When do plants need fertilizer

All plants grow and survive by taking in carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which is available in air and water. The five micronutrients they need are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Secondary nutrients are sulfur, calcium and magnesium. The micronutrients are copper, iron and zinc.  All of these are necessary for plants to grow large and healthy with big blooms. The most important of these are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.  These elements are found in the soil and are taken in by the root systems.

When buying a new shrub or tree you may think you will need to buy fertilizer for it when you plant it in the ground. If the place where you plan to plant is fresh ground and not been used before it is not necessary to fertilize right away.

Indoor plants need fertilizer as they don’t get the essential nutrients as outdoor plants. These plants are limited to the amount of dirt in the pot while outdoor plants can spread their roots searching for needed nutrients. 

As garden vegetables grow they consume and strip nutrients from the soil. To keep them growing big and healthy you need to choose the right type of fertilizer that adds the proper amount of nutrients so the soil is at the optimum to feed your plants. Tree and shrubs may need their own mixture of fertilizer to get their optimum growth. Meeting their needs doesn’t have to be a mystery. Like people, they need more of some nutrients than they do others.

When potting soil is fresh, plants don’t need much fertilizer, if any. Fortified potting soils often have fertilizer and other ingredients mixed in. But, after a couple of months the soil enhancements have been depleted because of growing roots taking them in and the excess water we give them washes the nutrients away.

Looking at all the fertilizer choices can be daunting. Take time to learn about the differences in the packaged fertilizers. You want ones that will fit the needs of your particular plant. Don’t fertilize newly planted trees and shrubs the first season. Always follow label directions as too much can kill the plant or scorch its leaves. All general-purpose fertilizers contain nitrogen that encourages healthy foliage growth, phosphorous which encourages root growth and potash that encourages bigger, healthier blooms. Be smart by choosing the right fertilizer for your different plants. 

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