The Q&A Archives: Miracle Grow As Fertilizer

Question: I am planning a roof garden and have already put some plants out. I have Miracle Grow which suggests feeding once a week. I notice most questions about fertilizing usually suggest 4-6 weeks between fertilizer - especially for roses, is this because I should be giving my plants something stronger every few weeks on top of the Miracle Grow? Can you suggest a good fertilizer for general plants and one for roses and honeysuckle?

Answer: If you use Miracle Grow, you should follow the manufacturer's label instructions. Water soluble fertilizers such as Miracle Grow are applied on a different schedule from the granular fertilizers. These, too, can have differing instructions depending on whether they are formulated for long release times or not. In general, any complete fertilizer (such as 5-10-5) is fine for most types of plants and should be applied according to the label instructions. Some gardeners may prefer to use a fertilizer specifically formulated for the type of plant, such as roses or tomatoes or flowering annuals in which case the proportion between the three numbers (representing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and listed on all fertilizer labels) will differ. You might also use compost to provide additonal micronutrients and help feed the soil by providing additional organic matter. Finally, you might want to run some basic soil tests and see what nutrients (if any) are actually lacking from your soil. Then you can fertilize based on the results rather than by guessing. Your county extension (566-0673) should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

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