Dr. Q’s Plant Tonic


Vitamin B1


    Star-Tip 1027

Gardening Tips for successful and beautiful Landscapes and Gardens


Does vitamin B1 help transplants take root?

How Does Dr. Q’s Plant Tonic work?

Vitamin B1 has been touted as a cure-all for transplant shock. Labels typically claim that B1 aids rooting and growth of a wide range of plants. But the University of California’s research on vegetables failed to prove this. Researchers there found "no discernible differences in among treatments" when B1 was used on a variety of vegetables. Elsewhere, studies on chrysanthemums, citrus, and roses have reached similar conclusions.


A published report from tests done by The Sunset group (publisher of the Sunset Magazine) indicated some interesting results. They used marigolds (fast growing) for the tests. Because the differences in growth show up quickly. Product labeling for application was followed.

They ran their own tests on the effects of various B1 formulations on plant growth when compared with fertilizers. They tested different combinations of formulations containing B1:

·            B1 alone;

·            B1 plus iron, zinc, and manganese;

·            B1 plus iron and phosphorus (0-2-0);

·            B1 plus 3-10-3 fertilizer.

·            For comparison, they included a 10-10-5 fertilizer and a control plant given no treatment.

Testing Results.

Two weeks after planting, all the marigolds were established and had new leaves (except plants given B1 alone, which lagged behind the rest).

Four weeks after planting, marigolds receiving 10-10-5 or B1 plus 3-10-3 began to flower. Flower buds on the remaining plants opened a week to two weeks later.

At the end of the test, six weeks after planting, marigolds treated with 10-10-5 or 3-10-3 were much bushier and darker green, and had more open flowers (see photograph) than the others.

When the tests were repeated in the summer, results were similar. In both cases, marigolds treated with products containing nitrogen were fuller and healthier, and bloomed earlier than plants that didn't receive nitrogen. The control did as well as or better than the B1 treatments without nitrogen.

These tests underline the benefits of fertilizer, whether or not it's in a product containing B1.

Many consumers assume that products on the store shelf must have been tested to prove their claims. Certainly, fertilizers have to meet nutrient content requirements, and pesticides are rigorously tested for safety before EPA registration. For many other garden products, however, no such testing is required before sale to the public.

A good example is vitamin B1 (thiamine), often sold to "prevent transplant shock" and "stimulate new root growth" when planting trees, shrubs, roses and other plants. 

A study in the 1930's provided the basis for such claims.   Pea roots cut off from the plant were placed in a culture medium in the laboratory. The researchers knew that thiamine was normally found in roots, so they put thiamine in the culture medium and found that root growth did occur.  Vitamin B1 is manufactured in 0lant leaves and sent to the roots, but if roots are cut off and placed in a petri plate, vitamin B1 stimulates growth of the roots when it saturates the culture medium.

Planting trees in a soil environment, however, is vastly different from a laboratory culture.  Most important, gardeners aren't in the habit of cutting off the root system when planting.

Transplant shock is a genuine concern, and savvy gardeners know that to deal with it is to increase the chance of success. Because there have been no substantial studies demonstrating the effectiveness of B1, Star Nursery decided several years ago not to include it with our micro-nutrient plant tonic; Dr. Q’s. Instead Dr. Q’s Plant Tonic includes all the primary trace nutrients (magnesium, boron, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc). Added to these nutrients are “Signaling Molecules”, which activate the dormant mycorrhizal fungi in the soil.

Mycorrhizal Fungi. Under natural conditions plants live in close association with soil organisms called mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi colonize plant roots and extend the root system into the surrounding soil.  Estimates of amounts of mycorrhizal filaments present in a cubic inch of healthy soil are up to a mile of filaments.  Fungal mats are now known as the largest biological entities on the plant.  The relationship between plants and fungi is beneficial to both;  the plant enjoys improved nutrient and water uptake, disease resistance with superior survival and growth, the fungi receives nutrients in the form of photosyntates and is able to grow and survive.  It is believed that fungi are responsible for the world of plants being able to inhabit and evolve on land from their aquatic origin.    

Some "root stimulator" products contain a rooting hormone and fertilizer along with vitamin B1.  These other materials may increase rooting and growth, but there is little evidence that the vitamin B1 has this benefit.

The bottom line: Root stimulator products are important for transplant success. If you use a root stimulator; make sure it contains a rooting fungi hormones and fertilizer rather than just vitamin B1. Studies seem to verify that vitamin B1 is for marketing purposes rather than actual effect, so until proven otherwise Dr. Q’s Plant Tonic will not include B1. It does include all the beneficial nutrients needed to get your plants off to a long and healthy life.

Encourages new growth, revitalizes stressed plants and minimizes transplant shock.


Instructions for Use

A Nutra-Stimulant containing chelated nutrients in a form that can be easily absorbed by your plants. Dr. Q’s Plant Tonic is excellent for preventing transplant shock. Helps to relieve winter and summer stress. Helps container plants flourish.

Mix 1 teaspoon of Tonic with 1 gallon of water and water plants thoroughly.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Total Nitrogen 5.6%

                0.9% ammoniacal

                0.3% nitrate

                3.8% urea

Phosphoric acid 3.0%

Potash 1.0%

Magnesium 0.5%

Boron 0.02%

Cobalt 0.0005%


Copper 0.05%

                0.05% chelated

Iron 0.4%

                0.4% chelated

Manganese 0.2%

                0.2% chelated

Molybdenum 0.0005%

Zinc 0.1%

                0.1% chelated



© 2007, Star Nursery, Inc.
Copy provided courtesy Star Nursery

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