Experiments on vegetation have shown that a plant will thrive when the lacking substances are supplied in a suitable form, e. g., in the following combinations:

I

Calcium nitrate, potassium nitrate, potassium phosphate, magnesium phosphate, ferric phosphate (sodium chloride).

II

Calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, potassium sulphate, magnesium phosphate, iron chloride (or sulphate) (sodium silicate).

It is well known that in nature nitrates are formed wherever decomposition of organic nitrogenous substances takes place in the air, the ammonia formed by the decomposition being oxidized to nitric acid. These conditions for the formation of nitrates are present in nearly every cornfield, and they are also the cause of the presence of nitrates in water that has its source near stables, etc. In Peruvian guano nitrogen is present partly in the form of potassium nitrate, partly as ammonium phosphate and sulphate. As a nitrate it acts more rapidly than in the form of ammonia, but in the latter case the effect is more lasting. Phosphoric acid occurs in guano combined with ammonia, potash, and chiefly with lime, the last being slower and more lasting in action than the others.

Nearly all artificial fertilizers conform, more or less, to one of the following general formulas:

I

Artificial Flower Fertilizer,—

 

1

2

3

Ammonium nitrate

.0.40

1.60

40.0 parts

Ammonium phosphate..

..0.20

0.80

20.0 parts

Potassium nitrate......

. 0.25

1.00

25.0 parts

Ammonium chloride

.0.05

0.20

5.0 parts

 

..0.06

0.24

6.0 parts

Calcium Sulphate

,.0.04

0.16

4.0 parts

Ferrous sulphate

1.00

4.00

100.0 parts

Dissolve 1 part in 1,000 parts water, and water the flowers with it 2 or 3 times weekly. Dissolve 4 parts in 1,000 parts water, and water with this quantity 10 or 12 pots of medium size.                     

II

Compost for Indoor Plants.—

 

1

2

3

Ammonium sulphate. .

..0.30

1.20

30.0 parts

Sodium chloride

..0.30

1.20

30.0 parts

Potassium nitrate

..0.15

0.60

15.0 parts

Magnesium sulphate

..0.15

0.60

15.0 parts

Magnesium phosphate.

..0.04

0.20

4.0 parts

Sodium phosphate

..0.06

0.24

6.0 parts

 

1.00

4.00

100.0 parts

One part to be dissolved in 1,000 parts water and the flowers watered up to 3 times daily. Dissolve 4 parts in 1,000 parts water, and water with this solution daily:

III

Plant Food Solution.—

1

2

Potassium chloride

12.5 parts

   

Calcium nitrate

58.0 parts

Magnesium sulphate.......0.125 or

12.0 parta

Potassium phosphate

15.0 parts

Iron phosphate, recently precipitated

2.5 parts

 

1.160 or

100. 0 parts

This turbid mixture (1 part in 1,000 parts) is used alternately with water for watering a pot of about 1 quart capacity; for smaller or larger pots in proportion. After using the amount indicated, the watering is continued with water alone.

IV

Fertilizer with Organic Matter, for Pot Flowers.—

Potassium nitrate..     100.0 parts Ammonium phosphate ..........     100.0 parts

Phosphoric acid. . .         2.5 parts

Simple syrup......     1,000 parts

Add not more than 10 parts to 1,000 parts water, and water alternately with this and with water alone. For cactaceĉ, crassulaceĉ, and similar plants, which do not assimilate organic matter directly, use distilled water instead of syrup.

Chlorotic plants are painted with a dilute iron solution or iron is added to the soil, which causes them to assume their natural green color. The iron is used in form of ferric chloride or ferrous sulphate.

V

Sodium phosphate 4 ounces

Sodium nitrate.... 4 ounces

Ammonium sulphate.......... 2 ounces

Sugar........... 1 ounce

Use 2 teaspoonfuls to a gallon of water.

VI

Ammonium phosphate 30 parts

Sodium nitrate........ 25 parts

Potassium nitrate..... 25 parts

Ammonium sulphate.. 20 parts

Water...........100,000 parts

One application of this a week is enough for the slower growing plants, and 2 for the more rapid growing herbaceous ones.