The reason as to why we use fertilizers when planting flowers is to add nutrients to the soil because some soils are not rich enough to fully support growth. Also, as a flower grows, it uses up the available nutrients in the soil and thus fertilizing the soil or the flower as it grows will boost its nutrient content. It is necessary to change fertilizers for flowers at different stages of growth because there are different fertilizers that work differently for the flowers as they grow.
Before applying fertilizer, it is important to test the soil for nutrients and lime levels. Carrying out a soil test will help ascertain the amount of fertilizer and/or lime to be used on the soil before planting. Also, these amounts will be determined by the size of the piece of land you plan on planting your flowers.
Best Flower Fertilizers
Flowers mainly use these types of fertilizers because they consist of three important elements that are;
- Nitrogen – which endorses healthy foliage by stimulating the production of chlorophyll. A fertilizer highly rich in nitrogen will best suit flower plants that are leafy.
- Phosphorus – A phosphorus-rich fertilizer is important for blooming of flowers and the development of healthy roots and fruits.
- Potassium – This element acts as a boost for healthy stems and is also necessary for food manufacturing for the flowers.
Normally, complete fertilizers contain nitrogen contents either less than or equal to the phosphorus content because it is higher, it slows down flower production and encourages foliage.
These are the artificial fertilizers like ammonium nitrate compounds that are obtained by combining different inorganic chemicals. They are less expensive and their nutrients are quickly absorbed in especially by the annual plants. One limitation is that they need frequent re-application since they are quickly absorbed by the plant and this results in burning. Another drawback is that they don’t enrich the soil.
Bagged humus and animal wastes are good examples of organic matters used as fertilizer. Using organic fertilizers improves the soil’s holding capacity for both water and nutrients and adds necessary nutrients to the flower. The downsides, however, are that;
They are slowly absorbed into plants and due to this reason, there is need to apply on a frequent basis.
Due to their slow absorption, they are not suitable when immediate attention is needed.
Care and keenness should be taken when preparing the soil for planting to avoid excesses and imbalances on different parts.
Controlled Release Fertilizers
Also known as time-release fertilizers, they are designed to release little amounts of fertilizers over a certain period of time and are applied twice in a single season. They are packed in small round or capsule-shaped shells and are most appropriate for container flower gardens. These are the best choice for you if you might forget to fertilize the flowers.
On the downside, it is difficult to know when the content is finished because the shell remains the same even after the plant has used up all the fertilizer. Therefore, close monitoring to see negative changes in the plant will be required so as to know when they are used up.
Non-controlled Granular Fertilizers
The time release fertilizers are the controlled granular formulations but there are also the non-controlled ones that stay up to a maximum of 8 weeks. They work similar to the controlled ones but the only difference is the plant feeding mode.
They have to be reapplied on a regular basis because they are prone to leaching when the plant is watered or when it rains.
These fertilizers come in both liquid or powder form and are ready to use since they are directly absorbed in the soil or plant. The application can be done on the soil or on both the leaves and the soil: they can also be mixed with water and used to water the flower. One advantage of the water-soluble fertilizers is that they are cheap.
A disadvantage is that they require frequent application when compared to other fertilizers like the controlled-release and non-controlled release granular fertilizers.
When your flowers begin turning yellow, foliar fertilizers will be the best type of fertilizer to address the problem since they are readily absorbed in the leaves. However, some leaves don’t absorb nutrients through their leaves but for plants that allow for nutrient intake through the leaves, use this fertilizer. All potassium-related problems can be attended to by use of foliar fertilizers because it is a quick way to feed the leaves with potassium.
DIY All-purpose Fertilizers
Instead of incurring costs procuring fertilizers, you can easily make your own using the available resources in your homestead. This is a good go to because you make the amount you will need, and the fertilizer works perfectly in boosting the general growth and blooming of flowers. Examples include fish emulsion which is made out of water and fish waste and compost tea which is a mixture of water and sack-filled compost.
Homemade fertilizers on the downside will take longer to prepare because you have to let the mixtures sit for several weeks for the fertilizer to be ready for use and to work effectively.
Choosing the most appropriate fertilizer for your flower garden might be a tricky task because you first need to know how efficient the fertilizer(s) is. This is because you have to balance their application-know how to apply a certain fertilizer and when to apply it so that you don’t end up overfeeding or underfeeding the plant. It is also crucial to carry out a soil test because it provides a way forward for how to prepare it, that is, the kind and amount of fertilizer to use and if you will need to spread lime over the soil. Most cases flowers should be fertilized frequently but with weak solutions. Don’t go for very expensive fertilizers when you have a cheaper option that works the same.