The Q&A Archives: Fertilizing New Shrubs

Question: I have just completed new landscaping. I chose dwarf yedda hawthorns for the main shrubbery, with "august beauty" gardenias for anchor shrubs. I have spider grass and wax begonias mixed in also. Everything has been planted for a month. I know the gardenias need acid-food, but do I feed them individually, and then apply basic food to the other plantings? And when should I fertilize? They all appear to be doing well, except for a few yellowing leaves on the gardenias. I appreciate your help, as I'm new to gardening.

Answer: Your new garden sounds lovely! Gardenias do appreciate a soil pH between 5.0 to 6.0, and as much organic matter as your sandy soil can hold. Use a fertilizer labeled for acid-loving plants after the plant has bloomed. If you haven't already applied mulch, use an acidic mulch, such as cottonseed hulls. If you amended your soil with compost prior to planting, your hawthorn won't need feeding until next spring before they put out new growth. Your begonias will appreciate a slow-release fertilizer applied as directed on the product label. Spider grass is a common name used for Liriope or Ophiopogon, but as long as you fortified your soil with compost or other organic amendments, this plant will be fine without added fertilization. Just keep adding organic matter to the soil to keep humus content high and it will be happy.

I hope this helps!

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