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If you’re looking to maximise the potential of your plants to provide bigger flowers, more colour or more leaf growth, we have a wide range of fertilisers to help you.
Different plant types need specific types of fertilisers and many people have their favourite brands, so we have plenty of choice.
Have you ever looked at the small print on the back of a pack of fertiliser? There is a good deal of information available to the gardener, to enable you to compare products.
Plants use three main types of food. Nitrogen ( “N” ) which helps shoots and leaves to grow, Phosphorous (“P”) which encourages roots, and Potassium (“K”) which is responsible for flowers and fruits. So we could look at a pack of fertiliser and read that it has a ratio of N:P:K equal to 7:7:7. We would know then, that this has equal amounts of these nutrients so we could say it is a general purpose, balanced fertiliser, e.g. Growmore, that can be used in all different parts of the garden. You can also buy these nutrients separately, we call them “straight” fertilisers. Be careful using these, you can have too much of a good thing!
There are many nutrients a plant needs besides the basic three we have already mentioned. These are called trace elements, along with Magnesium we could list iron, boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. As with our own nutrition, a balanced diet is the best way forward and some products will also list these nutrients as well. Look out for Vitax Q4 or Miracle Gro plant food.
Fertilisers are sold in different formulations. There are liquids that tend to be quick acting and granules which can be slower in their action. Miracle Gro Controlled Release fertiliser is capable of releasing food over many weeks so that you don’t have to keep remembering to feed your plants. This clever product has nutrients stored inside a “Prill” or granule, the coating of which is a resin. In warmer weather it expands exposing cracks through which moisture in the compost will drain and take food into the compost for plant roots to adsorb. So the warmer it is, the more food there is available to the plant and the better it will grow!
Then we could look for specialist fertilisers.
Tomorite works because it is high in potash.(K). From the label we see it is 4:3:8 NPK. By encouraging flowers to form more fruits will result, but also this product would be useful for hanging baskets, and containers where flower production is important.
“Bonemeal” is on our shelves to be used to encourage root growth and is high in phosphate. One of the features of this, is that it does not move far in the soil. This means that if applied on top it would be months before it worked its way down to the roots. It is however, very useful indeed if incorporated into the soil at planting time. It can still be effective three or four years later.
One last group of fertilisers is those that are targeted at plants that do not like living in lime laden soil. Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias are examples of these plants. Where a plant is said to like acid soil or hate lime soil then it is called an Ericaceous plant. When looking for specialist composts and fertilisers this word is often used and also the products tend to be predominantly pink. Problems occur because often, soil has lots of lime in it and so does our tap water. If a plant hates lime and you want to have one in your garden you could grow it in a pot, but please do not use tap water as the lime in this (think of the limescale that builds up in your kettle) will cause problems by locking up iron that the plant needs to thrive. When a problem does occur the leaves turn yellow all over the plant. The remedy is to use a feed, high in iron. Look out for these as a special group of products on our shelves.
If you have any questions please ask any member of our expert team for help.