Leaf Fertiliser Guide: How to Fertilise Correctly

orchid - foliar fertiliser

Foliar fertiliser is a great alternative to your traditional fertiliser, it's a method often used by plants that are not normally the best at absorbing from the root, such as roses and orchids, which often require a little extra moisture on their leaves to survive for a longer period, the good thing about foliar fertiliser is that it is a source of micronutrients as it fertilises through the leaves of the plant itself. 

This is a perfect opportunity to get your plants growing the right way, as even plants that naturally lack nutrients can get them through the leaf instead

Also read: The Best Fertiliser - Your Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fertilize your plants through the leaves:

StepsHandling
1Choose the right foliar fertiliser Choose a foliar fertiliser that suits your plant's specific needs, read more about which fertiliser will work best for your plant above in our guide to make sure the foliar fertiliser you've chosen is the right one. 
2Time of application The best time to apply foliar fertiliser is either early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the sun evaporating the liquid too quickly, which can reduce its effectiveness, however, there are different numbers of times to apply fertiliser depending on the plant you have chosen 
3Prepare the foliar fertiliser solution It's important to read up on how to fertilise properly to make sure the foliar fertiliser protects your plant in the right way, which is why it varies greatly from fertiliser to plant. 
4

Avoid overwatering As some foliar fertilisers recommend spraying only on the leaves and avoiding the flowers, it's important that your plants get the right amount of fertiliser.

It's important to be considerate of your plants and ensure that the specially developed foliar fertiliser is sprayed directly onto your leaves and not your flowers.

White Orchid close-up

It is an alternative way to fertilise your plants, it is a method often used when fertilising orchids in particular, it is done by spraying the fertiliser directly onto the leaves, remember that it is often used as a supplement to traditional fertiliser but not a replacement for normal root fertiliser, it is especially effective if the plant has difficulty absorbing nutrients through the root, which is often seen with orchids, When the nutrients are applied to the leaves, they are absorbed directly through the leaf surface and quickly enter the plant system.

Why use liquid foliar fertiliser instead of traditional fertiliser?

There are several good reasons to use the liquid foliar fertiliser instead of traditional fertiliser. 

One of the main benefits is that it is quickly absorbed through the leaves as the nutrients have already been dissolved, which will give a faster effect and can be very useful in situations where plants need immediate nutrients, for example if plants need to grow quickly during periods of heavy growth. 

Better control: It's easier to control how much each individual plant needs as different plants require different amounts. 

Easy to use: It is easy to apply as it is often in spray form where it is easier to spread around and differently on the leaves, or sprayed on visible roots around the plant, which makes it easier to apply compared to traditional fertilisers as it can be difficult to get a uniform result everywhere. 

 

The benefits of foliar fertiliser

foliar fertilizer, often referred to as foliar feeding or foliar application, is a method of delivering nutrients to plants by spraying a liquid fertilizer solution directly onto their leaves. The nutrients are taken up through stomata (tiny pores) on the surface of the leaf and then transported to various parts of the plant, including roots, stems and developing fruits. Foliar fertilization is used to supplement traditional soil fertilization methods and is particularly beneficial in certain situations:

  1. Fast Delivery of Nutrients: Foliar feeding provides a quick way to deliver nutrients to plants when they are experiencing nutrient deficiency or stress. As the nutrients are absorbed directly through the leaves, they can be quickly transported to the parts of the plant that need them.

  2. Corrective Deficiencies: When plants show signs of nutrient deficiency, such as yellowing of leaves due to iron deficiency (chlorosis), foliar application of the missing nutrient can help remedy the problem more quickly than waiting for soil-bound nutrients to be taken up by the roots.

  3. Improvement of Nutrient Absorption: Sometimes soil conditions can inhibit the absorption of specific nutrients, even if they are present in the soil. Foliar fertilizers can circumvent these problems and ensure that the plants receive the necessary nutrients.

  4. Stress management: During periods of stress caused by extreme weather conditions, diseases or other factors, plants may have difficulty absorbing nutrients from the soil. Foliar feeding can help deliver important nutrients directly to the plant and help it recover faster.

  5. Micronutrient Application: Some essential micronutrients are required by plants in very small amounts and are often not present in sufficient amounts in the soil. Foliar feeding can provide these micronutrients effectively.

Remember that while foliar feeding can be beneficial in certain situations, it is not a substitute for proper soil fertilization. A balanced approach that includes both soil and foliar fertilization is generally recommended to maintain healthy plant growth and development.

plant fertiliser

How to carry out foliar fertilization


When preparing a foliar fertilizer solution, it is important to ensure that the solution is well mixed and properly diluted according to the manufacturer's recommendations or agronomic guidelines. Care should be taken not to oversaturate the leaves, which can lead to leaf burn or other adverse effects. Remember that while foliar feeding can be beneficial in certain situations, it is not a substitute for proper soil fertilization. A balanced approach that includes both soil and foliar fertilization is generally recommended to maintain healthy plant growth and development.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fertilize your plants through the leaves:

  1. Choose the right fertilizer: Use a water-soluble fertilizer designed for foliar application. These contain nutrients in a form that the plants can easily absorb.

  2. Mix the fertilizer: Follow label recommendations to determine the correct amount of fertilizer to mix with water. Overdosing can harm the plants, so it is important to mix the correct concentration.

  3. Apply early or late: It is best to spray the plants either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid burning the leaves in the direct midday sun.

  4. Use a fine syringe: Apply the fertilizer solution with a spray bottle or pressure sprayer that produces a fine mist. This ensures an even distribution over the leaves.

  5. Spray both sides of the leaves: Be sure to cover both the top and bottom of the leaves, as stomata (the small openings where plants exchange gases) are often found on the underside of the leaf.

  6. Avoid overspray: While it is important to cover the entire leaf, too much liquid can lead to problems such as mold or fungal infections.

  7. Monitor the plants: After you apply foliar fertilizer, keep an eye on your plants to make sure they are responding positively. If you notice signs of damage or burning, you may need to adjust the amount of fertilizer or frequency of application.

  8. Use with caution: Although foliar fertilizers can be very effective, they should not replace regular fertilization of the soil. Use it as a supplement to your normal fertilizer schedule.

Be aware that some plants may not respond well to foliar fertilization, while others may benefit greatly from it. It is always a good idea to do a small test on part of the plant first to make sure it can withstand the treatment.

How to get the best nutrition and supplementation for your plants with foliar fertiliser.

 Short Description
Business needsImportant to consider which plant you have.
TimingIt is best used in the morning or evening, when the humidity is highest and the sun is not as intense. 
ApplicationCover all your leaves so they get the right amount of foliar fertiliser
MonitoringKeep an eye on how the plant reacts, if there is no growth it could be due to something else.
SupplementCan be used with normal fertiliser to ensure better results, remember that it is not a substitute for water. 
Safety and securityFollow the standard guidelines that come with the product.
  • Orchid Myst Spray – orchid fertilizer 750mLOrchid Myst Spray – orchid fertilizer 750mL
  • Orchid Myst Spray – orchid fertilizer 300mLOrchid Myst Spray – orchid fertilizer 300mL
  • Orchid Myst Spray – orchid fertilizer 100mLOrchid Myst Spray – orchid fertilizer 100mL

Conclusion

Leaf fertilizer is an effective method of delivering nutrients directly to the plant's leaves, which can be particularly beneficial in situations of nutrient deficiency, stress or other challenges. By spraying a water-soluble fertilizer on both the upper and lower sides of the leaves, the plants can quickly absorb the necessary nutrients through the stomata. This method can help improve the overall health of the plant, strengthen its stress management and ensure that important nutrients are delivered efficiently.

However, it is important to remember that foliar fertilizers should not replace traditional soil fertilization methods. A balanced approach combining both soil and foliar fertilization is the most appropriate to maintain optimal growth and development of the plants. When applying foliar fertilizers, it is important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for proper dilution and application, and to monitor the plants for any reactions.

Ultimately, foliar fertilizers can be a valuable tool in your plant care, especially when used as a supplemental method to address specific needs in your plants.

FAQ - Frequently asked questions

The best time of day to apply foliar fertiliser is early morning or late afternoon. These times minimise the risk of the foliar fertiliser evaporating and ensure the plant has time to absorb the nutrients effectively, especially before the sun becomes too intense for the plants.

No, foliar fertiliser should not be seen as a replacement for soil fertiliser, but rather as a supplement. Soil fertilisers ensure a deep and long-term supply of nutrients to the plant's roots, while foliar fertilisers can offer a quick solution to nutrient deficiencies, the same goes for water, you still need water even when using liquid fertilisers. 

Signs that your plants may need foliar fertiliser include visible symptoms of nutrient deficiency such as discoloured leaves, slow growth or poor flowering/fruiting.