Friday, July 3, 2015



Plants vary when it comes to their foliage, blooming, growth and needs. However, almost all vegetation can benefit from the proper type of fertilizing. Fertilizers, also differ in their nutrient component and percentage. The right type and method of fertilizing can enhance the color, amount and size of the blossoms on your flowering plants. It is essential to learn how to fertilize flowers to have successful results.



Fertilize Flowers Step 1.jpg
Choose a fertilizer suitable for flowering plants.
  • The best fertilizers for flowers contain nitrogen (promotes growth), phosphorus (enhance roots system and strength) and potassium (improves flowering).
  • Look for a fertilizer with a balanced amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Many flower gardeners use a 10-10-17 mixture for the greatest results. 

Fertilize Flowers Step 2.jpg 
Select the form of fertilizer you wish to use.
  • Fertilizers are found in 3 main forms: granular, water soluble and natural organic.
  • Granular fertilizers are applied by sprinkling or with a spreader. They are longer lasting and can remain in your soil for up to 9 months.
  • Water soluble fertilizers are a type of powder that dissolves in water to be applied as a liquid. This type remains in the soil for a couple of weeks. However, it is absorbed through the leaves and often works faster.
  • Natural organic fertilizers are created from natural matters such as manure. They often have fewer nutrients compared to man-made fertilizers. 

 Fertilize Flowers Step 3.jpg
Begin to apply the fertilizer at appropriate times for your type of flowering plants.
  • The soil for annuals and new planting of other flowers needs to be fertilized during bed preparation.
  • Established perennials and ornamental grasses need fertilizing as soon as their growth resumes in the spring.
  • Bulbs need fertilizing as soon as growth appears.
  • Roses need fertilizing beginning in May but not after July. You do not want to encourage new growth as fall and winter approach.

 Fertilize Flowers Step 4.jpg 

Read the package of fertilizer to determine how much is needed.
  • Some packages give applications based on area to be fertilized. You may have to calculate the area of your flower bed. 
Fertilize Flowers Step 5.jpg

Fertilize the flowering plants again according to the recommendation on the fertilizer packaging. 

Fertilize Flowers Step 6.jpg 
Granular fertilizers will require fewer applications. 


  • Test, or have some tests performed on, your soil if you are uncertain of its quality. You may find your soil is lacking a specific nutrient. You can then look for a fertilizer with a higher percentage of that ingredient than normal.
  • Move the mulch back when applying fertilizer to the base of the plants and to the ground. This will expose the soil and ensure that your fertilizer does not only get soaked into the mulch and not reach the soil.
     Do not use a fertilizer with a higher percentage of nitrogen than potassium. You want your flowers to focus on blooming rather than vegetation. A higher nitrogen level is better used for growing vegetables. 



    Fertilizing to Create more Blossoms on Your Flowers, Flowering Shrubs, and Trees

    The secret to making your flowering trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials bloom more
     is in the numbers. All fertilizers have analysis numbers on the package.
    These numbers represent the percentage of each chemical the product contains.

    For example, 12-12-12 is a typical garden garden fertilizer
    that would contain 12% nitrogen, 12%phosphorous, and 12% potassium.
     The quick explanation is; nitrogen produces vegetative, or top growth,
    phosphorous produces flower buds, fruit, and root development,
     while potassium builds strong healthy plants.

    Most lawn grasses are vigorous growers and therefore require significantly more nitrogen
    than the other plants in your yard. A lawn fertilizer would have an analysis of 26-3-3,
     indicating a fertilizer high in nitrogen. You would not want to use a fertilizer
     containing such a high percentage of nitrogen on landscape plants
     because it would be very easy to burn them.
    You must also keep in mind that many lawn fertilizers contain broad leaf weed killers,
     and most ornamental plants have broad leaves.
     The fertilizer doesn’t know the difference, and it will damage or kill ornamental trees and shrubs.

    During the summer months the growth rate of most plants slows down,
    and when plants are not actively growing, they need very little nitrogen.
     Although not vigorously putting on new growth, many plants such as Dogwood Trees, Rhododendrons, and Azaleas are quietly working to produce flower buds for next year.
    Annual and perennial flowers are also busy making new flower buds.

    To encourage flower bud production you can apply a fertilizer that contains a small percentage
     of nitrogen, a higher percentage of phosphorous, and a little potassium. 
    I recently purchased a liquid fertilizer with an analysis of 5-30- 5, ideal for flower production.
     Because the product is sold as a bloom producer, the manufacture also added a little chelated iron, manganese, and zinc, all good for your plants as well.

    Most garden centers and discount stores carry similar products.
     I chose a liquid fertilizer because liquid fertilizers 
    are absorbed both through the roots
     and systemically through the foliage, so they work quicker.
     I used a sprayer that attaches to the end of the garden hose to apply the fertilizer, but do not use the same hose end sprayer that you use for lawn fertilizers.
     There could be residual weed killer still in the sprayer.

    About those hose end sprayers. I purchased one that is supposed to automatically mix the proper ratio for you. I used it to apply a general insecticide, and it worked,
    but it sure seemed like I went through a lot more insecticide than I needed.
     When I used it for the fertilizer the screen on the little pick up hose inside the jar kept getting clogged with the tiny solids in the fertilizer.
     I recommend using a solution of one part liquid fertilizer
    to one part water in the sprayer jar, and applying at a heavier rate.

    Watch the liquid in the sprayer jar, and if it isn’t going down ,
    remove the lid and clean the little screen by spraying it with water from the garden hose.
     Read the application instructions on the container to determine how much fertilizer to apply,
    and how often.

     A fertilizer high in phosphorous 
    will increase flower production.
     You will see a difference.

    Remember the golden rule of applying fertilizers. 
    “Not enough, is always better than too much.”    



    Which Fertilizer Element Encourages Flowering Growth in Plants?

    by Jasey Kelly, Demand Media

    Phosphorus fertilizers often help most at transplant time.
    Phosphorus fertilizers often help most at transplant time. 

    Flower growth on a plant is an essential part of the plant's reproduction.
     The healthy growth of plants requires all fertilizer elements;
      a lack of one can result in many symptoms.
    While all elements play a role in plant development and, subsequently, flower development,
     phosphorus is the element most responsible 
    for stimulating stronger bud, fruit and flower development.

    Primary Nutrients

    Plants require 16 nutrients for growth.
    Three of these are taken from air and water: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
    Of the remaining essential nutrients, three are considered primary nutrients:
     nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

     These three are taken up in larger amounts by plants, are the most commonly deficient in soil
    and are the three most commonly applied.
     The three-digit number on a package of fertilizer is known as the N-P-K rating
    and lists the percentage ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively.

    Phosphorus' Role

    Fertilizers specifically formulated for bud and bloom development are often higher in phosphorus
     than the other two primary nutrients.
    This is because phosphorus is a vital nutrient involved in stimulating and enhancing bud development and set, seed formation and blooming.
     It can help quicken a plant's maturity, as well.
     It's also vital in photosynthesis and respiration.
     Root-stimulating fertilizers are also often higher in phosphorus than the other two primary nutrients because phosphorus helps strengthen young roots and gives them a strong start.

    Roles of Nitrogen and Potassium

    While phosphorus is the element most associated with flower growth and production,
    nitrogen and potassium, along with the secondary nutrients and micronutrients, are all vital.

    Nitrogen is a major element in amino acids, often called the "building blocks of life."
     Nitrogen stimulates stronger green growth,
    which provides healthy stems and leaves while promoting fruit and seed production;
     nitrogen also helps stimulate growth in roots and is necessary for the uptake of other nutrients.

    Potassium, on the other hand, is vital to several areas of plant growth, including drought tolerance, disease resistance, stem strength, improved texture, color and flavor of fruits, and photosynthesis.

    Bottom Line

    A deficiency in one nutrient can cause lackluster performance by plants,
    including stunted flower growth.
    But most soil is sufficient for flower production,
    especially when amended with rich, organic material and all other plant requirements are met.
    Using a flower fertilizer, or one specifically designed for bud and bloom production,
    may help in the long run but probably is not necessary.
    If you're unsure, perform a soil test to see if your soil is lacking in any of the essential nutrients.



    When to Apply Bloom Booster Fertilizer

    by Jessica Kolifrath, Demand Media
    Correct fertilization schedules help support large, colorful blooms.
    Correct fertilization schedules help support large, colorful blooms.

    Proper fertilization encourages healthy plant growth.
     While many fertilizers support development of prolific foliage,
     Miracle-Gro's Bloom Booster is formulated specifically for flowering plants.
    If you want to see masses of brightly colored blooms,
    you must pick the perfect time to apply this fertilizer.
    Bloom Booster also benefits some plants that are chosen for features other than their flowers.

    Before Blooming

    The Bloom Booster formula contains all three macronutrients for plant growth,
     but the mixture has an especially high concentration of phosphorous.
    While high nitrogen content encourages the growth of foliage, an abundance of phosphorous encourages plants to produce plenty of strong, healthy flower buds.
    Miracle-Gro recommends you start applying this fertilizer
     when the plant is first beginning to form buds.
    This ensures the plant has plenty of phosphorous available for other key functions, such as water movement and chlorophyll production.

    During Blooming

    Both perennials and annuals will stop flowering 
    if phosphorus levels get too low.
     Phosphorus is used in most vital functions of a plant, so continuing to apply Bloom Booster through the flowering stage will encourage new buds to continue forming.
    The manufacturer recommends applying this fertilizer 
    every seven to 14 days while the plant is in full bloom.

    Flowering house plants can handle a continuous diluted dose of the fertilizer throughout the year to encourage constant blooming.

    For Vegetables

    A fertilizer with high phosphorous levels, like Bloom Booster,
     may also help encourage production in vegetable gardens.
     Nitrogen-rich mixtures are acceptable for plants grown primarily for their leaves,
    but they can cause fruiting plants to spend more energy on leaf production than necessary.
    Bonnie Plants recommends using a product with a high phosphorus content
    on vegetables and fruit vines that are creating buds and flowers.
     Increasing flower production also increases your potential for a big yield of watermelons, bell peppers or tomatoes.

    When to Stop

    Applying Bloom Booster fertilizer to annuals and perennials can encourage them to keep blooming long after they would naturally stop.
     The Alameda County Master Gardeners of the University of California recommends gradually stopping all supplementary fertilization in October.
    gives the plant time to prepare for colder weather.
     Indoor plants can continue to receive Bloom Booster,

    but most flowering plants require at least a few months of dormancy each year. 
    Check the dormancy recommendations for each specific species to create a blooming schedule that won't shorten the life of your plants.


    High Phosphorus Foods for a Plant

    by Jasey Kelly, Demand Media
    Phosphorus aids in strong root development and bloom production.
    Phosphorus aids in strong root development and bloom production.
    Phosphorus is a much-needed element for plant development and growth.
    nutrient in the soil helps to satisfy one of the plant's needs; phosphorus is no different.
     Phosphorus aids in the development of strong, healthy roots 
    and as such is often sold at transplanting time.

     Some high-phosphorus fertilizers are known as "root-stimulating" fertilizers for this reason. Phosphorus also aids in the development of seeds, buds and blooms and therefore is excellent for flowers, fruits and fruiting vegetables.

    Phosphorus is the middle number in the N-P-K rating,
    or three-digit number, on the package of fertilizer.

    Organic Phosphorus Sources

    Several organic sources of phosphorus are commercially available.
    Among these is fish bonemeal or other bonemeal, 
    made from the crushed bones of various animals.

    Bonemeal often has an extremely high percentage of phosphorus,
    from 11 percent to 18 percent, and sometimes even more.
    Various types of guano are also high in phosphorus.
     Vermicompost is high in both nitrogen and phosphorus.
    Vermicompost is manure that has been digested by worms.
    While this reduces the volume, it adds microbial diversity, a plus when amending your soil
    due to the increased microbial activity.

    Inorganic Sources

    Rock phosphate is another source of phosphorus and is mined within the United States.
    Rock phosphate has a high percentage of phosphorus, typically 8 percent to 20 percent.
    Nurseries and big-box stores also sell root-stimulating fertilizers high in phosphorus, as well as fertilizers with names like "Bud and Bloom Booster."

    Types of Fertilizers

    Either liquid and dry fertilizers are can be added to soil 
    to boost the phosphorus content.
     Plants will absorb the phosphorus from both fertilizer types,
    so you can choose the one that suits you best.

     Granular fertilizers are composed of small granules that are typically raked into the soil
    around the plant and then watered in.
    Liquid fertilizers are often mixed with water and poured around the drip line of the plant.


    Similar to most things, too much of a good thing applies to phosphorus.
    Too much phosphorus can greatly damage the plant by making it difficult for the plant to absorb 
    various other nutrients.

    Phosphorus is also a main suspect in various environmental problems,
    especially those concerning bodies of water.
     It can promote the growth of dangerous algae to the point of inflicting illness and even death to animals.
     Because of this, only add phosphorus when needed.

     Having a soil test performed on your soil to see which nutrients are lacking is one way to know how much phosphorus to add.


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