Best Fertilizer For Potted Plants
When you plant in your garden, the root systems have space to spread out. They have a lot of access to any water and fertilizer that is in your soil. Occasional fertilizing for plants in gardens is usually all they need. So what is the best fertilizer for potted plants?
When these same plants are in a container, they have a lot less root space. They can only pick up water and nutrients from the confined space of the pot. We’ve found the best way to grow plants in pots is by mixing water soluble fertilizer into the water, at a low rate, and use that fertilizer water almost every time you irrigate.
Water soluble fertilizer is a type of fertilizer that easily dissolves in water. Sometimes this is called liquid fertilizer. You can add slow release fertilizer to your potting soil. If you do that, you’ll still need some water soluble fertilizer two times per week.
We do not recommend Granular fertilizers for plants in containers because they dissolve more slowly.
Here is an easy way to fertilize your plants:
In a gallon container of water put 1 or 2 teaspoons of water soluble fertilizer. Use this to water your potted plants every time you water. If you use a 5 gallon bucket for mixing, use 5-10 teaspoons of water soluble fertilizer. Use the higher rate for containers that have Petunia or Geranium, even if they are mixed with other varieties. The lower rate can be used for pots with other annuals.
How much water to use for different sized pots:
- 10” diameter pots or baskets, use ½ gallon.
- 12” diameter pots or baskets, use ½ to ¾ gallon.
- 14 diameter pots or baskets, use 1 gallon.
- 16”-18” diameter pots or baskets, use up to 2 gallons.
Rain doesn’t do a good job of watering plants in pots. Even a ½” or 1” rain doesn’t get the soil wet to the bottom of the pot. Most of the time, you should water every
day. Be careful not to over water.
All plants depend on light for their survival, and making sure your potted plants get the right amount of light is key to keeping them happy. For both indoor and outdoor containers, group plants with similar light requirements. Don’t mix shade lovers with sun lovers in a single pot; one or both of them will be unhappy, depending on where you place the pot.
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