Fertilizer 15-5-15

joannacalaFebruary 7, 2007

I went and bought my bare roots today at the only nursery in the country that sells them. The ONLY rose fertilizer of any kind that they were selling was a slow release pellet form, with the above NKP ratios. I am new to all this, but isn't this precisely what I don't want ie - mega-high nitrogen and low phosphate? Maybe this is why they are telling me that none of the Austins I bought will flower until the second year, at the earliest and some will take 3-4 years....I see David Austin is selling an organic slow-release fertilser with an NKP of 7.5 - 8.5 - 10.

Please advise!! Shall I import some of the Austin product from the UK?



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Many people, simply because the salesperson at the nursery told them to, will buy and add what ever "fertilizer" that nursery is selling at the time, whether their soil needs that or not. Is there somewhere you can have your soil tested for base nutrient and soil pH levels? A good, reliable, soil test is important so you do not add "stuff" that you do not need but at the same time you add what is needed. Maybe adding that 15-5-15 is necesary for your soil but maybe also it is not and will do nothing to help those roses grow and cost you money you could have put to better use. Also if not needed that "fertilizer" may contribute to the pollution of your environment, because your soil did not need it, or your soil could not hold it, and it simply flowed out with water adding to the much too much garbage that is being added to our water supply.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 7:50AM
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Thanks for the response. I did not actually add it on planting, as per advice I received on the forum. I did add some high-quality prepared organic compost to the planting holes, along with a couple of bananas per plant (although now I am worried, since I read here that only the skin should be added, not the whole fruit!). I have a soil testing kit coming to me from the UK (no-one seems to have heard of them here) and really bought the 15-7-15 because it is the only specialised rose product I have seen at all here so far, and I wanted to have a back-up. I a hoping to be able to go organically, planning to start with horse manure as a top-dressing after the first flowering in a few months' time.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 9:05AM
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The 15-5-15 NPK sounds like its way off. IÂve been growing my roses with a 100% organic fertilizer, Iguana Juice Grow and Iguana Juice Bloom, but IÂve also been using a bloom enhancer foliar spray called Colossal Bud Blast, which helps to bring the NPK of all three products combined closer to whatÂs required by roses.

The suggested NPK ratio for roses is somewhere in the range of 1:2:1, 1:2:2, or 2:2:4. If you feed them too much Nitrogen, their stems and leaves grow like crazy, but they wonÂt have enough energy for blooming.

The NPK of Iguana Juice Grow is 3-1-3, Bloom is 4-3-6, and Colossal Bud Blast is 0-3-6. The combined NPK of the three plant nutrients is 7:7:15, which brings it in line with the 2:2:4 ratio. This way they get fed twice as much Potassium as Nitrogen and Phosphorus.

You can order these products online at the Advanced Nutrients website, which incidentally contains a lot of valuable information on the ingredients they use for their products, as well as on growing roses, orchids, tomatoes, and other crops.

As soon as I started using the Iguana Juice products, all of my flowers took off like gangbusters. My roses produced large, fragrant blooms and my other flowers grew bushy with abundant buds. Iguana Juice contains alfalfa extract, earthworm castings, kelp meal, krill extract, volcanic ash, and yucca extract, all in a fish based organic fertilizer.

The fish for these products comes from the pristine, ice cold North Pacific waters and did I mention that Advanced Nutrients is a Canadian company based in British Columbia?

I grow mostly Hybrid Tea Roses, such as Brandy, Blue Girl, and AlecÂs Red. The latter is very disease resistant, while the two former ones occasionally succumb to Black Spot. In order to avoid diseases and pests, I use an Advanced Nutrients product called Barricade, which contains potassium silicate. This strengthens the cell walls of the roses, enabling them to ward off many pathogens and insects.

Advanced Nutrients also has a Nutrient Calculator which can be set for 100% organic nutrients and it will tell you what products they recommend during the vegetative stage of your flowers as well as during the blooming stage. Depending on the size of your watering tank, it tells you the exact measurements to mix in of your base fertilizer, as well as some suggested supplements and additives.

I hope this information helps you to grow fragrant, beautiful roses in the soil of Israel. Having the soil tested was a good suggestion, but I presume that Israel has sandy soil. Knowing the pH of the soil would help. Advanced Nutrients suggests a soil pH of 6.3. The slight acidity helps the roots absorb vital nutrients.

In order to correct the alkaline-acid balance of your soil, I would recommend using small amounts of pH Up or pH Down, depending on which way the correction has to go. Absolutely neutral is pH 7.0.

Will you be growing other flowers as well, or just roses?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 12:37AM
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