Gardeners' World's Monty Don issues stark warning to EVERYONE with a plant over rookie error

GARDENERS’ World’s Monty Don has dished out his best tips to avoid a classic rookie error for wannabe plant growers. 

The host has warned that overfeeding plants could lead to disaster for healthy plants, as it could cause them to wilt and die. 

During the latest series of the much-loved greenfingered series, Monty, 65, took viewers through the essential tips about growing plants in a greenhouse. 

He then explained: “This business of feeding a plant, giving it what it wants, I know can seem a mysterious, if not tortuous process… and I’d like to just simplify the whole question of feeding.” 

“There are three main nutrients that have dominated plant feed, whether it’s agricultural or horticultural, since the Second World War. 

“These are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.”

“So if you have nitrogen, for example, that will boost the green growth, the foliage. Grass is the obvious example, and if a plant is short of nitrogen, it will be stunted and may well start to turn yellow.” 

He then recommended ‘well-rotted’ manure as the most clear source of the nutrient, as newer material could prove too rich. 

Phosphorus is essential in encouraging germination and root growth – and for that, he told viewers bonemeal and rock phosphates you can sprinkle into plant pots would work best. 

“The final element, which is potassium, influences the development of flowers and fruit,” he revealed.  

“This is wood ash, and I add this around my fruit trees, gooseberries, for example. You can buy mixtures of pellets that you can add and you can make your own feed which is rich in potassium from comfrey. 

“If you’ve grown comfrey plants, harvest the leaves, fill a bucket with them, steep that with water, leave it for about three or four weeks and then drain it off,’” he added. 

“You [then] get a rather foul-smelling, slightly brown, treacly liquid, which you then mix with water. [It] makes a very good feed for boosting flowers, fruit and root development.” 

Nettles are a good natural alternative – but traditional compost is the most effective and east to get hold of. 

“Don’t overfeed. You’re gaining nothing,” he then warned. 

“Don’t mix it up and stronger than it says, and you never need to feed more than once a week. 

“What you want is a healthy plant and not one that grows fast and then flops.” 

So, as summer comes around, now you all know. 

Gardeners’ World airs Fridays at 8pm on BBC Two. 


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