All-Purpose Plant Fertilizers

Fertilizers provide nourishment to flowers, vegetables and plants that cannot be found in soil

PLANT FERTILIZERS - ALL-PURPOSE PLANT FERTILIZERS

When looking at different fertilizer options, consider if an all-purpose fertilizer will work, when you should begin fertilizing, if you need a low maintenance option, whether plants are actively growing, and how and when fertilizer spikes should be used.

Plant Characteristics

Flowers  

  • Use bone meal at planting time for string roots and blooms
  • Start feeding established roses in springtime
  • Roses that bloom all summer need regular feeding
  • Use fertilizer with iron, sulphur and magnesium for azaleas and acid-loving shrubs
  • Flowers need lots of phosphorus


Vegetables

  • Add a few inches of compost or manure to prepare soil before planting
  • Vegetable grown in pots require more plant food
  • Leafy green vegetables prefer fertilizers high in nitrogen
  • Broccoli and sweet corn also require more nitrogen
  • Peas and beans get nitrogen from the air and do not require much fertilizer


Houseplants

  • Use water-soluble formulas if you feed plants weekly or monthly
  • Use slow-release formulas for plants that go months between feedings
  • Always check fertilizer label to apply correct amount
  • Brown roots and leaf tips, wilting and white residue on pots may indicate over-fertilization
  • Weak stems, pale leaves and fewer flowers may indicate under-fertilization


Application

Consult the following chart to learn how to apply different types of fertilizer:

Fertilizer Type Application

Fertilizer Spikes

  • Drive fertilizer spikes into the soil next to a plant at the drip line, about 2 inches
    under the surface of the soil
  • Place at least 2 feet away from the trunk of a tree or shrub
  • Apply once or twice per season
  • Keep plant watered

Granular

  • Shake granules onto topsoil or mix into soil with hands, a spade or a small
    shovel before planting
  • Water thoroughly after spreading

Liquid

  • Use liquid fertilizers for vegetables growing in containers as they require more
    plant food than vegetables grown in the garden
  • Apply liquid fertilizers as part of your regular plant watering -- either with a
    watering can or as part of an irrigation system for outside flowers and plants
  • Apply either to leaves or to soil, depending upon the plant (check growing
    instructions)

Organic

  • Use a lawn or handheld spreader to evenly distribute organic fertilizer over
    topsoil in a large area to prepare soil for planting
  • Water thoroughly after spreading
  • Mix organic fertilizer into soil before planting then follow up six weeks later
    with another variety

Slow Release

  • Spread on top of the soil in and around plants and work into the soil for slow,
    steady feeding for up to three months or longer
  • Can also distribute directly into a planting hole for new plants or transplanting
  • May use with drip irrigation systems
  • Water thoroughly after spreading

Water Soluble

  • Measure water-soluble granules into a watering can or sprayer container then
    mix with water
  • You can also apply water-soluble fertilizers as part of your regular plant watering
    -- either with a watering can or as part of an irrigation system for outside flowers
    and plants
  • If using water-soluble fertilizers with irrigation systems, make sure fertilizer is
    completely dissolved beforehand or the fertilizer can clog the system
  • Apply either to leaves or to soil, depending upon the plant (check growing
    instructions)

Features

  • Organic. Made from natural ingredients
  • Water Soluble. Powders or granules that are mixed with water and are easy to apply
  • Liquid. First dissolved or mixed in water and then sprinkled or sprayed onto plant leaves. Quickly and easily absorbed into a plant’s root system.
  • Slow Release. Dry granules or pellets that release small quantities of nutrients each time a plant is watered
  • Fertilizer Spikes. Hardened, slow- or controlled-release dry fertilizers in the shape of a stake or spike that is inserted into the soil