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Feeding your plants with liquid fertilisers

Published: 12th July, 2017

liquid feed or liquid fertiliserWater alone is not enough to make plants strong, healthy and happy. Like all living creatures they breathe, they get thirsty and they are always hungry and need important nutrients to thrive.  But keeping plants fed needn’t be complicated or hard work. Liquid fertilisers, usually applied every one to two weeks during the growing season, are easy to use feeds that nourish plants almost instantly. Ailing plants that are tired and under-nourished can perk up quite visibly after a liquid feed. It can be used on bedding plants, flowers, shrubs, fruit and veg, and even the lawn.

Plants are at their hungriest right now in the middle of summer and will need some TLC if you want abundant flowers throughout the summer and bumper crops of fruit and vegetables.  Summer feeding is especially crucial for containers and baskets where there’s limited soil and nutrients which are washed away with regular watering.

Plants need a whole mix of nutrients, many of which they get from the soil, but they particularly need the three prime chemical elements found in all mixed fertilisers:

  • N (nitrogen): Enhances stem and leaf growth (for most plants, nitrogen ends up being the most important nutrient)
  • P (phosphorus): Contributes to flower production, fruit production, seed production, and root growth
  • K (potassium): Ensures general vigour; helps plants resist disease

All liquid feeds will have the amount of each nutrient it contains written on the back of the container. If the amounts for each are the same it’s a general-purpose feed, but some are higher in one nutrient than another and are recommended for specific applications. All plants need all three, but leafy crops particularly need nitrogen, and fruit crops won’t develop well without enough potassium.

For example, the easiest way to get good yields of tomatoes, runner beans, strawberries and other fruiting crops is to apply liquid tomato feed which is rich in potassium. (eg Tomorite). Although called tomato feed, this will be perfect for all fruiting crops.

To encourage healthy plants with more spectacular blooms use a general-purpose liquid feed such as Miracle-Gro.

Liquid lawn feeds are great for perking up the lawns quickly, especially if you’ve got guests coming around!! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can create a lush, dark green carpet. The rapid greening from these fertilisers is due to N, and perhaps sulphur or iron in the fertiliser as well.

While all plants need nutrients, too much or too little of any one nutrient in the soil can kill a plant. Here again liquid fertilisers come to the rescue. They are designed to balance the chemicals that naturally occur in soil and create ideal pH levels for an optimum growing environment.

Always follow the manufacturers advice on whichever fed you decide upon, but as a general rule start feeding in spring and continue throughout the summer growing season, increasing the feeding with speed of growth. Stop feeding at the end of summer.

Henry Street Garden Centre stocks a vast range of liquid fertilisers as well as a wide selection of traditional organic fertilisers such as fish blood and bone and concentrated fertilisers. Ask our experts in store to help you make the right choice for your garden.


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