Is it a good idea to fertilize plants that seem to need a boost or does that stress them even more?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, B.: The answer to this question depends on a few different factors. First, are we talking about plants in the garden such as perennials, shrubs, trees etc., or are we talking about houseplants or possibly annuals? If your answer is perennials or shrubs and they have been in the ground for a full year then yes, go ahead and give them some fertilizer. As a general rule any well-balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 will work fine, but in some cases there are different fertilizers for certain plants; if you could be more specific I can give you more detailed suggestions. Houseplants can be fertilized once a month durning the warmer months with your favorite liquid food, or you can also use a granular product that will only need to be applied every few months. Annuals will benefit from regular fertilizer every couple of weeks; again, you can use liquid or granular form. Compost is always beneficial and more economical if you have created your own. If these are plants that have not been fed in a couple of months, go ahead and give them a boost. Be careful not to overfertilize since this can actually burn your plants. Always follow instructions on the fertilizer package. If you have other concerns about these plants in terms of their health, you can always take a sample to your local garden center with a knowledgeable staff or your County Cooperative Extension Service.