Archived Gardening Message Boards
Topic: Flowers & Ornamental Plants
Posted by Terri from NY/5 on 2004-06-21 12:28:03
Fertilizing scheduleIf you have a good, healthy soil well amended with organic matter you probably would not need to fertilize since the soil bacteria would provide all the nutrients the plants needed when they needed them. If you have a sandy, very well drained soil with little organic matter that will not hold moisture or nutrients you may need to fertilize and water every day. If you have a dense, clay soil that locks up the moisture and nutrients so they are not avilable to the plants you also may need to fertilize and water every day.
Posted by Kimm from 4a/5b-MI on 2004-06-21 19:42:12
Build up the soil with lots of compost and other forms of organic matter and get the humus level in the soil up over 6 percent and there will be enough nutrients available to the plants without fertilizer and the moisture level will be adequate so the plants can uptake needed nutrients when they need to and growth will be optimal. Maybe not spectacular as in "what's his names" garden, but they will also be freer of pests so you will spend less money on "stuff" to spray to kill the pests that are attracted to the lush, verdant growth of the overfed plants.
Fertilizing - when, who & how oftenQuoting Terri: ------------
Posted by Newt from Maryland zone 7 on 2004-06-21 15:33:34
-When I was at the nursery picking out plants, she told me that they fertilize EVERY DAY! I fertilize every 2 weeks, but am now thinking perhaps I should up that to every week. I know I shouldn't fertilize morning glories, sweet pea vines or portulacas...but what about black eyed susan vine? Honeysuckle? Should I fertilize the other plants in beds once a week? Hanging baskets? Potted? Thanks so much for any help!
Nurseries fertilize often for several reasons. They are also probably using a half strength or weaker solution as too much will burn plants. The reason they fertilize so often is because the plants are in pots and any nutrients get washed away quickly with frequent watering. Also, many nurseries don't use compost or soil in their planting mix and the plants do need some nutrients.
When it comes to fertilizing, the rule of thumb is not to fertilize any vines unless the nitrogen level of the fertilizer is very low. Too much nitrogen will cause green growth at the expense of flowers, but you already know that.
Plants in containers in your yard need more fertilizer for the same reasons I gave for the nurseries. What I do is use a slow release fertilizer like Osmoscote when I plant. That way I don't have to remember to fertilize and don't have to bother with mixing stuff. I also use the slow release fertilizer when planting annuals in the ground.
If you have added compost to your planting bed, added compost as a topdressing once a year and mulch your plants, you shouldn't need additional fertilizer. Some plants like lean soil and don't do well with fertilizing. Usually these plants will have 'weed' in their name. An example would be Butterfly weed. Prairie plants usually perfer a leaner soil as well and can become floppy with too many nutrients in the soil.
So, if your soil is poor and your plants like a rich soil, either add lots of compost or fertilize once every couple of weeks during the growing season. If you do fertilize that often, use it at half strength.
Here's some info on fertilizers that you might find helpful.
Hope I've answered your questions.
Posted by Terri from New York/5 on 2004-06-23 21:30:59
You're welcome!Quoting Terri: ------------
Posted by Newt from Maryland zone 7 on 2004-06-25 17:49:25
You're very welcome!