Fertilizer for Bulbs – Location

Q: We were advised to fertilize our bulbs as the foliage starts to emerge in the spring. At a nursery a salesman told me to use blood meal instead of bulb fertilizer. When I looked at the box it says to apply directly to soil surface and not on top of mulch. What should I use and how?

A: I think you’d be better off with the bulb fertilizer. Bulbs need nitrogen and the bulb fertilizer is 4-6-4 while the bone meal is only 1-15-0. The 6% phosphorus level is fine for bulb growth. Both products work best if applied directly to the soil surface. That’s where bacteria and fungi can attack the organic ingredients and thereby release the nutrients the bulbs want. If you don’t mind using a chemical fertilizer, you could use a water-soluble powder product now. It doesn’t require soil contact.

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