Q&A – Could this be Nutrient Toxicity?

Elena from Peru asks Annie:

Q Over the last three Summers my Teeny Boppers stop growing normally. The leaves become really tiny but they look healthy. I read that it can be nutrient toxicity and there is no solution. But when the Winter comes the new leaves begin to grow at their normal size and everything returns to the normality.

I repot every 3 months and in Summer I reduce from 1/4 tsp of fertilizer to 1/8.tsp. I top water and the plants are domed. I turn on the A/C during the day.

I want to understand why this happens so I can avoid it in the future.


A Hi Elena,

Thank you for your question!  They look OK to me, which leads me to believe this is temperature-related – but I decided to run this one by Joyce Stork.  Here is what she added:

“Two things are changing in Elena’s culture as she moves into summer. 1) The temperature is climbing, which causes faster cell division than happens when it is cooler; and 2) Elena cuts the amount of fertilizer by half.

When temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), cell division stops. This is when growers should cut fertilizer, because when there is no cell division, the fertilizer salts go unused, build up over time and result in damage to the plant. But when temperatures rise, when cell division is faster, plants use the nutrients faster.

For most growers with comfortable homes, the temperature never drops so low that it is necessary to cut the rate of fertilizer. I think Elena will see an improvement just by using her regular strength of fertilizer and allowing her plants to have the nutrition they need to grow.”

I hope this helps,
Annie  :-)



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