February 1, 2023

Dare Quill

The Real Estate Maniacs

Fabulous Garden Fertilizer Fix For Bulbs

2 min read

Bulbs need more than bonemeal to do their best. Bonemeal does supply daffodils, tulips, and other bulbs with the phosphorus and calcium they crave, but this fertilizer mix offers more. To give your bulbs a more complete diet this fall, add nitrogen (from blood meal) and potash (from greensand or ashes) to your bulbs’ bonemeal meal.

Ingredients and supplies

2-3 pounds blood meal

2-3 pounds bonemeal

2-3 pounds greensand or wood ashes (use greensand if your soil’s pH is near neutral; use wood ashes to raise the pH if soil is acidic)

Dust mask or respirator


Safety goggles

Bucket, washtub, or plastic drop cloth



  1. Put on a dust mask or respirator, gloves, and safety goggles (fertilizer materials are dusty), then mix all the ingredients in the bucket or washtub or on the drop cloth, stirring them together with a shovel
  2. Topdress established bulb beds with the mixture in early spring when the foliage starts to emerge from the ground. Broadcast the fertilizer over the soil surface without working it into the soil. Wear your dust mask or respirator, goggles, and gloves for this step, too.

Digging around the emerging bulbs can damage roots, so let spring rains wash the fertilizer into the ground.

Yield: Enough fertilizer for 100 square feet

Variation: Substitute 2 pounds colloidal phosphate for the bonemeal. Colloidal phosphate breaks down gradually over about 5 years, so test your soil to see what it needs before fertilizing again.

Compost is another great free fertilizer option. Rather than making the Fabulous fertilizer mix, you can apply 16 gallons of compost per 100 square feet of bulb bed in fall and 2 pounds of blood meal in spring each year.

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