Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mexican SunFlower(වල් සුරියකාන්ත): Great Fertilizer

Found out a couple of months ago from a visitor here that Mexican Sunflower (වල් සුරියකාන්ත) Tithonia Diversifoliais a very good fertilizer. Thanks Anil Ratnayake.

Mexican Sunflower is fast growing, not fast enough here because we would like to use it extensively as soil conditioner and fertilizer. It is a weed and invasive species that originated from Central America.
  • High in Pottasium (low in Mg).  As fertilizer contains 1.76% N, 0.82% P, and 3.92% K.
    In comparison cattle manure 0.6% N 0.4% P 0.5% K
    Giliricidia 3.26% N 0.41% P 2.76% K
  • Soil conditioner, i.e. loosens soil.
    Much needed here because of clayey soil that becomes like rock when dry and prevents root growth.
  • Decomposes fast, so nutrients available quickly.
    That means can be used for short duration crops such as vegetables.
  • Grows from plant cuttings. i.e. easily propagated.
    The plant cuttings seem to be tolerant of hard water (High Mg, Ca).
  • Attracts Butterflies and Bees (a big plus).
  • Beautiful Flowers
 Anecdote:  My sister has a Rambutan plant that has barely grown in two years. Probably because the garden has been filled with gravel/gritty soil (බොරලු). About two-three months ago she had planted a Mexican sunflower next to a Rambutan plant.  This was before we knew about the soil conditioning properties. Anyway within the last two months the Rambutan plat has grown by about 2 feet.

References and Links 

Study  of Mexican Sunflower on Rice

NPK values of Manures


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