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from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

What’s Your Fertilizer of Choice?

Over the years, I have become a firm believer in the importance of fertilizing plants.

One of my favorite pots this season (see plant list below) with two of the three fertilizers that I’m applying and one of my trusty watering cans.

Over the years, I have become a firm believer in the importance of fertilizing plants. Now, when there’s a pest problem in my garden, I run for a fertilizer rather than a pest control. In most cases, I find that strong plants do a better job of fending off insect and disease attacks than dusts or sprays.

When it comes to flower pots, my main reason for using fertilizer is to encourage lush growth and abundant flowering. I feed them regularly because it WORKS. At the start of the season I add a cup or two of our organic granular fertilizer to the planting mix. Then, just as soon as I have the pots planted up, I start weekly or bi-weekly feedings of liquid fertilizer and keep that up right into September.

I’ve used a variety of different liquid fertilizers on my flower pots, but for the past six years or so it’s been Plant Health Care. I put 2 heaping tablespoons (which is actually about the same as the 3 level tablespoons recommended on the label) into the bottom of one of my French Watering Cans and then fill it up with 3 gallons of water. Each of my big pots gets about a gallon of this liquid fertilizer, once every week or two.

This year, about once a month, I’m switching out a Plant Health Care feeding in favor of a Multi Bloom feeding. Though Plant Health Care is a non-burning, complete fertilizer and contains lots of organic goodies including seaweed extract, humic acids and beneficial bacteria, I am also a big fan of fish emulsion (especially when it’s been de-odorized as Multi Bloom has). I expect to see even greater vigor, with lush foliage as well as lots of flowers.

I would love to know what you feed your flower pots and how often you feed them. If you’re willing to reveal the key to your success, please leave a comment below. We’re always eager to learn about easier, more effective solutions!

P.S. Plants in the pot above are: Carex ‘Coffee Twist’, Helichrysum ‘Icicles’, Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’, Diascia ‘Apricot’ and ‘Coral’, Helichrysum ‘Petite Licorice’, Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister’ and an apricot-colored verbena (I’ve lost the tag!).

-Kathy LaLiberte, Director of Gardening

3 Comments

  1. July 2, 2008    

    COMPOST! We make lots and lots of compost every year, and we use it in everything we grow. Otherwise, we’re pretty Darwinian (e.g. lazy) around here, so our poor plants are generally on their own. Most of them do pretty well, and those are the ones we plant again the following year.

  2. July 2, 2008    

    You container looks lovely.

    I use lots of rich organic compost and fish or kelp extract to feed regularly.

  3. Anonymous
    April 28, 2009    

    To help enrich my soil, I spread a 2-3 inch layer of compost in my planting beds before mulching in the fall. It gets all winter to work its way into the soil. During planting season, I keep a covered bucket with a mixture of peat moss, compost & manure in my yard, and throw down a scoopful or two whenever I move or plant anything. Then I scatter some slow-release Osmocote a couple of times during the growing season and that’s it.

    The plants seem to love it and the earthworms sure do too.

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