This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

May 22, 2014

A neat, and cheap, trick for fertilizing your plants

One of the things that surprised me when I started learning about caring for a tropical garden was the cost of fertilizer. If you have a large property with a lot of tropical plants, it can cost you the big bucks every month just to keep those hungry mouths fed!

The lesson that I took away from that was that tropical plants need a regular feeding of fertilizer. Personally, I like to call it plant food, but it really doesn't matter what you call it, and unless you have nothing but cactus and dirt in your garden, you need to feed.

And, at the risk of sounding like I'm ranting (I've been doing this long enough, I have earned the right to rant!), you can go onto forums that discuss the correct fertilizer, you can read blog posts that talk about ratios of this and that in fertilizer, but if your plants are out there starving to death, you really are better off getting them some food and feeding them.

Of course, I have tried everything. I have the expensive Osmocote that I use when I plant things, I have plenty of Miracle-Gro that I use in a watering can, but my personal favorite are the plant food spikes that I get at the Dollar Store.

But you might say, *whoa, those aren't vegetables! I don't see any tomatoes in your garden!* Well, here is where knowledge is power. Tomatoes are tropical plants. Like houseplants, their needs for fertilizer are the same as most other tropical plants.

I got these Jobe's Organics Fertilizer spikes at the 99-cent store at 54th Avenue and Glendale a couple of days ago. I got a bunch of them, and I wander out into the garden and stick them in the ground at the base of the plants. These bigger spikes I find easier to use in the garden than the little tiny houseplant spikes, but I use both. When I see them at the Dollar Store, I get a lot! My plants love 'em, and I love how cheap they are!
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