Q22 – How do I set up the fertilizer tube correctly

The Plant Booster self watering system will look after watering your plant, but looking after the plant, dead-heading, trimming and adding in fertilizer to your container plant during the season will boost the plant’s performance.

If your containers don’t have slow release fertilizer already added into the soil of the container, using a fertilizer tube to add it in is an easy way to do it.

The fertilizer tube that can be bought as an accessory can be set up in several ways.  The way it works is that water drips into the fertilizer tube when the plant becomes lighter, the tube fills up with water, flooding the slow release fertilizer, and then overflowing through the outflow tube into the plant.  This way with every drop going into the plant will contain some dissolved fertilizer.  It is hard to say how long the fertilizer lasts because that depends on the fertilizer used, temperature, and the water drip rate, but using a Koch Polyon slow release fertilizer like an 18-6-12, or 16-6-12, I have noticed a significant improvement in the plant’s performance for a period of several months.

Note that because of the way the Plant Booster system works, basically everything dripped into the plant stays in the plant because unlike conventional systems, the plant only gets as much water as it needs, not to the point where excess water drips out (taking nutrients with it)

The fertilizer should be filled into the tube up to a level below the overflow outlet, and care should be taken to make sure that the fertilizer prils all become fully wetted and sink so that there are no floaters that could block the inlet of the overflow tube.  In order to be sure that no prills float and block the overflow outlet a simple solution is to cut a disc from a Scotchbrite pad, or similar, and use it as a screen on top of the prills.

For best effect I recommend changing out the fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks. Occasionally adding in a supplementary shot of a liquid fertilizer like Miracle-Gro won’t hurt either.

Note also that the use of a weight is not absolutely necessary, especially when using a fertilizer tube as the tube can also just be cut short as shown in the pictures below.