Homemade flower-growing tonics and fertilizers can help increase the size, quantity and quality of flowers in your garden. By sticking with organic tonics, you can help maintain the long-term health of the soil in your flower beds and pots. The key to making a tonic for frequent use is to dilute common organic fertilizers for daily or weekly use.
Fish emulsion is made from byproducts of processing fish into food products. As a fertilizer, fish emulsion is a good, balanced fertilizer that is usually sold as a liquid concentrate. Fish emulsion can, however, turn into a gelatinous substance over time. Mix your fish emulsion to about half of the recommended strength for more frequent application. Frequent application of diluted fertilizers help prevent over fertilization and give organic fertilizers the time they require to break down in the soil.
If want to make your own fish emulsion instead of buying it, fill about 20 percent of a 5-gallon bucket with fish waste. Fish waste can include fish entrails, heads, skin and scales. Add sawdust, leaves, or straw to fill the bucket about half way. Add 3 tablespoons of molasses and 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts. Add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Cover the bucket tightly and set it in a warm, sunny location. Uncover and stir the mixture every other day for a week or two. Dilute the resulting mixture between 1:1 and 1:5, depending on how much fertilization your flowers need. This concoction creates strong odors that may be offensive to neighbors, so keep that in mind before you start.
Kelp & Seaweed Emulsions
Kelp and other seaweed emulsions usually come in a liquid form. For frequent use in your flower beds or pots, mix the kelp emulsion at half strength and apply weekly. Kelp and other seaweed emulsions tend to have more trace minerals than fish emulsions. They are also a good, balanced fertilizer and growing tonic.
To make kelp or seaweed emulsion, fill a 5 gallon bucket that seals well with seaweed. Cover the seaweed with water and allow it to sit in the sun for about two months. Stir every 2 or 3 days. Dilute with at least one part water before applying to the soil around your flowers.
Many people will mix fish and seaweed emulsions to create a custom tonic. Fish emulsions have very good organic content, while seaweed emulsions contain trace minerals that help the blooms of many plants. Although many people combine the two in varying proportions, you can create different mixes for different stages of flowering and growth. By using primarily fish emulsion during the vegetative growth phase of the plant, before flowering, you are supplying a bit more nitrogen that will encourage vegetative growth. As you notice buds starting to form, switch to a mix of 50 percent half-strength fish emulsion and 50 percent half-strength kelp emulsion. As the buds start to bloom, change to a mix of one-third fish emulsion and two-thirds kelp emulsion, both at half strength.