proper flower fertilization, soil help

Asked June 9, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

I had a soil test done that indicated my soil was good or high in all areas except nitrogen. Very low on nitrogen.

When I called to ask if adding coffee grounds would be good, it was decided I should add blood meal with the coffee grounds. For small 4-inch pots that I planted, I added about 1 tsp. blood meal and 1 tsp. used, dried coffee grounds. The soil is clumpy (although very good drainage) so it was not possible to really distribute this treatment. I tried to spread it around near the top inches of the plant, but away from the plant. (Due to physical limitations and the fact that the area is covered in rocks, it is also not possible to amend or treat the entire bed. I have to do it one plant at a time.)

Now, I am reading that it is very hard to get an accurate nitrogen reading -- and that if organic matter is high (which it is), nitrogen is probably good too.

Also, I am reading that nitrogen will make flowers leafy, but not bloomy.

Will this treatment have hurt the flowering of a small 4-inch pot of English Lavender Munstead, Hardy Orange Gazania, or Elijah Blue Fescue?

I quit using the blood meal and used Osmocote time-release indoor and outdoor flower/plant food on three oranges & lemons blanket flowers as I planted them, doing the same thing (that is, putting the food around the top but not too near the main part of the plant). But, it also has more nitrogen than phosphorus, and now I understand it is phosphorus that is good for blooms. It is 19% nitrogen, 6% phosphate, and 12% potash.

I still have more room to plant a Little Blue Stem ornamental grass, Thumbelina Lavender, Champagne Bubbles Poppies, Veronica Candles, and more, so any suggestions are very appreciated.

Jefferson County Colorado soil and fertility issues

3 Responses

If you check the directions on the Osmocote label, you'll see that when planting in either a pot or garden, you need to work the product into the soil (and the company suggests 1-3 inches), not just place it on the surface. This placement will help the product work most effectively. The fertilizer is a slow-release material, which means it will not be available to the plant all at once and cause problems, such as excess leafy growth at the expense of blooms.
The nitrogen in blood meal is also slowly available, so what you applied should be okay.

If your soil test indicated that it was not deficient in phosphorus, then you don't have to worry about adding more for blooms.

Thank you. You have alleviated my worries.

I did place the Osmocote (and the blood meal) near the top inches of the plants, but not on the surface.

Yes, I'm not worried about adding more phosphorus; I was just concerned about the lopsided percentages in the Osmocote. Seemed like there should be more phosphorus and less nitrogen in the ingredients for blooming plants. This is my first garden, so I am just learning. Thank you for you help. No need to reply to this.

Just so you know, the most appropriately balanced fertilizer is in the proportion of 3:1:2. So 3 parts nitrogen, 1 part phosphorus and 2 parts potassium.