Flower fertilizer

joanjr(4a)June 29, 2011

I have searched and read and still have a question. I want to increase the blooms in my perennial garden. I have compost that might be ready but I don't believe that will help sooner rather than later.

Is there something I can use with my hose end sprayer?

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Healthy plants typically bloom quite profusely. And healthy plants are most often the result of a healthy soil. Adding or mulching with compost is one the best ways to insure you have a healthy, bioactive and fertile soil.

Personally, I tend to take the approach to let the plants do what they are inclined to do naturally - the only thing that gets fertilized in my garden are containers and that's because container gardening is a somewhat artificial environment and one needs to provide supplemental nutrients.
If you simply can't wait for more flowers, try Mor-Bloom by Alaska fish fertilizer but only as the label directs.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:25PM
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Many reasons why perennials aren't blooming & there's not necessarily a need for fertilizer like annuals...
-cultivar has a short bloom period & they're done for the year (most only bloom 3 weeks or so)
-young plants
-not enough sunlight or too much has caused the plant to bloom quickly & be done with it
-right plant right place (RPRP) with soil, lighting, moisture conditions (some plants bloom fine on their own & others just die, so I credit the RPRP as the cause)
-lack of deadheading
-root or water competition from other plants
-too much nitrogen causing growth & not blooms

There are some heavy feeding perennials & you likely know if you have them. Alfalfa pellets (horse food in 40# bag from feed store is about $10 & use only about 1T. per small plant or a handful for a shrub) would be my favorite flower fertilizer. Can also make a tea with it, but it will stink...

Agree that the soil makes a huge difference. I used to plant things in empty spots just because I received them as a gift or purchased on a whim because I liked it. I didn't dig in compost, but did mulch about once every 2 years or so in part shade beds (more often for sunnier places) & many things died or just looked puny. I thought I had a bad thumb.

Now that I've changed my ways...& remade most of the beds & made new beds with lots of homemade compost & mulch my plants overflow like a jungle & bloom like crazy. Plants that have grown here for 10-15 years & kind of whimped along are getting huge. Shrubs like native salal and rhodies, Perennials & biennials like hosta Hellebore, shasta daisy, serbian bellflower, forget me not, 'Georgia Blue' Veronica, sweet william, vinca major, columbine, Bergenia, etc. Some things I thought were suppose to get 8-12" like sweet woodruff are 24" in the moist, rich soil. I have some moving around to do this fall to make sure plants are swallowed up by each other.

I see buds everywhere in beds started last year from plant swap divisions. It's going to be a riot this summer & I'm especially looking forward to the daylilies because many didn't bloom last year & scapes are up even with our long cool spring & slow start to summer in the Pacific NW. I can't wait!

Could also make a compost tea - I don't bother with the aerator & just use a bucket or a watering can for a few days, then water with it after you check soil 1st to see if it needs watering. Might not be needed & let the plants establish themselves w/o extra water.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:54PM
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There is nothing organic that will work in a hose end sprayer, including fish fertilizers. Applying something such as fish fertilizers is supposed to benefit plants by having the plant absorb nutrients through the plants foliage which does not quite work as well as the well orchestrated ads imply. There is a very large industry based on this myth that relies on you believing the myth.
Everything I have read by Dr. Ingham, the most prominent promoter of compost tea, indicates that has to do with the soil, not foliar feeding.
A good healthy soil will grow strong and healthy plants that produce lots of blossoms as long as the plant is suited to the environment it is growing in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Foliar feeding

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 7:10AM
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