How does your garden grow?
In a natural setting, plants drop leaves which then break down and contribute to the organic matter in the soil. Most of us, however, tidy up our garden beds, removing what we assume is messy waste. We also import plants from areas with vastly different soil structures and weather patterns. Thus, we need to add nutrients to the soil and we do that with fertiliser. The type required for your garden depends upon the plants in your garden. Fertiliser is how your garden grows.
All purpose fertilisers
All purpose, or general fertilisers are exactly as the name suggests – they have most of the nutrients required for most plants. There are two main types. Slow release fertilisers can generally be identified as the little orange balls which are scattered over the tops of the garden, or mixed into pots. They break down over time (more so in warm weather) and last up to twelve months. Water soluble fertilisers are applied in liquid form. They are absorbed rapidly and need to be applied more often. This is usually a better option if your plants are struggling and you need to help them quickly.
Plant specific fertilisers
Some plants are just plain fussy. Quite often, these are the most spectacular, so we forgive them. But they do need specific and targeted fertilisers. Camellias, for example, are very susceptible to fertiliser burn. So you are better off using a Camellia and Azaelea fertiliser. Roses are another plant which prefers its own fertiliser. Something like Black Magic should be applied every six weeks or so from spring to late summer.
Style specific fertilisers
Just to make things a little more complex, you can also get fertilisers specific to a plant type. Australian natives tend to like a fertiliser with low phosphorus levels, while tropical plants like a lot of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. There are plenty of arguments for and against the need to have natives specific fertilisers (you can read an article on it here) and at the end of the day it comes down to what you like. At Wanda’s we see no harm in providing your precious plants with that extra special care they may need.
Seaweed solutions are more of a treatment than a fertiliser, but they most certainly deserve a mention. It is important to remember that you should use it in conjunction with a fertiliser rather than instead of. As long as you get the ratio of solution to water correct, it’s very hard to over-do it. You can apply the mixture to the garden beds and/or spray it directly on to the leaves – the plants can absorb it either way. It is especially helpful when plants are flowering. It just gives plants a little extra energy whilst blooming. Just be aware that seaweed solutions are a little pungent when you first apply them (your garden will smell like an otter enclosure for a few hours) so it’s best not to apply just before you entertain.