What techniques do you use with liquid plant feed?
Fire Posts: 17,116
edited June 2021 in Tools and techniques
Historically I have not used liquid plant feed much, for outdoor plants, apart from with hanging baskets. I have relied on yearly or twice yearly manure for roses etc. and some use of slow release fertiliser granules. I would like to start using a seaweed feed to promote better floral displays, for plants like dahlias, roses and such bedding as I have. If I did just roses and dahlias, I would need around 25-30 buckets a week, just for the small garden, which seems like a big job. Having a dodgy back, I wince to think of it, and suspect his is part of the reason I haven't used liquid feed for outdoor plants very much. I use buckets or five litre bottles rather than watering cans as I find them easier to fill and carry. I don't grow veg at moment, so am thinking about just standard flowers. I gather too much fertiliser can be worse than none at all.
And so to questions:
- Would you use all of a five litre bottle+ on one rose (for example) or spread a little on lots of plants?
- Do you find that feeding makes a big difference for established plants?
- Is there benefit in feeding plants like hollyhocks, foxgloves, mullein?
- Do any respond badly to feeding (apart from plants that like poor, low nutrient soil)?
- Do you find that feeding helps plants battle disease like rust or blackspot, or get healthier and overcome or avoid aphid, larva and slug attacks? (Some people say that healthy plants get targetted less)
- do you find slow release fertiliser granules just as good, better, or you use them in conjunction?
- Does clematis like tomato / seaweed feed?
5L in a sprayer will cover a big area and it's a much more economical way of applying it.
Best done on a dull day or when the sun is not out - and rain not forecast for at least a few hours
I use it on all plants
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Of the plants that I’ve kept from last year I can say that they all have definitely benefitted from the liquid feed, the roses in particular are greener, more lush and with far more buds. Similar situation with the heuchera. Sadly, the liquid feed seems to have made no difference as regards rose black spot. I have had a very minor problem with powdery mildew on one dahlia and on some annual fuschias.
The bottle suggests feeding weekly but I’ve found this impossible to keep up so recently I’ve been feeding fortnightly. The rose containers are 40 or 45 cm in diameter and I probably use about 1.5 to 2 litres of the diluted solution per pot. I use it as a soil drench. The only thing I dislike about the liquid is that it’s quite thick and I find it messy to deal with at the diluting stage. I suppose it must cost me about £3.50 every fortnight, which is a lot, but I don’t mind as the results seem good. I don’t think it’s likely I’ll go back to slow release granules now.
I’ve also read and heard that healthier plants are targetted less by slugs, aphids etc.. . I really don’t know if that’s true or not; I definitely have some issues in the garden but it’s not too bad all things considered. Perhaps it is true.
I use tomato feed for flowering plants in pots [annuals etc] , and for clematis. I also use it for a couple of feeds for bulbs [in pots] after they're finished. It's ideal for annuals later in the season when their food supply is waning. Any heavy flowering plant will benefit from it.
I use seaweed for foliage plants. A foliar feed of that is useful now and again.
Overfeeding of plants in the ground is largely wasteful and can results in lots of softer, lush growth. If the ground is fed instead, it creates hardier plants.
I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...