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Mar 19, 2018 8:07 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Jacob Fuentes
los angeles (Zone 10b)
Hello im trying to figure out what tupe of fertilizer i should use for my hoyas, sansivierias and orchids. I know that for philodendrons i should use a 20-20-20 for my peperomias, oxalis and zamioculcas use 10-10-10 and my Marantaceae families 10-10-5. But i cant seem to find a good kind for the plants in question. Im thinking water soluble fertilizer so i can regulate how much im using. Thank again 😊 any recomendations to anything ive said here is welcome. Itll be my first time with plants in spring so im learning as i go.
Mar 19, 2018 8:26 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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Garden Sages Plant Identifier
I hate to say this out loud because someone will be along to disagree... But fertilizer is fertilizer. Mix it at 1/4 strength, whatever it is.

There are some specialty fertilizers for plants with special needs but generally, fertilizer is fertilizer.

I buy whatever is cheapest. I also don't remember to fertilize all that often. If my plants get fertilized once or twice a year, they feel lucky. I like slow-release also (because of the once or twice a year thing). If you use slow release, don't use Osmocote as it dissolves quickly in heat and will over-dose your plants.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Mar 19, 2018 9:37 PM CST
Name: tfc
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
I agree with Daisy. I use what I have on hand. If I remember to use it. However, I don't necessarily like 'slow release' because I'm skeptical about what makes it a 'slow release'.

I think you're overthinking (something I often do) if you're using a different fertilizer for each type of plant. That really sounds like major work.
Mar 20, 2018 5:47 AM CST
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
Annuals Native Plants and Wildflowers Keeps Horses Dog Lover Daylilies Region: Canadian
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One thing I would add is that you don't need two separate fertilizers for 20-20-20 and 10-10-10. Just use half the 20-20-20 amount, which makes the equivalent to 10-10-10. I wouldn't bother with anything different like 10-10-5.
Mar 20, 2018 5:47 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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I agree. Fertilizer is somewhat more hype than help. (sorry, the alliteration was too easy to resist.)
I read about fertilizer ( and more potted plant care) from 'tapla' and his discussions really made sense to me.
You want a ratio of 3-1-2. And some micronutrients. That is the ratio that matches healthy plant material. Don't use 'bloomboosters'; they may provoke blooms short term, but good plant health long term and other good care gives you the best results.
Mine of choice found at a big box is Vigoro crystals, comes in a small box similar to and comparable to this

20 2020 is the same as 10 10 10 used stronger. (less diluted, used more often)
Plant it and they will come.
Mar 20, 2018 9:47 AM CST
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
"Slow-release" fertilizers mean exactly that. They release the nutrients into the soil gradually, which is better for the plants.

It's like the difference between eating a huge Thanksgiving dinner one day and having a sandwich every day for months.

Any fertilizer where the NPK numbers add up over 10 are "fast food" and will encourage poor growth. The plant's upper and root growth won't match.
Mar 20, 2018 10:03 AM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Yardenman said:Any fertilizer where the NPK numbers add up over 10 are "fast food" and will encourage poor growth. The plant's upper and root growth won't match.

This is not true. When the NPK numbers are higher, you just have to do a greater dilution. Like sooby pointed out, there is no meaningful difference between the 20-20-20 and 10-10-10 (by extension 5-5-5 and 2-2-2), other than how much to use. I would argue that correct dosage is more important than the actual choice of fertilizer.
Last edited by Baja_Costero Mar 20, 2018 11:00 AM Icon for preview
Mar 20, 2018 10:56 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
I agree with the others that fertilizer is overrated and over-promoted by the manufacturers. It is not medicine and should not be used on ailing plants. It is the available light that is the prime determinant of growth rate, not fertilizer. Fertilizer is important for nursery and greenhouse growers who have ideal conditions and want maximum growth. But that does not apply to plants grown in homes and offices.

If you are determined to use fertilizer and money and convenience are not an issue, a 3-1-2 NPK ratio with micronutrients included is the best all-purpose fertilizer for most foliage houseplants. For less than optimum growing conditions, dilute the fertilizer accordingly, as the label rates assume optimal growing conditions.

For healthy plant growth, pay attention to appropriate light, water, temperature and soil composition. Those are all far more important than fertilizer and fertilizer will not overcome deficiencies with any of those.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
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