Winter Fertilizer Schedule

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by Moose, Nov 6, 2010.

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  1. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    My last application of granular fertilizer was on Sept. 15th. Although it is a 90 day fertilizer, the majority of the mineral salts have dissolved in the first 60 days. Dr Frank Brown in his book Florida's Beautiful Crotons 1960 on page 55 states " A fertilizer high in nitrogen content should be used for applications up until about the first of September".

    As suggested by Judy Glock, I supplement with a foliar feeding of soluble fertilizer. This is readily absorbed and the residual benefits last for 10 - 14 days. By ceasing the foliar feedings and with the granular fertilizer nearly depleted, the available nitrogen to my plants diminshed. This is important going into our winter cycle. Nitogen promotes new leaf grown that will not get a chance to harden off for our cold days.

    Research has been done on nitrogen derived from urea (soluble). This research was done in reference to Palms: When soils drop below 60 F, this type of nitrogen provides no benefit and actually becomes toxic to the plant. If this is true for crotons, I do not know but I will not gamble and will assume it is parallel with crotons as well.

    To aid our plants to harden off, I recommend an application of K-Mag (Potassium / Magnesium). As Dr. Frank Brown stated again in his book on page 55: "After that Time (September), a fertilizer with a high content of potash is recommended." Potassium and Magnesium work hand in hand. If not applied together, you may lock up the absorbtion of these importnt minerals. Plants that have recieved a K-Mag supplement have proven to suffer less cols damage and an increased survival rate when we we get wacked by "severe cold".

    What is your fertilzer schedule?
  2. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

    South Florida, USA
    Schedule? Sometimes on the eight day of the week, I'll try to bring some bags home.:)
  3. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    No change from the rest of the year except less in late fall. Everything gets a controlled release 8-2-12+4Mg (or something close to that) three or four times per year
  4. Central Floridave

    Central Floridave Active Member

    Since I don't have a sprinkler system (other than hand watering), and it never rains here anymore, I only fertilizer when I see guaranteed rain. I don't fertilize all that much as my soil is very fertile and heavily mulched. But when I do I go with the low nitrogen palm special formulas w/minors. I don't want quick growth and want slow and natural. I'm sure I could get quicker growth, but I'm running on the philosophy that slow growth is better in the long term survival of plants that are growing too far North. When I dig into my soil it is loaded with earth worms and I live under live oak canopy. So, I'm not too sure extra fertilizer is needed. I've never seen any plant croak or show any signs of nutrient deficiency. Croton seem to be pretty efficient on fending on its own and fortunately they are drought tolerant if you ween them off the water grid. We just went through a month long drought for october and I did water some of the newly planted croton. But, the ones that have been established survived it and look great. Sorry for the ramble, I just drank a large buzz...zoom zoom...
  5. koki

    koki Active Member

    pine island, fl
    I agree the drought tolerence of crotons depends a lot on the lack of regularity of watering, (and of course the age of the plant.) The crotons in the Key West cemetary are a good example. Full sun, no irrigation, no supplemental watering, healthy and attractive.
  6. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Western Boca Raton
    When I walk around the garden and DON'T see any fertilizer pellets on the ground, I get another bag. Probably happens twice a year.

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