Fertiliser For Native Plants – Do They Need It?
If you have heard that you shouldn’t fertilise Australian Native plants its simply incorrect.
Although in the natural environment many native plants grow in poor soils, most will perform much better if they receive an appropriate level of nutrients, and this means fertiliser. One of the common mistakes with native plants is thinking they all need the same fertiliser, its simply not true.
You need to look at the soil they naturally grow in, and this differs greatly from the Rainforest’s of the east coast to the dry Western Australian plains.
A few species really do need low phosphorus fertilisers, and this particularly true of Grevilleas, Banksia, Telopea (Waratah) and Hakea. Even within these, some species cope better than others with ‘normal’ fertilisers. On the other hand, most Callistemon and Melaleuca species do not seem to mind. Many others will cope well with different levels of a general purpose fertiliser.
If your native plants are looking a little sad, they might just need some fertiliser.
One of the big mistakes people make with Australian Native Plants is thinking that they do not need fertiliser. They do sometimes need fertiliser when they do and they love it and respond well. It just that fertiliser requirements and application for native plants is different.
How to fertilise Native Plants.
These are the two general rules that apply if you are not aware of the needs of a particular species.
- Never use any fertiliser that is high in Phosphorus. This is the P in the NPK analysis that is on the packet. Anything that is higher than 3% is to high. Be a little carful that you are reading the percentages, NOT the proportions.
- Apply small amounts. Never apply more than the recommended amount, and usually apply 1/2 the recommended amount to be on the safe side.
When To Fertilise to Native plants.
It is best to apply fertilisers to native during periods of rain.
Or water the soil well before applying and again after applying.
Fertilisers not to use.
- Do not use Lime.
- Do not use the normal Dynamic Lifter, consider the liquid concentrate at a 25% to 50% the recommended rate.