Kmag

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by annafl, Oct 20, 2013.

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  1. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    I think quite a few of you use Kmag for your crotons. The one I get from my nursery is a Florikan product which is 0-0-20 Florikote SPM. It has the Potassium Sulfate instead of Nitrate, so that it imparts a bit of acidity to the soil. On asking, I found out it has only 45 days of slow release to it. It is very expensive- around $67 per 50 lb. bag. I use about a half cup to a plant since most of my plants are under 2 feet without a lot of foliage. I can't help but think you all have a better alternative. I looked up online and you can get things like Sul-Po Mag for less than half the price- but my supplier tells me they are not slow release. What do you all use and what do you think you get out of it? Thanks and sorry for so many questions.:eek:
     
  2. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Ana - Diamond Fertilizer. Can't find a Sarasota outlet. Here is a link to their locations: http://www.diamond-r.com/locations.htm

    When you are making your "croton road trips", surely you are going to be in the vacinity of one during your travels. My last purchase of K-mag ran about $15.50 per 50 lb. bag. A half a cup sounds a bit much per plant. I use 100 lbs. broadcast all over the Moose Land. Everything seems to love it. If this is your first feeding of the K-mag, you are probably OK with what you put down. Remember, this is a supplement. Sparce regular use of K-mag throughout the year will give you your desired results.

    Don't fret about the acidity levels, I don't believe you could make your soil "too acidic" to make a croton unhappy.

    When are we gonna see the pile of crotons you got at your first croton dash? Your big cart was crammed full - well guarded by your hubby.
     
  3. Native son

    Native son Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    10a
    Anna, the top fert. Blending companies in your area would be Harrels, Howard's, and Sunniland. They all supply the Ag., Turf, and Landscape market and a few home nursery stores. Your best bet for special blends is a local grower like Jeff that will sale to you. Things to look for in Nitrogen take your pick, coated or slow release more expensive, P not more than 5%, I like super triple phosphate, K KMag is ok but pricey any water soluble Potassium in 10/20% is good. When I can get it I really like the Sunnyland Co material. When in doubt a little bit on a regular schedule always work. Best wishes.
     

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  4. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Hi Ron,

    I'm not worried about acidity. My soil is a bit basic so I'm always happy to add amendments that will go a little on the acid side. I use lots of oak leaves, etc. Unfortunately, the Diamond outlets are nowhere near where I go. If I go toward one of those areas, usually the last thing on my mind is taking time along the way to buy fertilizers. I need to find something I can get close by or places I go to regularly. I had thought I was not adding enough. I will be more careful. How much do you others use per plant?

    Lamar, the Harrel's is available to me through my local nursery if I make a special order. I think it's about $35, but they told me it was not slow release like the Florikan. I cannot find anything about this online. Do you happen to know? Anyone? Anyone know of any other slow release Kmags? Does Jeff sell it? Lamar, that's a beautiful croton. What is it?
     
  5. Native son

    Native son Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    10a
    . Van Buren. Florikan is in my opinion, just a name in the trade. They have done a good job of marketing their product, at the end of the day in a small hands on operation like we are good quality K applied in a timely fashion will get the job done. 35 years in turf I saw PHD's pulling their hair on the N versus K ratio in soil. Don't fight it. TROPICAL FEEL
     

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  6. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks, Lamar, I did not recognize Van Buren. Had I looked to the side I would've had more clues. These two photos were great- no glare and plants were isolated. I changed out your previous photo of the Tropical Feel, as I think this photo is much superior and I added the beautiful variation of the Van Buren. All our crotons have many looks, don't they?
     
  7. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    When it comes to crotons - they are not truly that picky as to what they are fed IMO. They do like acid - so any fertilizer that can lower the pH of the soil seems to be benefical. Soil amendments like adding oak leaves is very good.

    Nitrogen is an important nutrient during the growing season. This coincides with long days (more sun exposure) and heavy rains. From my research, generally the more sun exposure, plants metabolize nitrogen at an accelerated rate. Because of this nitrogen requirement, having a % controlled release nitogen in your fertilizer is very important during the rainy season. We want the nitrogen taken up by the plant, not washed through our soil into the water table.

    As to Triple Phosphate - I am unsure as to its benefit for crotons. The use of phosphate is "old school" and I don't believe Florida soils are difficient in this mineral. If you are growing vegetables, then I could see it being used as it does promote flowering. Crotons seem to flower very well without adding this supplement. I can recall our canals getting clogged with water weeds and algae before phosphates were removed from laundry soaps. Supplementing with phosphate is not needed IMO.

    K-mag: Crotons are not particular about this amendment. Here is a history of why I am a proponent of its use ...

    1. In the early spring of 2011, I attended a multi garden tour sponsored by the South Florida Palm Society. This was right after our experiencing multiple cold fronts. The first garden visited was Jeff Block's. His plant's looked magnifient with very little damage. The other gardens looked beat up, much visible damage with some dead specimen palms. Jeff block is a proponent of K-mag. His research into plant protoplasma indicated that higher levels of these minerals seemed to make his plants "more cold hardy". Jeff grows alot of uber rare and difficult plants to cultivate. He has even invested into a 1000 gallon a day reverse osmosis irrigation system. It would be difficult to dismiss his thoughts on K-mag, especially after witnessing his the conditions of his plants.

    2. While visiting Randy (Palmisland), I noticed a bag of K-mag in his garage. He told me he supplements his garden with it in addition to his regular fertilizing schedule. Randy lives in the western area of Boca Raton, within a mile or two of the everglades. His garden experiences much colder temperatures during cold fronts than Miami-Dade or Broward counties. His palm collection is amazing, having many species that I would never had predicted could withstand his cold events. Have you seen his crotons? All are well grown and show fabulous coloring. He fertilizes everything with a Palm Special with the K-mag supplement. My thinking is that the use of his K-mag not only infused a more cold hardy trait in his plants, it may have contributed to bringing out great colors in his crotons.

    3. Potassium is a mineral that is very lacking in most Florida soils. When potassium deficiency evidence is found on palms, it takes a bit of effort to correct. Because it is a macro-nutrient, it mobilizes from the older leaves to the newer. Once this occurs, the older leaves will continue to exhibit the condition even after potassium levels have been corrected. Palm do need a 2 to 1 ratio of Potassium/Magnesium. Not getting into the molecular interactions of these minerals, simply put an imbalance can cause these minerals to "lock up" and are not taken up into the palms. Unless you have acidic soil, Potassium sulfate, Magnesium sulfate is needed. Potassium & Magnesium sulfate gets metaboilzed more efficiently with soils in the 6.8 to 8.2 pH range.

    Conclusion: Like Randy, I have many palms. Prevention is easier than the correction. Since my supplementing with K-mag, everything in the garden looks much happier. It is and will always be part of my fertilizing schedule.
     
  8. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Ron, you sound passionate about croton nutrition. Clearly, you've spent a lot of time looking into it. Thanks for the lesson.

    1)Very interesting to hear about Jeff Block's plants and his experience with the cold hardiness. Something that would definitely be of benefit to my crotons if this rings true.

    2)Randy, please tell us what brand of Kmag you use and how much you give each plant. I've seen those great photos and I'm wishing my crotons looked like yours. :eek:
     
  9. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,262
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b

    Ana, I use Howard Fertilizer 0-0-22 4 times a year. It's time released as opposed to their "greens grade" which is not. I've also used Lesco 0-0-22 for my entire garden, but it's more expensive than Howard's & it looks like the same formula. How much I spread depends mainly on the palm's needs shading the crotons. The crotons just benefit from it. If I was just feeding a croton, a 1/4 cup spread under a 3 ft plant should be plenty. My biggest issue in Western Palm Beach County is a potassium deficiency for most of my palms, except the Caribbean stuff. I even use Lutz potassium spikes on my more difficult palms.

    With any fertilizer less is always better. You can always adjust your dose as you see the results.:cool:

    I was also at Jeff Block's garden tour. It's amazing what can be accomplished without a budget:rolleyes:
     
  10. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks for all the information, Randy. Obviously I've been using too much, so I will half it next time and wait a little longer. I feel like I know a little better what I'm doing now.:D
     
  11. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Ana - my research over the years about the use of mineral salts manifested from my interests in palms. A careful and consistent fertilizing program has proved beneficial to their cultivation. The crotons just seemed to like the program as well. Since introducing crotons in my yard, I began a program of putting down heavy amounts of mulch. My palms seem to be enjoying this very much.

    Don't concern yourself with the amount of K-mag you already put down. It was not excessive. Your soil may have already been lacking these minerals.
     
  12. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I have a 50# bag waiting for me to pick-up tonight. I will be trying the 0-0-22 for the first time this winter.
     
  13. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    I'll be interested in seeing what you think, Bren. I am just starting to put it down too.
     
  14. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I wish I had it down already with all this rain
     
  15. kwmarko

    kwmarko Active Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    key west
    I'm glad Bren resurrected this topic..... I haven't pursued the Diamond fertilizers, or the florikan product.
    Am I correct it will help with a broader, brighter colors?
     
  16. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I'm sold on Kmag. I am beginning to think it is the most overlooked nutrient there is. Everyone is hung up on nitrogen and iron for healthy green plants. I don't know about crotons, but since I started using it on my palms that had premature yellowing older fronds, the difference has been night and day.
     
  17. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    A K deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in palms in Florida. The Mag in the KMag keeps these two important elements in proper balance.
     
  18. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Apparently it is also a well known deficient nutrient in Hawaiian soils as well.
     

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