Placing a block of slow-release granular fertiliser onto the soil beside a geranium

Choosing the right type of fertiliser

Learn about the different types of fertiliser and how to apply them, in our expert guide.

All plants require nutrients. Dissolved in soil water and taken up by the roots, they’re vital for the formation of new roots, shoots, flowers and fruits. As a rule of thumb, the larger and more vigorous the plant, the more nutrients it’s likely to need.

But what type of fertiliser is best? Sandy, free-draining soils tend to be more nutrient hungry, so it’s a good idea to use granular, pelleted or slow-release fertilisers that won’t quickly drain out of the soil. By contrast, silty and clay soils retain nutrients better, so most plants will be happy if garden compost or well-rotted manure is added.

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