Slow release fertilizers

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 19 Feb 2004 07:23:46 PST
Dear Kathy,

A number of people in the past have reported losing their bulbs from 
Osmocote dumping too much at once. Uli had some horror stories about his 
Hippeastrums and I think Diana Chapman reported some sad results too, but 
she can report that herself. Uli is currently off line. There is a time 
release fertilizer called nutricote that isn't supposed to be temperature 
sensitive. I've tried that since I live in an area with excessive rainfall 
and I suspect that any fertilizer I add to the soil is leached out rather 
quickly. At the end of the season the pellets still seemed hard so they 
obviously are not breaking down quickly like osmocote making me wonder if 
they were simply decorative or if they were releasing anything at all. They 
were easy to use however.

We discussed fertilizers in these archives:…
I bundled together some of the comments on fertilizers from the IBS forum 
in the past and I'll send that to you privately later today when I have 
more time.

Having paid attention to what has been written about fertilizers in the 
past on IBS and our forum I think there is not a lot of agreement. I've 
tried different things and would be hard pressed to say what worked the 
best. It is complicated by what your medium is, how much water your plants 
are getting, what your temperatures are and what kind of bulbs you are 
growing. There probably isn't a one formula fits all. In South Africa on 
this last trip people were convinced that fertilizing was really helping. 
Gordon Summerfield's advice on growing bulbs and feeding is in this archive:…
Part of the problem seemed that a number of them were using a new batch of 
sand that probably was very low in nutrients and maybe minerals too and 
their bulbs that they had done really well with before were not responding. 
Adding fertilizers perked them up.

I know a number of people who swear by dilute miracle grow with every 
watering. Will Ashburner who was a participant in the IBS forum in the past 
said something that has stuck in my brain. He suspected getting your medium 
correct was more important than what kind of fertilizer you used. He 
stressed a medium with the correct air filled porosity.

I hope this helps.

Mary Sue

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