Feeding Plants in Containers

It is always a good idea to fertilise your plants in the growing season to give them an extra boost, however it is especially important to do this with potted plants. Containers often need more regular watering than plants in the ground, and nutrients originally in the potting compost will be more quickly washed out than they otherwise would in the ground. Here are three ways of feeding your containerised plants this season.

Topdressing with manure

Step by Step - Cutting back, top dressing and fertilising Rose - © GAP Photos

Step by Step – Cutting back, top dressing and fertilising Rose – © GAP Photos

Manure is the most organic way of feeding your plants. Be sure to get well-rotted animal manure. It is widely available in garden centres and inexpensive. It is also nutrient-rich. However, depending on the size of the pot, you are unlikely to need a large quantity of it, and manure tends to be available in large bags, so possibly not a good option if you only have a few small pots to fertilise. It can also be a bit smelly!

Adding slow-release fertiliser granules to the soil at planting stage

Step by step - planting a pink and purple themed container - © GAP Photos

Step by step – planting a pink and purple themed container – © GAP Photos

Incorporating slow-release fertiliser granules in containers is a good option if you know you are unlikely to have time to feed your plants during the summer. They slowly release nutrients as the moisture levels in the containers build up, so you will still need to remember to water your plants. This is a great option if you think about it early on when you come to planting, however if you miss the chance, it’s a bit harder to add them at a later stage.

Feeding while watering with liquid feed

Feeding a container grown fuchsia with liquid feed using a watering can - © GAP Photos/Jonathan Buckley

Feeding a container grown fuchsia with liquid feed using a watering can – © GAP Photos/Jonathan Buckley

Liquid feeds are very widely available, and you can get very specific feeds for different types of plants, which will contain the ideal nutrient balance for the plants they are intended. A bit of measuring is usually required to make sure you dilute the feed with the correct proportion of water, however generally this is an easy method, and as it is incorporated at the watering stage, it takes care of two jobs in one go. You can also feed as and when you feel necessary. Liquid feeds are however, more expensive than other types of fertiliser, and you are likely to get through more than one bottle in a growing season, increasing your use of single-use plastic.