Flower-Garden Fertilizer Tips

Posted on: 6 January 2017

A healthy flower garden begins with good soil. This is true whether you grow perennial or annual flowers. While some nutrients will likely leach in from nearby lawn fertilization, the bulk of the nutrients will need to be provided by fertilizer applied directly to the bed. The following tips can help you keep your gardens well fed and glorious.

Tip #1: Compost in the fall

Fall is the time to get your spring beds ready. After cutting back perennials and removing annuals, spread a fresh one- or two-inch layer of compost over the top of the soil. The compost will blend into the existing soil over winter, where it will provide fresh nutrients and a looser soil structure to aid soil aeration and drainage. You can make your own compost or purchase compost from your favorite garden center.

Tip #2: Apply a dormant fertilizer

Flowers that come up in early spring, such as bulb plants like tulips and daffodils, benefit from dormant fertilization applied the previous fall or during winter. Choose a balanced fertilizer that contains similar amount of both nitrogen and phosphorus. The nitrogen will fuel healthy foliage growth while the phosphorus feeds flowering. Apply at the rate recommended on the label for the flower type and rake it lightly into the soil so it can leach down to the plants roots as they resume growth in spring.

Tip #3: Plant with nutrients

When planting annuals or new perennials, give each plant a head start by using a starter fertilizer. This fertilizer type contains essential nutrients for establishing a healthy root system and good top growth. To apply, dig your planting hole to a depth about one inch deeper than the plant roots. Then, sprinkle the label-recommended amount of fertilizer in the hole and cover it with a thin layer of soil. Finally, plant the flower. You don't want the fertilizer in direct contact with the roots because it could burn them.

Tip #4: Use a natural mulch

Finally, top your beds with a fresh layer of wood or pine-straw mulch after planting them in spring (or after the perennials resume growth). These natural mulches insulate the soil, stop water loss, and inhibit weed growth. They also compost naturally over time, and that provides nutrients and improves the soil structure.

For more help with your fertilization needs in your lawns and gardens, contact a landscape or yard-care service such as Mr Green Thumb in your area.