Bone Meal & Plants

Written by john mack
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Bone Meal & Plants
The calcium in bone meal helps support plant renewal each season (Jupiterimages/ Images)

When planting plants that you expect to return every year without replanting, also called perennials, bone meal is an indispensable tool that you can use to establish strong root growth and fruit and flower production. Bone meal contains high amounts of phosphorus, which is one of the three key nutrients, along with potassium and nitrogen, that plants need to thrive. Adding bone meal to your potting soil, usually in late winter or early autumn, will ensure that your plants have an adequate supply of phosphorus for several years to come.

Which Plants Benefit From Bone Meal?

Bone meal is primarily a shrub, bush and lawn fertiliser, so it is best to use it to increase phosphorus levels in the soil of roses, bulbs, trees, new lawns, and herbaceous plants. Do not add bone meal to acid-loving plants because the calcium in bone meal may increase the soil's pH level and cause a nutrient imbalance that will hurt your plants.

Root Growth

Bone meal helps stimulate strong root growth. If the plant's roots are healthy and can absorb the proper amount of the correct nutrients like phosphorus, the rest of the plant will follow suit and thrive. Add bone meal early or late in the season as these are the times when root growth is most active.

Where Does Bone Meal Come From?

Bone meal is essentially the bones of dead animals. Commercial bone meal ultimately comes from slaughterhouses which save the bones of the animals they slaughter. This ensures that there is little waste of the animals they slaughter. If you hunt or fish, the unused carcases of deer, fowl, and especially fish are effective natural fertilisers that contain nitrogen and potassium in addition to phosphorus.

How to Use Bone Meal

For a home garden, simply bury the carcase of the fish, for example, near the edge of the garden, preferably at its highest elevation. This will ensure that the nutrients will naturally spread throughout the garden after it rains. This is a traditional method for fertilising without the use of commercial fertilisers. Commercial fertilisers that contain bone meal will accomplish the same goal, but you will have to buy them. Add commercial bone meal the same way, or even add the bone meal to the soil directly below the plants.

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