With their brilliant magenta flowers, rhododendrons are a beautiful addition to your garden. You must feed your rhododendrons to keep them healthy. Tomato feed is an option, but is it good? We have found the answer through our research laid it out for you in this post. Keep on reading!
While tomato feed is fine for rhododendrons, it is not the best choice. Rhododendrons need minerals like boron, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, and copper. Tomato feed is rich in potassium, which rhododendrons do not require.
Now that you know that tomato feed is not the best option for rhododendrons, you might be wondering what is. We answer this question and more in this article. If you want to learn more about which kinds of plants tomato feed is good for, the best food for rhododendrons, and how to take care of them, then read on!
What Is Tomato Feed Good For?
As the name suggests, tomato feed is perfect for tomatoes. You typically fertilize tomatoes with tomato feed when you plant them and then again later when they start fruiting. Doing this promotes fruit growth.
Tomato feed is perfect for other fruit-bearing plants, too! Tomato feed is rich in potassium, which encourages fruit growth. It is also blended with phosphorus and nitrogen. Use tomato feed on your strawberries, peppers, eggplants, and even roses!
Tomato feed will not necessarily be bad for your rhododendrons, but they will not do very well with it, either. It could throw the nutrients in your rhododendron soil off balance. You're better off not using tomato feed with your rhododendrons.
We mentioned above that rhododendrons do not need the nutrients found in tomato feed as much as others. It is best to use tomato feed with fruit-bearing plants instead. Even if rhododendrons have fruit, it isn't edible.
The fruit of rhododendron can be toxic when ingested, while its leaves and flowers may cause skin irritation in some people. If you want your rhododendron to grow vibrant and healthy, consider other types of feed instead. We will discuss this in the next section.
What Feed Is Good For Rhododendrons?
When fertilizing rhododendrons, the best feed to go for is one high in acid content. Use aluminum sulfate to feed your rhododendrons.
This type of fertilizer is also used for azaleas and camellias. You can use either liquid fertilizer or granular-based fertilizer. The latter is best for outdoor rhododendrons.
There are several brands that you can go for when choosing rhododendron feed. If you are unsure about what type of feed you are looking for, you can make do by purchasing feed labeled specifically for rhododendrons or similar shrubs.
However, we suggest that you take care in choosing rhododendron feed. You want the best for your plants, so it is good to be informed. Aside from commercial fertilizers, you can opt for homemade or organic rhododendron feeds.
Can I Use Miracle Gro On Rhododendrons?
You may have heard of the brand Miracle-Gro. The brand produces plant food specifically for flowering shrubs like rhododendron that need high acid content. This food is water-soluble, and there is a lot of information about it online.
Are Blood And Bone Good For Rhododendrons?
Blood and bone should be fine for rhododendrons. You do not need too much: a mix of two parts blood and bone and one part superphosphate fertilizer is recommended.
While blood meal is excellent for rhododendrons, be careful with bone meal. It can be too much for rhododendrons since it is lime. This could potentially harm your shrub, so take care of the amount you use.
Blood and bone used as instructed should be fine. Your rhododendrons may benefit from the phosphorus and calcium content.
What Is The Best Organic Fertilizer For Rhododendrons?
Nature's compost is best for rhododendrons. This means the naturally occurring mulch from the plant itself and even compost from other plants. For example, composting with oak leaves and evergreen needles should do the trick.
Knowing how to make compost comes in handy here. You can use what you compost on rhododendrons so long as it is nitrogen-rich and does not mess with soil acidity.
For example, blood meal, fish meal, and the like are great supplements to your organic rhododendron feed.
Ultimately, the best type of rhododendron feed will be made explicitly for rhododendrons. Using feed made for other flowering plants may not be as effective.
What Is The Best Time To Fertilize Rhododendrons?
Fertilize rhododendrons right at the end of the flowering season. This happens during the spring. You will need the plant to be completely dormant by winter to keep its cycle healthy, so do not be late in fertilizing. You should avoid fertilizing too far into the summer.
During the growing season, fertilize your rhododendrons regularly. This should be done every four to six weeks. Organic fertilizers are preferred.
This is because you will need less and will have to feed your plant less often. Regardless, chemical fertilizer will still work just fine.
Every plant and location is different. Keep note of how your rhododendrons are doing annually and make appropriate adjustments. You can make slight variations to your fertilizing schedule depending on the climate as well as the overall health of your plant.
How Do I Make My Rhododendron Soil Acidic?
Soil acidity is essential for the health of your rhododendrons and is always considered when choosing the right feed. Using a basic soil test kit, you can test your soil's acidity if you are unsure.
Another way to tell is to observe the kind of plants you already have grown and if they like acidic soil.
One way to make your soil more acidic is by using sulfur chips. If it is still not acidic enough even then, you can rely on rhododendron and azalea fertilizer to boost it for you.
Another more organic way to do this is by adding sphagnum peat moss to your soil.
Your rhododendrons will thrive in soil acidity of 4.5 to 6.0. Too much calcium in the soil can keep your rhododendrons from growing, but the mineral can be healthy in tiny amounts.
Make sure the soil is well-draining and that the roots have access to good amounts of oxygen.
How Do You Make Rhododendrons Happy?
We already went over the best types of feeds for rhododendrons, as well as how to give the soil the right amount of acidity. This section goes into more detail on the other ways you can promote good growth with your plant.
As with any other plant, you will end up with healthy rhododendrons if you meet all their nutritional and grooming needs. With the right feed, climate, amount of sunlight, water, and good soil, you will end up with happy and beautiful rhododendrons.
Though similar to azaleas and needing the same types of nutrients, rhododendrons are more cold-hardy. They prefer the shade and grow in hardiness zones 5 through 8.
Of course, different types of rhododendron can have slight variations in their climate and temperature preferences.
You should water your rhododendrons two times a week in the first growing season. Since the roots of the plant are shallow, you do not have to water them so much unless you go two to three weeks without rain.
Do not overwater your rhododendrons. You can tell that you have been overwatering them if you notice the leaves starting to curl or wilt. Overwatering can also lead to rot.
Rhododendrons need about sox hours of sunlight. Sunlight for rhododendrons should not be too extreme: planting in either full shade or full sunlight could kill your plant.
Instead, opt for partial shade. Preferably, the planting location should have a windbreak to protect the rhododendrons from the cold and strong winds.
Our final tip is to prune your rhododendrons right before new growth begins. You can trim your plant or cut it down to just six inches above the ground. This will lead to brand-new growth in the next flowering season.
Wrapping Things Up
Tomato feed is not the best option for rhododendrons. While it can work fine, there are better alternatives for you to make your plants thrive.
You can opt instead for rhododendron- and azalea-specific feed. Make sure your soil is acidic enough, and give your rhododendrons a lot of organic matter.
Plants that bear edible fruit thrive the best with tomato feed. With this in mind, you can determine which food will benefit the different plants you may have.
Did you find this post helpful? If you did, check out our other articles before you go!