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Fertilise pots and containers, otherwise the plant will get sick from hunger

«Do no fertilise in the garden; you only need to wait for the harvest.»

The most popular country saying, which we like to use in the garden, actually means this: more provides more! "Do you want a little bit more?" The question is good, for example, when shopping for meats, sausages and cheese where food is still freshly weighed, only because the answer is almost automatically "yes". People have learned from their own survival history: more is more!

This is not true when fertilising!

In the garden, in the "natural" soil, which has been regularly supplied with manure or compost for years or decades, the correct country saying is conversely “less is more”. Or even more radical and more correct: basically and until the plant proves the opposite, it is not necessary to fertilise at all! An apple tree that has grown accustom for years to its underground environment, which has kilometre-long roots, gets the nutrients it needs itself. It has a fine net of agents, formed by root tips, which find freely available nutrients wherever they occur.

To interfere with such long-established systems using fertilisers is not only pointless, but counterproductive:

"The superfluous fertiliser tempts the plant towards luxury consumption." 

It then grows much too strong and above all it does not see any reason to further develop its underground network, which keeps it active…possibly a small "mistake" of nature: like mankind, plants have also learned to survive their struggles, that more (consumption) also means more (yield, success)... not always to their and to our long-term advantage. This is the best hypothesis:

Do not fertilise in the garden, except in justified and obvious exceptions:

• The plant shows hunger, grows too little, becomes obsolete

• The plant shows clear symptoms of deficiency – these are frequently due to iron chlorosis (which in turn is associated with the pH of the soil or an unbalanced nutrient supply)

• In a new planting, it makes sense to give the plant "start-up funding", a small fertiliser reserve as a small advance on the future. This is especially true when you place them before the task to increase in size as fast as possible and then to produce blossoms and/or fruit as soon as possible. Where else should it get the time and strength to develop its subsurface root system fully by itself? Fertiliser is in part also the price that we have to pay for our impatience, or more politely, for our time saving.

• It is also recommended to fertilise very short-term crops, in flower beds and vegetables. However, it must be noted that with the (necessarily recommended) addition of rotten or well-balanced green compost the mineral-based additional fertiliser should be reduced to half. Here, in many cases – based on the reactions of the plants – the additional fertiliser can also be reduced to zero if the soil has been organically upgraded for decades. One cannot emphasise it often enough: compost and dung are also fertiliser.

Frutilizer – Fertiliser

"Fertilise pots and containers, otherwise the plant will get sick from hunger."

A quite different case, therefore, applies when growing plants in receptacles, pots and containers, also in beds, where the root space is narrowly limited by structural measures (bricks, walls, no deep ground). Ultimately, however, the plant with its above-earth organs have exactly the same power and energy as plants grown in garden soil, yes, actually still a bit more because they need to have more reserves for stressful situations that come about more frequently in the "pot jail". Natural mineralisation is not enough; by far not, even if, of course, the additional fertiliser requirement can be reduced by using compost or dung. So for pots or containers, contrary to the outdoor garden, the opposite basic rule is this: pots MUST be fertilised!

Instant Frutilizer®

It is so simple, at least as a basic rule: do not fertilise in the garden (except in the above exceptions). And always fertilise in the pot – and do that as intelligently as possible. This is why we have developed the Frutilizer® fertiliser range. And that is precisely the reason why we have placed a focus on mineral salts, the Instant Frutilizer®, which is quickly and precisely dosed and dissolved in water and then fully targeted and rapidly absorbed by the plant. In many cases, fertiliser is said to be a quick help for the self-help of plants – both in the garden and also in pots – and not like a medicine for chronically ill people that can never be stopped.

The special case of a bog bed

The problem with simple solutions is, of course, just like as in real life, the special case. It should be explicitly explained here. In the garden, a bog bed creates an artificial environment that has a low pH (about 4.5) and with a normal garden soil environment (usually a pH of 6 to 7.5), growing acidic plants, including blueberries, rhododendrons, cranberries and azaleas, is possible. 

Ideally this bog bed also comes with the price that the available root space is again restricted, even when a plastic barrier protects against the penetration of calcareous water. This is ultimately why a bog bed should be treated like a pot or container: the natural mineralisation alone will not be enough for the roots imprisoned here. Therefore we recommend using the Frutilizer® Seasonal Fertiliser. Its coated fertiliser grains slowly dose and release the nutrients over a period of six months and they also have a slightly acidic effect. As needed and after the reaction of the plant, this basic fertilisation in the spring for promoting flowers can be applied 2 - 4 times again with half a dose of the instant fertiliser for bog beds.

And then the special case of the special case: blueberries

Note: “more provides more” does not work in the case of blueberries. Cultivated blueberries are very salt-sensitive and accordingly we recommend to exclusively use slow release fertilisers at first (Frutilizer® Seasonal Fertiliser).

If then the growth result is correct, there is no more need for action. If the growth is not quite right, then apply a half standard dosage of Frutilizer fertiliser for bog beds next year, once in April and once in May, until the results improve. To see what the answer of the blueberry plant is, by the way, quite simple: blueberry plants should regularly produce new, young shoots from the base; they grow out of the ground and reach a height of between 20 - 60 cm per year and thus form the basis for future yields (and for the next years when old shoots are also cut out). If this new growth in the form of suckers (which are normal and positive for blueberries) is not enough, then a dose of the Instant Frutilizer® can slowly (slowly!) be increased in the bog bed – to maybe three doses. In any case, more frequent, small doses are better than one large dose…


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