All plants need certain basic nutrients to grow.
These nutrients are found in soil and are absorbed by the plant's roots. Gardeners may wish to give their plants extra feed if their own soil has become depleted of nutrients or the nutrient content is unbalanced. In addition, certain types of plants respond well to having extra feeds aimed at boosting flowering, fruiting or leaf growth.
The three major plant foods are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). These elements provide the nourishment plants need to produce strong root sysems, healthy growth and an abundance of flowers and fruit.
Nitrogen (N) - The Leaf Maker
Nitrogen is the element that encourages healthy green growth in leaves and stems.
Lack of nitrogen may occur in light free-draining soils because the element is easily leached out. The result is spindly, stunted growth and pale foliage.
Phospohorus (P) - The Root Maker
Water and nutrients are absorbed through the root system. Phosphorus in soils is present as phosphate salt (phosphates). This stimulates healthy root growth and gives the young plant a good, firm start in life.
Phosphate deficiency is rare but may occur in deep peat soil or heavy clay soils. It causes slow and stunted growth. Foliage will look dull and yellow around the edges.
Potassium (K) - The Fruit and Flower Maker
Potassium is necessary for the formation of enzymes, which control all biochemical reactions in plants. This ensables the plant to bear good crops of fruit and flowers.
Potassium deficiency is fairly common in very light soils or those with a high chalk or peat content. The foliage may look scorched round the edges, blotchy or discoloured. Flower colouring will be inferior and fruit formation poor.
The J. Arthur Bower's Range of Plant Foods
At J. Arthur Bower’s we produce a wide range of fertilisers, or plant feeds, designed to help gardeners meet the needs of their plants. The foods fall into two main categories – inorganic, which are manufactured synthetically, and organic, which are derived from natural products or are of animal or vegetable origin.
Inorganic Plant Foods
Examples of these include Growmore, Rose Food and the Azalea, Rhododendron & Heather Plant Food. These will give the plants a fairly immediate boost. Other, more specialised plant foods include Sulphate of Ammonia, Epsom Salts, Superphosphate, Sulphate of Iron and Sulphate of Potash.
|A balanced long-lasting multi-purpose plant food||A powdered plant food with added trace elements||Plant food with extra iron for plants that dislike lime conditions|
|An iron-based plant food tonic for lime-hating plants||A rapid source of nitrogen for green-leaved crops||A high potassium plant food that promotes fruit and flowers|
|A high phosphate plant food to promote strong root development||Magnesium sulphate to correct magnesium deficiencies||Ground limestone to help break down heavy soil and neutralise excess acidity|
Organic Plant Foods
Organic foods derived from animal by-products are valuable because they act slowly through the soil. Popular traditional organic foods include bonemeal, dried blood and fish, blood and bone. All J. Arthur Bower's traditional plant foods are derived from animals slaughtered for human consumption. The World Health Organisation has also concluded that horticultural bonemeal for domestic use should be placed in the lowest risk category, defined as "No detectable infectivity". There is no risk in using bonemeal. J. Arthur Bower's also make plant foods to strict organic standards under the New Horizon label. These are based on traditional materials such as poultry manure and Vinesse, a high potash extract of sugar beet.
|An organic slow-release root building plant food||An organic-based multi-purpose plant food||An organic nitrogen plant food for improving foliage growth|
|An organic long-lasting general purpose plant food||An organic tomato food.|
Liquid Plant Foods
Liquid plant foods are the ideal way to give plants a quick pick-me-up and are ideal for summer bedding, tomatos and houseplants.
Plant Feeding Tips
When using plants foods, don’t make the mistake of thinking more is necessarily better - it isn’t. Plants are like people, they don’t respond well to overfeeding. Too much food can make plants produce too much soft growth. As a result the plants succumb more easily to the cold and disease.
Always read the instructions before you buy to make sure that you’re getting the right food for the job.