LET’S TALK GARDENING – What’s All the Hubbub About Espoma Bio-Tone Starter Fertilizer?


To put it simply—Bio-Tone is a starter plant food for organic gardening. And, it contains Mycorrhizae. Together they promote stronger roots, bigger blooms, and healthier plants.


I can’t stress enough how I feel about using Bio-Tone. I will never plant anything without incorporating Bio-Tone in the hole when planting.

So, what are mycorrhizae? They are a beneficial fungus. Mycorrhizae are one of the most valuable organisms our soil can have. Mycorrhizae means “fungus root” in Greek. Now, you are thinking “fungus” and the negative connotation that seems to always accompany the word fungus.


Mycorrhizae are meant to be used instead of any synthetic fertilizers, such as Miracle-Gro or Jack’s Classic. DO NOT USE BOTH!!! If you use a synthetic fertilizer after applying mycorrhizal fungi to your new planting, it will effectively kill the fungi. So, stay organic with all future feedings. And, there are plenty of great organic fertilizers that you can use to fertilize your flowers and plants such as Fish Emulsion, SeaWeed, our very own SEEDLINGERS FERTILIXIR, and more. I can’t stress this point enough—ONCE YOU DECIDE ON GOING ORGANIC WITH BIO-TONE THEN STAY ORGANIC.


Our program for Seedlingers Fertilixir is that we sell it by a gallon jug for $24.99. The beauty of this program is that you can return to us weekly and get a re-fill FREE. That’s right–FREE!!! And, it will be free for you until December thus making the initial cost of $24.99 a great bargain.

Fertelixir delivers both nutrients for plant health and nutrition for microbial soil life. Simply, the soil microbes at the organic components in Fertelixir, which builds their populations. Fertelixir can be used with all plants—tropical houseplants, herbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees.


From a green industry standpoint, March 1st begins our spring season. Many of our plants are beginning to break dormancy. When they break dormancy then that is a good indicator to think about giving them their first feeding of the growing season.

March is a great planting month so remember about ESPOMA BIO-TONE for all new plantings.


To read more posts from Doug, visit our blog

25 thoughts on “LET’S TALK GARDENING – What’s All the Hubbub About Espoma Bio-Tone Starter Fertilizer?”

  1. Doug,
    Looking for more info on your Fertelixer. How is it used? What size coverage of veggie garden will I get from 1 gallon? How often do yourecommeed re-application? Thanks

  2. Is the Bio Tone only to be used when first planting flowers? Can it be used for anything else? I bought it and used it when planting my annuals and have a mostly full bag left.
    Thank you

    • Lisa,
      Good Morning. Very good question.
      Yes, Bio Tone is only used down inside the hole at the time of planting. It needs to come into direct contact with the plant roots. Bio Tone dies ifr exposed on top of the ground. Bio Tone will keep. Keep it dry. In a garage or shed would work out well. With all future feedings you want to stay organic so using Espoma Garden Tone or Plant Tone are good choices. Doug

    • Jamie,
      I have been educated on Bio-Tone with that it can be used with all plants – including succulents. Good question. Doug

    • Heather,
      Absolutely!!! Bio-tone is an organic product that with the mycorrhizae is a root stimulator. You want to stimulate more root growth with all fall plantings. Personally, I would suggest using it anytime of the year with all plantings. Doug

    • Wanda,
      Good Morning.
      Biotone is a natural organic product that stimulates root growth. I am not sure what you are asking about a “soil blocking mix”. If you are asking if you can add Biotone to this mix then my answer is yes. Doug

  3. Will dogs be harmed if they eat Bio-Tome?
    Our dog nibbled Bio-Tome off the surface of the ground around a large tree that was planted in our yard a month ago. She has had little appetite and GI trouble ever since.

    • Glenn,
      Good Morning.
      Sorry to read this about your dog. To be honest I wasn’t sure exactly if Bio-tone is toxic to animals. So I googled Espoma Bio-tone. You may want to do the same. What I read is that it could cause digestive problems. What I read is the ingredients, in its raw form, can be toxic. But,these ingredients broken down into Bio-tone is not considered strong enough to be considered toxic. Please read up on Bio-tone. Just to let you know, Bio-tone is not for topical spread around plants. It needs to be applied inside the hole and come in direct contact with the plants’ root system at the time of being planted. Bio-tone is a root stimulater. To be one the safe side, you may want to take your dog to see a veterinarian just to be on the safe side of things. I hope all will be well soon. Doug

    • Joan,
      Good Morning.
      Bio-tone is a great product for stimulating root growth and developing healthy and thriving plants. I need to know what is the “fertilizer” in the potting mix. Bio-tone is organic and you need to stay organic with all future fertilizing. Switching to a synthetic fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, will kill the performance of bio-tone. I hope I explained myself clearly. If not, get back in touch. Thanks, Doug

  4. Glen, my dogs eat all of the espoma products. I’ve had to stop using it within our fenced yard. Someone at my local garden center told me the bone meal is like candy for dogs. They had no permanent issues but one of the dogs had elevated liver levels fir a bit. She us fine now.

    • Carrie,
      Good Morning.
      First and foremost – I am so glad that your dog is ok. Yes, animals do seem to like the Espoma products to lick and roll in. It is an all natural product so I guess it stands to reason why dogs may like these products. My advice, just be careful when using. Maybe use it under mulch. Maybe having mulch on top will reduce the interest. Doug

    • Rick,
      Good Morning.
      Bio-tone will continue to work and grow the beneficial fungi in the ground as long as it stays active. Since it is an organic product then you need to stay organic with all future feedings of the plant(s). As a personal example – I just potted up my 3 tomato plants last week using biotone in the hole. Yesterday, I did a topical feeding using Espoma Tomato Tone. My point being you can feed anytime now. Doug

  5. I forgot to add Bio-tone when planting my hostas this spring. Can I dig them up and add it to the hole and replant them now?

    • Good Morning,
      Now that we are at the end of May and we are warming up more and more, I would rather you let them be because they are acclimating and rooting in as they grow. Let’s not disturb this process. One thing that you could do now, as a substitute to BioTone is to feed them with some Plant Tone. Enjoy your Memorial Weekend. Regards, Doug

    • Breane,
      Good Morning.
      Yes, you can use the ESPOMA BIO-TONE product with top soil and compost. Just be aware that Bio-Tone is a root stimulater. Bio-Tone is applied inside the hole at the bottom of the hole so that it comes into direct contact with the plants’ roots. You don’t use Bio-Tone as a top dressing type fertilizer. Doug

  6. I used bio-tone mixed with water to water my vegetable garden. I didn’t realize it was only for new plantings. Will this harm my established plants?

    • Rhiammon,
      Good Morning. No, your plants are not being hurt. Bio-tone is organic and is adding the beneficial fungi to the soil. Now that you have existing vegetables plants you may want to consider switching your feeding to Espoma Tomato Tone which is excellent for vegetables and it has calcium which are plants need. Thank you for this message. Doug

  7. Good Morning Doug. Are you able to use Espoma Bio-tone Starter Plus when newly planting annuals and perennials in containers?

    • ABSOLUTELY!!!!!! Bio-tone is a great starter fertilizer for all plants in a container. I do it with all my container plantings. This fall, when I pull out my summer blooming annuals, I will use Bio-Tone when I plant my pansies and snapdragons. Thank you for taking the time to send me your question. Happy Planting, Doug

Comments are closed.

Pin It on Pinterest