How do I Choose the Best Flower Food?

Sonal Panse

In order to choose the best flower food for growing flowers, it is first necessary to carry out a soil test to determine the type and amount of nutrient content present in the soil. If the soil lacks certain nutrients or contains a very low amount of them, you will need to find a flower fertilizer that includes a good proportion of these nutrients to equalize the balance. Different types of flower food are available in the market and the proportions of their nutrient content are usually indicated on the package so you can choose what will best work for feeding flowers in your garden.

Flower food enhances blooming.
Flower food enhances blooming.

The plant food should contain a balanced amount of macronutrients, micronutrients and trace micronutrients as these are required to be present in the soil for producing healthy plants and flowers. The macronutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, while the micronutrients are calcium, sulfur and magnesium. The trace micronutrients are boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc.

Nursery workers and managers can recommend suitable flower foods for different types of plants.
Nursery workers and managers can recommend suitable flower foods for different types of plants.

Nitrogen helps promote new green growth, and is especially needed by leafy plants and grasses. Good root development, stronger plants and increased blooms result from addition of phosphorus. Potassium, aside from making the plants healthier, also helps produce better quality flowers.

Flower food should be chosen based on the plants being grown and the quality of the soil.
Flower food should be chosen based on the plants being grown and the quality of the soil.

Plants need calcium for increased vigor and for encouraging newer and better root and shoot development. The presence of sulfur aids in plant growth and leaf health. For both better growth and good seed development, plants require magnesium; it is also needed to help plants better absorb plant food. The trace micronutrients are important for leaf development and quality and overall plant growth.

You can choose between organic and inorganic plant foods. Organic plant foods include ready-made flower food as well as compost, bone meal and manure. These may require time to break down and may therefore be slow acting. In comparison, inorganic flower food may come in a soluble form that is more quickly absorbed by the plants, leading to faster results; it is important to use inorganic plant foods in limited and, ideally, diluted amounts, as in too much and too strong concentrated forms they are liable to burn and harm the plant.

Flower food is also used to make cut flowers last longer. You may have noticed florists offering sachets of flower preservatives with the flowers they sell. This cut flower food is added to the water and will usually keep the flowers looking fresh and attractive; you can also dissolve a little sugar in the water for the same result.

Plant food should contain a balance of macro and micro nutrients.
Plant food should contain a balance of macro and micro nutrients.

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