Why do you need to fertilize, really? Plants grow in a wild and no one fertilizes them; garden centers are full of nice looking plants, what else do you need?
And here is the trick...
Have you noticed that once you move a plant from a pot into the ground, it starts growing bigger, faster and better? What was wrong with the pot?
Do you remember that nice looking plant you purchased from a greenhouse that became not-so-nice looking just in a couple months?
You watered it, yes. But it became leggy, dropped all the flowers, got infested by bugs, and leaves are not as green any more... What happened?
Your verdict was, you just had a brown thumb and no luck with plants.
This is not why! Now we will explain what happened, and how to make it right. Easy - as a 1-2-3-4-5.
When a plant grows in open ground, it takes essential elements from the soil. Such elements as N, P, K, Ca, Si come from soil solids in a form of various salts. Trace elements (mocro-elements) such as Fe, Mg, Mn, Cu, S, Zn are also available from soil compounds. Organic humic acids, so necessary for plant growth, are also there as a result of humus decay process. Special bacterias that turn organic matter into plant food, as well worms and other soil fauna, help to create ideal substance that has everything necessary for a plant growth. The more the root system grows and spreads, the more nutrients it can reach and consume, so the plant starts growing faster and faster.
Container grown plants have to use what they have, with no choice. Their roots may try to "escape" throught the holes in the bottom of a pot in hope to reach wider horizons of nutrients, but have no luck, unless a stong taproot digs into the ground and gets its free access to more food! Otherwise, plant's roots are doomed to sit in a SOILLESS MIX which is originally FOODLESS.
Soilless mix = bark + peat + perlite, this is a general formula. Unless you provide PLANT FOOD, your plant gets by without a meal, and very soon becomes skinny, pale, bugsy, and sick. Just like every live creature.
Soilles mix is a great media (and the best media for potted plants). However, since it is lacking those elements available in soil, it is a kind of hydroponics. It is well known that in hydroponics, all plant food must be provided with nutrients through constant fertilizing program.
How to grow healthy, fast growing, and good looking plants?
Can you get a Magic Wand for profuse flowering, green leaves, and large fruit?
All you need is just a Green Thumb that fills all the gaps!
Considering you already know that all plants need LIGHT and WATER, we can have a FOOD talk. These are important components of the Plant Nutrition System:
1. Growing Media is a start. It will hold the plant, the water, and the plant food. It will have necessary bacteria to help the plant digestion.
2. Macro-nutrients NPK. These are major essential elements.
3. Calcium. A necessarry support that is present in soil, but lacking in potting mix.
4. Micro-nutrients. To provide trace element support and correct possible element difficeincies.
5. Bio-stumilants. To provide immunne system support, vitamins, and protect plant from environment.
Sunshine-Epi, Sunshine HumiHum, Suchine-Si-Power.
Transplanting, rooting and seedling:
Use Sunshine Bombino 25 ml/gal + Constanta 5 ml/gal + Ca-Support 5 ml/gal, mixed in tap water
For rapid growth and green mass gain of any plant (mainly at the beginning of the season):
Use Sunshine Robusta 25 ml/gal + Constanta 5 ml/gal + Ca-Support 5 ml/gal, mixed in tap water
Buds with flowers formation, until the moment of flowering:
Use Sunshine Total Feed 25 ml/gal + Constanta 5 ml/gal + Ca-Support 10 ml/gal, mixed in tap water
To induce flowering:
Follow through Sunshine TotalFeed (above) and continue to Megaflor 25 ml/gal + Constanta 5 ml/gal + Ca-Support 10 ml/gal, mixed in tap water
Flowering and ripening period for all plants:
Use Sunshine Megaflor 25 ml/gal + Constanta 5 ml/gal + Ca-Support 10 ml/gal, mixed in tap water.
In winter, during hibernation*, for all large trees that are not actively developing:
Use Sunshine C-Cibus 25 ml/gal + Constanta 5 ml/gal + Ca-Support 5 ml/gal, mixed in tap water
* For tropical plants, dry or soluble fertilizers can be used only when min. temperatures stay above 65F. Sunshine liquid boosters can be used in Winter too thanks to their mild formulas and low concentrations.
|day 1||day 7||day 14||day 21||after day 30
|after day 30
|Liquid boosters for daily watering|
|Bombino - daily||25|
|Robusta - daily||25|
|TotalFeed - daily||25|
|Megaflor - daily||25|
|C-Cibus - daily||25||25|
|Constanta - daily||5||5||5||5||5||5|
|Ca-Support - daily||5||5||10||10||5||5|
|Booster 1 tsp / gal|
|Tropical Greenhouse Plus||1|
|Pink N Good Flower Booster||1/mo|
|Booster 1 tsp / gal of soil|
|Top Tropicals Smart Release||1|
|Mango-Food Fruit Tree Booster||1/mo|
!!! To enhance effect of all nutrients, apply SUNSHINE™ Epi before application of micro- or macro-nutrients
SUNSHINE™ Epi - monthly
SUNSHINE™ SuperFood - monthly
SUNSHINE™ HumiHum - monthly
SUNSHINE™ Honey - monthly
SUNSHINE™-GreenLeaf - monthly
|SUNSHINE™ Ca-Support - daily||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||5|
|Liquid Boosters (for every watering)|
|Booster ml/gal - daily|
Bombino - for seedlings and young plants
Robusta - for seedlings and young plants
|Booster 1 tsp / gal - monthly|
|Booster 1 tsp / gal of soil - monthly|
1. Daily watering in one can: NPK 25 ml/gal (one of 5, depending on growth stage) + Constanta 5 ml/gal + Ca-Support 5 ml/gal, mixed in tap water
2. Every 2 weeks: spray Sunshine-Epi 2.5 ml/gal - to boost immune system and growth rate, mixed in distilled water
3. From daily to every 2 weeks: Sunshine-Power-Si 25 ml/gal to protect from diseases and keep pH at 5.5-6.5. Can be used as often as daily and mixed with daily watering solution (1)
4. As needed: Sunshine SuperFood and GreenLeaf - for correcting deficiencies. Can be also mixed with daily solution (1)
You can mix different nutrient components together in solution, except Epi. (See also advanced information on Sunshine Boosters compatibility)
Add them into water (do not mix concentrates, mix into water)
Prepare solution right before use and do not store solution more than 1 day.
Keep concentrates and solutions protected from bright sunlight.
|Pre-soaking seeds||3-6 hours|
|Pre-soaking cuttings||30-40 min|
|vegetative growth||monthly||25||5||10||5||25||1 tsp/gal|
|pre-flower||monthly||25||5||10||5||25||1 tsp gal||1/2 tsp/gal soil|
|buds||monthly||25||5||5||5||25||1 tsp/gal||1/2 tsp/gal soil|
1. Propagation mix must have very high drainage characteristics. Use Sunshine Starter Mixes.
2. Leaves must stay moist (fine mist), roots - not soggy
3. Pre-treatment with fungicide to avoid rot
4. Pre-treatment with rooting hormone (for cuttings) and Sunshine-Epi (cuttings and seeds). Rooting hormones (dry or liquid) also work as fungicide and help to prevent cuttings rot.
5. Mixes for both rooting cuttings and seeds germination must include special slow-release fertilizer to make food available right away once the root start forming
|Plant stage||week #||MACRO-Boosters (NPK), ml/gal of water||MICRO-Boosters, ml/gal of water|
|ml for 1 gal of water|
Q: Problems with Lemon and Mango trees. On the Citrus, the leaves show bad signs of clorosis, and Mango leaves have some kind of deficiency and curling up... I tried iron supplement but it didn't help a thing. What should I do?
A: Both plants show obvious Nitrogen (N) deficiency in young leaves that look evenly-yellowish-pale.
Reddish spots are signs of Phosphorus (P) deficiency.
Dry leaf appearance is a sign of lack of of Potassium (K)
Both plants lacking not only micro-elements but also basic NPK nutrients. In situation with NPK deficiency, micro-element deficiency always develops quickly and regardless of presence of micro-elements in daily feeding. It is like taking lots of vitamins while starving and not eating a regular meal.
In most cases, element deficiencies appear as a complex, and more than one element are lacking. This is why Complete Nutrition System is the answer to all problems that may occur. Following regular schedule of feeding will keep your plants healthy and always looking like they just arrived from a professional Garden Center!
1. NPK daily. Start with Robusta daily applications 25 ml/gal for 2 weeks then continue with TotalFeed and Megaflor.
2. Constanta daily 5 ml/gal
3. GreenLeaf once a week 5 ml/gal
4. Superfood every other week 5 ml/gal
See more: Diseases and Disorders of Leaves and Twigs
As a rule of thumb, plant's needs in fertilizers are very low in the cold season because they consume less nutrients during dormancy. For tropical plants, when minimum temperatures drop below 65F - we stop applications of dry (granulated) fertilizers until spring, to avoid root burn.
Liquid Sunshine Boosters are exceptions from this rule, for 2 reasons:
- they are amino-acid based which means, salts do not build up in the soil, and thus will not burn the roots even with slower plant metabolism.
- concentrations/formulas are mild and designed for as frequent as daily watering
1) When a plant goes into full dormancy (drops leaves and does not show any new growth), you may stop fertilizing with any Macro NPK products (both dry and liquid)
2) If a plant is evergreen and continues growing during the cooler period, and especially if it is a winter bloomer, mild liquid fertilizers can be applied, depending on the stage of plant development.
Robusta and TotalFeed are used for vegetative growth and pre-flower.
Megaflor and C-Cibus are used for winter flowering/ fruiting plants during the bloom stage.
3) Micro-elements can be used all year round for all plants that are not dormant (do not drop leaves)
4) Always use Sunshine-Epi as a foliar spray to activate immune system and unlock protective mechanisms, BEFORE applying other boosters. It is especially important during Fall-Winter for improving cold tolerance and disease resistance.
5) Always apply foliar spray and/or drench the soil with solutions in morning hours so the plant has time to process the nutrients during daylight when metabolism is the most active.
6) Avoid any dry fertilizers during winter
All solutions in SUNSHINE Booster Nutrition System (liquid macro- and micro-boosters) are compatible.
The only exception is Sunshine-Epi - brassinosteroid bio-stimulant. Epi should be mixed with distilled water separately from other boosters. The reason is, it is very bio-active, and if mixed with other compounds, oxidizes quickly which may affect its performance.
Sunshine-Epi solution must be prepared using distilled water, and applied as foliar spray only (it only works on contact with leaves and not through the root system).
Epi shows extremely impressive results when you apply it before application of other nutrients because it increases plant metabolism; so all boosters become even more effective if you spray Epi the day before.
When using Micro- and Macro-boosters, you may mix all components in one watering can/tank (except for Epi), using regular tap water. Besides watering root ball, macro-micro solution can be also used for foliar spray. It is optional, as in some circumstances growers prefer to keep leaves dry at all times: to stay away from mold, fungus and other issues caused by wet environment.
Do not mix Sunshine Boosters with other concentrated fertilizers.
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