Thursday, March 27, 2008

When to fertilize and which plants/bushes get acid-loving vs. "normal" basic?

Hi, Anne -- I think your show is great. I'm new to NC, having moved to Raleigh only three years ago from New Jersey.

One of the first things I did was to plant my favorite flowering plants. But now I'm unsure when to fertilize them. If you can recommend a good book on growing flowering shrubs in the Raleigh area, please suggest it.

If not, could you please tell me when to fertilize and whether to use acid-loving plant fertilizer or base-loving plant fertilizer:

• lonicera fragrantissima
• winter Daphne odora
• Korean spice viburnum
• Jasmine vine (blooms white)
• mock orange
• exbury azalea
• winter clematis (vine, now in bloom)
• Russian olive (elaeagnus?)

I guess the basic question is: do I fertilize them while they are in bloom??? Thank you, in advance, for the information --


Anne's Response:

My favorite general gardening book for this area is the Southern Living Garden Book. There are several books that might help – look for books by Bob Polomsky (South Carolina Cooperative Extension), Toby Bost (formerly the extension agent in Durham county) and Pam Beck (local garden writer.)

The Exburry azalea hybrid will appreciate an fertilizer for acid loving plants but I have founf that the “organic fertilizers” formulated for blooming shrubs will work on all the plants you list. I prefer to add fertilizer just as the foliage starts to show in the spring. If the drought continues you may want to time your fertilizer applications with expected rainfall and reduce the amount that you apply.

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