Which fertilizer makes plants grow faster
The 5 most common mistakes when fertilizing
Do your plants die despite regular fertilization? Maybe that's where the problem lies. We'll show you five mistakes not to make.
Plants give us food, beautify our homes and simply put us in a good mood. It is all the more sad when they look withered and hang their heads, even though you really care about them. Often missing or incorrect nutrients are the problem when plants are ailing and do not want to grow as magnificently as usual. That is why many gardeners resort to fertilizer right away - but stop! Did you know that incorrect fertilization can even be harmful to plants and is a common cause of sickness? So that your plants are optimally supplied and bloom in all their splendor, we show you here which mistakes you should not make when fertilizing.
1. Mistake in fertilizing: Too much fertilizer
A little more fertilizer can't harm the plants, can it? Wrong - more fertilizer does not lead to more growth in plants, but can have exactly the opposite effect. Massive over-fertilization can even lead to the death of some plants. The reasons for this include interactions between the individual nutrients, but also between the nutrients and the plant. For example, if the phosphate content is too high, other nutrients such as iron or manganese can no longer be absorbed. In this way, the plant can show signs of deficiency despite the abundant supply of nutrients. If you fertilize too much with nitrogen, on the other hand, many plants will develop lush leaves, but hardly any flowers (and therefore fewer fruits). Other symptoms of over-fertilization are susceptibility to disease and lack of robustness against wind and weather. Burns of the leaf edges or wilting can also indicate excessive use of fertilizer.
Last but not least, the excessive use of fertilizers is also harmful to the environment. Excess nutrients can be washed out by the rain and get into the environment, for example into the groundwater. There they have numerous, sometimes serious consequences for nature. You should therefore always follow the dosage information on the packaging and, if in doubt, use a little too little instead of too much.
2. Mistakes when fertilizing: Pay attention to the soil
Not every soil is the same: What sounds trivial at first, actually has a huge influence on the right amount and the choice of fertilizer when it comes to fertilizing. For example, nutrient-poor sandy soils need significantly more nutrients than particularly humus-rich areas. But the pH value also plays a decisive role in nutrient uptake - as soon as certain pH values are exceeded, many nutrients are no longer available to the plants. For example, nitrogen can only be used by the plants at a pH value of 6.5 to 8.5. Therefore, if the soil is too acidic, nitrogen fertilization will not help to compensate for the lack of nutrients. Instead, you should first regulate the pH of your soil by adding lime. But soils that are too alkaline also limit the availability of important nutrients, such as potassium. Therefore, they should be treated with an acidic substrate. You can easily determine the pH value of your soil yourself by using a test strip available at a garden center or hardware store. A pH value between 5.5 and 6.5 is optimal for most garden plants.
3. Mistakes in fertilizing: the right choice of fertilizer
Universal or special fertilizer? When looking at the range of garden shops, many people get dizzy just at the number of different types of fertilizer. There is a separate variety for almost every plant and every type of soil, but universal fertilizers are also available, which should be suitable for almost all plants. The question often arises whether it really has to be an expensive special fertilizer or whether a cheaper, general version is not absolutely sufficient. In fact, a whole range of plants need a fertilizer that is specially tailored to their needs in order to thrive optimally. This is how bog plants like the rhododendron (rhododendron) - acidic soils and may react very sensitively to fertilizer mixtures that are enriched with lime. Even with tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) it is worth using a special tomato fertilizer, as this has a special nutritional composition. Many other fertilizers have too high a concentration of nitrogen for tomatoes and lead to a reduced harvest.
Numerous crops, including potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), Zucchini (Curcurbita pepo) and practically all types of cabbage, on the other hand, are heavy eaters who almost cannot get enough fertilizer. Nevertheless, they should only be fertilized with chemical preparations extremely sparingly (if at all). Due to its immediate effect, the plant may initially be over-fertilized, but by the time the next dose is given, the nutrients have long been washed out and the plant is undersupplied. Organic fertilizers are therefore more suitable for crops, as they release the nutrients evenly and over a longer period of time. Depending on the type of plant, it is worthwhile to use different means to optimally care for the plants.
4. Mistake when fertilizing: Use chemical clubs
When it comes to fertilizers, many people think of pure chemistry, after all, the range of mineral substances is huge and is also used by many. With their precise instructions and their special adaptation to the needs of different plants, these preparations pretend to be far ahead of alternative, organic solutions. But organic fertilization has a number of advantages that beat the chemical lobbies by a long way: For example, organic slow-release fertilizers, but also compost, horse manure and the like, release the nutrients much more slowly and more evenly. This means that they have a continuous long-term effect without the need for constant re-fertilization. This goes hand in hand with the fact that the nutrients from these fertilizers are washed out much less strongly by rain and therefore do not pollute the environment. At the same time, their production is simple, environmentally friendly and also inexpensive. Leaves, vegetable scraps and grass clippings accumulate in every garden at no additional cost and can be easily processed into compost yourself.
But simple home remedies can also be real miracle weapons: A brew of nettles can be made quickly and is ideal for fertilizing. But even coffee grounds with a lot of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus are far too good to waste and no matter how many plants they enjoy. Even the water from boiling eggs can be reused and after cooling is food and drink for your plant at the same time.
5. Mistakes in fertilizing: sun or rain?
The sun is shining and the air is warm - wonderful weather for going into the garden. But even if sunshine is pleasant for gardening, you shouldn't use fertilizer on such days. In fact, applying fertilizer to sunlight can have exactly the opposite effect. Instead of helping the plants to grow, liquid fertilizers in particular in combination with sunlight can, in the worst case, cause severe burns on the leaves and exposed roots (another reason not to rely on the chemical club in the garden). At the same time, fertilizer is more difficult to distribute on the dry soil and later appears unevenly.
It is therefore better to fertilize early in the morning when the sun is less intense and the soil is still damp from the dew. Even when the sky is overcast or after a rain shower, the fertilizer can end up in the bed. Incidentally, plants (with the exception of some tropical exotic species) do not need any fertilization during winter and should instead enjoy their well-deserved rest.
Most common fertilizing mistakes: summary
Here you will once again find all fertilizing errors that you should avoid, summarized at a glance:
- Too much fertilizer can be harmful. Therefore, you should pay attention to the dosage instructions.
- Soil quality and pH value must be taken into account when fertilizing.
- Not every plant can tolerate every fertilizer. Special fertilizers are often the better choice for bog plants, exotic plants and tomatoes.
- Instead of mineral fertilizers, it is better to use organic alternatives - these are more environmentally friendly and release their nutrients longer and more evenly.
- Fertilize when the sky is cloudy or in the early morning, avoiding the midday sun. Most plants do not need fertilizer in winter.
If you would like to find out more about the ingredients and effects of our certified organic and animal-free Plantura fertilizers, we have compiled all the information for you here.
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I am a student of agricultural sciences and a real village child. At home I have a small vegetable garden that I tend and look after, and I prefer to spend the time outside. When I'm not outdoors, I love to write. My love is not only for plants and writing, but also especially for the animal world.
Favorite fruit: currants and raspberries.
Favorite vegetables: salsify, savoy cabbage and potatoes.
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