What's the difference between Dyna-Gro GROW 7-9-5 and Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro 9-3-6?
They may seem similar - and yes, both Dyna-Gro GROW 7-9-5 and Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro 9-3-6 are suitable as your one-and-only plant food for the majority of our indoor plants - BUT there are key differences that make one a better match than the other depending on your type of plants and their needs.
What's the same? What's different?
Both Grow and Foliage Pro are complete, balanced, liquid plant foods. Both provide your plants with all 16 essential nutrients (not just NPK) in the right balance to avoid excesses or deficiencies.
Both are urea free for extra protection from mineral salt build-up, acidic soil and fertiliser burn. Both include calcium, the vital missing nutrient most plant foods lack that can cause irreversible deficiencies (such as stunted, small growth, deformed or curled new leaves, and early death of new growth).
That means for the majority of indoor plants where foliage is your focus, both Grow > or Foliage-Pro > are suitable for general maintenance. For more specific needs however, here's the factors I'd consider to help you decide...
Growing green bits & for seedlings, propagation, cuttings & baby houseplants
Higher nitrogen is a goodie for growing stems and leaves, so especially good for baby plants of any type while they're putting all their energy into getting big. Called the vegetative stage.
The N in the NPK ratio stands for Nitrogen. That's the first number of the 3. It's the 7 in 7-9-5 for Grow and the 9 in 9-3-6 for Foliage-Pro.
You can see both Grow and Foliage Pro formulas are high in nitrogen - all plants need nitrogen - but because Foliage Pro provides extra nitrogen, it's the favourite for propagating cuttings, for seedlings and for all baby houseplants.
Foliage Pro is popular with nurseries and growers for the same reason as it gets plants out of greenhouses and in to stores much faster.
For your flowering plants - including Orchids, Hoyas, African Violets, Gardenia, Geranium, Begonias, Tulips, Peace Lily, Lilies, Cyclamen, Roses, Azalea, Bougainvillea and more - you want a lower nitrogen / higher phosphorus balance. Lowering the nitrogen means your plant puts its energy into buds and blooms instead of stems and leaves.
Dyna-Gro Grow is the one you want. Both for general maintenance and to set buds (I'd move to Bloom heading in to and during flowering - then back to Grow after flowering, but you can single-feed Grow all year round if you prefer).
That means if your jungle is a mix of foliage and flowering plants, but you want one food for everyone, go with Grow. If your jungle is mainly foliage however, or your own focus is on foliage not flowering - I'm thinking Monstera, Philodendron, Pothos, Synognium etc - then I'd go for Foliage Pro.
Cluster roots, ferns & NZ natives
The middle of those 3 numbers - the 9 in 7-9-5 for Grow, and the 3 in 9-3-6 for Foliage-Pro, tell you the level of Phosphorus.
The lower phosphorus in Foliage Pro makes it the better choice for plants sensitive to Phosphorus (such as plants with proteoid or cluster roots).
It does vary, but ferns tend to have shallower, cluster-type root systems, and NZ natives have adjusted to low-phoshorus soil, so for both ferns and NZ natives we'd also go with Foliage Pro with it's lower phosphorus level.
Succulents & Bonsai
Two families that Grow's 7-9-5 formula is particularly good for. In fact, Dyna-Gro Bonsai is identical to Dyna-Gro Grow in the bottle, just with a different label on the outside! Yes, it's so popular for Bonsai it got its own label.
Plants in free-draining soil
For growing in a soil-less or inorganic medium like 'gritty mix' or GM - meaning a substrate with little to no organic matter (think pine bark, perlite, pumice) - using fertiliser becomes far more important to make up for little to no nutrients for your plant from the substrate.
Both Foliage Pro and Grow are recommended for soil-less or free-draining substrates - so check the other requirements above depending on what type of plant you're growing, and what growth stage it's in.
PS: Don't forget Silicon!
It's easy to wet-and-forget whether using Grow or Foliage Pro. I totally get that. You've finally found a complete, balanced food. All 16 essential nutrients? Tick. Even calcium? Tick. No urea? Tick for that too.
However, one thing they're all missing is Silicon. I wouldn't call it essential, but once you know what it does, you'll consider it a must-have.
Silicon adds strength. Not just physical strength - stronger roots, stems and leaves - but stronger resistance to pests and disease too, including giving your plants a protective barrier against biting and sucking insects - think mealy bugs, aphids and fungus gnats - as well as extra protection against fungal diseases.
I highly recommend adding Silicon to your routine. Not surprisingly, Dyna-Gro thought of that too. I use Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKt. Find out more about what silicon does for your plants >
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