Foliar Feeding – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Horticultural Terms Glossary

What is Foliar Feeding?

Foliar feeding is a method of fertilizing plants by applying liquid nutrients directly to the leaves. This technique allows plants to absorb essential nutrients through their foliage, bypassing the roots. Foliar feeding is a quick and efficient way to provide plants with the nutrients they need to thrive.

How does Foliar Feeding work?

Plants have the ability to absorb nutrients through their leaves, stems, and other above-ground parts. When liquid nutrients are sprayed onto the foliage, they are absorbed through the stomata, tiny openings on the surface of the leaves. The nutrients are then transported throughout the plant, where they are used for growth, flowering, and fruit production.

When is the best time to apply Foliar Feeding?

Foliar feeding is most effective when applied in the early morning or late afternoon when the stomata are open and the plant is actively growing. Avoid applying foliar feed during the heat of the day when the leaves may be stressed and the nutrients could evaporate before being absorbed. It is also important to avoid foliar feeding during rainy or windy conditions, as this can wash away the nutrients before they can be absorbed.

What are the benefits of Foliar Feeding?

There are several benefits to foliar feeding, including:
– Quick nutrient absorption: Plants can absorb nutrients through their leaves much faster than through their roots, allowing for rapid correction of nutrient deficiencies.
– Increased nutrient efficiency: Foliar feeding allows for targeted application of nutrients, reducing waste and maximizing nutrient uptake.
– Improved plant health: Providing plants with the nutrients they need through foliar feeding can help improve overall plant health, leading to increased growth, flowering, and fruit production.
– Enhanced nutrient uptake: Foliar feeding can help plants overcome nutrient uptake issues caused by poor soil conditions or root damage.

What plants benefit most from Foliar Feeding?

While most plants can benefit from foliar feeding, certain types of plants are particularly responsive to this method of fertilization. Plants with large leaves, such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, are especially well-suited to foliar feeding. Additionally, plants that have difficulty absorbing nutrients through their roots, such as orchids and ferns, may benefit from foliar feeding.

How to properly apply Foliar Feeding?

To properly apply foliar feeding, follow these steps:
1. Choose a high-quality liquid fertilizer specifically formulated for foliar feeding.
2. Dilute the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using clean water.
3. Use a spray bottle or garden sprayer to apply the liquid fertilizer to the leaves, making sure to cover the entire surface of the foliage.
4. Apply foliar feed in the early morning or late afternoon when the stomata are open and the plant is actively growing.
5. Avoid applying foliar feed during extreme heat, rain, or wind, as this can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
6. Repeat foliar feeding every 1-2 weeks during the growing season to provide plants with a steady supply of nutrients.

In conclusion, foliar feeding is a valuable technique for providing plants with essential nutrients in a quick and efficient manner. By understanding how foliar feeding works, when to apply it, and how to properly apply it, gardeners can help their plants thrive and achieve optimal growth and productivity.