Fertilizer For Hydrangeas: Hydrangea Care And Feeding
Hydrangea care and feeding is very important for the health of your plants. You must take some steps to make sure they are healthy and happy. When it comes to fertilizers, there are many choices available to you. There are several types of fertilizers which will work well with different kinds of plants.
Each type of plant requires its own kind of fertilizer.
There are two main types of fertilizers: organic and inorganic. Organic fertilizers come from nature, such as composted animal manure or even dead leaves. These are good options if you want to keep your plants healthy and happy, but they aren’t necessarily the most cost effective option for growing hydrangeas.
Organic fertilizers tend to contain chemicals like ammonia, chlorine, nitrates, phosphorus and potassium. These chemicals may not only affect the quality of your water supply (which could cause algae blooms), but they can also harm your plants. Some of these chemicals are toxic when ingested and others can damage their roots and leaves. If you’re going to use organic fertilizers for hydrangeas, make sure you read labels carefully!
There are also inorganic fertilizers. These are man-made and generally more efficient than organic ones. However, these can also have some negative effects on your plants, so you must use them carefully. Some of these are potassium nitrate, potassium chloride and sodium nitrate.
These chemicals can be bad for the environment if used excessively. You should only use the amount that your plants need.
We Recommend Using This Fertilizer With Hydrangeas:
miracle-gro hydrangea fertilizer
Miracle Gro offers a special product for use on hydrangeas and other plants. The main ingredient is bone meal, but it also contains other nutrients to help your plants grow strong. This all-purpose fertilizer can be used during all seasons of the year. It works well with most types of plants and will give them just the boost they need!
Miracle Gro is inexpensive and easy to use. This special fertilizer will help your plants grow strong and healthy. It can also be used preventatively to ward off potential problems. Apply this fertilizer with every watering cycle for best results.
What Is The Best Fertilizer For Hydrangeas?
The best fertilizer for hydrangeas is one that provides all the nutrients it needs without causing any damage to the soil or roots of the plant.
There are many different kinds of fertilizer on the market and it can be a little overwhelming to try and figure out which kind is right for you. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a couple of tips that may help you choose the best fertilizer for your needs.
Organic vs Inorganic: Organic fertilizers are made from natural products such as animal manure, plant waste and composted materials. These types of fertilizer generally deliver nutrients more slowly and are less likely to cause problems such as burning the plants’ roots. However, organic fertilizer can be more expensive and harder to find.
Inorganic fertilizer is made from chemical compounds. These fertilizers are usually cheaper and easier to find, but can cause more damage if used improperly.
Know Your Plants: Some plants require more nitrogen than others, so it’s important to know just what your specific plants need in order for them to grow to their full potential. Nitrogen is a common component of lawn and garden fertilizers, but it’s not the only thing that plants need to take root and grow. Most types of fertilizer will supply multiple nutrients and trace elements that can benefit plant health.
There are many types of fertilizer on the market and they’re not all suitable for every situation. Be sure to do some research before buying your fertilizer for best results.
How Often Do I Fertilize?
How often you apply fertilizer will depend on what type of plant you have and what kind of soil it’s growing in. Most plants will only need a small amount of fertilizer each time they are watered. Over-fertilization can cause problems with some types of plants, so be careful when applying fertilizer.
The packaging or website should list how often the product should be applied. For most plants, this will be once every couple of weeks during spring and summer, but you may need to fertilize more frequently for fast growing plants such as vegetables or annuals.
A common mistake that beginners often make is over-fertilizing their plants. Most plants only need a small amount of fertilizer, but some types require less than others. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package for the correct application.
Can I Use Fertilizer In My Garden?
Yes, it’s safe to use fertilizer in your garden. In fact, it’s pretty much essential if you want your garden to grow well! Different types of plants will require different types of fertilizer, so be sure to do some research before you start throwing random fertilizers on your plants.
You should always follow the instructions on the package when using any kind of fertilizer. Different types of plants require different types and amounts of food. Applying too much fertilizer can actually burn the roots of your plant, so be careful.
Does Fertilizer Go Bad?
Fertilizer does have a limited shelf life and it will eventually expire. Most types of fertilizer contain a number that looks something like “20-0-10”. This refers to the ratio of nutrients contained within the fertilizer and the first number is the amount of nitrogen contained within it. This decreases over time, so you’ll need to replace your fertilizer before this number gets too low.
Most manufacturers will place a “Best Used By” date on the packaging that you can refer to. You can also look at the date printed on the bag itself. This is a bit harder to find, but some manufacturers do place it here.
If you’re unsure about whether you should use the fertilizer or not, there are a couple of ways for you to check if it’s still good or not. First, you can perform an “eye test”. Smell the fertilizer and make sure it doesn’t have a rotten egg smell. Not all types of fertilizer will smell, but most organic ones will.
You can also perform a simple chemical test to see if the fertilizer is still good or not. Do not try this test if you’re not confident in your chemistry skills as the results of this test may be explosive! The easiest way to perform this test is to place a small amount of fertilizer in a cup and add just a bit of water. Add more water slowly until the fertilizer dissolves completely.
Dissolving the fertilizer in water should reveal the “Date of manufacure” printed at the bottom of the cup. This date is in Month/Year format and the fertilizer should not be used after this date has passed.
Are There Any Harmful Effects?
Yes, but they’re fairly uncommon. Some plants are allergic to certain types of fertilizer while others may have negative effects such as causing skin irritations if handled or eaten. These effects are fairly uncommon though so don’t worry too much about them.
If you do make yourself sick from using fertilizer then you probably won’t be the first person to suffer this fate or have a weird reaction to it. Fertilizer is used in large farming operations all the time, so it’s not really a strange thing to happen. If this does happen, then seek immediate medical attention and inform your physician of what exactly caused it.
Do I Need To Wear Gloves?
It isn’t really necessary to wear gloves when using fertilizer, but it certainly can’t hurt if you’re concerned about your health. Most types of fertilizer aren’t harmful and won’t cause any skin irritation, but it certainly can’t hurt to protect your hands from any potential harm.
When Should I Use Fertilizer?
You can use fertilizer as soon as you plant your seeds. You do not need to wait until the plant is fully grown before you feed it either. Many new gardeners are under the impression that plants won’t be able to access the food immediately, but this isn’t true. Plants are living things too and they need to eat just like we do.
Never Use Fertilizer On…
There are a few plants that you should never feed with fertilizer. These plants have an unique trait of their own and can utilize fertilizer for their own use as a weapon against potential threats. You may have heard of these types of plants before as they are rather famous for this special defense. These plants are called “Poison Ivy”, “Poison Oak” and “Poison Sumac”.
If you come into contact with any of these plants, never use fertilizer on the area that comes into contact with it or you risk a nasty case of chemical burns. These burns are rather painful and can become serious if left untreated. It isn’t a pretty sight to see and I don’t recommend it.
If you’re still concerned about using fertilizer on your plants then there’s one more trick left that doesn’t involve using any kind of chemicals at all. You can use good old fashioned compost to keep your plants thriving.
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What Is Compost?
Compost is an organic matter that you create by combining various waste products together. These waste products can include things like fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, leaves, grass clippings and other similar materials. These types of materials are broken down over a long period of time into a rich soil.
When Should I Use Compost?
You can start using compost as soon as you have a sizable amount of it. You don’t need to wait until you have an entire truck load worth. A small container that is about knee deep should be enough for starting out. You may want to dig a small hole for this container in your garden so it’s easier to mix in later.
What Are The Benefits?
There are numerous benefits to using compost on your plants. First of all, it’s free and you usually end up throwing away most of these material anyway. There are many nutrients in the compost that your soil lacks and this can greatly increase your yield. You also add small organisms to your soil that breaks down the waste products and helps keep your plants healthy.
How Do I Create Compost?
It’s actually rather easy to make your own compost. You need three things:
Space – You need to find a good spot that is out of the way and won’t be disturbed. A corner of your backyard works well, as does a section in your garage or on the edge of your property.
Organic Waste Products – These are materials like fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, grass clippings, leaves, small branches and so on. Just make sure they aren’t anything that will rot quickly like meat or dairy products.
Time – It takes a long time for these waste products to break down, so you need to be prepared to wait. A good rule of thumb is that if the material can be put in a trash can, it won’t make good compost.
To start the process, all you need to do is throw your waste products into a pile and mix it up every once in a while. Over time it should darken and start to smell like soil. Once this happens, you can begin to use it on your plants.
If you want to speed up this process, you can add a small amount of purchased compost or manure. You probably won’t need to add any more than a shovel full at a time, as too much of this can actually do more harm than good.
I added about a shovel full of horse manure and mixed it in.
How Often Should I Add Compost?
You can add as much or as little as you want whenever you want. If you’re working with a small space, it may be beneficial to add small amounts constantly rather than large amounts every few months. Either way works just fine.
I added about a wheelbarrow full of composted manure to each small section.
What Can’t I Use?
You shouldn’t use any materials that will rot quickly, such as meat or dairy products. You also don’t want to use any diseased plants or anything that has been treated with pesticides or herbicides.
I added a small amount of grass clippings and some small branches to one of my piles.
What Are My Options?
There are numerous ways in which you can create your compost pile or bin. You can keep it as simple or as complex as you want. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Trench Composting – This is a very simple way to build your pile, but it takes up more space (unless you dig long trenches and cross them section by section). To start, you dig out long sections of earth with hard barriers on either side (such as fences). You then fill the trenches with organic waste and cover with dirt. To make sure the pile “cooks” correctly, turn the pile periodically to get an even distribution of heat.
Bucket Composting – This is a great way to compost in small spaces. All you need are a few buckets (such as plastic sand buckets) that are neither greenhouse gas emitting plastic or metal (to avoid leaching). Fill each bucket with organic waste and add a few drops of soap. The soap helps the bacteria break down the waste.
As the buckets fill, you can stack them on top of each other to save space.
Trench or Basket Worm Bin – This is great for people who want to add vermicomposting (worm composting) into their garden. You dig out long trenches or use large wire baskets to hold your worms and organic waste. The worms will break down the waste and castings (their poop) will be used as fertilizer for your plants.
Learn More: Raising Earthworms in Your Garden
Container Composting – This works great for apartment dwellers or anyone that doesn’t have space for a large heap or trenched compost. All you need are several large containers (such as garbage cans) that are neither greenhouse gas emitting plastic or metal (to avoid leaching). Fill each container with a layer of organic waste and a layer of dirt. The dirt will incubate the waste and feed the microorganisms that break it down.
Learn More: Container Composting
Portable Heap – This is a simple pile that you build in an open area. You can turn it regularly or just turn it once when you’re ready to use it as fertilizer. It’s a great way to make sure your pile gets the most sun exposure.
Learn More: What Is a Compost Pile and How to Make One
Trench or Basket Worm Bin
My preferred way of composting for a small space is to use a wire mesh “compost cage” that holds about 2 cubic feet of material. It looks sort of like a small cage, and you can buy them at many nurseries or online. This allows me to build a pile in the cage, and spread the material out in the garden after it is fully broken down.
Learn More: Mini Compost Cages
Whatever method you choose, it is important that the pile is turned at least once a year so that the compost cooks evenly. You’ll know if the pile isn’t cooking properly if it has an sour smell or if you see unidentifiable hunks of black “compost” in your pile. Feel free to pop them into your soil to amend it!
How to Use Compost
Now that you have your lovely compost, how do you use it?
Well, that depends on what you’re using it for. For vegetable beds, I like to use a 1/2 and 1/2 method. I build a raised bed and fill half of it with compost (or more!) and fill the other half with purchased soil or topsoil.
This makes sense for several reasons:
Your soil is likely pretty depleted of essential nutrients so you need to bulk up your soil with something. Rather than buying bags and bags of potting soil, use compost! You can make it yourself and it’s free (or at least cheap). Compost helps “lighten up” heavy soil and adds nutrients, so your raised beds don’t end up too dense or heavy.
How do you know how much to fill your raised bed?
A good rule of thumb is that for every foot in width, you need about 3 cubic feet of soil. So a 4 foot wide bed requires 12 cubic feet of soil. The depth of your soil depends on what you’re intending to plant. Most vegetables need to be planted at least 6 inches deep, so you can plan on using 9 inches of soil. This means you need 9 inches of soil over a 4 foot wide bed (the height of the bed), which means you need 4.5 cubic feet of soil for that bed. You need 4 beds, so you need 22 cubic feet of soil (12 for the soil and 10 for the compost).
So now that you know how much you need, how do you prepare it?
It depends what condition the soil is in and what you’re mixing it with.
If your soil isn’t in terrible condition, you can use as is for your raised bed.
Sources & references used in this article:
Nutrition and fertilization of ornamental greenhouse crops by JN Joiner, RT Poole, CA Conover – Hort. Rev, 1983 – Wiley Online Library
A preliminary study on the mineral nutrition of hydrangeas. by JB Shanks, JR Haun, CB Link – Proceedings. American Society for …, 1950 – cabdirect.org
Hydrangea production. by DA Bailey – 1989 – cabdirect.org
Symptoms in the florists’ Hydrangea caused by Tomato ringspot virus and an unidentified sap-transmissible virus. by DA Bailey – … by North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, 1998
Nitrogen Fertilization, Container Type, and Irrigation Frequency Affect Mineral Nutrient Uptake of Hydrangea by P Brierley – Phytopathology, 1954 – cabdirect.org
French Hydrangea for Gardens in North and Central Florida1 by T Li, G Bi, X Zhao, RL Harkess, C Scagel – Water, 2020 – mdpi.com