Plants that are planted in a container get only the fertilizer that you put in it. A soilless mix does not hold fertilizer as a mineral soil will. This makes fertilizing more critical and should be done regularly. The only big deal about fertilizing your plants and flowers is the amazing results you'll see in a few weeks time.
All fertilizers are labelled with three numbers. N-P-K. (Example 10-52-17) These numbers represent the ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potassium (K). In basic terms, nitrogen promotes foliage growth, phosphate encourages healthy root growth and flower production and potassium promotes the overall health of the plant by building disease resistance.
For transplanting it’s important to use a high Phosphate (middle number) like a 10-52-17. This helps the root system to develop before pushing the foliage. Think of Phosphate (middle number) as Baby food and use for transplanting and for stressed plants. Phosphate will also really push blooms on healthy plants.
For general needs, we recommend a fertilizer that has higher amounts of nitrogen such as 20-20-20. An overdose of nitrogen can cause burnt plants.
If plant leaves turn yellowish, the most likely reasons is over watering. For more information on watering Click Here.
Yellow leaves are also caused by low nitrogen or low iron.
It is also beneficial to alternate between the two different fertilizers. Example: use 20-20-20 for two weeks and give one application of 10-52-17.
Apply the fertilizer according to the method described on the package. In the case of fertilizers, more is not necessarily better, so be sure to measure accurately. We recommend applying a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every one to two weeks.
There are generally two methods used for feeding fertilizer. Option #1: I have had the best results with the continuous feeding, using a lower amount of fertilizer with every watering, and mixing a larger amount in a barrel. With continuous feeding I strongly recommend to thoroughly drench the container with clear water approximately every 10-15 days. This will reduce the risk of salt build-up. Option #2: Water regularly with clear water and use a heavier mix every one to two weeks.
For more information on mixing Fertilizers Click Here.
To make fertilizing easier mix it in a 200 L. barrel and use to water all containers. (Make sure barrel is safe from children and pets)
Collecting clean Rain-Water is very good for all plants.
Did you know: Over-watering is usually considered the most common cause of early plant death? In general, we are overly afraid of under-watering our plants and as a result many of us tend to over-water. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else, although I am getting better. The best thing you can do to keep your plant healthy is to water it correctly.
Over watering container plants: Early in the year when container plants are still small they are easily over watered. As the plants get larger and the temperatures rise in the summer they will use a lot more water. All containers should have good drainage for healthy growth. On a cool cloudy day all plants will use very little water and should not be over watered whereas on a hot day many plants will use a lot of water.
Does the plant really need water?: A lack of water isn't the only reason your container plant's leaves may wilt in the summer. Always test the soil. Stick your finger down two to three inches to check for dampness or use a soil moisture meter. You can also feel the weight of the pot by lifting a basket or on larger patio pots by tipping lightly to one side. If your soil seems adequately damp but your container plants still seem stressed, try moving them to a cooler location as they acclimate to the hotter temperatures.
Water well: If the soil is very dry it causes the roots and soil to shrink and the water tends to run down the inside edges of the pot and out the bottom instead of soaking into your containers. Submerse the container into a water-filled sink or large bucket and let the soil soak for a while or water the container a few times in one hour until it’s soaked.
General Rule: Water plants in well and wait for next watering till soil is dry to the touch.
Consider your soil mixture: Vermiculite, perlite and sand keep soils light and well drained. Peat helps soil retain water. Use a blend that provides the right combination of drainage and water retention for healthy growth. At Frieda’s Flowers all our finished containers, like Baskets & Patio containers, are made using a potting mix that contains a moisture retaining gel. This product soaks up water and then release it slowly back into the soil.
When potting up container plants, be sure to leave two or three inches of room at the top of the pot to hold water. Without that extra space, water will run off the soil before penetrating to the plant's roots.
Don't Forget: Even one day of extreme temperatures and inadequate water can do irreparable damage to the most hardy container plants. Check your containers regularly and often. And if you go on vacation, be sure to have a friend or neighbour stop by to water your plants!
Fertilizing container plants. Click here