In the summertime, our beloved plants burst into full glory, adorning the garden with vibrant blooms and delightful scents. Just like us, providing the right nourishment at the right time empowers them to thrive. Here are our top tips on feeding summer-blooming plants, ensuring they grow strong and healthy.
Which Plants Should I Feed in Summer?
Plants rooted in the ground often receive sufficient nutrients naturally, especially when mulched annually with organic materials like garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure. However, be on the lookout for signs of poor nutrition, such as yellowing leaves or a lack of flowers and fruit – these indicators suggest your plants might benefit from additional feeding.
- Container-grown plants, on the other hand, require regular feeding, as the nutrients in the compost deplete quickly due to the plant's rapid usage and water drainage.
- Plants that bloom continuously throughout the summer, such as roses and bedding plants, will thrive with an extra feed, even if they are in the ground.
Types of Plant Fertilizer
For healthy growth, plants need three key nutrients from the soil:
- Nitrogen (N) for leafy growth
- Phosphorus (P) for strong roots and shoots
- Potassium (K) for abundant flower and fruit production
Fertilizers display an N:P:K ratio on their packaging, indicating the proportions of these elements present in the fertilizer.
During summer, the primary purpose of feeding plants is to boost flower and fruit production. To achieve this, opt for fertilizers high in potassium, often referred to as high-potash fertilizers. The term "potash" denotes the potassium-containing chemical compounds.
High-potash fertilizers are available in liquid and granular forms. Liquid feeds, like tomato feed, are perfect for container-grown plants. Granular feeds, such as sulfate of potash or rose fertilizer, work well for plants in the ground, releasing their nutrients gradually.
How to Feed Summer-Blooming Plants
- A general rule of thumb is to ensure the soil or compost is moist before applying fertilizer, even with liquid feeds. Applying fertilizer to dry soil can be difficult for plants to absorb and may harm their roots.
- For roses in the ground, provide a summer feed after the initial flowering period. Scatter granular rose fertilizer or a general-purpose fertilizer around the base of the plant and gently work it into the soil using a hand fork.
- Container-grown roses and bedding plants like petunias, begonias, and geraniums benefit from a fortnightly high-potash liquid feed, such as tomato feed, during summer.
- Be cautious not to overfeed, as excessive fertilizer can be detrimental to your plants. Always follow the instructions!
With these expert tips, your summer-blooming plants will flourish with an abundance of vibrant blossoms, adding unparalleled beauty to your garden. Happy feeding and happy gardening!