miracle gro's product = miracle kill?

Beverly Hills, CA

I bought this bottle of miracle gro quick start solution, i followed the instruction, 1/2 of capful solution with 1 gallon of water, and i put a little of this mixed solution for this plant, in about 3 days, this plant is dead, the two leaves are still green, but the root turned entirely black. Not only the solution killed this plant, it seems to have killed my other few plants.


according to the lable, it has 4% N, 12% p2o5, and 4% K.

So what is going on here? I suppose that it is safe to just pour the mixed solution around the plant.

Waterman, IL(Zone 5a)

As far as I know Quick Start isn't a fertilizer, it's a rooting hormone used for transplanting seedlings.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

It is a fertilizer, but it's designed especially for transplanting things to help them get their roots going strong. Your plant in the picture looks like it's still a seedling, and for them I usually use fertilizers at 1/2 or 1/4 strength, but I looked this one up and the label says it's perfectly safe to use on seedlings so maybe that wouldn't be a problem in this case. Honestly though I've read in a lot of places that you shouldn't be fertilizing right after you transplant since the roots can burn more easily--there are other "root booster" type products like Super Thrive that have vitamins and things in them but no N/P/K. Or of course there's always the possibility that the timing was just a coincidence and the problems were caused by something else like overwatering.

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

Does your soil have rough bits of bark mixed all they way through? That type of mix could allow too much air to the roots and would not hold enough moisture for the plants.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I would think your plant was too young to need fertilising, I dont add any stuff till after the plants have settled and grew some nice roots, then I add the fertilisers to the potting mixture so the plants can take this when they really need too, when added as water soluble, they have no option but to take the feed up when they drink the water, but everyone has different methods, but adding feed stuff too early causes more harm than good is my own experience, when too small/young, their roots are very immature also and need to make stronger new roots. good luck. WeeNel.

Waterman, IL(Zone 5a)

Sorry, I thought Quick Start was just a rooting hormone. I usually use Root Tone.

Beverly Hills, CA

Actually, I spent about $6.40 on a bottle of this, to save this tropical plant dumb cane,


this solution didn't help at all, the plant died anyway.

I had no other use of this solution, and since it has those npk, i thought that i would use it as a regular fertilizer, it somehow killed this first plant in my first message and another plant that i just transplanted.

Youngman, same thing happened to me with the quick start. I used it on a new tree and several plants. they died. IMHO, the stuff is garbage. Im not buying anymore MG products. I've done research on the net about MG and there didnt seem to be too many positive remarks about it. Nevertheless, the product is heavily available at many stores. Who knows, maybe im just not using it correctly or maybe its the soil and product mixture.
Ive learned the less stuff you put into the back fill dirt when planting the better. Just dirt and water it daily for the first two weeks then every other day for three weeks, etc. then follow the schedule for watering plants in your area for new plants.

Beverly Hills, CA

I am glad that i posted this, I think that they should change it from Quick start to Quick death! We live at two different places, and we plant different things under different conditions, but it killed all. It must be their product.

They even have a gurantee on the label, it states that if we are not satisfied, we can mail the empty bottle for a refund. I am thinking about calling or emailing them for a refund.

This message was edited Sep 26, 2008 3:06 AM

Naples, ME

I believe we all have the same problem when starting out. I found out the hard way that too much fertilizer is much worse than not enough. Water is the best and cheapest fertilizer there is.

Beverly Hills, CA

yea, that is what i call marketing! they tricked us to believe that we need to buy more and more fertilizers, in the end, they killed our plants. it even killed an agave that i had.

This message was edited Sep 27, 2008 3:23 PM

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm not sure that water falls under the term "fertilizer" as most people understand the word. It is certainly required for a plant to survive and prosper, but so is light, so if water is a fertilizer then I suppose light is also. (Some water may contain trace elements, which would act as a fertilizer).

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Here's some food for thought regarding chemical fertilizers and the harm they can cause: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/893139/

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

youngman, do you realize that just because B follows A, A did not necessarily cause B? Any number of things can "kill" a plant. And you might want to remember that whatever you do to your plants is your choice. No one holds a gun to your head and makes you fertilize or not fertilize, mulch or not mulch, water a lot or a little, etc.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

And while there are many who believe that synthetic fertilizers are not the best thing to use for a variety of reasons, if they're used properly and according to the directions they shouldn't kill the plant you're using them on.

Beverly Hills, CA

dp72, I didn't just use the solution on one plant, i used them all over the place. I mixed the solution with the water, of course.

i poured some around two tiny radish plants, the next day, they died, but the brasil next to them survived. then i poured some very diluted solution around a tiny pumpkin plant, it also died. and if i remembered it correctly, i poured some solution around a rose cutting which already grew at least 5 leaves, it also died. and i poured some around some recent transplanted anthurium which was the purpose of this solution, it also died. the root turned black.

after i poured some solution around this philodendron,


the two leaves were still green, and root already turned black.

and i poured some around a aloe vera like plant, it also died. this particular plant is not very hard to grow, but it died.

i also poured some around some spider plants, their green leaves wilted, only 1 or two leaves are still green now.

i first used 1/2 cap of solution mixed with the 1 gallon water, after i used 1/2 of the mixed liquid, i put some more water in the bottle. So it is not because i used too much concentrated solution. around the same time, i poured this solution all over the place. the end result is the miracle gro's quick death for almost all the plants.

aztrees08 used the same product, it also killed his/her plants. so many plants died after i used this product, so there is no way that it is not this product's fault.

by the way, aztrees08, I emailed them, someone wrote back and told me that if i send them the receipt or the upc code, they will give me a refund, if you still have the bottle, you might try that, too. =)

This message was edited Sep 29, 2008 2:09 PM

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Then don't use any more fertilizer.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Back in '89 or '90 they put the wrong chemical in the bottle and I lost all of my new landscaping. They only reimburse for the cost of the bottle of chemical, not for all of my shrubs and plants. Please bring your concerns to the company's attention, they may be having another problem.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

In my experience, philodendrons, spider plants, and aloe like to be left alone. At times I've been quite neglectful of mine, sometimes forgetting to water them until they turned droopy and brown. Gave 'em a little water, trimmed some dead leaves, and they soldiered on.

I understand your intentions. You put a plant or seed in some dirt and you want to do everything you can to make it thrive. But most plants are very resilient if you just give them the basics and let them do their thing. I found this out for real with my first vegetable garden. Storms, floods, insects, drought, extreme wind. . . There were quite a few times this summer when I thought I'd go out to my garden and see at least one plant (or all of them) dead in the dirt. But there they would be, bigger and stronger than ever. (Most of the time. I did lose a few, I'll admit.)

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I also am starting to wonder if they put the right stuff in the bottle. An 4-12-4 fertilizer used according to directions won't kill plants, so the only thing I can think of is they accidentally put too much of something in there or put a wrong ingredient in it.

The MG product i used were the blue crystals that you mix with water. I bought a box of the stuff. I did lose alot of healthy plants after using this product. I did not want to overfertilize as ive read this is not good for your plants. So it was pretty diluted. I am now convinced that two trees i fertilized with this product have suffered severe stress since i first used this product on them. After i lost alot of plants to this stuff i stopped using it. Two trees that survived are just now starting to look better. i racked my brain wondering what the heck was wrong with them. I finally decided that it was this fertilizer i used 6 months ago and probably needed to completely flood the ground around these trees in hopes of flushing this stuff out of the ground and around the roots. It worked. The trunks are starting to look green again and the leaves have not turned yellow as they were doing every time i watered them. I think that the MG product was burning the roots at every watering. Yes, it was my choice to use this product although i did not know at the time what the stuff looked like until i opened the box. When i purchased the big yellow box, i thought i was purchasing granuals or pellets, but when i saw bags of blue crystal stuff, i was a little disappointed and worried. I used it anyway thinking, this is a well known product and if i use it correctly, it should be fine. (Not) So, i will not be killing or stressing anymore of my plants again. I bought this stuff from Lowes a while back so im sure i dont have the receit any more. I beleive it was about 10.00 or more. Im going to try what young man suggested and send them the UPC code. Thanks youngman. then im throwing the crap in the trash. Hopefully this synthetic fert. is not harmful to the environment if discarded at regular dump sites.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

I believe a panic has been set off here on dubious grounds. If you take too much aspirin, or willow leaf extract for the 'natural' set, it can be toxic. Scott's has rigid checks and balances in their production process. Everything, including water, should be used in the proper amounts. Drinking a huge quantity of water is as deadly as taking cyanide. Dead is dead.

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Scott's isn't above making mistakes - try doing a search for "Scott's recall".

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Mistakes happen. Scott's is a huge corporation. A mistake in the formulation of this batch of fertilizer may or may not have happened. The burden of proof is on the one making the accusation. I personally dislike Scott's because of their overly aggressive marketing techniques (squelching competitors), but all this discussion is based on subjective reasoning and there were certainly no controls in place. The aggrieved parties need to have an independent lab confirm their suspicions. In the vast number of instances, the misuse of herbs, medicines, herbicides, pesticides, commercial fertilizers, etc. is the cause of adverse effects. A mob mentality seems to be developing here. I never buy Scott's products for the reason I stated, but to one of their products on anecdotal evidence is suspect. Nothing will be solved by these exchanges. It will evolve into a forum for those so inclined to condemn "chemical" products, as if every single thing in the universe were not composed of chemicals.

Beverly Hills, CA

i just found out that it killed another one of my rose cutting. the stem was growing well, now it is all black. when i poured the solution around this one, it was diluted at least twice already.

Also the person who told me that I can get a refund, she didn't even ask me to give her that particular product id number or anything, so they can see if there is something wrong with that product.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

As other people in this thread have said, if you're using this product on cuttings and new plants, you're using this product in the wrong way. The company's product page http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/productTemplate.jsp?bodyCssClass=scotts+blade+product+detailusage+en&tabs=usage&navAction=jump&bodyId=product_detail_usage&proId=prod70204&title=p_product_general_usage_title&itemId=cat50106&id=cat50006 seems to be saying that this product is intended for young transplants with well-established roots. Not for cuttings.

The old style of doing a cutting is to root it in water. Most people now recommend sticking it in a moist growing medium. And if you're dealing with a plant that is known for being stubborn for developing roots, you can dip it in a root hormone before putting it in the growing medium. But a product that has an N-P-K number is not a root hormone.

You make me laugh because you're that kid who has so much enthusiasm for what he's talking about that he can't hear the answers to his questions. I can certainly remember being that person. :o)

But you're also frustrating a few people - it seems like - because you are asking questions but not really taking in the responses. And people are giving you some really good advice about taking care of cuttings and other plants. Gardening isn't about dumping fertilizer on everything indiscriminately. It's about knowing the needs of each plant in various stages of growth and providing for those needs - even when those needs are for you to leave it alone.

Take a deep breath, click around the site and do some reading, and consider the fact that possibly Scott's didn't kill everything in your house.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

indy_v, I think you are being generous in suggesting that this guy- or gal- is excited about getting into horticulture. My hunch is that s/he is more into yanking our chains. S/he's gotten a lot of sincere, well-meaning replies to questions that are definitely off-the-wall. I take the bait because I think it's interesting that so many people will try to give sound advice, and the responses are, well, indicative that no one is getting through. I'll hang on until I tire of it, because it's a phenomenon I've not come across on Dave's.

Saint Louis, MO

youngman, would you like some cuttings sent to you to get started again? I have just about all of the houseplants and roses you mentioned above that I would be glad to share with you. The only things I don't have are the vegetable plants. Let me know if you are interested. As so many of the others before me mentioned, you would do better to under fertilize than over fertilize. That's a hard lesson for some, including me (years ago). Kind of the thinking that if a little is good, a lot is better. That's usually not true of anything, but it's definately not regarding plants. Hang in there. Every mistake is a lesson learned down the road.

Beverly Hills, CA

well, the solution is named "quick start", it didn't say that it can't be used for cuttings. i was thinking about buying a root hormone, but i was afraid of that they might be too strong, so this one seemed to be the right product with the right name, that is why i bought it. if it can be used for transplant, i thought that it would be good for cuttings to grow some roots as well.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Exactly what did you think rooting hormone is used for, if not to stimulate the growth of ROOTS on cuttings? Instead of going by the NAME of a product, it's better to read the label and find out what it's FOR. There is a product called ROUNDUP, but it doesn't have anything to do with herding cattle. Is there a community college near where you live? It might be a good idea for you to find out if they offer any continuing education classes in the very basics of horticulture. Does your state have a Master Gardener program? Those programs give participants a good background in a lot of areas having to do with growing plants.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Oh! So that's why my cows died!

I'm suing the company. Obviously, the name implies that the product is to be used for squirting on my cows to get them to go in the barn. Totally misleading.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Yeah, these evil chemical companies put misleading names on things so people (without reading the label) will go out and kill both plants AND animals. That way they can count on a lot of repeat business and make obscene fortunes.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

It looks like there is a lot of well meaning advice here. Let's make sure that we all keep in mind that we've all been beginners at some point.

It also means that the thread starter 'youngman' should remember that the advice given is well meaning also.

We encourage beginners of all kinds to learn from this site, but you must be at least 13 to participate. (that is a Federal Law, not ours)

I discovered that a product called Thrive is really good for root cuttings. Very small bottle in most stores lasts a long time cause you only need a few drops to a gallon of water when using it. I trimmed some of my oleander trees, cut off the bottom leaves and stuck in a heavy vase with water and a drop or two of Thrive. by the next day the leaves perked up and they all look really good. I read that it takes about two weeks for cuttings to root, so im crossing my fingers that this will work. So far, so good.
Hang in there youngman, its a trial-n-error thing. but gardening is also fun while your learning even if you lose a few plants.
I also bought some MG plant food and noticed later that the ingredients are 7-7-7
nitro, phos, and something else. i used it and it didnt seem to have much affect.
Then i read that most plants like alot of Nitrogen which is oxygen for the roots to be able to take in more nutrients. So i found Schultz plant food and it was 14-10-10. which sounded much better to me. so im not using the MG product anymore as it seems a much lower quality food even though it was just as expensive and much less quantity than the schultz product.

Beverly Hills, CA

it seems that some of you think that it was my fault, because i used this product for the wrong plants. well, read the description yourself.

Promotes strong root growth and helps prevents transplant shock
Guaranteed not to burn tender young plants


it not only burned tender young plants, it also killed a few plants that were already growing for a while now.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

For years after my problem, I only used organic stuff. Never lost a plant because I poured something "good" on it.

Ancram, NY

Gone for a day, came back to a mutiny! Just kidding.... Seriously though, there is a lot of tension in the beginners gardening forum today, maybe I will come back later when it simmers down! I will say, in regards to a post DP72 gave me over one of my responses to a member not that long ago, I felt his reply was condescending. I do believe that maybe DP is too "advanced" for the beginner forum. Perhaps there is a Master Gardener forum somewhere in Dave's Garden? Let's remember, DP that just because you know something does not mean everyone else knows it or feels the same way! We should support and respect each other's questions and feelings no matter how silly YOU seem to think they are. After all, we are all novices here, aren't we? Isn't that what is intended by a "beginner" forum?

Ancram, NY

PS) and if anyone chooses to yank our chains on this site, I would simply feel sorry for them that they are so bored/lonely that they would invest so much time in a farce. I would also avoid their posts....

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

I am really a nice person. Sorry if I've come across as otherwise. I respect beginner questions when they are asked in good faith and have the patience of Job when replying to sincere questions. I think I can detect it when there is a pattern of an individual amusing him/herself by asking frivilous things.

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

But what if you're wrong? If I believe someone is "yanking my chain", I don't bother replying.
All we can do is try to give good advice.

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