Friday, November 4, 2011



I'm a believer in fertilizers when needed.  They come in many forms--dry, or granular, time-release, foliar, liquid, and natural organic.  There are also some special-purpose ones.  Different plants may require different fertilizers, although a balanced fertilizer can be used on most any plant whenever you're in doubt.  A good rule to remember about fertilizers:  NEVER APPLY EXCESSIVE amounts of it--and make sure adequate moisture is applied (or that it rains) after you put it on. Fertilizers are salts, which can burn your plants--but you'll never have to worry about damaging or burning your plants if you apply your fertilizers properly--remember to apply at the right time for optimal success, and be very careful not to get too close to the roots, base, or on the crown of your plant. And, apply it as directed--in the rate it calls for--and you will have success.  I like to fertilize when I know it is going to rain, or on a cloudy day, then water after. The most widely used fertilizer to use on your perennials is probably 5-10-10, but some plants do better with slightly different ones.  Here's a list of the plants I have and their fertilizer needs:
  • DAHLIA  0-20-20 - within 30 days of planting
  • LUPINE  5-10-10 - early spring
  • DELPHINIUM  5-10-5 - twice a year (spring then 5 weeks later)
  • FOXGLOVE  liquid - when flowering
  • PEONIES 5-10-5 - early spring
  • BULBS 5-10-5 - early spring; again when foliage yellows, again in fall
  • HIBISCUS bone meal - early spring
  • MUMS osmocote - when planting in spring; and right before flowering
  • POPPY 5-10-5 - spring  (Don't over feed!)
  • DAYLILY  5-10-10 - very early spring; again in fall
  • IRIS  5-10-10 - April 1; again in fall (can use super triple phosphate)
  • HOLLYHOCK  10-10-10 - spring
  • MONKSHOOD  Compost - spring feeding; can make a manure tea as well
  • JAPANESE IRIS  5-10-10 - keep constantly moist spring-summer  (acid soil 5.5-6.5)
  • All Others 10-10-10 - use a balanced fertilizer on all others 
And, of course, good soil, compost, peat, and soil amendments, like well rotted or sterilized manure are other ways to insure healthy plant growth and vigorous blooms.  I like to sprinkle my gardens in fall and early summer with super-triple-phosphate as well.  Lush blooms will be your rewards with a well cared for garden bed, and one of the components to a good flower garden is keeping the plants well fertilized.


Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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