Have you seen the musical (or the 1986 movie version) “Little Shop of Horrors”? Nerdy Seymour works at a florist shop. He buys a plant strongly resembling a venus flytrap, which does poorly until he accidentally discovers the plant thrives on human blood. The plant in true fictional license, screams “Feed me, Seymour, feed me!” Each time it needs more and more blood, and finally flesh. The musical has everything you’d want: catchy songs, a hero you can relate to, and romance.
What on earth does “Little Shop of Horrors” have to do with the topic for the week, fertilizing? Aside from revealing my slightly twisted mind and love of movies and musicals, it actually has a lot to do with fertilizing. Erica, my sister, and I were brainstorming about our e-mail for the week. “Now is the perfect time to start feeding all your plants,” she said. “The plants and lawn are starting to grow. They need nutrients and the rain will wash the fertilizer in.” That information went to our advertising guru, who came up with the idea of “feed me”. Of course, my twisted mind obviously thought-”feed me” = “feed me Seymour” = “Little Shop of Horrors”.
Then I started to think about it a little bit more and I realized it is really applicable. After all, “Audrey II”, the plant in the musical at first is lanquishing under Seymour’s care. What Seymour doesn’t realize is he needs to fertilize Audrey II. Unfortunately, due to a cosmic accident Audrey II requires blood. The more Seymour feeds her, the bigger she grows and the more demanding she becomes. What we want to do with our plants is to feed the soil and give them more usable forms of fertilizer (organics are especially good) that nourish them but don’t overfeed and cause excessive growth. We’re striving for a happy, full plant not an overgrown plant that can’t go on unless it feeds its addiction for high nitrogen, water soluble fertilizer that has to be applied weekly.
Not to worry. If you fertilize now, with organic fertilizer, your plants will not become blood-sucking super creatures. They will be happy, healthy, perfectly behaved plants. I promise! Here are the products we’re recommending to make everything in your yard look great.
For new plantings of shrubs and trees and plants that were bare-root earlier in the season, give them a one-two punch of Espoma Bio-tone Starter Plus and Fertilome Root Stimulator. Bio-tone innoculates the soil with mychorrizae that helps the plant aborb nutrients better. Root Stimulator works great on plants that are struggling after our extremely cold winter, too. It contains a rooting hormone to encourage roots broken in transplanting or that may have been damaged in the cold. Anytime a plant is stressed, Root Stimulator is a good product to apply.
For acid-loving shrubs, such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias, Heather, and Blueberries we suggest using Espoma Holly-tone. Feed now and again in late summer/early fall for optimal results. For a general purpose fertilizer for all other shrubs and trees, use Espoma Plant-tone. Plant-tone is an organic fertilizer that is safe and long-lasting. It contains beneficial microbes that make your plant and your soil very happy
Fianlly, feed lawns Espoma All-Seasons Organic Lawn Food, lime, and Soil Activator. All-Seasons Lawn Food is safe to use around children and pets. A first application now means a lush lawn this spring. Lime raises the pH of the soil, discourages moss and encourages healthy growth. A neutral pH unlocks soil nutrients, so your lawn is able to absorb more nutrients. Fertilome Soil Activator also unlocks nutrients that are in your soil but not able to be absorbed by your lawn or plants. It feeds and encourages soil microbes making your soil healthier. Healthier soils = healthier plants.
Many thanks to Sharon, whom I asked to write a few bullet points and I would fill in the rest. Little did she know! I’m sure she will enjoy the little twist I’ve brought to the topic. Sharon is our bug, bird and beneficial specialist and she’s pretty twisted, too. There are many more fertilizers that Garland Nursery carries, including some specifically for Roses and Tomatoes. If you have any questions about the best fertilizer for your plants, give us a call or stop in. We’d love to help you make your plants healthier, without out all that loss of blood.