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Monday, April 29, 2013
A quick tip for fertilizing/ feeding your plants... do it first thing in the morning. Plants are waking up and getting their juices flowing...they will benefit the most from a morning feed. After all...don't they say "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?"
Loads of questions have been coming my way about Fertilizing and feeding ... I thought I would take that as a hint to post and share with you some of the things I know about the topic...
FERTILIZING/ FEEDING FACTS
It is possible to simply stick your plants into the soil and walk away. Watering alone will help keep them alive, but if you want to see them THRIVE…give them a kick in the roots and add a little fertilizer or organic plant food to your regimen. Fertilizer/ plant food gives your plants the added nutrients that your soil may be missing . These nutrients help keep them strong and healthy, and loaded with blooms.
Chemical Fertilizer is made up of three primary ingredients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium . These will be listed on the label of the fertilizer in number.
Nitrogen (N) will always be the first number.
Phosphorus (P) is the middle number, and
Potassium (K) will follow up last.
If your label reads 26-13-0 that means that you have 26% Nitrogen, 13% Phosphorus and 0% Potassium.
Each element in the fertilizer recipe accomplishes a different task.
Nitrogen helps the leaves and stems grow and stay green.
Phosphorus aids in healthy root growth, flowering, and fruit/seed production.
Finally Potassium helps the plants stay healthy and resist disease. It also helps to keep the actions of the first two ingredients in balance.
When purchasing a fertilizer/ plant food you will need to consider a couple of things:
How often you want to apply the product, and what you are looking to accomplish with the product are the best questions to ask yourself.
The specific rules of fertilizing/ feeding are different for each brand, or plant, but in general you should follow a couple of simple guidelines. NEVER fertilize/ feed a seriously dry (to the point of wilted or collapsed) plant. Pre- water the plant to allow the roots to be ready to absorb the food and then apply the fertilizer treatment.
When watering newly seeded plants, it is best not to water with fertilizer or plant food at the first sign of germination. It is best to wait until the plant has it’s second set of true leaves. The sprout that first pushes out of the soil is very tender and may be burned by the fertilizer of any kind. At this point, the soil should have enough nutrients to sustain life for a few days or weeks until more foliage develops.
More is NOT better when fertilizing/ feeding your plants. It is possible to burn the leaves and roots of a plant by over-fertilizing/ feeding.
If I had to choose, I would choose to err on the side of caution and add a little bit less than to risk adding too much. It is best to feed during daylight hours. Watering at night leaves us open to a host of issues with moisture and and rot, and problems. (a whole other post in itself)
In the past, I have tried the fertilizer sticks that you add to the side of the soil in potted plants. I have not found them to benefit my houseplants in any way. In fact, a few months after inserting them into the soil, they were in exactly the same condition as the very first day! My plants seemed to take no benefit from this form of feeding. I have tried many different types of organic and chemical fertilizers in the past. I think it depends on personal preference and availability as to what will work best.
I have not touched on the different types of fertilizers/foods today, but will say that there are MANY different brands and techniques. I did not want to focus on specifics as I do not endorse any particular brand or type of feeding. I also did not want to cause a huge fight…there are a lot of people who have very strong feelings about fertilizing/ feeding of any kind. For some this is a very HOT topic. I choose to keep my preferences to myself…and not dredge up any drama! I really love ALL my followers, and do not want to offend anyone!
I will say that I am quite intrigued with the latest trend in organic/natural feeding products that are out there, and have been trying a few of them on my houseplants.
In the case of my gardens…I would love if any of you have any ideas how I can use some of the organic type of plant foods to feed them…I have a LOT of watering to do…and I don’t want to spend the entire day watering with a watering can…I need to use the garden hose to do this…and would love some advice on using one of the sprayers to feed organically!
Water with warm water! Watering with cold water will shock the roots of your plants and stop them growing until they recover. Just think of it as bathing yourself in a pool of ice water…how long does it take you to warm back up?
Well…that’s all I that I know about Fertilizing and/or Feeding the plants!
Until Next Time…Happy Gardening!
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All of my house and garden plants are planted in Sunshine potting mediums.