Clivia name

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Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 20:28:41 -0700
To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
From: Jane McGary <>
Subject: Re: [pbs] Growing Tender Bulbs in Cold Climates--Tow
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Rodger Whitlock wrote,
>Myself, for potted bulbs I most often use "soluble tomato food" with
>an analysis of 7-28-28. The recommended rate for this fertilizer is
>5 grams per liter of water (1/2 teaspoon per quart).
>However, I apply it to potted bulbs at about 1/4 this strength. I 
>figure that the rate for a potted plant should be considerably lower 
>than for a plant in the open ground to avoid fertilizer burn. 

I use any type of "Blossom Booster" (Peters or Miracle-Gro low nitrogen
formulas) soluble fertilizer and apply it at half strength, once in fall
and three times in late winter to spring. Last fall I started using a
hose-line fertilizer tank (on recommendation of John Lonsdale, who uses
Miracle=Gro triple 20 in it), and neither of us think it is very precise in
its proportions, but as long as one doesn't overdo it, I think it's not
necessary to be precise. After all, the plants in the wild experience quite
haphazard fertilization from animal manures and nutrient-rich runoff water. 

Unlike sensitive alpines, most bulbs seem to enjoy a good level of
fertility. I suppose there are some that you can offend with fertilizer
(what are they? Does anyone know?). I've read that Oxalis bloom better at
low soil fertility.

To keep up the level of trace elements and other minor nutrients, though, I
think it's important to repot most bulbs regularly. Mine always respond
well to a new batch of potting soil, full of minerals from the river sand
and, I suppose, potassium from the pumice. The exception would be species
that respond to disturbance by making a lot of offsets and not flowering;
I've just been marking some of these with red labels so I won't repot them
on the regular schedule for their areas.

Jane McGary
Northwest Oregon

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