Tropicals forum: foliar feeding, I need some advice

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Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
Feb 15, 2012 2:14 PM CST
I have 3 plant filters in my hall pond, the water from the pond goes up through small rocks and the bare roots of some philodendron and pothos. It works great at cleaning the water of fish poo and other organics. However, I have cichlids in that pond and they just don't create enough fertilizer for the plants to do really well. Also, of course, it is harder because they have no soil.

I want to try foliar feeding them but I've never done it and don't know if I can use regular fertilizer like Miracle Grow? I'm trying to avoid adding too much fertilizer to the pond water. Can I dilute dissolvable fertilizer and just spray it on the leaves regularly? Any other advice?

Here's a pic of one of the filter boxes from my phone.


Thumb of 2012-02-15/extranjera/64451f
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
tropicbreeze
Feb 15, 2012 8:01 PM CST
Possibly you need to ask yourself if you really need more fertiliser. Are there any signs? Philodendrons and Epipremnums being epiphytes don't need a lot of fertiliser so what's in the fish water is probably enough. You risk getting it in your water and promoting algal blooms. There may be a problem with those plant species being too wet. Our local native Epipremnum amplissimus does normally grow with it's roots submerged in water (in creeks) but some of the others just like damp with plenty of air. That's just my views on it.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 16, 2012 4:20 PM CST
Good points, I don't feel that the plants are growing fast enough. These two types are almost weeds here and generally grow very rapidly. Mine are slow and the leaves are staying small. This pothos is the type that gets quite large leaves once it has run up a tree, often over a foot in width. I have heard that it won't start producing large leaves until it reaches the top of whatever it is on but these leaves are very small. I do wonder if it is a lack of sunlight, this area only gets direct sun for a couple hours a day and only in the summer, the rest of the year it gets good light but no direct sun. I was hoping to give them some more nutrients and see if it made a difference. Due to the lack of direct sun, I don't have an algae problem in this pond. There isn't an easy way to soak the roots in a fertilizer solution so I thought about spraying it on the leaves but I don't want to burn them.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
tropicbreeze
Feb 16, 2012 6:05 PM CST
I've a lot of Pothos up in trees, up to 20 metres high. And you're right, the leaves do get very large. The ones in the ordinary trees don't get much direct light, but some up in Palms do get direct light most of the day. There isn't much difference as a result though. The Philo looks like lacerum, but a bit hard to tell. My P. lacerum is also getting right up in the trees, although not as high as the Pothos. I still suspect your biggest problem might be the excess water. However, neither of these two species are in water in my place so I don't actually know how they'd respond to it.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 16, 2012 6:37 PM CST
It isn't an ideal situation for them, that's for sure. I've tried half a dozen other plants in these filters but the lack of light and high PH of the water and perhaps the lack of nutrients means most of them have failed. These two at least continue to live and grow, but slowly. I need them in the filters for the health of the fish so they will have to stay. I might try using the weak fert water that I spray on the orchids occasionally and see if that does anything.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Feb 17, 2012 4:28 AM CST
Be careful with fertilizer in your fish water! I would go the foliar feeding route for sure to avoid getting too much in the water.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 17, 2012 8:46 AM CST
The other thing you might want to try is a tiny amount of pelleted granular slow-release fert in a little twist packet made of newspaper. I use this on my waterlilies and lotus in my little fish pond. Works as well as those expensive tabs made for water plants. No ill effects in 4 years (although it is submerged and poked down into the soil in my plants)

Foliar feeding with soluble fert pretty much guarantees the fert will wash into the pond unless you don't get rain or dew.

Or, what about putting the plants in baskets, and changing them out with others on a regular basis (maybe monthly?) so you can fertilize them when they aren't in the box with the pond water flowing through. Two sets of plants on a rotation schedule? Hm, it sounds like a lot of trouble, but would reduce the fert addition to the pond water.
Thumb of 2012-02-17/dyzzypyxxy/33a729
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 17, 2012 11:18 AM CST
Hmmm, no dirt in the boxes as they are a modified skippy type filter. I may try misting a weak solution and see how it goes. Digging up the limestone gravel they are planted in is a odious task, I've had to do it 2 or 3 times when I started this pond. The pond is inside but it is open (through mosquito net high above) to the roof and does get some rain. I hope we are finally heading into a real dry season, I'm tired of the mosquitoes and the rain, it's supposed to be dry now and by May I should be hoping for rain. I am just getting my strength back from dengue fever that I came down with on the 30th of Dec. We had so much rain in the fall that the mosquitoes never went away. I've had the place sprayed several times but almost always it has rained right afterwards. Grumbling

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
tropicbreeze
Feb 17, 2012 4:16 PM CST
I don't think the limestone gravel would be helping those plants either. Is there any way you could re-arrange the system so that the water gets cycled past the plants before it goes through the limestone?

Not good about having got Dengue. We don't have it here and the authorities are vigilant in stopping it coming in. They have it over to the east so it is on our "door step". We do have Ross River but I'm lucky because I have some sort of immunity to it. Don't think it works that way with Dengue (and I'd rather not find out).
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 17, 2012 9:14 PM CST
Dengue is a PITA. I will have immunity for only about 3 months and just from the one type that I had. I think there are 4 sub types. The actual fever only lasted about 8 days but it took my immune system down so far that I had no energy, and was susceptible to anything that came along. I got a lung infection, a couple other minor illnesses and I just haven't had the strength to do much for the last 6 weeks. I'm getting better, it was such a slow improvement that for awhile I was really depressed that nothing was getting better. It is though, I'm almost back to my old self and really happy about it. The mosquito that carries dengue is diurnal, very small and adapted to urban living. It likes to hang out under restaurant tables, under the couch, etc and I don't react much to the bites so I don't notice them. It's hard to remember to spray when you don't notice they are biting you. We've had a bad year for dengue here, political changes that cut the funding for prevention and a very wet fall and winter so they are continuing to breed.

I don't want to change the filter set up too much as it is working very well for that pond and fish, I'd just like more lush growth from the plants. Limestone is not optimal but I live on a limestone peninsula and the water is already very, very hard and high PH. Plus, it is a concrete pond. After 4 years, the PH in that pond is at about 8.2 which is much lower than it was. I have to only get fish that can handle than kind of PH. These cichlids are African and from a high PH area, they do well here. Mollies and guppies and Angel fish also do well, no Discus though.

I can live with the slow growth of the pothos if I have to, I'd just like to see it look better. Shrug!
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 18, 2012 5:19 PM CST
Zig, I just saw this article on another local forum. It's an interesting approach to trying to eradicate dengue and the first trial was in Australia. I'm not sure I'd be thrilled at them releasing a lot of mosquitoes in my area but I guess if they stopped the spread of dengue it would be worth it.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20827-antidengue-mosqu...
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
tropicbreeze
Feb 18, 2012 6:49 PM CST
Thanks for that Jonna, it sounds good. But they do say ".... mosquitoes less able to carry the dengue virus, and it could therefore limit dengue transmission if it were to become widespread in the mosquito population."

So apparently not a permanent solution but a big step in that direction. I just wonder what the chances are of the mosquitos developing an immunity to that disease. By the way, as a young fella I used to live in Yorkeys Knob which was one of the release points of the infected mosquitos.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 18, 2012 10:48 PM CST
I too wondered about mutations of the virus and whether it could turn out to be a disaster. Yellow Fever was wiped out here in the Yucatan through concentrated work on eliminating the breeding areas for the vector mosquito. It seems a safer route to take. There are some studies that suggest the dengue virus is already mutating, they have found it in male mosquitos which wouldn't normally happen unless they got it from their mother. As I understand it, there haven't been enough examples to form a definite opinion that the virus has mutated so that it can be transmitted from mother to child but it is a scary thought.

I love the names of some places in Australia, Yorkeys Knob has such a funny sound to it.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
tropicbreeze
Feb 18, 2012 11:47 PM CST
The Knob is a rocky outcrop right on the coast. Otherwise it's flat country going about 15 kilometres inland to the coastal mountain range. This is the view along the beach looking south (it was a cloudy day last I was there, last year).
Thumb of 2012-02-19/tropicbreeze/aee1ec

Looking along the esplanade towards the Knob. They finally allowed buildings on it.
Thumb of 2012-02-19/tropicbreeze/8cb890

Along the esplanade a bit further back.
Thumb of 2012-02-19/tropicbreeze/fac69d

The Knob also protects a small boat harbour where the boat club is.
Thumb of 2012-02-19/tropicbreeze/cf1d2c

It may not help you with foliar fertilising, but at least you can now say you've seen Yorkey's Knob. Thumbs up
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Feb 19, 2012 1:23 AM CST
The pothos I grow are all indoors, in water gel beads, and they thrive quite well, and I have not given them any fertilizer of any sort. I notice they just like bright light but not direct light, it seems to burn them. I have decided to use water gel beads so it does not stink and it gives the roots a chance to breathe.

Be very careful with Dengue..it so lethal in the Philippines, and with our frequent rains and high humidity there, it is mosquito breeding heaven. I was just so glad I did not get it during my 2-month visit, with all the mosquito bites I get everywhere. Maybe plant citronella plant around as well...
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 19, 2012 2:56 PM CST
Oh how I wish I could see Yorkey's Knob in person but I love looking at the pictures. When I was traveling more, and was a fanatic scuba diver, of course Australia and the GBR were always on our wish list. I just hate those really long plane rides and, unfortunately, I never did it. Now, I'm retired and the plane rides sound even worse plus I don't have the disposable income I did when I was working. So, I'll be happy with the pictures and thank you very much. I know I would love Queensland, it's my kind of weather. I only want to live within 20° of the equator, and no higher than 2000' either. I'm a weather wimp, I love the heat and can no longer tolerate cold.

I'm not sure citronella really works, they also say that neem works but some of the worst mosquitos in town are at the English Library and their whole patio is neem trees. I have them spray regularly, keep the litter out from under plants and use coils and bug spray. Usually we have no mosquitos by this time of year but these unseasonal rains have kept them alive.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Feb 19, 2012 3:33 PM CST
Weather wimp here too. I wear a sweater under 70 degrees Hilarious!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Feb 19, 2012 5:49 PM CST
It is just hard when Dengue is around...much worst if the victims are little children, always a dire scenario, always life and death. It is a never ending fight to fog and clean out possible mosquito breeding grounds.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Feb 19, 2012 5:58 PM CST
I had a friend who died of Dengue fever...
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 20, 2012 11:16 AM CST
I'm sorry about your friend Hetty, that's terrible. I don't know anyone who has died from it but most of the long term residents here have had it at least once. This is my first (and hopefully last) experience with it.

The fatal type of dengue is when it goes into the hemorraghic type. I don't think they know for sure why that sometimes happens. I've heard it can be due to repeated exposures to the regular fever, to exposure to more than one sub type... I don't know. It's always more dangerous for the very young and the old, unfortunately I'm now moving into that second category. If you just get the fever without the bleeding, it is rarely fatal. It's just that there is always a risk it will go the other way. I'm pretty much back to normal now but it took me about 6 weeks to get my usual energy and get up and go to return.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

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