I realized that if I want to grow plants in a container garden, I need to provide them the right amount of fertilizer. But I was curious whether I can fertilize my plants in hot weather.
I found out that it is OK to fertilize plants in hot weather. You do need to reduce the amount of fertilizer to 20% you would normally use. This will protect the plant from fertilizer burn. You also need to give the plant plenty of water after adding the fertilizer.
You need to apply the right amount of fertilizer in the right manner when the weather gets too hot. I’ve written my research below that you will find beneficial.
What Is the Proper Way to Fertilize in Hot Weather?
It is true plants will be sensitive to fertilizer during the hot days of summer. Let’s take a look at how to fertilize plants when the temperature rises.
Not all plants are created equal. Some plants, such as ones native to the area you live in, are accustomed to their environment and do well in hot weather.
Plants that are not native to hot regions may be more sensitive and require even less fertilizer. Most woody and bedding plants require more fertilizer than others to survive.
Too much fertilizer on hot days can cause fertilizer burn. When feeding your plants in the summer, cut back to about 20% of how much fertilizer you would usually provide during spring or fall.
The plants will need a lot more water due to the hot weather. The more water you provide, the more fertilizer the plants will take in along with it.
That’s why it’s good to water the plants either in the morning or evening. This helps prevent them from drying out too fast and taking in a lot of the fertilizer. This helps the plant avoid getting overloaded with nutrients and possible fertilizer burn.
The Best Types of Fertilizer for Hot Weather Use
There are a ton of choices when it comes to brands and chemistry makeups based on what you need a fertilizer to do. Some fertilizers are designed to promote flowering, while others are created to focus on green growth and root development.
That being said, there are two main sources of fertilizers to feed your plants throughout the year. Both have their benefits and ramifications based on how they react with plants.
Synthetic Versus Organic Fertilizer
Synthetic fertilizers- These human-made fertilizers have the benefit of being easy to modify for the plant type that is being fertilized. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels can easily be adjusted when manufactured to match what the dirt in your yard needs.
Organic fertilizers- Any fertilizer made from naturally occurring ingredients, usually animal (think ground earthworms or animal excrement) and vegetable matter that is allowed to compost, is considered an organic fertilizer. The mix used from the different plants or animal wastes will cause slight differences in plants’ reactions based on the mixture’s chemical makeup.
When choosing which source of fertilizer is better during hot months, we need to remember feeding too much fertilizer too fast in the heat of summer is the worst possible combination.
Although there are synthetic fertilizers designed for slow release, most are made to feed plants as quickly as possible, as in the case of lawn grasses, to produce greenery. This designed potency may be too much for your plants to handle on hot days.
Organic fertilizer, on the other hand, acts more as a soil conditioner than a human-made fertilizer. By conditioning the soil with the nutrients your plants need, organic fertilizer is slower acting and will not shock your plants as much as synthetics.
Liquid Versus Solid Fertilizers
Both synthetically designed fertilizers and organic fertilizers come in solids and liquid forms. Plants absorb liquids much faster when they thirst than solids within the soil. For this reason, it is better to use a solid fertilizer in summer and save the liquids for spring and fall.
What Are Some Symptoms of Over Fertilization?
Keeping a close eye on your plants during a hot summer is important for recognizing stresses developing in them that can cause irreversible harm. Knowing when to add water or fertilizer is important as too little or too much of each can damage plants.
Here are a few ways to know if your plants have received too much fertilizer:
- For leafy plants that receive too much fertilizer, you may see the partial or complete loss of leaves.
- If you know for sure, you are watering your plants enough, any wilting of leaves or stems can be a sign of too much fertilizer, causing sickness in your plant.
- Leaves or stems turning brown can be another sign of over-fertilization.
- We fertilize plants to help them grow, but if your plant has been stunted and you do not know why, try reducing the amount of fertilizer.
- Too much fertilizer can cause death to your plants. If you always wonder why you were not gifted with a green thumb, it may only be because you are overfeeding plants.
Being able to recognize over-fertilization is vital so that you are able to reverse any damage to the soil and your plant. For the best ways to determine how to reverse soil damage from too much fertilizer, click here.
Do Some Plants Need More Fertilizer Than Others?
Plants come in different varieties and are grown for many reasons. Some, like grass, is only needed to be green and grow thick under our feet. Other plants are grown to harvest their fruit or vegetables, while others are planted for their aesthetic beauty when flowering.
Based on the needs of each type of plant, there are different requirements for fertilizing. Let’s take a look at the variety of plants and their needs when it comes to fertilizers.
Bushes and shrubs- Used mainly for their privacy, secluding abilities need fertilizer the least of most plants. Classified as perennials, these types of plants, including most trees, do not need much fertilization. Unless soil samples or the plants show signs of stress, they rarely will need fertilizer in any season.
Vegetable plants– Plants that produce vegetables release most of their gathered nutrients into the food they produce. In doing so, these types of plants need extra food to return the lost nutrients to produce more. Fertilizing will be a benefit to these types of plants.
Lawn grass-For grass, fertilizing depends on how much growth and thickness you want in your lawn during summer. Feeding twice a year in the spring and fall are usually enough. For those who want the thickest grass, light fertilization in summer with a large amount of watering will cause it to grow. Just remember, whenever you make your grass grow faster, you will need to mow more often.
Fruiting plants-Trees and plants that produce a large amount of fruit are similar to vegetable producing plants, as they lose nutrients as the fruit is made. Give these plants plenty of fertilizer and water in the spring and a small amount in the summer.
Flowering plants-Roses and other woody flowering plants will produce many more blooms from regular fertilizing.
Succulents-Plants categorized as succulents require some fertilization, although only a small amount throughout the year.
- Hidden Valley Hibiscus
- Star Tribune
- Oregon State University
- Penn State Extension
Here are some of my favorite container gardening tools
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you with your gardening needs. I’ve listed some tools below that can help you with container gardening. These are affiliate links so I’ll earn a commission if you use them.
Gardening Gloves – I find the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves really good for both men and women. It’s made from bamboo so helps absorb perspiration. They are also comfortable and fit very well.
Containers – You know picking the right container is crucial for your container gardening. I’ve written a detailed post on the best containers you can choose from. If you’re happy with a plastic container, you can check out the Bloem Saturn Planter.
Watering Can – This is a must-have tool when you’re growing plants in pots or grow bags. It helps to water the potting soil without splashing on the foliage. The Kensington Watering Can is stylish, strong, and can provide precision when watering potted plants.
Trowel – Garden Guru Trowel is my favorite because it’s durable and comfortable to use. My gardening friends really love having a trowel because they use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, mixing compost or mulch, and also dividing tubers
Bypass Pruner – I really like the Corona Bypass Pruner because it’s durable and gives a clean cut that helps plants recover faster. If you’re looking for something cheap, get the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that is really good as well.
To see an extensive list of the best container gardening tools gardeners recommend, check out this resource that I made for you.
Kevin is the founder of Gardening Mentor, a website that aims to teach people to grow their own food in a limited space. As a self-taught gardener, Kevin has spent several years growing plants and creating gardening content on the website. He is certified in Home Horticulture and Organic Gardening by expert gardeners from Oregon State University.