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Printed From: British Clematis Society Forum
Category: Clematis
Forum Name: Postings
Forum Discription: General chat and help about anything Clematis
Printed Date: 23 Jan 2019 at 4:05am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.06 -

Topic: Fertilizer
Posted By: katie
Subject: Fertilizer
Date Posted: 12 Feb 2007 at 6:25pm
OK, it's time for my yearly questions and decisions on fertilizer.  I am in Zone 8 which is the same as much of the UK.  I am fortunate to have a good resource locally to buy fertilizers - Peaceful Valley Farms.
Now the big question is what to put on the clematis this year to jump start them.  Generally I feed and then mulch with well rotted chicken manure which is even as I speak cooling in my compost bins and will be ready to apply in about two more weeks which is when I will start fertilizing.
In the past year or two I have used fish bone meal and a general organic feed high in phosphorus.  Last year was not a great year but I know (ever the optimist!) this year will be better.
I will probably use steamed bone meal (not the fish this year) but what to put with it?

Posted By: keith
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2007 at 6:17pm
Potash is required for good flowering, and any good rose fertilizer is a pretty good mixture for both roses and clematis, as it normally contains not just NPK in the right sorts of quantities but trace minerals etc. as well.


Posted By: katie
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2007 at 6:22pm
Thanks for the answer Keith.  I have tried Rose Food in the past and been unhappy with it.  I suspect a lot of commercial plant food in the US doesn't have trace minerals.  I now try to go with organics.
I realize the very best way is to soil test  but it is so expensive to do here.  I do have a home kit which I'm going to try this weekend but they don't work very well.
I guess the biggest question is can one overfeed when fertilizing clematis?  Some say they they don't hardly  feed at all and some say clematis are gross feeders.  I just don't know what to think anymore.

Posted By: keith
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2007 at 10:47am
If you prefer organics then a decent fish,blood and bone fertiliser might be suitable, but do check that the NPK balance is there.  Supplement as required with any extra potash etc.  I don't overfeed things like hirsutissima etc. but the 'ordinary' types do get reasonably generously treated.  I repot plants in pots on a regular basis (this may be in a one to three year cycle to suit, and all my pottted clems get the top inch or two removed and re topped up each year anyway ) to stop build up of certain fertilizer remnants etc.


Posted By: katie
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2007 at 6:06pm
Thanks, Keith

Posted By: Peter Gooch
Date Posted: 23 Feb 2007 at 9:54am
Hi katie. I would just like to add there is a great deal to be said for just getting a load of well rotted horse muck and using this as a mulch. My garden has very very sandy soil and everything i feed goes straight through it! The best results by far have been using horse poo each spring! Hope that helps too.
Another product that I recommend trying is tomato fertilizer in liquid form. If you use this after watering your plants then they take it up much more quickly and the results speak for them selves. So when you start watering in your garden you can start using it and water lightly first and half an hour later(usually after a gin and tonic!) you can feed. Use about the same as recomended for your tomatos and this can be done about once every two to three weeks until flowering is over.

Peter Gooch
Thorncroft Clematis Nursery

Posted By: katie
Date Posted: 23 Feb 2007 at 11:29pm
Peter, thanks for the words of wisdom especially about the gin and tonic!  Friday evening gardening is great with a glass of white wine nearby.
I did try year old horse manure one time but I seemed to import every weed seed in the county along with the house manure.  Currently I top dress with composted chicken manure which I buy locally.
I love the idea about the liquid fertilizer.  I could also install  drippers that can dispense liquid fertilizer.  A third option is a container which feeds fertilizer into my hose/spray wand.
I am all set this weekend to do some soil testing.  I bought a home kit.  Maybe that and a glass of white tonight will give me some answers.
This year is going to be a great clematis year!   I have about 200 one to four year old clematis in the ground with another 50+ waiting to go in.  Thank goodness I have plenty of room.

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