Plant Feeding Guide
When it comes to feeding your plants it can be difficult to know how to get it right. Follow our easy guide and your plants will look great throughout the summer.
Types Of Fertilisers:
The two main types of fertilisers are inorganic (man-made) and organic, which are derived from plants or animals. Inorganic fertilisers such as Growmore or Miracle-Gro are generally more concentrated and faster acting. Organic fertilisers such as seaweed or bone meal are slower acting. Fertilisers are available in liquids, granules, pellets and powders and are used to improve plant growth and yields.
Plant Nutrients Explained:
Fertilisers contain major plant nutrients (needed in fairly large amounts) and some also contain trace elements (only needed in small amounts). The three major plant nutrients that most fertiliser are based on are Nitrogen (N) for green leafy growth, Phosphorus (P) for healthy root and shoot growth and Potassium (K) for flowering, fruiting and general hardiness. Product packaging shows the N:P:K ratio. For example, a ratio of 20:20:20 would indicate a balanced fertiliser, whereas a ratio of 10:12:24 would indicate a fertiliser high in potassium.
Feeding Containerised Plants:
To keep your containerised plants (hanging baskets, pots etc) looking at their best it will be necessary to feed them regularly (weekly) throughout the growing season as they will quickly exhaust the nutrients in the compost that they are growing in.
Feeding Plants In The Ground:
If your soil is healthy it may not always be necessary to use fertilisers, but using them might produce showier displays of blooms or higher yields with edible crops. If plants show signs of nutrient deficiencies a fertiliser can also be used. (Signs of nutrient deficiencies are yellowing leaves or discolouration in varying patterns.)
A healthy soil structure and ph are also important and using soil conditioners such as compost or manure will ensure nutrients, water and air are available to plant roots.
A dilute solution of fertiliser can be applied to the leaves of plants to provide a quick supplementary feed or as an emergency treatment for correcting nutrient deficiencies. Do not apply foliar feeds in bright sunlight as this may result in scorching of foliage.
Making your own plant food is a real joy and easy to do. Using Comfrey or nettles are the two most popular methods as follows:
Comfrey - add one kilogram of comfrey leaves to 15 litres of water. Leave for six weeks in a sealed container and then use undiluted. As comfrey is rich in potash it is useful for flowering and fruiting plants and also vegetables.
Nettles - into a container add approximately one kilogram of cut up nettles to ten litres of water. Weigh down with something heavy such as bricks. Leave for approximately three to four weeks, after which it can be used diluted at a ratio of one part concentrate to ten parts water. Use for feeding leafy greens including salad leaves and brassicas. The nettles have more nitrogen and less potassium than comfrey. (Warning - the nettle feed is rather smelly!)
Miracle-Gro Feeder automatically dissolves and dispenses soluble plant food and soluble lawn food.
The ready to use Miracle-Gro Feeder makes feeding beds, borders, hanging baskets, containers and the lawn quick and easy. The extension feeder is filled with Miracle-Gro All Purpose Soluble Plant Food and can be easily fitted to any standard hose with its free hose connector.
The easy-grip ergonomic handle features an on/off trigger, locking device and a switch for either watering and feeding or watering only. The rotating rose head allows you to use any of the three different spray patterns. The soft sprinkler is perfect for delicate flowers, a high volume jet is great for established plants, shrubs or lawns and the flat wide spray can be used for beds and borders.