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Help! Can I Use Gelatin As Fertilizer for Peace Lilies?

Ask The Plant Expert:

Gelatin as fertilizer for Peace Lilies? Read that dissolved gelatin in 1 liter of water, can be used as a fertilizer for peace lilies. True??? – Miranda

Gelatin Used As Fertalizer?Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:


I am afraid that is a new one on me.  I tend to be traditional when it comes to fertilizer, relying on the primary nutrients of N, P and K along with a few trace elements. Since I am unfamiliar with the composition of gelatin, I can’t recommend it. From what I know of gelatin, it is derived from animals bones and connective tissue and therefore probably contains some phosphorous.  So, it shouldn’t hurt the peace lily, but won’t give it the balanced nutrition it needs.

If you still plan to use gelatin, be sure it is unflavored and does not contain artificial sweeteners.

Hope this information was helpful.

Keeping Potted Hydrangeas Happy, Healthy & The Right Color

Pink HydrangeaAsk The Expert: This is the first time I’ve tried to grow hydrangeas in pots; they are actually doing very well. My first plant was purple that I bought in April, the color now is a greenish color, (very beautiful color). I also have a light pink (called white spirit) and burgundy color. How do I keep the color purple, pink or even blue? What plant food is best, and anything else that keeps my hydrangeas beautiful in pots.  Thank You for your help in this matter. -Juanita

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Juanita,

Eventually you will need to re-plant the hydrangeas in the ground. I am assuming that you have Mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla). These types of hydrangea bloom-colors are controlled by soil conditions, specifically the pH of the soil.

  • To keep a hydrangea pink you would amend the soil with lime.
  • To keep it blue you would use aluminum sulfate.
  • Purple blooms are usually the result of a more neutral soil pH.

This would be done in late winter or early spring.

Once a bloom has formed, you can not change or control the color. So, at this point you don’t need to do anything. However, as the bloom begins to decline (which they all do) the color may change to a lighter pink or blue. Some varieties will change to a light greenish or dusty pink color towards end of the bloom life.

As for fertilizer, feed them once or twice during the summer with a slow release fertilizer. I recommend something with a balance ratio like 10-10-10 or 14-14-14. You local garden center nursery will have this product.

Hope this information has been helpful. Please let me know if you need assistance with anything else.
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Help! Am I Over-Fertilizing My Hanging Baskets?

Ask The Expert: I water my hanging baskets everyday with a mixture of Miracle Gro Bloom Booster, 1/4 tsp to 2 gallons of water my baskets seems to be doing pretty good, except this one. It just seems like it needs something more, it is yellowing on the leaves and seems weak. I also have a slow release fertilizer mixed in with the soil (granuals). I have noticed also in one other plant the color like this one seems to be dull in my flowers. What am I missing? –Melodie

Hanging Basket

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Melodie, Lack of or need for fertilizer is not always the reason plants turn yellow. Water issues are often the problem. Your plant may be experiencing an over abundance of water. Check to make sure that your container is allowing excess water to drain away from the plant.

However, over-fertilization can also be a problem. Since you have a slow-release fertilizer in the soil, I would cut back on the liquid fertilizer.

Hope this information was helpful.

Winterizing, Pruning and Fertilizing Your Azaleas

Ask the Expert: what should i be doing to my azaleas now (NOvember)
Potted AzaleaMy azaleas have not been doing as well as I like. When do we fertilize them and what pointers will help me to care for them? My Azaleas are planted outside. They are about 2 1/2 feet high and look healthy but I have not been getting flowers in March as in the past. I live in South Carolina. When is the time when they should be fertilized and when does one do it? Also, when do you trim the bushes? Thank you so much. Frances

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:
Don’t be alarmed at the lack of blooming this past year. Occasionally azaleas will be thrown off by inconsistency in the season – too cold, too wet, too dry too hot. However, if the problem persists for more than one year an issue may exist that needs to be corrected.

To determine what the problem is, we must first evaluate all the factors that contribute to blooming.

First is light exposure. Has the amount of light the azaleas are exposed to throughout the year changed. When azaleas do not get enough light during the growing season blooming can become inhibited. A solution for this is to give the azaleas more light by pruning the trees or shrubs that are shading them. At the same time, too much light at mid-day can cause scorching. However, this won’t keep blooms from forming.

Second factor is fertilization. Azaleas can be heavy feeders needing fertilizer monthly during the growing season. I usually recommend fertilizing your azaleas April through August. I like to use a granular slow release fertilizer that contains a systemic insecticide. Your local garden center and nursery should have the fertilizer you need. You might ask them what they recommend in your area as a fertilizer and the time period in which to fertilize them. You do not want to fertilize your azaleas during the dormancy period.

Third factor is pruning. The rule of thumb is to prune your azaleas immediately after they finish blooming or at least within that month. If you prune your azaleas at the wrong time, you might cut the future blooms off. Azaleas set their blooms many months in advance of when they actually bloom. You can prune your azalea severely or lightly depending on how much height and shape you need.

Another factor is proper care during the winter. In the fall, you need to mulch around your azaleas. You can use a multitude of different materials to do this – pine straw, hardwood mulch, pine mulch, cypress mulch, etc. You can discuss the options with your local garden center and nursery. Depending on the winter, your blooms can be damage if the weather becomes extremely cold. When we have had extreme temperatures in our area, I have actually iced my azaleas. Icing involves wetting the azaleas so that ice forms and the plant stays at 32° F. Before you attempt this talk to your local garden center. they will be able to determine if this is the right course of action for your area.

Hopefully these suggestion will help remedy your azalea issues.

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