Title: Flourish
Episode: 10
Broadcast Date: 4/5/14
Presenter: Kim Syrus

We all know that plant roots take up nutrient but what about the rest of the plant? It may surprise you to know that foliar applied fertilizers are absorbed at a quicker rate than the earth dwelling plant parts. So how does that happen? Kim investigates why, and what you can do about it.

  • Leaves are not solid, they have a number of layers which allow nutrients to pass through. They also have tiny holes, called stomates which are generally found on the back of the leaf that open and close, allowing moisture to leave and cool the plant.
  • So what are the advantages of foliar feeding? It has a quicker take up by the plant than through the roots. Studies have shown that foliar fed nutrients can move at around 30cm an hour through the plant, which is astounding.
  • Can you foliar feed any plant? Well the answer is generally yes. Always go for a premium quality soluble plant food. One that’s formulated for flowers, fruit, vegetables, shrubs and pot plants should cover most bases. This will help boost the blooms, develop and help mature fruit and keep foliage lush and fed.
  • Selecting the right fertilizer for the right plant is not a problem, just remember to apply at the manufacturers recommendation.
  • When using a sprayer, half fill with water first then add the fertilizer and top up to 80 percent capacity. This leaves enough air in the sprayer to compress the liquid and get a better pressure and spray.
  • Spray evenly over the whole plant including buds, twigs, the trunk, flowers and fruit and under the leaves where absorption rates through the stomates is at its highest.
  • Foliar sprays are always taken up better when the leaves are healthy. Poor or sick plants are unlikely to get much benefit from feeding this way.
  • Fertilizers with fast acting and rapidly absorbed nutrients work well both through the leaves and roots and can be applied by spray, watering can or hose applicator. For fast results, apply a foliar feed for a quick plant solution.
  • When you have finished spraying, always rinse out the sprayer well including jetting fresh water through the nozzle. Turn it upside down to dry out and store away afterwards.