Ask a Question forum: Acidic Plant Food: Rhodendron vs Pothos

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dlum416072
May 27, 2017 7:55 PM CST
can pothos use acidic plant food as I plan to put begonias, marigolds and pothos in a window box; gets only evening sun, approx. 3 - sundown, not full.

Thanks
[Last edited by dlum416072 - May 27, 2017 10:01 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 28, 2017 4:16 AM CST
Welcome! It's said to be tolerant of a range of soils so should be OK, although the effect of acidic fertilizer also depends on the starting pH of the potting mix. The marigolds might not like getting such limited sun though.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
May 28, 2017 8:01 AM CST
I think you are focused on the wrong thing here. Pothos is a low light indoor plant that must be kept in deep shade at all times when outdoors. Even an hour of direct sun will damage Pothos leaves. Consider using Hedera Ivy in your window box instead.

Acidic fertilizer should not be used with Pothos or most other plants. Exceptions are Azalea, Rhododendrons and some Citrus species.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 28, 2017 8:32 AM CST
It grows outdoors in some suitably warm areas, Will, up trees and as groundcover. It's also considered invasive outdoors in some areas. It does prefer shade though, but we also don't know where the OP is located and therefore how strong the evening sun would be. I agree there are probably better options but perhaps the OP already has the plant and needs to do something with it.

Pothos as a landscape plant in Florida:
http://www.plantbook.org/plant...

I don't really see why an acidic fertilizer should not be used (in small amounts) unless the medium is already acidic. It's supposedly not fussy about pH, and acidity can more safely go lower in soilless medium than in the ground.
Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
May 28, 2017 9:27 AM CST
I thought most of the fertilizers on the market were acidic. Regular liquid plant food certainly is.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 28, 2017 9:28 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 28, 2017 11:10 AM CST
Baja_Costero said:I thought most of the fertilizers on the market were acidic. Regular liquid plant food certainly is.


It depends mostly on the form of nitrogen, ammonium forms being acidifying and nitrate forms being more basic. For example ammonium sulfate is one of the more acidifying, whereas calcium nitrate increases basicity.

If we compare Miracle Gro All Purpose with Miracle Gro Azalea Camellia and Rhododendron fertilizer, the former is 24-8-16, the nitrogen being ammoniacal (3.5%) and 20.5% urea, while the one for acid plants is 30-10-10 with the nitrogen being 3% ammoniacal and 27% urea. Urea is also somewhat acidifying. So neither lists nitrate nitrogen.

Unless the OP overdoes the fertilizing, which is never a good idea anyway, I don't think it would be a problem to use it (with the caveat that we don't know what fertilizer it actually is). Plus if the potting mix has a high pH for whatever reason then a slightly acidifying fertilizer wouldn't be a bad thing.

[Last edited by sooby - May 28, 2017 11:12 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
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WillC
May 29, 2017 1:38 PM CST
Occasional use of an acidic fertilizer would not be a problem. However, the effects tend to be cumulative and over time the soil may become too acidic for the Pothos. IMHO, it is best avoided.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
May 29, 2017 4:02 PM CST
It's only short term for a summer window box, though, and we don't know the starting pH. In the book Applied Principles of Horticultural Science Pothos is given a pH range of 5.0-6.0. If it's Miracle Gro fertilizer for azaleas etc. and the amount applied is reduced, it will have less ammonium and urea than the regular All Purpose Miracle Gro. Of course we don't know if that's the product being used or even if the OP is still with us Smiling

dlum416072
May 29, 2017 7:23 PM CST
Thanks for the replies.

SOOBY - OP???

Region - 7b

Plant Food - Schultze (acidic) 32-10-10

Potting Soil - left over soil from last years hanging plants (lot of vermiculite) with Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Soil added. Plant food used last year and presently Miracle Gro All Purpose Plant Food.

Any suggestions for 2.5 gallon gardenia (jubilation)?? If it lasts the summer might try to keep it thru the winter. Will keep it in the same pot till end of summer or possibly thru winter (??).
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 30, 2017 2:31 AM CST
If that's this one, it's a little better as some of the ammoniacal nitrogen has been replaced with nitrate nitrogen. I would just go easy on how much you give them. Just out of curiosity, why do you want to switch from the Miraclo Gro All Purpose?

http://www.kellysolutions.com/...

I'll leave the gardenia question for someone more experienced with them. Are you asking if this fertilizer is OK for gardenias too (it should be) or other aspects of caring for them? It would help to know what country you are located in.

dlum416072
May 30, 2017 11:05 AM CST
Yes, that's the acidic plant food, Schultz 32-10-10

Not changing from the all-purpose, acid loving plant acidic plant food.

Not asking if acidic plant food is OK, as stated above.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 30, 2017 11:37 AM CST
I guess I don't really understand the question then. Could you explain what you meant by "can pothos use acidic plant food"? Do you then mean is it necessary to give it fertilizer for acid-loving plants?

dlum416072
May 30, 2017 12:38 PM CST
Basically, was mixing pothos with acid loving plants.

Was not sure as to whether an acid plant food could be used with pothos.

Is it plausible to use acid plant food on the acid plants and all purpose on the non-acid plants if in the same window box?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 30, 2017 2:27 PM CST
You don't need acidic fertilizer for begonia or marigold, so you can use the All Purpose for the whole window box. The roots will all grow together ultimately in any case.

dlum416072
May 30, 2017 9:10 PM CST
Thank You for your replies.

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