Flowering plants add color to your landscaping, but you must take proper care to keep them looking their best. Whether you are growing flowers in beds and borders or using them in containers to liven up patios, you need to fertilize the plants to encourage the most blooms and healthy foliage. All soils differ in the available nutrients they contain. A soil test helps guide you to the best feeding practices and is a service offered by most county or university extension offices for a small fee.
Measure new and existing flower beds to determine the square footage. Measure the length and width of the bed, then multiply the two numbers to find out the square footage. Use this number when determining the amount of fertilizer to use.
Fertilize annual flower beds and new perennial beds prior to planting in spring, using the recommended granular fertilizer from the soil test. Use the amount of fertilizer recommended for the square footage of your flower bed and till it into the top 4 to 6 inches of the soil.
Fertilize annual beds and new perennial beds a second time six weeks after planting. Use the same fertilizer and amount as you used during the initial feeding.
Apply the recommended fertilizer to existing perennial beds in spring once plants begin to actively grow again. Work the fertilizer into the soil around each plant, taking care not to bring it into direct contact with leaves and roots. Contact with fertilizer may burn or damage the plant.
Fertilize existing perennial beds a second time eight weeks after the initial fertilization. Use the same type and amount of fertilizer.
Feed container plants once weekly with a balanced liquid fertilizer, according to the fertilizer label instructions. Water container plants thoroughly after fertilizing to prevent root burn.