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Using Bonemeal Fertiliser for Plants

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Contrary to popular belief (and what many websites tell you), you shouldn’t be applying bonemeal every 6 weeks in the growing season.

In fact, you only need to apply it once per year at most. It can also be used when planting new shrubs or when placing bulbs during Autumn or Spring.

That’s why I’m writing this article.

To help you manage your organic plant feeding programme to include bonemeal alongside the other specific nutrients.

Bonemeal is a strong, slow-release plant feeding mineral that when over-used can damage your plants.

Firstly, How’s it produced and what makes it organic?

Bone meal is a by-product of the meat industry. It helps to minimise waste in the industry and is therefore extremely beneficial to the environment.

The manufacturing process doesn’t require the addition of nutrients because the likes of are already naturally occurring.

Therefore, the main thing that needs doing is to crush the bones into a powdered form.

Here’s a Snippet from echo community

Most commercial bonemeal is steamed. Bones are boiled or steamed at high pressure to remove the gelatinous material (used commercially to make gelatin and glue). Thus treated, they can be ground finer, making the phosphates more readily available. Bonemeal is superior to mineral phosphates in its crop-producing powers.

Main Uses for Bonemeal

The number one use of Bonemeal is to apply it once a year to all the flower beds in the garden.

It shouldn’t be the only thing you use throughout the year though.

You should combine the use of bone meal with other minerals such as Sulphate of Potash or Blood, Fish & bone.

While general use is most common, alternative beneficial uses include:

  • Digging into the soil when installing new bushes or shrubs
  • Filling in the bulb holes when planting Spring or Autumn bulbs
  • Spreading across the soil in plant pots

Can you use bonemeal on grass or lawn?

Bonemeal on it’s own is not good for grass.


Because it simply contains way too much Phosphate, very little nitrogen and zero potassium.


If you mix it with other organic straights, such as Hoof & Horn or Sulphate of Potash, that do contain additional nitrogen and potassium, then it can be good for your grass.

For example…

our 100% Organic Autumn Lawn Feed contains a percentage mix of bonemeal, hoof and horn and sulphate of potash. It’s mixed at the exact amounts to deliver the correct NPK

Using bonemeal on roses

Roses will benefit from bonemeal. However, as they flower throughout the year, you’ll also want to feed them with sulphate of potash and top the area up with manure once a year in Spring.

Using bonemeal for Shrubs or herbaceous plants

Shrubs are generally pretty hardy. This doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from the correct nutrients being in the soil. So, even if you have evergreen shrubs that look healthy, it’s still worth giving them some as part of your general application.

On another note, maybe you have shrubs that are meant to have large green leaves and they’re looking a bit burnt or yellow.

Feeding Fruit trees

If you need to feed fruit trees, you’ll want to use using a high potassium fertiliser. Once you’ve applied your general application of bonemeal, I’d suggest using Sulphate of Potash. It’s high in potassium which helps loads towards getting a bigger and better yield from both fruits, veg and even flowering plants.

Feeding plants with large blooming flowers

Plants that are meant to bloom at specific times of year also need a fertiliser that’s high in potassium. So you should treat these the same as your fruit or veg plants. One application of Bonemeal will support the roots but it won’t give a significant boost to the blooms of your flowers.

Remember, always read the label when using both fertilisers together.

When to use Bonemeal on plants and flower beds

By far the best time to use bonemeal is early in the Spring around March time following what’s probably been a harsh Winter with frost, snow and certainly rain.

By applying early in the season, it allows more time to apply other products throughout the growing season. Giving you more time to improve the size of flower buds and size of harvest from fruit and veg.

Most plants will have been sitting in wet soil for a good few months, so improving the strength of their roots at this time of year will help a lot with survival rates. As such, I always aim to get my application done in early March. Of course, I’ll only do it if it’s not frosty or even snowy.

Methods of application

In reference to the main methods of using bonemeal, mentioned above, here are the best ways to apply it.

The best part is, you shouldn’t need any tools at all. Though you might want to get yourself a pair of gloves if you’re applying it by hand. You also might want to use scales if you like to get things more accurate.

However if you have bought from us, you should have the exact amount you need and be able to simply split the product between flower beds or evenly spread it on the

Method 1 – Dig it in well

If you’re using it as a general part of your feeding programme, then you should dig it righ tinto the soil I.e. don’t just leave it on top.

The main reason for this is that it might attract unwanted guests. After all, it gives off a bit of a smell that’s attractive to animals but not to us humans.

Method 2 – Dig it into the potting hole

You can do this if you’ve not fed the soil with any other product that contains phosphorous and wish to use it when planting a new shrub or tree – or any other pant for that matter.

The NPK science behind bone meal

Bonemeal contains naturally occurring nutrients. These nutrients are listed in the form of an NPK ratio. That means it has a certain percentage of each Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium.

The ratios of our product are 4-20-0. This means it contains a large amount of Phosphate. The phosphate will help the roots to grow strong and support the plant with top growth too. However, because it doesn’t contain any potassium, it won’t help with flowering.

You’ll need Sulphate of Potash or blood, fish and bone for that.

Note: I’m not saying you shouldn’t use it on plants that flower. Purely letting you know that if you want bigger fruit and veg yields or better flowering on the likes of roses and hydrangeas, then bone meal alone won’t be enough.

Further, at just 4% Nitrogen, It’s also not the best fertiliser if your soil is nitrogen deficient.

Drawbacks of using and storing Bone Meal

Storage – you don’t really want to store it because it may attract unwanted animal attention. The smell is quite strong, so if you do store it, make sure that’s in a air-tight container so the smell can’t get out. If you buy from us, you only need to buy what you need for each application. meaning you don’t need to store it at all.

Using – It’s important to use bone meal in moderation, following recommended application rates, and considering the specific needs of the plants in your garden. Additionally, being aware of the source of the bones used to make the bone meal can help address concerns related to contaminants and sustainability. While you can use it on acidic plants, it does have a slightly alkaline pH. So make sure to apply an acidic material such as ericaceous compost or Sulphate of Potash if you need the soil to have an acidic level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you apply too much?

The simple answer is Yes. You can apply too much to your soil and this can negatively affect your plants. That’s why I suggest only applying once a year then using a more balanced fertiliser (in terms of NPK) for your other applications throughout the growing season.

Can it suppress weeds?

Keeping your pants strong gives you a significant advantage towards keeping weeds at bay. However, bonemeal alone won’t suppress weeds. It’s most likely that you’ll want to apply some bark mulch as well if you want a better chance of stopping weeds getting into your beds.

Can I use it alongside other organic fertilisers?

I short, it depends. The main thing it depends on is how much phosphate is in the other fertilisers that you’re using. The NPK of Bonemeal is usually around 4-18-0.

Meaning you can use a high potassium fertiliser, such as Sulphate of Potash with it but not a high Phosphate fertiliser.

I always recommend leaving around 6 weeks between feeds whichever fertilisers you’re using. So even if you want to do both Bonemeal and Potash, then do them 6 weeks apart but always make sure it’s during the growing season.

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