Most potted plants need fertilizer in order to ensure a long, happy life. According to Erv Evans, a horticulturist at North Carolina State University, the soil and water with which you fill your garden containers don’t always give your plants the nutrients they need, including nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. As a result, it’s best to fertilize your potted gardenias, roses and other flowers when they’re actively growing. How often and how much fertilizer you use depends on the plant, so do your research to see the specifications for each variety.
Instead of buying commercial fertilizers, which are made with chemicals and tend to be expensive, you might want to try making your own organic variety. There are two easy ways to do so: one involves composting, while the other uses liquids. Here’s what you need to know about both.
According to Composting101.com, this process simply involves mixing organic waste from your yard and household, then providing the right conditions so that the ingredients can decompose. Basically, all you have to do is create a heap of organic material, then let it sit.
Buy a bin or build a small shed outside for your compost heap, and be sure that it’s nestled away from the areas where you and your family frequent (hint: it can smell bad). The pile should be no smaller than three feet in all directions. Make sure your compost bin has plenty of ventilation, as oxygen and moisture are both needed in the decomposing process.
When you add material to the pile, the news source suggests simply scattering it on top, not squashing it in. Make sure there is an adequate mixture of dried ingredients and green ones, like lawn clippings or food waste. Once your heap is ready, NYC.gov suggests simply mixing the compost into the top 3 to 5 inches of soil.
Liquid fertilizers have the benefit of being easy to apply. You can simply create them in a watering can and sprinkle the mixture onto the soil of your potted blooms. There are many ingredients that you could use to create fertilizer, but LifeOnTheBalcony.com has a few easy suggestions.
To make “Moo Poo Tea” fertilizer, the news source suggests steeping a manure bag in water for a couple of days. You should also place the container in the sunlight for the best results. You can use this mixture to fertilize your plants as frequently as once a week.
Guano tea can be made with bat or seabird droppings. Simply add a tablespoon of the ingredients into a gallon of water and let it soak for 24 hours. It makes a great fertilizer that can be used twice a month.