Tuesday, September 4, 2012

African Violet Plant Food

Schultz 8-14-9 African Violet Plus Micro-nutrients

I filled out the contact form at www.schultz.com with questions about the percentage of Nitrogen in their product made up from urea. It seems to be widely believed urea is bad for African Violets. An entire new industry seems to have grown up promoting the fact that they DON'T use it in their products and nearly everything written will scream not to use it.
I did find one article written by Joyce Stork in an old AVSA magazine from Nov/Dec 2009 titled, "Urea-Based Fertilizers" on page 51. She suggests many articles written have condemned urea based fertilizers because "it is the safest course of action." She seemed to feel some of the cases being blamed on this ingredient had other issues associated with the problems.
Of course, I bought some :) 
It was the AV plant food with the least percentage of Urea I could find locally out of 4 stores I checked with.
So I wondered why a well established company would continue to include it?
When you wonder something, you should go looking for answers! 

This was their very swift company reply:
Thank you for contacting United Industries.

Nitrogen can come in many different forms, each of which has different qualities. Some, like nitrate nitrogen, are immediately available to the plant and others, like ammoniacal nitrogen and urea nitrogen, become available over time. That is why, as you see, our Nitrogen consists of three different types, which ensures that the plants will get some nitrogen immediately, and some later.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-332-5553.

Product Specialist
United Industries
A subsidiary of Spectrum Brands
I will add the usual cautions:
"If what you're using works, don't change what you're doing!"

Time will tell how my plants do. 
Perhaps an excellent experiment once I have an over abundance of offspring to play with. Which of their directions should you follow? Half strength every watering? Once a month at the full dose?
For now I'm leaning towards a happy medium - half strength middle and end of month.
(Will entertain any and all advice!)


  1. I visited this morning to 'refresh my memory' on what your basic care includes. The photos of your 'improved in three weeks' violets are haunting me! :)
    Coming to that last: 'will entertain any and all advice', I decided to add a comment!
    I have a 1997 AVM article by the Storks on Ammonium Toxicity which deals with that type of nitrogen and the effect temperature has on it and how our violets are able to use it. The article mentions soil bacteria and how cooler temps slow their action. 'Soil bacteria'? What soil bacteria? We nearly 100% to the wo(man) use soil-less mixes. The usual 1/3 peat 1/3 perlite 1/3 vermiculite recipe has been around since before 1997. May be some bacteria in the peat... it is 'decomposed' after all. ???
    I just picked up 2 bottles of Schultz AV Plus! :)

  2. MEMO TO MYSELF! Left new questions on their contact page 10/22 "Contacted [Schultz] you in Sept RE/urea in AV PLUS. Has your product been tested/proven in "Soil less" mix? Does how a plant takes up Nitrogen require (bacteria?) "real" soil conditions - possibly lacking in 1/1/1 mix of peat, vermiculite, perlite commonly used by hybrid African Violet growers?"

  3. Laurie, did you ever get a response? I asked the same question of the Miracle-Gro people, and never heard back (probably didn't know and didn't want to deal).


    PS Loving the blog!