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When To Fertilize Your Plants

By: Jessie Keith

Supertunia Royal Magenta, Salvia Leucantha and Lantana Camara - Jessie Keith

Feeding fall beds is important. This fall garden of Supertunia Royal Magenta, Salvia leucantha and Lantana camara is well fertilized and glowing!

It always pays to know when to fertilize your plants. Remember to use fertilizers only as directed. Avoid over feeding your plants, adding a little extra fertilizer is not a good thing. Always follow the directions!

ALL PURPOSE FERTILIZER

Plant Type

Application Rate

Frequency

Vegetables, Annual Flowers and Perennials

New Plantings: 4 cups per 50 sq. ft. 2 cups per 25 foot row

Fertilize at time of planting and every 6-8 weeks throughout the growing season.  For perennials, feed at first bloom and then every 6-8 weeks.

Established Plants: 3 cups per 50 sq. ft. 1 ½ cups per 25 foot row

Fruit Trees and Vines, Ornamental Shrubs and Trees

New Plantings: 2 cups per 16 sq. ft. ½ cup per 1 gallon pot 2 cups per 5 gallon pot

Fertilize at time of planting, and every 8 weeks throughout the growing season.

Established Plants: 2 cups for every inch in trunk diameter (measured at 4-6 inches above the soil line). Mix thoroughly in the soil just inside the drip line of the plant.

Container Plants

New Plantings: 1 tablespoon per quart of soil or 1 cup per cubic foot of soil

Fertilize at time of planting and every 6-8 weeks throughout the growing season.

Established Plants: 2 tablespoons per gallon of potting soil or ½ cup per 5 gallon container

 

ROSE & FLOWER FERTILIZER

Plant Type

Application Rate

Frequency

Roses and Flowering Shrubs

New Plantings: 2 cups per 16 sq. ft. 3 ½ cups per 25 foot row ¼ cup per 1 gallon pot 1 cup per 5 gallon pot Mix thoroughly in the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches

Fertilize about every 8 weeks throughout the growing season – first, at time of planting, or in spring before bud break, then again as first blooms fade, and then again in midsummer.

Established Plants: 1-2 cups per plant depending on size 5 cups per 50 sq. ft. 1 3/4 cups per 25 foot row Mix thoroughly in the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches, just inside the drip line of the plant

Annual Flowers and Perennials

New Plantings: 4 cups per 50 sq. ft. 2 cups per 25 foot row Mix thoroughly in the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches

Fertilize at time of planting, after first bloom and every 8 weeks throughout the growing season.  For perennials, feed at first bloom and then every 8 weeks.

Established Plants: 2 cups per 50 sq. ft. 1 cup per 25 foot row Mix thoroughly in the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches

Container Plants

New Plantings: ¼ cup per gallon of soil, or 1 cup per cubic foot of soil

Fertilize at time of planting, and every 8 weeks throughout the growing season.

Established Plants: 2 tablespoons per gallon of potting soil or ½ cup per 5 gallon container

 

TOMATO & VEGETABLE FERTILIZER

Plant Type

Application Rate

Frequency

Tomatoes & Pepper

New Plantings: 3 cups per 50 sq. ft. 1 ½ cups per 25 foot row

Fertilize at time of planting and again at first bloom set.

Established Plants: 1 cup per 50 sq. ft. ½ cup per 25 foot row

Other above ground vegetables: Lettuce, Bean, Squash, etc.

New Plantings: 4 cups per 50 sq. ft. 2 cups per 25 foot row

Fertilize at time of planting and in the middle of the growing season.

Established Plants: 4 cups per 50 sq. ft. 2 cups per 25 foot row

Root Crops: Carrot, Beet, Radish, Potato, Onion, etc.

New Plantings: 4 cups per 50 sq. ft. 1 cup per 25 foot row Use half rate for carrots

Fertilize at time of planting and in the middle of the growing season. Feed carrots only at time of planting.

Established Plants: ½ cup per 50 sq. ft. 1 cup per 25 foot row

Container Vegetables

New Plantings: 4 tablespoons per gallon of soil, or 1 2/3cups per cubic foot of soil

Follow guidelines listed above for the specific vegetables.

Established Plants: 4 tablespoons per gallon of potting soil or 1 ¼ cups per 5 gallon container

 

ALFALFA MEAL

Plant Type

Application Rate

Frequency

Vegetables, Annual Flowers, Perennials

New Plantings/Established Plants: 5 cups per 50 sq. ft. 2 1/2 cups per 25 foot row

Fertilize at time of planting, and every 6-8 weeks throughout the growing season. For perennials feed at first bloom and then every 6-8 weeks.

Roses, Ornamental Shrubs, Trees, Fruit Trees, Vines

New Plantings: 2 1/2 cups per 16 sq. ft. 1/2 cup per 1 gallon pot 2 1/2 cups per 5 gallon pot

 

STARTER & TRANSPLANT

Plant Type

Application Rate

Frequency

Vegetables, Annual Flowers and Perennials, Groundcovers (includes plants and direct seedling)

1.5 cups per 10 sq. ft. 3.5 cups per 25 foot row

Fertilize at time of planting.

Ornamental Trees and Shrubs, Fruit Trees and Vines (includes transplants)

2 tablespoons per 4″ pot 1/4 cup per 1 gallon container 1 1/4 cup per 5 gallon container

Fertilize at time of planting.

Container Plants (includes plants and direct seedling) 2 tablespoons per quart of soil, or 1 cup per cubic foot of soil, mix thoroughly Fertilize at time of planting.

 

CITRUS, AVOCADO & VINE FERTILIZER

Plant Type

Application Rate

Frequency

Citrus and Avocado Trees

New Plantings: ½ to 1 cup for the fill-in soil, then 1-½ cups in the area around the tree

Fertilize established plants in February and again in late May and August.

Established Plants: 2 cups for every inch in trunk diameter (measured at 4-6 inches above the soil line). Mix thoroughly in the soil just inside the drip line of the plant

Container Plants

New Plantings: 1 tablespoon per quart of soil or 1 cup per cubic foot of soil

Fertilize every six weeks from January to April and then again in July.

Established Plants: 6 tablespoons per gallon of potting soil or 1½ cups per 5 gallon container

Berries and Ornamental Vines

New Plantings: ½ cup for the fill-in soil

Fertilize established plants when growth begins in spring and again when flowers form.

Established Plants: 1 cup around each plant. Mix thoroughly beneath drip line.

 

About Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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