“Bloom Booster” Fertilizers

You’ll read and hear about the use of “Bloom Boosters” or “miracle” fertilizers that promise to make your plants grow and bloom better. The reality, however is that…

there is no such thing as a bloom booster!

If you, as a grower, do everything right – light levels, duration, and periodicity, temperatures and temperature variation, humidity, air movement around the plant and its root system, nutrition and watering – you allow the plant to grow and bloom to it’s maximum , genetically-programmed potential. There is nothing you can do that overrides genetics in that respect. On the other hand, any cultural shortfalls can, and likely will hinder the plant from reaching its potential.

So when you hear someone describe, or read an ad for something that’s supposed to “make your plants grow better”, you have to evaluate whether or not it is something that will improve your culture by eliminating or reducing a shortcoming and therefore allow your plants to do better, because you’re simply not forcing anything.

Using the example of high-phosphorus, so-called “bloom booster” fertilizers, they are marketing hype and not much more. A plant will only use as much phosphorus as it needs – which isn’t all that much – and exposing it to more does nothing. In fact, studies have shown that it is excessive nitrogen that “quashes” blooming, not that another product “boosts” it. To overcome that, fertilizer manufacturers add inexpensive phosphorus minerals to ordinary, high-nitrogen formulas in order to dilute the nitrogen content and relieve the suppressing effect.

A further comment: sometimes when you hear glowing comments about that “miracle” product, the reporter doesn’t realize that a shortfall was remedied. For example, when the “MSU” fertilizer formulas hit the orchid-growing scene, many new users were simply “astounded” at how much better their plants grew and bloomed. In fact, that had little to do with the fertilizer, but due to the novelty factor, they suddenly began to pay more attention to their plants and fed them on a regular basis, rather than the “hit or miss” method they had previously been providing. In other words, they were giving their plants what they needed to live up to their genetic potential.

Using Science & Logic to Improve Horticulture