How to fertilize plants - indoor and garden
The main conditions necessary for the normal growth and development of plants are light, air, water and nutrients contained in the soil
If a plant lacks at least one of these elements, its life is in serious danger. Plant roots extract water from the soil with minerals dissolved in it. Using all the same water, the nutrients are then delivered to the leaves and fruits. So water is a vital component of any nutritional supplement.
Three main elements
The main elements of plant nutrition are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. All of them are present to one degree or another in ordinary garden soil. Nitrogen contributes to the development of green mass - stems and foliage. Phosphorus is responsible for the growth of roots, and also accelerates flowering and makes it plentiful. Potassium is needed for the overall growth of the plant and the formation of shoots and fruits. Essential nutrients are needed by all plants, but in different proportions. Usually plants take from the soil exactly the amount of each element that they need. So your task is to ensure that the basic elements enter the soil in sufficient quantities.
Other trace elements
Plants need small doses of minerals such as calcium, sulfur, iron, copper, and zinc to grow. As a rule, plants do not lack iron and magnesium, but there are exceptions. In particular, tomatoes suffer from a lack of magnesium. Plants that prefer slightly acidic soils, but planted in an alkaline environment, need additional iron.
Types of fertilizers
In stores you can find a huge number of varieties of fertilizers, but all of them contain in different proportions basic elements (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and trace elements. Both organic and inorganic fertilizers can be applied both in liquid (concentrated or diluted) and in solid (granules, balls or sticks).
Liquid fertilizers are sold as a concentrate or powder to be dissolved in water. These fertilizers are valid for several days after application. Usually they give actively growing plants a noticeable impetus in development, but they need to be introduced regularly, since they do not last long in the soil.
Solid fertilizers are produced in the form of granules or tablets. They are suitable for plants in the stage of stable growth, since they release nutrients more slowly and their effectiveness is designed for a long time. Such fertilizers need to be applied once or twice a season.
© Noël Zia Lee
When to fertilize
General-purpose fertilizers must be applied in the spring, at the beginning of the season. Some of them, for example, root formation stimulants, are applied at the time of planting seedlings, in spring or autumn. To enhance the growth and ripening of vegetables in the summer, you can use granular fertilizers buried in the ground around the stems of plants. Avoid using granular fertilizers, especially those rich in nitrogen, after the middle of summer: nitrogen causes leaf growth and fresh shoots can be damaged by early frosts. Apply granules only in moist soil.
Liquid fertilizers can be applied throughout the spring and summer, especially if the task is to enhance flowering or fruit growth.
Compost or vermicompost
Compost is a fertilizer obtained from plant materials by biodegradation. Compost made from leguminous plants (beans or peas) that hold nitrogen in the soil is especially effective. Grass clippings or weeds, like most other plants, do not have this ability. On the contrary, they need a large amount of nitrogen to root, so they take it from the ground.
|Ideal for soil restoration and preparation for planting, for general feeding. There are both organic and inorganic.||These fertilizers make up for the lack of certain nutrients, such as the lack of magnesium in tomatoes.|
© James Jordan
Feeding garden plants
Constant top dressing helps garden plants withstand weeds, pests and diseases. Fertilizers allow ornamental plants to bloom longer and give more buds, increase the yield of vegetables and fruits. For best results, it is important to feed each plant with exactly those elements that it currently needs.
Always use special fertilizer for roses containing magnesium and sulfur. With it, roses better tolerate winter colds.
Most bulbs are perennial plants, so the supply of nutrients due to which flowers will develop next year accumulates in the bulb itself. Feed the bulb immediately after flowering and before the petals begin to fall off.
Plants in hanging baskets and containers.
Top dressing for such plants is extremely important: the amount of soil in a pot or basket is usually small compared to the total weight of the plant, so the nutrients are quickly exhausted. Fertilizers of slow action in granules or sticks are excellent for container plants in the stage of stable growth. For seasonal plants and seedlings, the best result is the regular use of liquid fertilizers.
With the formation of the first fruits, special regular top dressing enriched with magnesium is required.
© Thomas Tolkien
Fertilizer helps keep the lawn fresh and color. Spring fertilizers must be rich in nitrogen to help the growing grass, while in the fall phosphorus and potassium should prevail in fertilizing, strengthening grass before winter cold. Some lawn dressings include a weed control. Their advantage lies in the fact that well-fed grass starts to grow wildly and fills those places where the destroyed weeds were located.
Feeding indoor plants
You do not need to have special knowledge and skills to create the best conditions for indoor plants to grow. It is enough to learn a few basic rules.
© Dominic’s pics
- You can fertilize only healthy plants during their enhanced growth and flowering. You can’t feed plants that become dormant or already resting.
- Freshly transplanted and diseased plants are not fed.
- Fast-growing plants fertilize more often; large and slowly growing - less often.
- Watering the plants with fertilizers follows from a small watering can without a net. Try not to spray. Drops that have fallen on stems or leaves should be washed off immediately with clean water to avoid burns to plants.
For indoor plants, there are specially formulated dressing formulas that take into account the conditions of their growth - a small amount of earthen coma and the rapid consumption of nutrients. These fertilizers are applied both in the form of liquids and in the form of soluble granules and pot sticks. Liquid top dressing begins in spring and lasts all summer. In autumn, plants should be allowed to rest so that they naturally prepare for winter.
Many indoor plants are grown today as indoor plants, and each of them requires fertilizers containing a certain complex of nutrients. When choosing top dressing, it is necessary to focus on the species affiliation of the plant. There are fertilizers for cacti, ficuses, citrus fruits, palm trees, roses, azaleas, orchids, bonsai, as well as fertilizers for flowering and ornamental leaves. The ratio of nutrients in them is balanced depending on the type, and all the necessary trace elements are added.
In greenhouses, plants are grown that need a warm, humid atmosphere, which means regular watering. Greenhouse soil also tends to quickly become depleted, so fertilizer is indispensable. Liquid fertilizers usually contribute to the accelerated ripening of fruits and, as a rule, require regular application throughout the fruitful season. A simpler solution is to use fertilizer-daddies designed for greenhouses. The health of greenhouse plants, even more than indoor plants, depends on the proper selection of special species fertilizers.
Use for work
- watering can
- hand sprayer
- hand chopper
- manual pitchfork
- fertilizers - liquid and granular; fertilizer sticks
- growth stimulants
- root stimulants