How to Fertilize Seedlings to Keep them Nourished & Growing

Views: 12712 | Last Update: 2008-07-09
Proper fertilization keeps plants nourished and encourages growth. Learn more in this free educational video series. View Video Transcript

About this Author

Doug Smiddy

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Doug Smiddy of Smiddy's Gardening Services here on behalf of Today we are here to talk about starting your plants from seeds. You don't need to fertilize when you plant and the reason is, a seed is an embryo and within that embryo come all the nutrients the plant needs to get started. So if you fertilize it when you plant it it may be just too much for that little embryo or seed to handle. So what you want to do is wait until after the plant emerge. When the plants emerge they are going to start off producing one or two what they call a seed leaf also known as a cotyledon. These are really just from the inside of that shell of the seed and they kind of come out with the plant. There are still plenty of nutrients in there. When you fertilize is when you produce a second set of leaves. As you can see these seed leaves in this little seedling have gotten a lot bigger and now they are starting to produce their first true leaves. Now is the time to fertilize. The other consideration is what do I fertilized them with? Well, what you want to do is stimulate your root growth. Now when you buy a fertilizer it's going to give you three numbers. It's that middle number that you want the highest and that middle number represent phosphorus. Phosphorus is what stimulates your root growth. So buy a water soluble fertilizer. In my, in this case I use a two four two fertilizer. It's going to have a little bit of nitrogen, little bit of potassium but it's going to have a more phosphorus again to stimulate those roots because that is what you want to do. Mix it per the directions. I can not over emphasize how important that is. A lot of people tend to think double up on it the plants will grow twice as fast. You might shock the plant to death so if it says add one tablespoon per gallon, add one tablespoon per gallon, not two. If you have like a one quart container you can just divide up how much to put in there. You mix it in with your watering can, shake it up pretty well and again the beauty of this system is you have your mixed fertilizer water mixture just take your cell out, pour your water in like that, until it's about one inch, or deep enough so these cells can absorb that mixture, put your cell back in and you're done.