Ask a Question forum: Plant food vs fertilizer

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Houston, TX
Pearlgarden00
May 10, 2018 11:57 AM CST
What is the difference between plant food and fertilizer? People tell me that I should fertilize my flowers but then people also say feed them every couple of weeks. But the fertilizer says once every other month. Can anyone help me?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 10, 2018 12:08 PM CST
"Plant food" is what salespeople like to use to refer to fertilizer. It's something of a misnomer because plants make their own food using sunlight. Fertilizer is more like your mineral supplement really. So "plant food" and fertilizer are the same thing. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer. Fertilizing every couple of weeks sounds like a soluble fertilizer, one that you mix with water. Every other month may be a granular product? How often you apply it depends on how long the particular fertilizer lasts in the soil/potting mix, how much of the minerals it contains, and how demanding the plant is.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 10, 2018 1:51 PM CST
I agree with Sooby and would add that unfertilizing is a lot safer than over-fertilizing. If you are following the package recommendation on frequency, cut the strength in half.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
May 12, 2018 7:45 AM CST
No difference. Fertilizer (plant food) is over promoted and oversold by manufacturers and retailers. Indoor potted plants use nutrients in very minute quantities. At most use at half strength no more than monthly and only for plants that are healthy and growing vigorously.

For plants growing in the ground outside, the use of fertilizer very much depends on the quality of your particular soil. If you think it may be lacking nutrients, then have a soil analysis done.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
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Houston, TX
Pearlgarden00
May 13, 2018 8:59 AM CST
Thanks a lot!

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