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Does vitaminB1 help transplants take root?

How Does Dr.Q’s Plant Tonic work?

Vitamin B1has been touted as a cure-all for transplant shock. Labels typically claim thatB1 aids rooting and growth of a wide range of plants. But the University of California’s researchon vegetables failed to prove this. Researchers there found "nodiscernible differences in among treatments" when B1 was used on a varietyof vegetables. Elsewhere, studies on chrysanthemums, citrus, and roses havereached similar conclusions.


A published report

Testing Results

Testing Assumptions

Transplant shock

Mycorrhizal Fungi

The Bottom Line

Instructions for Use of Dr Q’s Tonic




A published report from testsdone by The Sunset group (publisher of the Sunset Magazine) indicated someinteresting results. They used marigolds (fast growing) for the tests, becausethe differences in growth show up quickly. Product labeling for application wasfollowed.

They ran their owntests on the effects of various B1 formulations on plant growth when comparedwith fertilizers. They tested different combinations of formulations containingB1:

·           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 controlplant given no treatment.  (top)

Testing Results.

Two weeks afterplanting, all the marigolds were established and had new leaves (except plantsgiven B1 alone, which lagged behind the rest).

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

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

When the tests wererepeated in the summer, results were similar. In both cases, marigolds treatedwith products containing nitrogen were fuller and healthier, and bloomedearlier than plants that didn't receive nitrogen. The control did as well as orbetter than the B1 treatments without nitrogen.

These testsunderline the benefits of fertilizer, whether or not it's in a product containingB1.   (top)


TestingAssumptions -Many consumers assume that products on the store shelf must have been tested toprove their claims. Certainly, fertilizers have to meet nutrient contentrequirements, and pesticides are rigorously tested for safety before EPAregistration. For many other garden products, however, no such testing isrequired before sale to the public.

A good example is vitaminB1 (thiamine), often sold to "prevent transplant shock" and"stimulate new root growth" when planting trees, shrubs, roses andother plants. 

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

Planting trees in a soilenvironment, however, is vastly different from a laboratory culture.  Mostimportant, gardeners aren't in the habit of cutting off the root system whenplanting.


Transplantshock is agenuine concern, and savvy gardeners know that to deal with it is to increasethe chance of success. Because there have been no substantial studiesdemonstrating the effectiveness of B1, Star Nursery decided several years ago notto include it with our micro-nutrient plant tonic; Dr. Q’s. Instead Dr. Q’sPlant 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 thesoil.   (top)

MycorrhizalFungi. Under natural conditions plantslive in close association with soil organisms called mycorrhizal fungi. Thesefungi colonize plant roots and extend the root system into the surroundingsoil.  Estimates of amounts of mycorrhizal filaments present in a cubicinch of healthy soil are up to a mile of filaments.  Fungal mats are nowknown as the largest biological entities on the plant.  The relationshipbetween plants and fungi is beneficial to both;  the plant enjoys improvednutrient and water uptake, disease resistance with superior survival andgrowth, the fungi receives nutrients in the form of photosyntates and is ableto grow and survive.  It is believed that fungi are responsible for theworld of plants being able to inhabit and evolve on land from theiraquatic origin.    

Some "rootstimulator" products contain a rooting hormone and fertilizer along withvitamin B1.  These other materials may increase rooting and growth, butthere is little evidence that the vitamin B1 has this benefit.   (top)

The Bottom Line: Root stimulator products areimportant for transplant success. If you use a root stimulator; make sure it containsa rooting fungi hormones and fertilizer rather than just vitamin B1. Studiesseem to verify that vitamin B1 is for marketing purposes rather than actualeffect, so until proven otherwise Dr. Q’s Plant Tonic will not include B1. It doesinclude all the beneficial nutrients needed to get your plants off to along and healthy life.

Encourages new growth, revitalizesstressed plants and minimizes transplant shock.  (top)


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 5.0%

          2.5% ammoniacal

          0.8% nitrate

          1.7% urea

Phosphoric acid 10.0%

Potash 5.0%

Magnesium 0.1%





Boron 0.1%

Copper 0.1%

Iron 1.0%

Manganese 0.5%

Zinc 0.1%