How to Care for and Fertilize Ornamental Plants

It’s been two years since the Covid-19 pandemic, the collection of ornamental plants, of course, has also increased and that certainly grows and develops into a large ornamental plant figure. In order to look beautiful and according to the purpose of its placement, our ornamental plants need to be cared for.

The following is an explanation of the questions asked by some new ornamental plant hobbyists regarding whether ornamental plants in pots still need to be fertilized, what kind of fertilizer is good and how to fertilize it.

The application of various fertilizer elements (nutrients) needed by ornamental plants into the soil or to the body parts of ornamental plants directly is referred to as fertilization. Fertilization is intended to meet the nutrient elements needed by ornamental plants in the process of growth and development.

Soil, apart from being a planting medium, also functions as a place to store, exchange and provide nutrients. A place to store and provide water, and as a place for root development

The supply of nutrients in the soil will decrease because they are taken continuously by plants. Especially for ornamental plants in pots, because the supply of nutrients is limited due to the limited amount of soil. Therefore, the addition of nutrients (fertilization) for ornamental plants is absolutely necessary in order to achieve the desired results.

Fertilizers that can provide or provide the necessary nutrients for ornamental plants can be classified into two (2), namely:

Organic fertilizer

Organic fertilizers or natural fertilizers, namely fertilizers that come from organic materials, such as animal waste, leftover leaves, garbage and so on. Organic fertilizers are usually used as basic fertilizers, which are mixed into the soil at the time of planting or before planting. But lately, many types of organic fertilizers have been made and circulated through the leaves by spraying or by direct watering. This fertilizer can be applied many times during the growth of ornamental plants.

Although it only provides elements in small amounts, this natural organic fertilizer is very good for improving soil properties so that the soil becomes loose, easily penetrated by roots and can store air or water quite well. Furthermore, it is known that organic fertilizers contain complex natural organic matter that can provide micro nutrients such as Zn and Fe to be available for ornamental plants.

In the use of natural organic materials as fertilizer, there are several important things that need to be considered, namely:

  • Excessive application of organic fertilizers (especially manure)

can result in the addition of soil salt to dangerous levels,

  • Nutrients from organic matter are not directly available to ornamental plants, so they must go through decomposition first.
  • Natural organic fertilizers often contain causative inoculum

diseases, especially those that are “soil borne”, therefore the use of

This organic fertilizer needs to be considered the level of maturity. Usually organic fertilizer that has decomposed or soaked for 2 – 3 months is safe to be used as fertilizer.

Inorganic Fertilizer

Inorganic fertilizers or artificial (synthetic) fertilizers, namely fertilizers made from inorganic materials. This fertilizer can provide the nutrients needed by ornamental plants in large quantities. This artificial fertilizer is also a source of nutrients that is more stable in the concentration of elements it contains when compared to organic fertilizers, especially natural organics.

Provision of artificial inorganic fertilizers requires accuracy, such as the time of administration, the amount (dose) of fertilizer, and the type of fertilizer given. Giving too much will hinder the absorption of water and other nutrients so that ornamental plants will wither and even die.

In the practice of growing ornamental plants, these artificial fertilizers can be classified based on the main nutrient content, and there are two groups, namely single fertilizers and compound fertilizers. Single fertilizer is a fertilizer that contains one type of basic nutrient (primary) and is named according to the type of main nutrient it contains. Meanwhile, compound fertilizers are fertilizers that contain two or more basic nutrients and may also contain other (additional) nutrients, both in the form of macronutrients and micronutrients.

How to Fertilize

Types of fertilizers and types of ornamental plants. However, generally fertilization on ornamental plants there are two ways, namely:

Fertilization Through Soil. Fertilizer is sown or immersed after planting, then covered with soil and then watered. What needs to be considered is when sowing or immersing fertilizer, the soil or planting media must be wet. This is intended to prevent the roots of ornamental plants from being burned by fertilizer elements. Especially for ornamental plants in pots, this is very important to note.

Fertilizer Through Leaves. In this way, the fertilizer is dissolved to a very low concentration, then the fertilizer solution is sprayed directly on the leaves using a sprayer.

Cultivating Time

The uptake or absorption of nutrients during the growth period by plants is not the same in number, depending on the growth rate of the ornamental plant. At certain times, such as the period when ornamental plants grow very vigorously, more growth elements are needed and the exchange of growing substances takes place very intensively. At that time ornamental plants will take a lot of nutrients.

In general, the time and method of fertilization for ornamental plants depends on the type of plant and the period of growth of the plant itself. In addition, the regulation of the amount or dose of fertilizer given needs to be considered.

For example, if we want to use Urea, SP36, and KCl fertilizers to fertilize an ornamental plant in a pot. We know that each of these fertilizers contains 45% N for Urea, 46% P for TSP, and 50% K for ZK.

So the calculation of the need (amount of fertilizer) that must be given to ornamental plants in the vegetative growth period is: So it takes 3.3 grams of Urea, 2.2 grams of SP36, and 1 gram of KCl to fertilize these ornamental plants.

Likewise for generative growth. When using other types of fertilizer, the calculation method to determine the dose of the fertilizer in question is the same as the calculation method above. Usually, the above calculation is used for an ornamental plant pot with a diameter of between 20-30 cm. As for ornamental plants in the field, of course, the dose of fertilizer required is more (usually twice the dose for ornamental plants in pots).

For the type of fertilizer that is sprayed on the leaves, the required dose depends on the size (big-small) of the ornamental plant itself. However, each fertilizer package has explained or recommended the amount of concentration or dose range.

In general, the method of spraying for fertilizers that are sprayed onto the leaves is that, first make a fertilizer solution according to the recommendations on the package, then spray it over the entire leaf surface (preferably the lower leaf surface) evenly in the form of fertilizer mist (spray).

What needs to be considered in spraying foliar fertilizers are:

  • Concentration and dosage in accordance with the rules or recommendations contained on the packaging label,
  • Spraying of fertilizers is avoided at night and or when the sun is hot or when it is cloudy,
  • Avoid spraying when ornamental plants are in bloom,
  • Avoid spraying newly transplanted ornamental plants, and
  • Spraying is directed to the lower leaf surface.