Question from Beverley in Saint Lazare, Que.:
What type of fertilizer does one use on spring bulbs once they have flowered? I heard it was helpful for tulips and daffodils to apply a fertilizer while they store up energy for next year.
In the case of bulbs already established in your garden, most experts recommend feeding them twice a year with a soluble fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 10-15-10, once in late fall and again in early spring, just as the shoots begin to appear (but before they bloom).
Alternatively, incorporate some compost and a bit of bonemeal into the soil around your bulbs in late fall and in early spring to give them a nutritional boost.
Bulbs need phosphorus, but because this element doesn’t move through the soil like other nutrients do, it’s best to add super-phosphate or bonemeal at planting time, in the bottom of planting holes. This way, roots will be better able to reach this particular nutrient.
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