will have success with your new beautiful cuttings!
What an exciting time when we see the cuttings begin to root for us and know they started as little cuttings and see them grow into trees .. What a satisfying experience!

I also wanted to thank Bill and Al for taking the time to share their thoughts on this subject . Great information!!!

Take care ,


    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:11AM
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Laura, since you're closer to me in Virginia, any suggestions on fertilizer? Maybe too late because I ordered 8 lbs. of the organic 4-10-7 Bill recommended. My Hawaiian is definitely waking up. Was at first worried that it rooted too late last season, but a new leaf is leaping out at the top and sitting in the sunny south window. As a rookie I realize my expectations can't be about inflos yet, but it doesn't hurt crossing your fingers. Best.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:43PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Mike!!!

I'm sure that will be fine for your needs and last a long time for you!!! We all like to try and see what we like. Understanding why they work is another reason to try this and then read up again . Learn what happens to a tree and why. We as growers can all get together and talk fertilizers.. When Bud and I were together In Cali.. He would just say, see what works for you. He would never say " I say to use it.." What is great, is that we all can continue to be friends and respect what others do. That is the best ... We all get together and talk about trees, blooms and respect what others have found to work for them. They would never say anything if I was asked what I use. It is the way it should be. Respect. You like something, use it!!! But understand why...

So, with the fertilizer that you ordered, it will be fine for you. When you run out, you will either buy more or try something different.

It's fun to understand the science too. I really enjoy this, so this is why I choose what I choose...

Every one has a new color on their hood, some have the same color, but others paint quite often...

Read.. These post have a wealth of info.. Have fun... Learn..

I know you will love this stuff!! But what I like is the respect that is shown between some of the Growers... It's ok to learn and change things up. Everyone has respect for everyone else here. That is the best overall

I hope you understand what I am trying to say.. Use what you have the. Decide if it works for you.

Bud would be the guy to say " I'm happy as a peach if you are.. ". That would be with whatever you are using as long as you are happy and have good results!!! Again... Respect... It all starts here..

Have a great night!!!

Enjoy your trees and cuttings!!!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:39PM
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Laura, Thanks. I understand what you mean. As to the cuttings, I am a little worried that such large cuttings are in such small containers. The mix seemed to be bone dry so I added just a little water to each. Good idea?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:43PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Mike,

You can mist if you feel like they are getting to dehydrated.

You can google here on the GW about rooting cuttings and see all sorts of great information. I just don't want to leave a long message because it is getting off topic for this thread.

Good luck!!

I tried to send you a message, but your account isn't set up.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:34PM
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