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Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

Posted by newfield (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 15, 08 at 21:36

Looking for the best way to fertilize my container citrus. I have read many places that I should be looking for a low Nit. count but also a high magnesium percentage (somewhere it said at least 3%). However when i look up Citrus fertilizers, it seems that the counts given do not match this info (14-4-4) (16-8-12) with 0.15% mag. etc, Also, since they are in containers I am assuming that I should look for pellet(time released)fertilizer only? I cant seem to find that many made specifically for citrus. Any clarification from someone with experience would be great, specific recommendations for a brand/where to buy etc. would be even better. I've seen some online recommend Bandini, but I cant find it anywhere to purchase. Thanks in advance, David


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

Just give your citrus a nice dose of epson salts now and then. Epson Salts ARE Magnesium!! And citrus love it!! As do roses, and most all plants and trees! Also, give it your coffee grounds. Citrus is addicted to coffee!!


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

I just use a water soluble one twice a month which has a 25-8-12.5 ratio and added trace minerals. You need a HIGH nitrogen fertilizer, as citrus are greedy feeders and need lots of nitrogen. Get one with trace minerals. Three or four times a year, flush the pot thoroughly with A LOT of water - I put the slow flow of water from a hose through each pot for about ten minutes. This gets rid of salt buildup. Also a couple of times a year, give them a good dose of Epsom Salts as suggested above, and some extra iron in the spring as well. I spray my citrus once a month with a weak epsom salt solution and they seem to respond well to it.

The correct ratio for citrus feed is 5-1-3 NPK. This is the exact feeding ratio. For every 5 Nitrogen the citrus uptakes, it will ONLY EVER take up 1P and 3K. If the fertilizer is too far away from the proper ratio, it can cause salt buildup. But don't worry about getting the absolute perfect ratio. If it close, and with trace minerals, its fine :)


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

I have been growing container citrus for 4 years in 26" clay pots outside all year. Mine get a citrus formula once a month, and I add vinegar to the water because my water is very alkaline with no measurable acid. I would include a pic but I do not know how. They are very green and healthy and bear lots of fruit. I have a lemon, lime, pomegranate, orange, tangerine, persimmon and fig.


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

I think what poor Dave was asking is EXACTLY what fertilizer we each use. Such as brand name, and where can he buy some. It is true, for some, it is almost impossible for one to get "citrus fertilizer" in their locality, unless you own a citrus grove to find the perfect fertilizer especially for them.
As dave asked..."I CAN"T seem to find that many made SPECIFICALLY for citrus. Any clarification from someone with experience would be great, specific recommendations for a BRAND/WHERE to buy etc. would be even better'.
Hopefully someone will be able to tell him a brand.
Has anyone ever heard of "LUTZ" Tablets for citrus. "Acorn Springs" swears by these slow release, and "Four Winds Nursery", which sell magnificent trees says they use a product called.."Romeo", made specifically for their citrus trees which they do sell to the public. I also know that Home Depot and some local garden centers have started to sell "Dynamite slow release citrus fertilizer" and some are having great sucess with this stuff!
Maybe there are others, but I have all 3 of these products have not used them yet because a generous member Al had made some all around fertilizer for me that seems to be working just fine on my citrus and all other plants..:-)

Good sucess in finding a good product for yourself!! let us know if you do and how it works for you. But of the 3 I just told you about, you should be very happy with them.


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RE:helping dave

I think what poor Dave was asking is EXACTLY what fertilizer we each use. Such as brand name, and where can he buy some. It is true, for some, it is almost impossible for one to get "citrus fertilizer" in their locality, unless you own a citrus grove to find the perfect fertilizer especially for them.
As dave asked..."I CAN"T seem to find that many made SPECIFICALLY for citrus. Any clarification from someone with experience would be great, specific recommendations for a BRAND/WHERE to buy etc. would be even better'.
Hopefully someone will be able to tell him a brand.
Has anyone ever heard of "LUTZ" Tablets for citrus. "Acorn Springs" swears by these slow release, and "Four Winds Nursery", which sell magnificent trees says they use a product called.."Romeo", made specifically for their citrus trees which they do sell to the public. I also know that Home Depot and some local garden centers have started to sell "Dynamite slow release citrus fertilizer" and some are having great sucess with this stuff!
Maybe there are others, but I have all 3 of these products have not used them yet because a generous member Al had made some all around fertilizer for me that seems to be working just fine on my citrus and all other plants..:-)

Good sucess in finding a good product for yourself!! let us know if you do and how it works for you. But of the 3 I just told you about, you should be very happy with them.


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

I use Scotts, Peters, or Jacks Classic 20-20-20 with minors for all of my container plants which includes a lot of citrus. In theory I fertilize every two weeks, but often enough it works out to once a month. Once a month I mix in some Epsoms salts and a bit of chelated metals. I flood irrigate in between times to keep the salts buildup down.

This doesn't match the theoretical 5-1-3 ratio that citrus like, but it is commonly available and has shown itself to work well. I try to avoid having to keep many different types of fertilizer on hand.

.....Alan.


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

I'm new to growing potted citrus. When you refer to "flood irrigating", I assume you mean running fresh water through the soil. For example, if I put my potted Meyer Lemon in the bath tub and ran tepid water into the pot letting the water drain out the bottom for about 10 minutes, that would work? Some say 2x/year, others say once every 2 months. Which is the correct approach?


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

Ten minutes runoff time might be a bit much. I water mine until the water begins to run out the bottom then a little bit more so that it will continue to run out for several minutes.

I do this every time I water. I think everyone eventually works out a system that works best for them. The important thing is to observe your plants carefully to see how they are reacting to your care. If they're doing well then stick with what you are doing. If they are doing poorly then look for the cause.

.....Alan.


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

"But don't worry about getting the absolute perfect [FILL IN THE BLANK]. If it's close, and with [SOME CRITICAL ASPECT, IF ANY], its fine."

This excellent advice, in more specific form a previous post, bears frequent repeating on the forums. Again and again we see new enthusiasts going to extraordinary and expensive and wasteful and frustrating lengths to find some name brand or exact this or that, which was listed in a recommendation somewhere. Here in the southeast I'd never find fir bark, for instance, or if I did, at a price I'd never pay. But there are generally suitable substitutes here. If 5-3-7 is recommended, dirt cheap 6-6-6 or a half dose of dirt cheap 10-10-10 will do. Especially rather than shipping a bag of 5-3-7 across the continent. Gardeners are ripped off shamelessly anyway in the prices of so many materials in small quantities that we should help our new colleagues chart their better courses.


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

Excellent advice and thanks. The approach makes perfect sense. Especially since, at the end of the day, 1) you will know by how the plant is reacting and 2.) NPK is NPK. Just adjust the amount you add to make sure the plants are getting what they need. It makes little difference if it's "for citrus" or not (other than the need for minerals). Having fun with this new hobby. I have been a flower gardener for years but have recently gotten interested (nearly obsessed !) with getting a lemon tree growing. My ambition is the memory of the lemon fields I'd visit in Greece as a boy. I can still smell the sweet scent in my memories!! Just looking to find it again...........


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

For the first 15 years or so of growing/propagating citrus (Meyer Lemon mostly) I used whatever fertilizer was on sale or free (Miracle Grow, Fish Emulsion and stuff with no name). The plants were ok but since joining this forum and following, as best possible, the advice from members my plants have improved. Even the "old" ones.
Here are some of the fertilizers I found, and am using now:
Citrus Tone by Espoma 5-2-6
calcium - 2%
Magnesium - .5%
Sulfur - 1%
**also incl colony forming microbe species

Vigoro Citrus & Avocado 12-5-8 + minors (slow release)
Magnesium - 1%
Sulfur - 8.5%
Boron - .02%
copper - .05%
Iron - 1%
Manganese - .05%
Molybdenum - .0005%
Zinc - .05%

Vigor Palm, Ixora & Ornamental 8-4-8 + minors
Sulfur - 3%
Boron - .02%
Copper - .05%
Iron - .8%
Manganese - 1%
Molybdenum - .0005%
Zinc - .05%

Also using Southern Ag Citrus Nutri Spray
Magnesium - 1%
Sulfur - 4.1%
Iron - 1.2%
Manganese - 1.2%
Zinc - 1.7%

I have not "flushed" the containers on purpose but will pay attention to it. Not sure what to look for as an indicator of SALT BUILD-UP?

Thanks to all and Good Growing!!!

htp


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

For citrus trees growing in the ground, there is not a "one best" fertilizer. The recommended fertilizer formula to use depends on the analysis form a soil sample or leaf sample. For fertilizing citrus trees in containers, a 5,1,3 NPK ratio would be the ideal fertilizer to use, because citrus trees absorb nutrients through their root system in the ratio of 5,1,3. Therefore, Peters 25-5-15 with trace minerals, (a 5,1,3 ratio fertilizer), is the ideal fertilizer to use, because it replaces the nutrients back into the container, in the exact ratio that the tree uses them.


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

Thanks silica. I will look for that Peters product on my next trip to HD or Lowes.
I the past I just water and fertilize based on how the plants look, how I "feel" they are doing and how much time I have. I have many more plants now and can't really remember when I did what to whom so I may resort to a dreaded SPREADSHEET schedule to track it. Maybe I have TOO MANY plants??? NO WAY!!!! NEED MORE!!!
htp


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

The more the merrier!!!lol
A month never goes by without one of them being in bloom for me. Just love it!

I absolutley LOVE the willingness for others to help here.

Mike


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

What exactly is a "nice dose" or "some Epsom salts?" I am afraid of over feeding my container citrus and fear that recent leaf drop is due to that. Would soluble rather than granular fertilizer be preferable?
Thanks.


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

Blamott, probably better to start your own message thread than tacking onto a 5 year old message thread, but to try to answer your question, many container citrus folk here prefer to use Dyna Gro Foliage Pro, as its NPK ratio is well suited for citrus, and it has a full complement of the micronutrients as well, so no need to add Epsom Salts. It is a concentrated liquid fertilizer. It can easily be found online. Most container citrus folks use it with each watering, full strength during the late spring, summer and early fall, then 1/2 strength in the winter.

Patty S.


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RE: Proper Fertilizer for container citrus?

Thanks, Patty, both for the advice about citrus feeding and forum postings. You might have guessed that I'm a "posting virgin" about these things, never thinking about the dates. Glad you were watching.
Bruce


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