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Marmite plant food?

Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
I have had 2 small tree ferns for a couple of years and this summer the fronds look a bit less green than previously so I wondered about feeding them. The advice is to use half strength liquid feed so rather than using the crystals you dissolve in water, I bought some  Miracle Gro all purpose concentrate which is a liquid to dilute without the fear of having residue. On opening the bottle I found it to be a thick sticky looking liquid which looks and smells exactly like runny Marmite. When diluted to make it half strength it is like weak coffee and still smells of Marmite! Has anyone used this and if so does yours smell the same please? It is a bit worrying to think that it hasn't a childproof top and is so like something you would eat. Thanks for any suggestions. 

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,562
    I use little sticks you poke into the pot in several places around the roots so the nutrients are released slowly when watered.   There are different ones for foliage and flowering houseplants.

    As with any other chemical or medicine in the house, store it out of the reach of children and you'll have no problems.   
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,063
    edited August 2020
    I haven't used that brand, but just to clarify, did you dilute it to half the strength on the instructions, ie (roughly) twice as much water to a capful of concentrate as the instructions say, or do you mean half-and-half concentrate and water? The latter will be far too strong. Garden chemicals should always be kept where small children can't get at them and I'd be surprised if it doesn't say so on the label.
    Edited to add: is it this one https://www.lovethegarden.com/uk-en/product/miracle-gro-all-purpose-concentrated-liquid-plant-food-1-litre ? If so, full strength is half a capful to one litre of water, so half strength would be half a capful to two litres (or one capful to four litres).
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,441
    edited August 2020
    Todd's Botanics recommend 1/4 strength liquid feed such as Phostrogen. I would always err on the side of under-fertilising than over-fertilising. You can't really go too badly wrong with this approach! It might be worth replenishing the leaf mould around their base. This is how they would get all their nutrients in the wild.
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Thankfully we have no children to worry about. As to dilution I used twice the amount of water plus some extra so it was very weak. It is the first food they have had in 2 years. Thank you for the suggestions. As they were a significant investment they will get TLC!
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Tyne & Wear Green Belt Posts: 1,512
    Is it the organic Miracle Gro? I had some recently and it did indeed smell like Marmite (thick and gloopy from the bottle; my yard smelled of food for the rest of the day!) If it helps, my plants have grown more this spring and summer than the last few so it's definitely not harmed them. 😊
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Thanks James. Yes it is organic. The smell is really odd, usually brown fertiliser such as that made with comfrey for example, smells disgusting. Yesterday I tried to email the manufacturer but it wouldn't 'send' so I phoned. I am concerned that it smells of food but hasn't a childproof top. I'm awaiting a proper response but was told that despite it not being a good idea, it wouldn't cause harm if you drank it!!! Stranger still, the label on the bottle states that it is VEGAN!!
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    Labelling organic fertilisers as vegan is only there to inform actual vegans that can use it on their plants if they don't want animal by-products to feed their crops. Shampoos have that labelling and nobody will try to drink them. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Mmm I did realise why it said vegan but I find it difficult to see why even vegans would dismiss the use of manure. Perhaps they don't.... Organic farmers must use something to grow the vegetables vegans eat.....
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    it must be so complicated being vegan...
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
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