Shrub Fertilizers: When and How (Including The Best Shrub Fertilizers)

Ornamental bushes, evergreen shrubs, and flowering shrubs all benefit fromShrub fertilizers because they provide vital nutrients. lush foliage, lovely flowers, and shrubs that are resistant to disease can be achieved by using the correct fertilizer for shrubs. Moreover, shrub fertilizer isn’t expensive. As a result, they’re ideal for improving poor-quality soil and promoting plant health.

Remember that healthy shrubs are not always required to have fertilizer added to their garden soil. Certain fertilizer applied to lawns or flower beds, for example, is absorbed by established shrubs. Composted manure application every three to five years may provide enough minerals for your shrubs in some situations. Your shrubs will also flourish if the soil in your garden already has adequate nutrients. In addition, additional nutrients may not be beneficial to plants with symptoms of sickness or that have been watered too much.

Shrub fertilizers come with a slew of advantages in most cases. Healthy shrubs in your garden landscape may be achieved by supplying the right amount of fertilizer at the proper time and location. Regardless of whether you maintain tiny dwarf shrubs in borders, create a living barrier with huge evergreen shrubs, or cultivate flowering decorative shrubs, proper fertilization has numerous advantages.

This article provides a thorough introduction to using shrub fertilizers in your front or backyard. Fertilizer application to shrubs will also be discussed. You’ll learn about the greatest fertilizer for evergreen and blooming bushes at the conclusion of this article.

Why You Should Use Shrub Fertilizer

The key nutrients for shrub growth are found in plant fertilizers. Shrubs prefer nutrient levels that are evenly distributed. Fertilizing shrubs also enhance the plant’s root system, making them resistant to pests and diseases, in addition to ensuring that they receive adequate nutrients. Moreover, plants that get the necessary nutrients bloom all throughout the year.

Nutrients in Shrub Fertilizer

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the three most important nutrients for shrubs. For fast development, nitrogen is a critical nutrient for shrubs. Flowering shrubs need potassium and phosphorus in large amounts. Nevertheless, micronutrients such as calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, molybdenum, sulfur, and boron may be found in shrub fertilizers. It’s a smart idea to understand about the three key nutrients that all shrub fertilizers provide before picking out any fertilizer: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. On the fertilizer package, these are usually written as NPK or N-P-K.

Nitrogen (N)—Photosynthesis relies heavily on nitrogen. Assists plants utilize the sun’s energy to make sugars as the major component of chlorophyll. Nitrogen is required for fast growth and beautiful, healthy green leaves as a consequence.

Phosphorus (P)—The consumption of this basic shrub nutrient is required for healthy root and blossom development. Perennial shrubs grow hardiness by getting enough phosphorus. It promotes new growth while also speeding up maturity.

Potassium (K)—Potassium, often known as potash, supports excellent shrub development. When a plant has enough potassium, it is more resistant to diseases and can better tolerate freezing temperatures. From seed to blooming, potassium is critical for shrub development.

The proportion of the three primary nutrients in the fertilizer is referred to as the NPK rating. Therefore, 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium would be a shrub fertilizer with an NPK rating of 10-10-10.

Recommended Evergreen Shrub Fertilizer

Fertilizer that contains more nitrogen than potassium or phosphorus is required for evergreen shrubs. Since several evergreen coniferous trees develop swiftly and produce gorgeous, green foliage, they need nitrogen. For boxwoods, yews, and spruce shrubs, a fertilizer with an NPK rating of 13-3-4 would be ideal unless you have flowering evergreen shrubs. Select an NPK of 11-7-7 for flowering evergreen bushes, such as rhododendrons, to encourage bloom.

Recommended Flowering Shrub Fertilizer

For flowering shrubs, the best fertilizer should have a higher concentration of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Since blooming requires a significant amount of energy from the shrub, it occurs only once per year. As a result, an NPK fertilization of 8-4-12 would be appropriate for blooming shrubs. A fertilizer with an NPK rating of 18-6-12 would be a better option in soil with nitrogen shortages.

Shrub Fertilizer vs. Shrub Food

For shrubs, shub fertilizer isn’t edible. Fertilizing shrubs is a common term for “feeding” them. The term “plant food” appears in the names of certain fertilizers. Photosynthesis, on the other hand, is used by all shrubs and plants to manufacture their own nourishment.

To encourage healthy development and photosynthesis, fertilizer is solely minerals and nutrients that the soil lacks. Plants need minerals such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) to create nourishment in the soil. Micronutrients are required to provide gorgeous leaves and bloom as well.

How to Decide If Your Shrubs Need Fertilizer

If plants are deficient in nutrients, shrub fertilization is required. It’s preferable to check the soil for nutrient deficits before deciding whether you should fertilize shrubs. Additionally, you should fertilize shrubs if they are growing slowly, have small leaves, don’t bloom well, and aren’t developing properly.

You may not need to apply fertilizer if shrubs seem healthy and are growing at the proper pace, and if they bloom as expected. Without fertilization, established shrubs that grow in soil containing decaying organic matter will flourish. Here are some guidelines on how to raise the quality of your soil in order for your bushes to thrive:

Soil test to decide if shrub fertilization is necessary. Do a soil test before ordering shrub fertilizer online or traveling to your local garden center. The pH levels of the soil and if there is a nutrient shortage may be determined by a soil test. You may purchase the proper kind of shrub fertilizer if any of the three main nutrients are missing.

Growth rate helps decide if you need to use fertilizers. Are your bushes growing slower than they should be? Have you noticed how little new leaves seem and how infrequent they appear? Maybe the leaves turn color early in the fall? These indications might lead you to believe that an appropriate shrub fertilizer should be used to address soil nutrient deficits.

Pest infestations, sickness, overwatering, and compacted soil may all cause growth problems, so it’s a good idea to keep that in mind. Before fertilizing the soil, you’ll have to take care of any external stressors that might be affecting shrub development.

When was the shrub planted? Until they establish a strong root system, newly planted shrubs don’t need fertilization. You may slows growth rather than speed it up if you apply fast-release fertilizer at planting. Typically, providing the necessary nutrients to the ground at planting involves working in decomposing organic matter.

Where are the shrubs growing? You don’t need to apply fertilizer if shrubs are growing in a flower bed or beside lawns that you fertilize on a regular basis. Shrub roots absorb nutrients from other plant fertilizers, which is why they grow poorly. Additional fertilization may assist healthy development if shrubs are growing in loamy soil that lacks organic matter.

Common Types of Shrub Fertilizers

Slow-release shrub fertilizers and fast-release fertilizers are the two types of fertilizer that shrubs need. Over months, slow-release nutrients are released gradually by slow-release fertilizers on the ground beneath shrubs. Slow-release fertilizers are usually more convenient to use.

They’re also good for recently planted bushes. Water-soluble fertilizers are a type of fast release fertilizer. They are less costly than others, yet they are more challenging to use. They may quickly go through sandy soil, harming the shrub’s roots in the process.

Slow-Release Shrub Fertilizer vs. Fast-Release Shrub Fertilizer

For shrubs, slow-release fertilizers are typically preferred. Nitrogen is released at a consistent pace in comparison to quick-release fertilizers. As a result, the season’s growth is better. In addition, nutrients are released at a slower pace, posing less of a danger of entering the ecosystem.

Fast-release shrub fertilizers are often the best solution when you need one. For example, if yellowing leaves or indications of stress are observed on an ornamental shrub, In this situation, swift treatment with a water-soluble fertilizer blend may help you recover quickly. Alternatively, to encourage fast development, you have a freshly planted tree. After that, a quick growth spurt might be caused by a fast-release application.

Natural Shrub Fertilizer

Herbs are natural, and nutrients are released gradually. Decaying organic matter is frequently found in them. Aged cow or horse manure, composted vegetation, sewage sludge, blood meal, and bone meal are all examples of natural fertilizers. You may also purchase commercially manufactured natural shrub fertilizers.

There are advantages to using natural fertilizers to support healthy shrub development. Natural fertilizers, in particular, are safe for organic gardening and don’t include any toxins. Second, they help to improve soil structure by having a balanced mineral content. There is also less risk of root burning since there are no synthetic chemicals.

It’s important to recognize that natural shrub fertilizer have downsides. Nitrogen content, for example, is often lower than that of synthetic slow-release fertilizer. As a result, you’ll need to add more organic matter and do it more often. Natural fertilizers, on the other hand, have significant benefits for many gardeners.

How Much Shrub Fertilizer to Apply

The root area and nitrogen content of a shrub determine how much fertilizer to apply. Since they develop quicker, younger bushes need more nitrogen than older bushes. On average, nitrogen-hungry bushes can consume between two and four pounds (0.9 and 1.8 kg) per 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) of root growth each year.

When mixing the liquid (fast-release) or spreading the granules (slow-release), follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get the ideal dosage of fertilizer. The diameter of your shrub’s root spread must also be calculated. The size of the crown is normally one and a half times this.

The root zone will be 4.5 ft. (1.4 m) around the central stem, for example, if the shrub’s foliage has a spread of 3 ft. (1 m). The shrub’s foliage spread is 1.5 times this size.

How to Fertilize Shrubs

Indirect or direct fertilization is also possible for shrubs. When you give nutrients to lawns or flower beds, you’re indirectly fertilizing shrubs. Direct fertilization is the best method for fertilizing shrubs.

To apply the right quantity of fertilizer, use a drop-type spreader. To do this, divide the fertilizer dosage in half. Then, in one direction, cover the root zone. Next, in a perpendicular direction, apply the remaining half. Make sure no fertilizer is left on the leaves after applying the granules.

How Much Shrub Fertilizer to Use – Example

The condition of the soil and the size of the shrub determine how much fertilizer to apply. It’s critical to apply the correct quantity of fertilizer when fertilizing shrubs. Overfertilization may cause root damage and foliage loss. It’s usually preferable to apply too little rather than too much, especially when it comes to health. The amount of shrub fertilizer that should be used is simple to calculate.

Fertilizer dosages should be applied in pounds per 1,000 square feet (lbs). Cost per square foot The root region is 1 ft. (30 cm) in size. You’ll need to use Pi (π or 3.14) to determine the root zone’s square footage. The following calculation is simple:

  • The radius is obtained by dividing the shrub’s spread diameter by 2.
  • square the number (multiply it by itself)
  • Multiply the result by 3.14 (π)

For a dwarf shrub with a spread of 3 feet, here’s an example of calculating how much fertilizer it needs.

  • 3 ÷ 2 = 1.5
  • 1.5 x 1.5 = 2.25
  • 2.25 x 3.14 (π) = 7.06 sq. ft.

The quantity of nitrogen in the fertilizer determines how much fertilizer to apply. For instance, a 10-pound weight is used. Nitrogen makes up 13% of the bag’s weight. Of a ten-pound weight, 13% is distributed. It weighs 1.3 pounds, to be precise. As a result, the total nitrogen content of the pack is 1.3 pounds.

According to the recommendation, apply 2–4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The height of the building is 12 ft. Therefore, in the case of a 4-foot spread, you’ll want to apply 0.014 – 0.028 pounds of nitrogen (7 square feet). It is feet above the ground. It’s 1/142 of a thousand square feet. As a result, you’ll need to multiply the original recommendation by 142).

When to Apply Shrub Fertilizer (The Ideal Time to Apply Shrub Fertilizer)

Fertilizing shrubs at either the start or end of the growing season is the best time. As a result, increasing nutrient levels in the soil is best done in the spring or fall. Before strong development, spring fertilization boosts shrubs. Frost hardiness is aided by seed development during the growing season.

Fertilizing Shrubs in Spring: Early in the spring, fertilizer application helps shrubs survive the winter sleep. Late spring and early summer pests and diseases are more common, so late spring and early summer fertilization helps shrubs fight them.

Fertilizing Shrubs in Fall: In the autumn, several gardeners give fertilizer to shrubs in order to prepare them for winter.

Should You Fertilize Newly Planted Shrubs?

fertilizing newly planted shrubs is generally not a good idea. Since shrubs take several months to establish a solid root system, this is the case. They won’t absorb nutrients until this point in time. Some research claim that increased nitrogen concentration may harm rather than help root development.

The Best Shrub Fertilizers

Let’s take a closer look at some of the finest shrub fertilizer. You may study the advantages and disadvantages of each of these fertilizers to help you choose which one is best for your decorative or evergreen bushes.

Miracle-Gro Shake’ N Feed for Flowering Shrubs

Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed is a great option if you have flowering shrubs. To provide soil nutrients, the natural ingredients include worm castings, kelp, bone meal, and feather meal. The high nitrogen level and potassium concentration make excellent conditions for lush greenery and blossoms. The NPK rating for this natural shrub fertilizer is 12-4-8.


  • It has a perfect ratio of nitrogen and potassium.
  • Easy to use
  • Organic fertilizers are included in this formula.
  • There is no mixing required for this recipe.
  • Acid-loving blooming shrubs and trees will benefit from it.


  • To support bloom, thick bushes with heaps of flowers may need additional fertilizer.

Scotts Continuous Release Evergreen Flowering Shrub Fertilizer

The Continuous Release fertilizer from Scotts promotes healthy evergreen development. The high potassium and phosphorus ratios ensure abundant foliage and robust root development. There is no mixing required with the shrub fertilizer, which is convenient.

The fertilizers nutrients are released for up to two months, which is an advantage. Evergreen shrubs, as well as rhododendrons, hydrangeas, dogwoods, magnolias, and camellias are all good candidates for this fertilizer. 11-7-7 is the NPK rating for this soil.


  • For evergreen and blooming shrubs, it’s ideal.
  • Easy to use
  • The value for money is high.
  • It encourages rapid development.
  • For acid-loving plants, add sulfur.


  • Low iron content
  • NPK fertilizers are less than other comparable fertilizers.
  • Pungent smell

Miracle-Gro Tree & Shrub Plant Food Spikes

Miracle-Gro’s “plant food” spikes are one of the best fertilizers for shrubs. In the spring, all you have to do is drive the correct number of spikes into the earth to apply fertilizer. Throughout the growing season, use a slow-release shrub fertilizer to keep the soil nutrients levels consistent. It’s a 15-5-10 NPK rating.

The fact that these soil nutrient spikes include organic ingredients is a benefit. You can also simply calculate the quantity of fertilizer you will need without resorting to complicated figures.


  • Promote rich greenery and vivid green hues
  • It only has natural ingredients in it.
  • Easy to use
  • for a great deal for the money


  • Newly developing shrubs and immature trees should not be planted here.

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