How to buy the best fertiliser Fertiliser for shrubs and perennials
There is no need to feed most shrubs and perennials growing in normal garden soil. Which? Gardening grew a selection of shrubs and perennials in the same ground and gave some plots fertiliser and left others unfed. There was little to be gained in terms of growth or flowering impact from feeding.
There may be exceptions, in areas of high rainfall or well-drained soils, such as sandy or chalky soils, where nutrients can get washed out. However, we would still recommend waiting to see if plants thrive on their own first.
Fruit trees and rose bushes
Trees and bushes grown for their flowers or fruits, which are regularly pruned, can benefit from an annual application of a rose fertiliser in spring.
Trained forms of fruit, such as cordons and espaliers, where plants are pruned in summer and winter, and fruit trees grown on very dwarfing rootstocks will also benefit from rose fertiliser in spring; as well as roses, which are grown for their flowers and hard pruned each year.
Nutrients for container shrubs
Shrubs and perennials, including bulbs, left in containers year after year will either need potting on into the next size pot, or feeding in spring with a slow-release fertiliser. Specialist fertilisers are available for ericaceous (acid-loving) plants and for citrus plants.