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Choosing The Best Flower Fertilizer For Your Garden

by Frances Santos

flower fertilizerFertilizers are all labelled with analysis numbers written on the front of a fertilizer container. Also called fertilizer grade, these three numbers correspond to each chemical percentage that the product contains.

All fertilizers follow this order—nitrogen (N), phosphate (P2O5) and water soluble potassium (K2O). With this in mind, a flower fertilizer with an analysis of 5-10-10 contains 5% nitrogen, 10% phosphate and 10% potassium. Fertilizer recommendations will depend on the type of the flowering plant and on soil test results.

Complete fertilizers have nitrogen, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) because plants need a large amount of these nutrients. However, phosphorous and potassium must only be included if the soil test requires them.

Fertilizers For Flowering Plants

For flowering plants, fertilizers are generally formulated with an amount of nitrogen lesser than or equal to the amount of phosphorous, such as fertilizers with an analysis of 5-10-5 or 10-10-10. Why is that? It’s because excessive amount of nitrogen promotes thicker foliage and less flower production.

On the other hand, phosphorous encourages optimum flowering, so flower fertilizer high in phosphorous is recommended in growing fruits, flower bud production, and root development. Potassium builds sturdy and healthy plants. Fertilizers with an analysis of 5-30-5 (small percentage of nitrogen and potassium, and extremely high percentage of phosphorous) are ideal for flower bud production.

Fertilizers High In Nitrogen

Fertilizers high in nitrogen are ideal in producing top vegetative growth. Lawn grasses also require a generous amount of nitrogen; thus lawn fertilizers usually have an analysis of 26-3-3. But do not use a fertilizer with high amount of nitrogen on ornamental plants because it could easily burn them. It can also damage ornamental shrubs and trees since a lot of lawn fertilizers kill broad leaf weed and ornamentals usually have broad leaves.

Water-Soluble Fertilizer Formulations

A concentrated liquid or powdered fertilizer is often combined with water and applied to the soil and foliage or soil only. Water soluble fertilizers are usually applied more frequently than when applying time release or granular information given that the nutrients are soluble and subject to leaching. Water-soluble fertilizer formulations are efficient in providing a brief, immediate nutrient aid in the flower garden. Make sure to properly follow directions on the package when applying water-soluble fertilizers.

Natural Organic Fertilizers

Other fertilizers such as natural organic materials can be applied as long as they provide nutrients in equal ratio and amount. For instance, 10-20-20 may replace a fertilizer with analysis of 5-10-10. Take note however that you must apply half as much as the amount since the former is twice as concentrated.

Tips When Using Natural Organic Fertilizers

  • Natural organic fertilizers usually contain lesser nutrient analysis and solubility than synthetic fertilizers.
  • Provide more attention to soil preparation specifically during the early stages of developing your garden.