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The 2 most important times to feed plants, is when you are planting them (into the ground or pots!), and during the growing season.

When you are planting, it is important to consider the compost, as many contain a certain amount of plant food:

Vegetables are fine in Multipurpose compost, which has relatively low nutrients, lasting 4 weeks. This is enough food to ensure healthy plants, yet won't hinder the vegetables from flowering and producing.

For Hanging Baskets and Patio Pots, it's best to use 'Tub and Basket' compost which contains plant food for 6 - 8 weeks. This feed will help the Summer annual plants fill out and flower beautifully, but will require a top up towards the end of Summer. 

Shrubs, roses and trees require more feed, and benefit from 'Eco Mix' soil improver or 'Rose, Tree and Shrub' compost which contains food for a year. This will give the long term it's best start, encouraging strong root growth and healthy foliage.

A few exceptions are acid loving plants, such as Pieris, Heathers, Camellias, Rhododhendrons and Azaleas which prefer more acidic Ericaceous compost.

In our experience, towards the end of the growing season in late July and August is when plants really start to suffer if they are low on food. They have used all the nutrients from the compost and require a boost!

All the spring and summer flowering annual plants that we produce have a 6 month slow release fertilizer incorporated in the compost. Unfortunately daily watering and periods of hot weather really effect how much nutrient is washed away and how much can be physically absorbed by the plants. For this reason we liquid feed all of our plants to maintain optimum health and longevity. This is repeated about every 2 weeks.

For vegetables, once they have flowered, you can encourage healthy crops by using tomato plant food, growmore, or sulphate of ammonia for green, leafy veg.

  

For Summer annual plants, liquid or powder feed which you can mix and apply with the watering can are best. The plants are thirsty so will absorb the water and feed almost immediately. Miracle Grow liquid feed, Tub and Basket liquid feed or Osmocote granuals are perfect, and should be used every 2 weeks for the rest of the season.

For shrubs, roses and trees, feeding is more infrequent but just as vital. Often shrubs will show you signs of needing feeding such as lack of new growth and yellowing leaves. In the Summer, give the borders a boost with a range of food, from slow release granular feed such as 'Miracle Gro Rose and Shrub'  which can be forked into the soil, to smaller granular feed which can be sprinkled on the surface and watered in - such as Growmore, Blood, Fish and Bone, Bone Meal or specific Rose Food.

Don't forget the acid loving plants, which require special Ericaceous feed, in liquid or granular form.

 

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