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Fertilisers – the need to feed

By Catherine Rayward

We dish the dirt on the best fertilisers for your summer garden


For a healthy, flourishing garden, it’s essential to feed your plants. But where to begin? With so many fertilisers available, choosing which is best for each part of your garden can be a challenge. Each fertiliser has its own purpose, but what might be great for one plant might not be quite right for another. By learning what your plants need for optimum growth, finding the right fertiliser that is best value for your plot will be a cinch.

Flowering plants

A blend of both slow-release and liquid fertilisers will give flowering plants the boost they need – simply scatter a handful of slow-release fertiliser or pelletised manure around plants. For acid-loving shrubs, use a specially formulated fertiliser, such as Osmocote Plus Organics Roses, Gardenias & Azaleas. To keep the flowers coming, follow up with a potassium-rich liquid feed, like Yates Thrive Concentrate, Flower & Fruit Plant Food.

Native trees and shrubs

Many Australian plants are sensitive to high levels of phosphorus, found in general-purpose fertilisers. To ensure native varieties get their fair share of nutrients, use a native-specific granular fertiliser or give them a boost with Searles Flourish Native Plants Soluble Plant Food.

Herbs and vegetables

For established vegie beds, feed with a complete, slow-release fertiliser such as Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Vegetable, Tomato & Herb Plant Food, and supplement with liquid feeds to promote strong growth. If you’re planting up a vegie garden, enrich the soil with well-composted manure.

Pot plants

Plants growing in pots, tubs or hanging baskets quickly become deprived of nutrients. To keep them happy, apply a slow-release fertiliser such as Amgrow Ferticote Pots, Planters & Hanging Baskets or Yates Acticote Pots, Planters & Garden Beds. Water in, then spray the foliage with a seaweed-based plant tonic, such as Seasol, to give plants a boost before the slow-release fertiliser kicks in.


Slow-release fertilisers will provide your lawn with all the nutrients it needs. Look for a formula high in nitrogen, such as Scotts Lawn Builder and use a fertiliser spreader to ensure even application. For a quick hit of green, try a concentrated hose-on liquid fertiliser, such as Yates Lawn Master Rapid Greening Lawn Food – your grass will look lush in no time.

Fruit trees

Fruit trees, especially any of the citrus varieties, can be quite demanding when it comes to being fed. Help them flourish with a slow-release fertiliser that’s enriched with essential trace elements. Look for Osmocote Plus Organics Fruit & Citrus or Yates Dynamic Lifter Plus Fruit Food.

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