Feeding geraniums with the right geranium fertilizers requires some knowledge about this plant’s specific requirements. Despite what you may have heard, geraniums are heavy feeders, that crave the right nutrients in order to thrive. Sure, many geraniums grow well even without feeding them much, but unless you live in the perfect climate with the perfect soil, chances are, your geraniums will just survive rather than thrive. Not all fertilizers are created equal, you therefore may want to learn more about feeding geraniums the right fertilizers.
Importance of Feeding Geraniums
Just like many other plants, geranium require several nutrients in order to thrive. When a geranium plant is placed in a pot with soil or in a flower bed, there are high chances that the soil will lack essential nutrients in the right amounts. This is where good geranium fertilizers comes into place.
Most geranium plants need primary nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Each of these nutrients play fundamental roles in growth.
The nitrogen helps the plant grow and develop nice green foliage. The phosphorous aids in root growth and helps the plant reproduce which translates into flowers and seeds. Finally, potassium helps with strong stem development and helping the plant become more resistant at times of drought and disease.
On top of these primary nutrients, secondary nutrients are also needed. These include macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are needed in large amounts and include substances that are often already present in the soil such as oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Micronutrients on the other hand are needed in small amounts and include boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and zinc.
The Right Geranium Fertilizers
Choosing the right geranium fertilizers can be tricky because the ideal type may vary based on what nutrients you already have in the soil and several other factors. It may help having your soil tested. You can buy a home soil test kit or ask your local cooperative extension office to test it for you. The folks working there should be able to suggest to you the ideal fertilizer based on your soil’s results, whether you are growing in pots indoors or outdoors and the type of plant you are planning to plant (most likely geraniums, if you are on this page!).
Generally, most geraniums grown indoors may benefit from a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. What do these numbers mean? Each number represents the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) the fertilizer contains. With a 20-20-20 fertilizer you are therefore getting 20 percent nitrogen, 20 percent phosphorus and 20 percent potassium.
The fertilizer must be diluted in water in correct proportions. Never pour it straight out from the bottle! Failure to dilute may lead to the fertilizer burning the plant which may end up in killing the plant! Liquid fertilizers are fast acting and geranium plants absorb the nutrients quickly through the roots.
For those looking for products specifically crafted for geraniums, Algoplus offers a liquid fertilizer that delivers 12 essential nutrients plus trace elements. Although this fertilizer has lower numbers compared to commercial types, the company claims that this is just the needed amount that can be used from March to October.
The Power of Magnesium
Geraniums may benefit from the addition of a little bit of magnesium every now and then especially if the soil the plant is in happens to be slightly deficient in magnesium.
You don’t have to go to the garden center in order to add a touch of magnesium. Instead, you can provide some magnesium to your geranium plants by giving some Epsom salts, which is often found in households. Epsom salts are simply a source of magnesium sulfate. To be precise, Epsom salts are composed of about 10 percent magnesium and 13 percent sulfur.
Every third or fourth watering, add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts to one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly, and water your geraniums with this solution.
How does magnesium sulfate help geraniums? This mineral is helpful in keeping the foliage nice and green. Indeed, a lack of magnesium or sulfur is often the cause for yellow, dull looking leaves. On top of that, magnesium helps improves a geranium plants’ uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.
Liquid Sea Weed
Liquid sea weed has been used for a long time, but now it seems more and more gardeners are re-discovering its beneficial effects. And this is not at all surprising, this product contains more than 70 minerals, vitamins, and enzymes and a little of this product goes a long way.
Benefits of liquid sea weed for geraniums include better resistance to frost, better resistance to stress, deterrence of pests and diseases. Many gardeners use liquid sea weed for soaking seeds, as a rooting solution, as spray to encourage vigorous growth of leaves and buds and added to the watering can for the general purpose of growing healthier, stronger, and more disease-resistant geranium plants.
The ratio of liquid sea weed to water varies depending on the brand and its concentration. As mentioned, a little goes a long way.
Did you know? Some gardeners prefer to skip sea weed and feed this cheaper solution: water from a can of tuna. Simply mix equal parts of water and tuna water and feed your plants.