Shrubs – Fertilizing

Q: I have some questions regarding fertilizing plants. Are you supposed to fertilize gardenias while they are blooming? If not, then when and how often? How often should I fertilize my roses? I read that during the hot summer months, you should stop feeding them. Is that correct? Also, are you supposed to fertilize azaleas only once a year, right after they bloom?

A: In general, you should fertilize older shrubs twice each year: once in spring after the last frost and once in early fall before the first frost. Young shrubs can be fed monthly with light doses of nutrients. It doesn’t matter whether they are blooming or not. I like plain old 10-10-10, applied at one tablespoon per foot of plant height, each time but many good gardeners prefer a slow-release fertilizer like “Nursery Special” and others.

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