Like us, plants need nutrition to thrive. With so many products and information to wade through, fertilizing can seem overwhelming. But feeding your plants is actually very easy. Here are a few easy tips that will help you get the most out of your landscape.
1. Choosing the Right Fertilizers
Natural organic fertilizers are always the better choice over chemicals. These take many forms and come in a plethora of recipes, but by narrowing your search to organic, your choices will become more clear while browsing online or in the garden center. Major brands are listening to consumer demand and offering lines of natural or organic plant supplements like fertilizers. This has made it both cheaper and easier to find natural plant food in large DIY stores, online, and, where they’ve been sold for many years, at your local independent garden centers. Our team has been mentioning Nature Source Plant Food for years because it’s easy to apply and won’t hurt your plants if you give it more than they need. We don’t benefit from mentioning them, we just want to help make this as easy as possible for those of you who just want a direct recommendation. Natural fertilizers can improve the water movement in your soil and add structure. Composted Manure or food compost are excellent choices, but can require more effort. If that’s more than you’re willing to do, check out this article on easy ways to make fertilizer for your garden. Container gardening can be different when it comes to fertilizing, too. Check out this article on organic fertilizers for container gardening. At the end of the day, you’re going to have a lot of choices when it comes to fertilizers, but if you choose an all-purpose natural fertilizer, you pretty much can’t go wrong.
2. Read Instructions on the Label
Each fertilizer is different, and there are a wide range of application instructions based on the type you choose. Some, like the product we recommended above, are fine to spray all over the plant and soil because it won’t hurt the plant, and the plant will soak up what it needs, and the rest will just drain into the earth. But some require specifics such as keeping off the plant itself. Just make sure you read the packaging carefully before applying it to your plants.
3. Know Your Plant
Different plants need different mixes of each nutritional compound contained in the fertilizer mix, which is why all-purpose doesn’t always work. Your tomatoes and Azaleas may not like what your lettuce or Hydrangeas are asking for, so it’s good to save plant tags that will mention the type of fertilizer to provide, as well as when and how often.
The basic takeaway here is that many plants will do just fine with all-purpose natural fertilizers in spring and summer, but it isn’t always the case. Read the tags or research about your specific varieties. There are a lot of great blogs that will provide specifics on how to fertilize one species over another. For Bloomin’ Easy® plants, one good all-purpose fertilizer should do the trick. Funny enough, the exception to this is our Nightglow® Diervilla, which not only doesn’t need fertilizer, but may lose its dusky red color for a period of time after applying fertilizer.
4. Timing is Critical
The best time to feed your plants is between spring (after frosts are over) and mid-summer. Once August arrives, it’s usually time to stop fertilizing outdoor plants! Feeding stimulates growth and because cold weather is only weeks away, you want to allow your plant to naturally start to shut down and prepare for dormancy. This will help your plants avoid damaging shock from not being prepared when frost arrives.
5. Plant Looking Stressed? Water First!
Avoid fertilizing your plant if it’s wilting or looking stressed! It may be dehydrated. If so, bring it back to health by giving it a good amount of water. Then wait a few hours as dehydrated soil may take a while to rehydrate. Once the plant recovers and looks happy, give it some food. By doing this you are maximizing its ability to absorb nutrients, and avoiding further stress. Fertilizing can be simple and easy with the right tips and a little prep before shopping. Now you’ll be ready when it’s time to feed your plants next spring! What fertilizers are you seeing great results with? Comment in the comment section below.