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Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Posted by alba_gardener Ca (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 20, 11 at 13:46

Hi Everyone,
Well, I'm battling mealies this afternoon and have noticed that the leaves on some of my hoyas are yellowing not just old leaves, young leaves too.The one plant in particular is the australis. I've been watering with VF-11, but it doesn't seem to be enough. I'm not overwatering, I know they like to be dry between waterings, so it can't be that. I haven't changed anything, so what could be the problem? Any ideas? Could it be the mealies? After all these years of having hoyas, you would think I would know what to do. However, just when I think I have figured out what to do so they are all healthy looking, they start looking sad! Are these girls just testing me???? (:
So, what fertilizer do you recommend?
alba in hawthorne


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Hello!

VF-11 most certainly does not provide enough nutrients as a primary fertilizer.

I personally use Dyna Gro's Foliage Pro 9-3-6, but there are other brands that
offer nutrients in nearly the same ratio. One main advantage of Foliage Pro
is that it includes all the minor nutrients, as well, so you don't have to mix and
match fertilizers to guarantee a full compliment of nutrients.

I'm going to link to a Thread wherein Tapla (Al) explains the short-comings of VF-11.

Eleanor's VF-11 and miracle grow

And since many folks have mentioned that this info should be posted from time to time....

"Hmmmm. The guaranteed analysis of the primary macro-nutrients (NPK) in Eleanor's is Analysis: 0.15 - 0.85 - 0.55 This is less than 1% of ANY of the majors. 1/8 of 1% N, 7/8 of 1% P, 1/2 of 1% K. This is EXTREMELY low in fertility. Since I cannot find the rest of the analysis, I'm going to guess the rest of the nutrients are probably xistent or nearly so.

I haven't used this potion (VF-11), but then, you don't need to ride the bus to know what makes the wheels go round & round. Forgive me for being somewhat skeptical or even cynical, but when vague claims are made like: ... and mildew is eliminated because VF-11 changes the pH and creates a condition where mildew can not grow. Once again, isn't it amazing? I wonder why there isn't something specific in the claim. Changes the pH of what? Soil? Cellular pH? Leaf surface pH - for how long? Hmmm.
I also wonder at: VF-11 builds so much strength and health that plant cells 'harden' and 'seal in' the amino acids which aphids feed on. You have merely eliminated their food supply. And you have done it without the use of poisonous systemic or pesticides. Pretty nice...huh? Don't aphids feed on sap. How does this product make the sap unavailable to aphids? Does it somehow make cells so hard that they cannot be penetrated and dry up all the intra-cellular plant water/sap? Should I/we be saying GMAB here? There's more, but you get the drift.

I wouldn't say that this product has no benefit, as it may very well have some, but I am of the general feeling there is almost surely no panacean value to products like Superthrive or this elixir, and it's a good bet it's not the magic potion some may think it to be. I don't trust advertising that is known to be false and this alone is enough to fuel the skepticism in me.

One thing additional: The claim that "you cannot overdo", means there could only be extremely minute (almost immeasurable or xistent) amounts of any micro-nutrients in it because micro-nutrient overdose produces toxicity at even low levels and over-doing would reveal readily visible symptoms quickly.

Like I said, I wouldn't argue that it has no value, but I do know that I would invest in a good, known source of micro-nutrients and an appropriate fertilizer before I'd trust plant vitality to a product labeled with insubstantial claims.

Al"


Josh


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

  • Posted by squidy 7%3F not 100%25 s (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 21, 11 at 22:09

It's just me and my carnosa KQ, and I've been giving it Schultz 10-15-10 since I got it. Almost immediately it gave me several HUGE leaves... then I moved, and it sulked for a while, but then it started putting out many new normal-sized leaves and peduncles. Seems to be doing very well.
This plant food seems to be doing well for all my other plants too. :)


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

@ Josh, Thanks for all of the information on VF-11 and why it isn't all it's cracked up to be. I realize now that a fertilizer is a must in order to keep my plants healthy. Silly me, I use to always fertilize my plants...Why did I stop?

@ squidy, thanks for the suggestion on the type of fertilizer to use...

Thank you both, I really appreciate your taking the time to respond.
alba in hawthorne


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

My mom has some of the nicest hoyas and they bloom all the time.I give her small rooted cuttings from my big plants and they grow faster then mine and flower way sooner then my much bigger plant.She waters every Sunday and she never uses any type of fertilizer.
I use a bit of molasses with fish fertilizer with every watering.Both are very cheap and easy to use.

Cindy


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I used to have a lot of trouble with australises and I was asking myself the same question. I put mine under artificial light and haven't had a yellow or dropped leaf since. I think it's because they just get more light and dry out faster. I didn't change the fertilization schedule or anything like that, I think they just wanted to be bumped up a notch.

Hope you figure things out and either way I totally sympathize! Sometimes it's so hard to figure out what is making them mad.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Best fertilizers for blooming are:
Peter's Variegated Violet special 5-50-17 (if you can find it)
Peter's Orchid special (various high middle number ratios)
GrowMore Seaweed Extract alternated with a Peter's Orchid special
MagAmp 7-40-6 coarse (in a nylon stocking)
Osmocote (use osmocote in a nylon stocking so it doesn't contaminate your potting mix)

DO NOT use MiracleGrow-Miracid as you will get long term irreversible problems with your matured plants.

I also recommend using Superthrive at ten drops per gallon (it's not as concentrated as it used to be) every third or fourth fertilizing watering application. And especially if the media has become bone dry.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

The idea that high phosphorus levels are necessary for blooming is a very common myth. The so called "bloom booster" formulas out there provide waaaay more phosphorus than any plant will ever use, and that excess phosphorus simply increases the concentration of dissolved solids in the soil, which can be problematic for roots. The FP 9-3-6 that Josh mentioned above is what I use, and it still contains plenty of phosphorus for flowering plants.

Here are a couple of links that go into more detail.

The uselessness of high P fertilizers

Bloom Boosters - How Much P is Enough?


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Like I said above, my moms hoyas flower non stop and she dose not use any type of fertilizer.

Cindy


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

It has been proven that bloom boosters are not necessary. Plants need N-P-K in a specific ratio and nothing more, anything else is just wasted. It's kinda like sitting down to a nice Christmas dinner and then insisting that the under-performer eat an entire turkey to them self, just not necessary.
I have heard several people lecture on fertilizers and everyone has said not to bother paying for these often expensive bloom boosters. Some have even gone so far as to say that these fertilizers are damaging to plants.
Many plants don't need to be fertilized often and it's always better to fertilize more often at 1/2 to 1/4 strength than it is to fertilize every so often at recommended strength.
Having proper light levels is just as or more important to plants as nutrition and if you over fertilize an overly shaded plant it will be much less able to use the fertilizer and more prone to problems.
If people are going to worry about something it would be more productive to know your water parameters so that you can get the most out of your fertilizer. Having hard water and then mixing up fertilizer according to container instructions can be very damaging to plants. Remember these epiphytic plants are used to pure rain water so high amounts of dissolved mineral salts made even higher by chemical fertilizers can cause problems with root or potting mix health.
Some Hoyas given too much fertilizer will totally loose their natural form and develop large soft leaves that are just irresistible to pests.

Many plants initiate blooming because of environmental cues such as changing light levels or lack of or abundance of water or temperature fluctuations. Plants that experience a dry period experience not only a lack of water but also a lack of nutrition due to the scarcity of available elements like Nitrogen in a dry environment. Orchid growers know that to get blooms on their deciduous Asian Dendrobiums they need to dry the plants and make sure to withhold Nitrogen until flowering is initiated. Hoyas are no different and many share these same habitats in places like Northern Thailand. There are of course Hoya species that enjoy year around moist conditions and these plants would benefit from being lightly fertilized year around if given sufficient light.

Mike


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I'm a newcomer here and to hoyas!.. so I don't know Josh from Rainforest Guy or vice versa!.. I did write down Josh's brand of "food" for our hoyas.. then reading the other... it just appeared to be a long list of different types.. which would probably be to pricey for me!... I will see if I can find Josh's suggestion or something similar!.. What say all of you? Eileen


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

The use of phosphorus DOES play an important function for hoyas. Not to initiate buds but used as a reserve for carbohydrates and food reserves for stem thickening and spur development. After growing hoyas for over thirty five years I should know. None of the fertilizers listed are "bloom boosters" but have formulations of phosphorus you don' find being made any more. MagAmp has an excellent quality of having magnesium in high amounts coupled with phosphorus. This works as a dual growth excelerator and adds nutritive tissue in the hoya stem.
Regarding my "expertise" in hoyas, may I just say that many old time hoya growers are well acquainted with my work in breeding hoyas and have many many named hybrids under my belt. But people in Sweden, Oregon and some of the Californian hoya growers may be familiar with my efforts. What I share is not top of the head, but long term experience.
My fertilizing regime is not for the common easy to bloom varieties but more so for the difficult to flower species and cultivars which many hobbyists label as difficult or shy bloomers.
I am curious, is Christine Burton still around?


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

"None of the fertilizers listed are "bloom boosters" but have formulations of phosphorus you don' find being made any more. MagAmp has an excellent quality of having magnesium in high amounts coupled with phosphorus. This works as a dual growth excelerator and adds nutritive tissue in the hoya stem."

I don't mean to offend, but this sounds exactly like the kind of pseudoscience that can be found on the back of a bottle of hydroponic fertilizer. And while I don't doubt that you have a lot of experience, most of the fertilizers you mentioned are wildly out of line with proven plant uptake ratios. The majority of plants absorb N-P-K in a ratio near 3:1:2, so there is no benefit in trying to pump plants full of phosphorus. The excess will just remain in the soil unused, which increases the osmotic pressure that roots have to work against. The high magnesium levels you mentioned can be even more problematic, as calcium and magnesium have an antagonistic relationship in soils. Adding large amounts of magnesium can create a calcium deficiency even when calcium is present.

Plant nutrients should be provided in a ratio that closely matches plant uptake ratios. You can't force growth by adding excessive amounts of specific nutrients. Look up Liebig's Law of the Minimum for proof of this.

This link explains fertilizer requirements in much more detail, and even provides a chart of nutrient requirements

Fertilizer Program for Containerized Plants III


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Pen,
There's a lot more than meets the eyes. Most "containerized fertilizers" are formulated for horticulturally crafted plants. Many hoyas are true species and behave as such. Many hoyas are found growing in ultramafic conditions where magnesium, and other toxic metals can stunt or reject some species from thriving. When you grow true species in captivity you must sometimes adopt conditions hoyas are accustomed to. Not adapt them to fit a puzzle of "modern theory." This is the downfalls why so many people have difficulties in growing true species in household conditions and are here posting why their plants fail to bloom or fail to grow well.
Once you understand the concept of their existence you can better grasp what to do and what not to do. Like many orchids that people force to be containerized are only now finding out that the Thais who grow them in screen netted pots are so much more successful than those trying to force their orchids to grow in a ceramic dish because it reminds them of the tropics. The Thai's didn't invent a new pot for growing them, they just observed how they grow in nature and adopted these conditions to mimic wild grown conditions in captivity.

The majority of hoya species are wild collected and follow their own pattern of growth and nutritional requirements. One cannot force a cookie cutter Law to fit all plants.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

While requirements like substrate, light, water, and temperature can vary greatly among different species, nutrient uptake ratios are remarkably consistent. Plants actively absorb the nutrients they need, while leaving any excess behind. I have never seen a tissue analysis of any plant, be it cultivated or wild, terrestrial or epiphytic, that had nutrient ratios anywhere near those of the aforementioned fertilizers. Phosphorus is always the smallest of the big three, and magnesium is always less than calcium. While I generally agree that it's a good idea to duplicate natural conditions, I see no reason to provide nutrients that a plant is incapable of using.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

RFG she is no longer around on this forum. I don't know where she hangs out these days but she does sell Hoya's in Ebay.,,,Debbie


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Christine Burton currently has her own forum called HoyasrUs.

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: HoyasrUs


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I see so much problems with people not flowering their hoyas on this forum that it is just down to basics in fertilizers. I don't endorse a general wholesale use of phosphorus. I made specific recommendations for fertilizer brands and formulations. This is key as not all fertilizers are created equal. After trials and errors made in the 70's and 80's, I discovered so much potential and lack of from basic fertilizers. Miracle Grow is the worst fertilizer you can use on any potted plant. This needs to work in a ground environment where the potassium salts can be leached away. The many micronutrients that bond with sodium in this blend has no use in a potting environment and especially not for hoyas.
The folks in the Swedish Hoya Society have plants that bloom very well and they do not have the problems many US growers encounter.

All the dinosaurs of hoyas will soon be gone. Ted Green is the last of the big name growers. I believe Dale Kloppenberg has past on and several from the Oregon group has parted their way. Anyone know if Ann Wayman (waymaniae) is still growing hoyas? David Liddle has been taken over by Iris in AU and several growers in the Philippines, Thailand and other regions still have some growers left. Ed Gilding resides in AU and does not grow hoyas any more, but I have contacted him if he ever gets to northern territory and plant check among crocodiles to let me know if he ever finds a new eriostemma there.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Ann Wayman is currently editor of Fraterna magazine and I believe that she is still growing Hoyas. There are new emerging amateur growers who have ever growing Hoya collections in the US which is nice, SRQ Hoyas is a good example. Other than that the Thai growers are the major sources for Hoyas and especially if you are looking for newly collected material.

Mike


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I am not planning to rehash old connections, but was planning to breed some hoyas since no one has seem to be doing it. Before I get too old and not able to see well, I would like to make many of the crosses I did back in the 80's and pass them along. So many things learned after the growing stages and so many new discoveries made afterthoughts of the process.
Someone contacted me by email a while ago asking about hoya pollination. I hope he just dabbles and plays with it. Hoyas are like breeding stapeliads. I believe Gerald Barad did some excellent work on huernias and other diminutive species back in the day. We shared the possibilities of hoya and dischidia pollination. But I believe he had a series of health issues and may even have passed away.
But hoyas are something that should be hybridized since it contains so much variations of species. But not all hoyas can be crossed, or even make a pollination attempt to make a crossed seed.
Hoyas grow fast and make excellent houseplant subjects and while very little economically can be made from them, they fill a niche for growing plants that orchids, tillandsias and other house plants cannot fill.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Dale Kloppenburg is still alive and kicking. I talked to him recently. He doesn't grow any Hoya's anymore but still publishes the amount of Hoya's allowed each year.
Ann still grows Hoya's and Dischidia's and still has the bug and orders Hoya's.
Both Ted and Dale turned 90 this year Ann told me. I'm not sure of Ann's age. She does have some health problems. She's not a quitter and will be watering plants with her last breath! She is such a tiny petite woman with a big kind spirit!
I recently ordered from Ted and got some nice cuttings from him. I was very pleased indeed!
Ted is a joker! I always tell him it's his ex wife calling when he answers the phone or ask if he could possibly be my Daddy. That gets him going! haha.,,,Debbie


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Excuse my misinformation. I was told that Dale passed away. Hoyas sure had its share of conflicting personalities. Christine Burton is truly a botanist for hoyas, her understanding of hoya classification is unequaled. I would trust her accounts for any new hoyas that were discovered and she would be able to key it out or place it in an unknown affinity to ___blank species.
Ted is a moderate grower and field collector of hoyas. His ability to locate hoyas in the wild is unmatched (well maybe with younger and sharper eyes and more agility and stamina) but otherwise he has brought many new hoyas to the table.
Many collectors range from many regions. David Liddle has been a leader of Australian hoyas and have grown many species as well. Many Philippine growers and collectors are accountable for the many sp. Phil and P-numbers found in old collections. Juan Pancho, comes to mind. The many collectors and growers in Thailand, Alex, Chanin and others come to mind, their efforts in bringing the variegated kerrii and many rare new forms of pachyclada, sp. Bangkok, etc. will be around for a long time. Many other collectors York Meredith who H. meredithii is named after and Dexter Heuschkel, a wonderful man, and many others.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Dexter Heuschekel = Hoya heuschkeliana?,,,Debbie


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Okie Deb, which ex-wife? ;-)

Ted will be turning 90 toward the end of October, I believe.
He has an amazing amount of vitality, and I hope that I've inherited those longeval genes, too.

Rainforest, Ted brings along a sharper pair of eyes now...his wife, Dorothy :-)


Josh


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

In case any one is looking for the peters brand,its now called jacks.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Oddly I can still buy it here as Peter's. I'll need to investigate this Jack's. It's hard to find the variegated violet special. This blend is more than meets the eye of just high phosphorus. It has out performed the flowering ability of any other fertilizer on the market. Why they formulated such a high phos is beyond me, but it works unlike anything I have used. You can compare it side by side with your favorite and it will out flower, out yield spur development than in any other formulation. back in the day, everyone just balked at the way they saw a hanging basket of Hoya macgillivrayi with fifteen spurs all in flowering at once. This had caught the eyes and attention of Christine Burton to recommend articles in making hoyas bloom. I have had Hoya imbricata with ten spurs of flowers all at once along a leafed, leafless runner traveling about ten feet from the original base along a cement wall. Hoya lacunosa with a spur at every single node and each with a set of buds to flowering peduncles all at once. Think hundreds and hundreds of spurs in flower at once.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Josh you made me laugh! :-D


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I have decided to order Jacks Pro 5-50-18 Variegated Violet Special 1LB and give it a try.I have a couple very large hoyas that should bloom but wont.One even has peduncles and still not a flower to be seen.I will let you guys know if it helps.

Cindy


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Cindy where did you find the Variegated Violet Special? I was looking for it yesterday but could not find it anywhere. I would like to give this a try on my Kohlerias and there are at least two Hoyas I may as well try it on as well.

Mike


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Mike I emailed them on Saturday asking where I could it from and I got a email back this morning with a link to there site.I ordered it this morning I hope it arrives fast this its FedEx.

Cindy

Here is a link that might be useful: JR peter's


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I want to buy some for my nepenthes to get the shy bloomers to flower their heads off!


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I hope this works for my very shy hoyas.Thanks for the recommend.

Cindy


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Isn't this almost the wrong time of year to fertilize with a heavy bloom booster? Except for the Australian sp maybe?
I would think it would confuse them & make them ...um..not ready for winter, or something like that.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Hi
Since I grow my hoyas under grow lights in the winter. The plants keep on growing all year long.I do watch how I water some of them.Some like to dry out during the winter.Some of my plants even grow faster in the winter months inside my home.
I think it really depends on how you grow your plants.I have always used fertilizer year round.

Cindy


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Hoyas are never ready for winter. LOL
You are right though and when using fertilizers of any type (unless very dilute) you need to maintain optimum temperatures and light levels for the plant to be able to fully utilize the fertilizer. If you are using artificial light you will not have to worry but otherwise gloomy fall and winter weather and cool temps are not conductive to heavy fertilizer use. It's also important to rotate fertilizers so that you don't get leggy growth, this can happen when you give too much Nitrogen for an extended period of time and the same goes for the bloom boosters.

Remember that Hoyas don't naturally experience the dramatic seasons we are used to and other than the higher altitude growers or species from more Northern latitudes many don't experience a large swing in temperatures throughout the year. Seasonal rainfall or lack of it is often the determining factor for growth although mountain species are less subject to harsh dry seasons.

Cindy thanks for the link. I had look into a local distributor but it was all agricultural fertilizers in 25Kg bags.

Mike


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

If you do obtain these fertilizers, start the process even through the winter as these fertilizers will build up as heavy carb reserves for the plant and in warmer months next year, you may get unexpected spurts of flowers instead of new leaves.
Peter's Variegated Violet is NOT a bloom booster fertilizer. It is a high phosphorus blend that works on the plants root systems and stem thickness. The secondary phase of this root enlargement and stem thickening is the production of spurs. You'll still need to provide a balanced fertilizer to get the plants into bloom mode.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Thanks for the info RainGuy.I was planning on starting to use it as soon as it arrives in the mail.

Cindy


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I ordered that already, thanks you so much for all informations, I never stop learning!


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I know this image is in the wrong place to post it, but I didn't have any hoya images on photobucket to show. But will make a note that these nepenthes were fertilized using GrowMore Seaweed Extract with great results. Not only did they make decent pitchers, but also grew and flowered well.
N. nep wall
Things just grew well in small pots with lots of nutrients by way o the seaweed extract fertilizer.
N. copelandii Pasian


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

Thanks Cindy for the link! I ordered some last night. ;-) I plan to try this on my Chimera Violets and Episcia's as well as my Hoya's.

RFG what are some balanced fertilizers you recommend to use along with this one on Cindy's link? I do have a bit of Seaweed Extract and I also have Fish Emulsion. Would those work for blooms after getting the spurs?

BTW your Nepenthes are amazing!! Do you grow your Nep's and Hoya's outside or in a GH?,,,Debbie


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I ordered it as well and plan to try it now after the wonderful info. and explanations about how these work. I am really looking forward to experimenting with this on some of my stuborn and "stalled" hoyas. I do plan on bringing a lot of my plants back in for the winter as the night temps drop but I have some light set ups also and I keep the house fairly warm at night in winter too so I may see some results even before spring too.


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I have never used fertilizer for my hoyas. What I do, though, is every other year, add some fresh potting mix to the surface. That seems to help my hoyas a lot.

TPie


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RE: Fertilizer for Hoyas?

I like GrowMore Seaweed Extract the best since it does not have an offensive odor and does not contain the emulsion oil base that the fish stuff has. The seaweed mixes evenly and is the best liquid feed I have found, I won't go back using the salty stuff (except for Peter's Variegated Violet) if available.
The liquid seaweed is great for seedlings to newly rooted material to the full grown pot bound plants.

I grow all my plants outdoors. I give everything as much sun as they can take. This is how they all grow in nature, so mimicking this has taken plants to the next level. Grow them hard and they will be resilient to pests and diseases and give them good root development and you can't go wrong. Roots are more important to me than any other growth aspect. All my plants have healthy root systems and thus grow above ground very well.


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