Adeniums forum: Feeding Adeniums

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48Flash
May 27, 2016 8:58 AM CST
The last info I got back from members here was so spot on that I hope you won't mind me asking for more. I have adenium obesum as well as adenium arabicum. Some of my plants are mature while others are less than 2 years old. I have been feeding all of them with a 13-13-13 time release food. At a recent show, I saw amazing adeniums that were completely covered in blooms. The exhibitor said his secret was low N, high K food. A different grower has told me that high N is required for strong growth and ample foliage. So are both correct; high N for growth, low N high K for flowers?
Name: Ken Ramsey
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drdawg
May 27, 2016 9:54 AM CST
This is what I know from reading and from experience, and it is only my opinion.

I think the key for most blooming plants is that when you want growth, such as newly germinated or bought seedlings, you want a balanced fertilizer, not necessarily one with high nitrogen though. High "N" is great for greening up lawns and in agricultural settings though. When you want to have your plants switch from simply growing good, strong green stems/leaves, to producing flowers, you would want to reduce the nitrogen, perhaps a formula something like 5-10-5. Notice the middle number ("P") is high, not necessarily the last number though ("K"). Potassium is necessary for strong cell development and root development, and thus would be higher for a fertilizer used for fall or even winter application. I don't agree with that "K" recommendation, unless adeniums have completely different needs than the vast majority of plants. It would not hurt to have a formula like 5-10-10, but the key is the middle number, not the last.

There are adenium growers way more expert than I that can chime in with more reliable information. Thumbs up
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
May 27, 2016 3:42 PM CST
A while ago I attended a seminar by Mark Dimmitt, who recommends a fertilizer that is 1:2:3 in relative terms of N : P : K. In his book on Adeniums, he also states that he knows of Adenium growers that use potassium nitrate soil drench at 1 tsp/gallon to induce flowering.
Nitrogen is known to encourage foliage growth and suppress flowering, which would appear to make the use of Potassium nitrate somewhat contradictory (which he notes in his book as well). P and K produce strong cells, stems and roots, making for more robust plants that are less prone to breakages and disease/pests.


48Flash
May 27, 2016 11:38 PM CST
I have read Dimmitt's book. He also has a published article titled Adenium Culture: producing large specimens quickly where he recommends a 20-20-20 time release food. The info on the web regarding feeding adeniums is all over the map; you can find a recommendation for just about any possible N-P-K combination. Maybe it's not that important as long as you feed them a quality plant food?
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 28, 2016 6:24 AM CST
I have a feeling you are absolutely correct, @48Flash. I think we get too focused on what's "right", when in reality, there is often no scientific reason for choosing one fertilizer over another. That's why I use several different formula throughout the year. Kind of the "shotgun" theory. Whistling
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Rick
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RCanada
May 28, 2016 7:01 AM CST
I have read so much about which fertilizer is the "right" one and it makes it difficult to know how to select the right one.
Many fantastic articles have been written by people that make Adenium growing a life time study. For myself, not being a chemist or scientist have to believe that what they write is from proven trials. This is not to say that I do not have questions or thoughts on the subject.

It has also been shown that much of what we use for fertilizers depends on whether our plants are grown in containers (most seem to be) or whether in th ground. Another note is the soil in which we are using. If using a soil of more organic means, using chemical fertilizers will disrupt or damage any beneficial nutrients and organisms.

I think it best that I finish here.
I use Dyna Gro Plant Pro 9-3-6 & Dyna Grow Plant Protekt 0-0-3 in combination. Sometimes give a watering with Kelp Fertilizer.
Rick


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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape
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mcvansoest
May 28, 2016 8:34 AM CST
From my perspective - I mainly grow cacti, aloes, and agaves - the big realization was that in my climate I cannot treat Adeniums like just another cactus - ie. water very sparsely or not at all even in the hot summer months - the plants will survive that way but not really thrive. Since I winter my Adeniums outside, I do stop watering completely once night time Ts drop below 50F, but I have increased my watering and feeding (at quarter to half strength) frequency in the other times of year. So far with good results. A couple of plants that had never flowered, did so this spring and all look a little more vigorous, also more flowers on the plants that flowered, but only sparsely in the past. I use a combination of Dyna Bloom and Dyna Grow (sorry do not have the ratios handy).

48Flash
May 28, 2016 10:56 AM CST
Just to toss in another twist, my Brit friend who has lived in Thailand for 30+ years, and is passionate about orchids, says he feeds his adeniums 6-30-30 orchid food at 1/4 to 1/2 strength. His adeniums are very mature plants and are some obesum and some arabicum. All are grown in large pots and are very impressive in both form and flower production. Of course, he has an entirely different set of growing conditions. I'd have a high level of anxiety about 6-30-30.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 28, 2016 12:18 PM CST
One of the four orchid formula I use is the same 6-30-30. I use it in the fall/winter months. I don't think I have ever used it on my adenium though. I will generally use a balance fertilizer on them.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: KadieD
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Rainbow
May 28, 2016 12:36 PM CST
Through my studies on growers' websites I found that balanced fertilizers are used to feed adeniums. However, in preparation for adenium flower shows they withhold water for 2 to 3 weeks then water with a fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in phosphorous and potassium for 3 days, then water as usual thereafter. This makes for a lush profusion of blooms timed just right for the shows.

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