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Bloomin' marvellous! Watch your garden grow with this fertiliser guide

Published 19th January 2023
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We know that when it comes to growing a beautiful garden and keeping your plants healthy and happy, the right fertiliser and plant food can make all the difference. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced gardener, this guide will help you choose the right products for your garden.

Fertiliser vs plant food

When you see fertiliser and plant food being sold, they are essentially the same thing. They provide a boost of key nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, to the soil, which help plants to make their own food.

Which fertiliser should I use?

When it comes to choosing the right fertiliser for your garden, it's important to consider the type of plants you have and the soil type in your garden. Different fertilisers are designed for different types of plants; it's worth checking the product descriptions before buying as most will tell you which plants and soils they are suited to.

They'll display an 'NPK' number (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) that shows which plants they're suited to: if the numbers are the same, it's a general-purpose fertiliser; if it contains more potassium, it's better for fruits; and more nitrogen is better for leafy green plants.

Liquid fertilisers

These are the most popular and easy to use, and are often sold in ready-to-use bottles, so there's no mixing or measuring required. They are generally less expensive than other types of fertilisers and plant food and can be applied directly to the soil. However, they are not as long-lasting as granular or powder fertilisers and can be washed away by rain or watering.

Granular fertilisers

You should buy granular fertiliser if you want a longer-lasting, slow-release option. They can be applied directly to the soil or sprinkled around the base of the plant. They tend to cost more than liquid fertilisers upfront but are more cost-effective in the long run.

Powder fertilisers

Powder fertilisers are the premium option; they're applied directly to the soil and also provide the most comprehensive coverage of nutrients. They're best suited for plants that require specific types of nutrients, such as acid-loving plants.

Organic vs synthetic fertilisers

Organic fertilisers are becoming increasingly popular among gardeners as they're made from natural sources like animal manure, compost, and seaweed, and are a great way to provide your plants with essential nutrients without the use of chemicals, unlike synthetic ones.

Organic fertilisers and plant food are slow-release and last longer than synthetic fertilisers, making them more cost-effective in the long run. They are also less likely to burn your plants, as they are applied at a lower concentration.

However, synthetic fertilisers include more of the key nutrients nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, providing a much faster boost for plants and a fertiliser that they can absorb straight away.

How to apply fertilisers

Once you've chosen the right fertiliser, it's important to know how to apply it correctly. For liquid fertilisers, it's best to apply them directly to the soil around the base of the plant. Make sure to water the area after application so the nutrients are absorbed.

For granular and powder fertilisers, it's best to sprinkle them around the base of the plant and then water them in. Make sure to keep the fertiliser away from the stem and leaves of the plant, as this could cause burning.

Watch your garden grow

Whatever it is you're growing in your garden or allotment, fertiliser is a key ingredient in successful growth. However, it's important to know which plants you have and the soil type in your garden before buying; choose the right type of fertiliser, apply it correctly, and your plants are sure to thrive.

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