Best Manure for Flowers – How to Use it in Flower Beds?

Flowering plants don’t differentiate between sources of nutrients. You can give them commercial organic fertilizer or apply homemade manure; they absorb nutrients.

Animals don’t utilize 100% of nutrients from the feed they consume. Depending on the animal, about 70% of nitrogen, 60% of phosphorus, and 80% of potassium in the cattle feed are excreted.

Along with these essential nutrients, well-rotten manure includes micronutrients and minerals that can improve soil health.

Nutritional value in the manure may vary depending on the animal, feed consumed, and water added to the beddings. So, what is the best manure for flowers?

Well-rotted cow and chicken manure are best to fertilize your flowering plants. Not just adding nutrients and minerals, composted manure increases the ability of the growing medium to retain moisture, improves soil aeration, and adds organic matter.

Slow-releasing fertilizers like manure ensure the flowering plants aren’t over-fertilized. It improves soil structure and reduces soil erosion and contaminated runoff.

You should follow certain important steps to effectively utilize these nutrients and increase blooming.

For instance, fresh manure is said to have undigested seeds and pathogens that may harm your edible plant growth. Stay tuned to learn how to effectively use manure for flower beds to avoid such issues.

What is the best manure for flowers?

Why is Manure Good for Flowering Plants?

best manure for flowers

An archaeobotanist team from the University of Oxford concludes that the use of manure as fertilizer dates back 8000 years.

Manure has a higher concentration of nitrogen 15, a rare isotope.

Potting soil with well-composted manure will add essential nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, increasing the growing medium’s organic matter.

Let’s now check how each nutrient in manure can help flowering plants bloom.


It is one of the essential nutrients that carry out chlorophyll production during the photosynthesis process.

It promotes leaf growth and encourages root development and flowering.

Manure has organic and inorganic forms of nitrogen. The organic form slowly releases nutrients into the soil. Still, to avoid subsequent loss of inorganic forms of nitrogen, it is recommended to add it to the agricultural land without wasting time.

Note: Nitrogen availability in manure will be reduced after 1st year. You can learn more about this here.

Conduct regular soil tests and add nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizers for your flowering plants to avoid nitrogen deficiency.

This shows you can’t completely rely on manure to fertilize flowering plants.


Phosphorus is crucial in regulating the flowering time by helping plants transition from vegetative growth to reproductive stages.

This ensures the flowering process occurs immediately, optimizing conditions for effective pollination and successful seed development.

It is crucial in converting sun energy into food, fiber, and other useful plant compounds.

It is responsible for root development and blooming.

Deficiency of phosphorus results in discoloration of leaves and reduced flowering.

Phosphorus in manure is present in organic form so that plants can absorb them slowly.


Potassium holds the responsibility of transporting water and nutrients in plant tissues.

It contributes to the photosynthesis process and is an enzyme activator.

Having an adequate amount of potassium results in healthy and vibrant colored blossoms.

Like phosphorus, manure’s potassium is available in an organic form that needs decomposition.

Other Macronutrients

Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur in manure combine to maintain plant cell integrity and contribute to energy transfer and the overall health of flowers.

Calcium and magnesium are known to increase the pH of the soil.

Conduct a soil test to determine the pH. As most flowering plants opt for acidic to neutral soil, add well-balanced fertilizer like decomposed manure to your flowering bed.

Organic Matter

Manure does include organic matter, which improves soil structure and its ability to retain moisture.

It is also said to avoid wind and water erosion.

Organic matter habitat microbial activity that eventually breaks compound nutrients into a simpler form so plants can easily absorb them.

What are the Essential Nutrients for Flowering?

A well-balanced fertilizer available in the market will have NPK value labeled on the product. Few commercial fertilizers go with “bloom booster” and have a higher percentage of phosphorus and potassium.

Repeated watering causes depletion of nutrients in the soil, so conduct soil tests to determine the plant’s nutritional needs.

Most flowering plants need balanced fertilizer, but if you notice phosphorus deficiency, add phosphorus-rich fertilizer.

Animal or poultry manure does have a good percentage of phosphorus and potassium in organic form. Adding well-rotted manure to flowering plants can provide them with the required nutrients.

Best Manure for Flowers – An Ultimate Guide

Depending on the availability, you can use different types of manure for flower beds.

Remember that nutritional value is different for different manures.

Every gardener has their version of theories, but choosing the manure that does well for your garden is best.

  1. Chicken manure is rich in phosphorus compared to other animal waste. It includes 3-5 % of nitrogen, 1.5-3.5% of phosphorus, and 1.5-3.0 percent of potassium in it.
  2. Cow manure has 3% nitrogen, 2% phosphorus, and 1% potassium. Along with these primary nutrients, cattle manure also includes sulfur, calcium, and magnesium, which can benefit your flowering plant.
  3. Horse manure is rich in nitrogen and must be composted before being used in the garden. It is not recommended for flowering plants. (source)

What is the Best type of manure for flower gardens?

I think poultry manure is best, as it includes balanced nutrients for flowering plants.

Don’t buy me. Have a look at every manure type listed below and decide by yourself.

Cow Manure for Flowers

With an NPK value of 3-2-1, cattle or cow manure is a rich source of organic matter and micronutrients.

There are organic and inorganic ways to enrich your flower garden. As inorganic fertilizers aren’t environmentally sustainable, most gardeners opt to fertilize their gardens with naturally available fertilizers like composted cow manure.

Apart from adding nutrients to your growing medium, decomposed cow manure improves soil structure, aids in soil regeneration, and attracts microorganisms that eventually benefit the garden.

But cow manure has pathogens and ammonia gas that can harm and burn your flowering plants. To avoid this, you must add cow dung to the compost bin.

You can compost cow dung through vermicomposting, hot cow manure, or anaerobic digestion.

Vermicomposting seems easy for me compared to the other two ways. Add red worms to the compost bin filled with cow manure and allow them a few weeks. 

These earthworms consume manure and release nutrient-rich black manure, which can be used to fertilize roses, hydrangeas, hibiscus, and other flowering plants.

Chicken Manure Pellets for Flowers

It is a rich source of nutrients for varied types of plants, including vegetables, perennials, flowers, and pretty much any kind of plant.

Chicken manure pellets consist of a 5-4-2 NPK value. Rich in all three essential nutrients, this organic fertilizer can strengthen stems, make leaves dark green, and contribute to flowering and fruit production. (Source)

  • When compared to cow manure, poultry manure is less expensive.
  • It is housed with a rich source of nutrients, with a good percentage of phosphorus and nitrogen, compared to other manures listed here.
  • NPK value: 5-4-2


Hot composting is the fastest way to decompose fresh poultry manure. It involves heating the compost to 130-150F for 3 days. You can read the process here.

You can also add it to the compost pile as green material.

Sheep Manure – is it safe?

Using sheep manure to fertilize the garden isn’t new.

Rich in phosphorus and potassium and low in nitrogen, sheep manure is good for flowers and vegetables.

Like organic fertilizers, sheep manure is a slow-releasing fertilizer that strengthens plant stems and encourages robust root development. It can be used as organic mulch around the flowering plant.

It attracts helpful microorganisms to promote microbial activity, eventually benefiting the growing medium.

Sheep manure must be composted before adding to the garden.

You can add sheep manure to the compost bin as green material. Add earthworms to the bin; this will speed up the decomposition process.

Horse Manure

With an NPK value of 0.7-0.3-0.6, horse manure is safe for almost all plants.

Rich in nitrogen, adding horse manure can promote new plant growth and help to make the foliage darker.

You can add well-rotted horse manure to the flower garden, as nitrogen encourages flower growth and strengthens stems.

But, you must conduct a soil test to ensure the soil has nitrogen deficiency.

Rabbit Manure

NPK ratio of rabbit manure is 2% of nitrogen, 1% of phosphorus, and 1% of potassium.

You can use it fresh; it won’t burn your plants. (Source)

Some interesting facts about using rabbit manure to fertilize flowering plants.

  • Unlike cow, horse, and chicken manure, rabbit manure doesn’t need to be composted.
  • Rich in nutrients, this manure improves soil structure, adds organic matter to the soil, and increases the water retention ability of the growing medium.
  • Helpful microorganisms love rabbit manure, and so does your soil.
  • The best thing is it is not smelly compared to other manures.

Alpaca Manure

Alpaca manure has 1% of nitrogen, 2% of phosphorus, and 1% of potassium.

With a higher percentage of essential nutrients and low levels of organic matter, composted alpaca manure still improves soil structure to benefit your flowering plants.

  • Like rabbit manure, alpaca manure doesn’t need to be composted to be used in the garden.
  • Unlike cow and horse manure, this manure doesn’t have seeds, and you don’t have to worry about weed growth.
  • You can also obtain alpaca fertilizer tea to enrich your flowering plants.
  • To improve the organic content of this manure, you can compost it with other organic materials.

Composted alpaca manure will be dark and free from odor.

Llama Manure

Similar to alpaca manure, llama manure doesn’t need composting. You can add it directly to your flower garden.

However, composting improves its nutritional value.

With higher percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other beneficial micronutrients, Llama manure is good for flowering plants.

You can also use it as a soil amendment to ensure nutrient-rich potting soil for indoor plants.

Check this: Can I Use Orchid Fertilizer On Other Plants?

How to Use Manure for Flowers?

Using animal manure to make the land fertile dates back hundreds of years. Still, these natural fertilizers have significant use in urban gardening.

Rich in primary and secondary nutrients, manure can make depleted soil fertile.

But, it is very important to use it with caution.

For instance, livestock manure contains pathogens that can harm or burn the plants.

It is crucial to compost manure before adding it to flower beds to avoid issues.

Composting manure for flowers

Composting is the best way to kill pathogens, destroy fly eggs, and surpass the germination of weed seeds in the manure.

Hot composting manure

Heating manure above 145F will kill pathogens and other harmful germs.

Some gardening experts say heating compost piles above 160F can kill helpful microorganisms.

Use a large container to do this composting process. 4×4 feet of composting bin can do the work.

  • Add 2 parts of brown and 1 part of green material to the composting bin.
  • Manure comes under green material.
  • Dry leaves, small twigs, straw, and shredded paper can be your carbon material.
  • After 3 days, when the compost pile starts to cool down below 130F, turn the pile.
  • Maintain moisture levels. Too much moisture can result in odor, and too dry can kill and stop microbial activity.
  • Depending on the temperature and air, getting nutrient-rich compost may take 3 weeks.

Also Read: How to Grow Sweet Peas in Hanging Baskets?

Other composting process

You can try vermicomposting, bokashi composting, or cold composting process.

If you’re a home gardener and need little manure to fertilize your flowering pots, opt for the cold composting method.

  • Unlike hot composting, you don’t have to worry about the temperature.
  • Add green and brown material, along with dry manure.
  • Regularly turn the compost pile to ensure equal decomposition.
  • Adding urine or manure to the compost attracts helpful microorganisms to fasten the decomposition process.


If you’ve got lots of flowering plants in your backyard, get some manure and add red worms to it.

Maintain the ideal temperature of 55-77F, and within a few weeks, these earthworms work for you to convert cow dung or chicken pellet to odorless, rich black manure.

You can use it directly to your potting soil, as organic mulch around the flowering plant, or to enrich your garden soil before planting flower cuttings.

Also Read: What To Do With Hellebores When Finished Flowering?

How to Apply Manure for Flowering Plants?

After composting, add obtained odor less well-rotted manure around the base of the flowering plant.

There are different ways to use this organic fertilizer for your flowers.

  1. While planting, mix 1 part of composted manure into the garden soil. This ensures the plant gets an initial boost to grow.
  2. Before the growing season, add the manure around the base of the flowering plant. 
  3. Use it as organic mulch around the flowering plant.
  4. You can consider adding nutrient-rich manure while preparing flower beds.

Before adding manure, conduct a soil test to know the nutrients in the soil. This will avoid over-fertilization and burning of flowering plants due to excess nutrients.

However, organic fertilizers like manure release nutrients slowly. So, the plants have a continuous supply of nutrients.

What are the negative effects of manure?

Though using this nutrient-rich natural fertilizer for plants seems all good, there are a few drawbacks, especially when not composted properly.

  • Manure should be composted first to be used in the flower beds. Not doing so can burn your plants.
  • In today’s industrial production system, animals and poultry are given chemical-filled feeds; even after composting, a few heavy metals and chemicals can be found in the manure, releasing high skatole and indol that harm plants.
  • Continuous use of nutrient-rich fertilizers without conducting soil tests can result in over-fertilization.
  • Fresh manure contains pathogens and weed seeds that can negatively impact plant growth.

But, the pros of manure outweigh its drawbacks.

Proper composting and using the manure after soil test in moderate form can rightly benefit your flower bed.

Can manure replace synthetic fertilizers?

With proper composting and moderate application, you can stop using synthetic fertilizers for your plants.

But hold on.

As manure is a slow-releasing fertilizer, relying on it to fertilize plants immediately can impact flowering.

  • You should add well-rotted manure to the flower bed and conduct a soil test to determine the nutrients.
  • Accordingly, add balanced liquid fertilizer to increase blooming.
  • Thankfully, you have got many natural organic fertilizers in the market.

Fertilizing Flowering Plants

Along with light and water, the plant needs nutrients to bloom.

The right amount and the right time are crucial to fertilize plants.

  • Start with conducting soil tests to determine the nutrients in the growing medium.
  • Choose a well-balanced fertilizer that has an adequate amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Depending on the growth of the plant and its blooming period, you should fertilize the plant.
  • Well-rotted manure benefits flowering plants by releasing the required nutrients gradually.
  • Slow-releasing fertilizers like manure avoid over-fertilization and ensure sustained plant growth.
  • Adequate watering of flowering plants helps to uptake nutrients from the soil to the plant.
  • The organic mulch around the plant helps maintain optimal moisture and improves the soil’s water retention ability.
  • Most flowering plants thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil. So, depending on the flowering, it improves soil pH.
  • Regularly monitor the plant leaves and blossoms to fertilize the plant.

Can you put fresh manure around plants?

Besides odor issues, most manures are filled with harmful bacteria that can burn plants.

Thus, it is recommended to compost the manure before applying it to the flower garden.

Is manure good for flowers?

Yes, well-rotted manure is safe for flowering plants.

But, to avoid over-fertilization, it is recommended to conduct a soil test.

You can use cow manure, horse, and chicken manure to fertilize flowers. Of all, chicken manure is filled with a good source of phosphorus.

Other manure like rabbit, alpaca, and llama manure are good sources of essential nutrients for flowering plants.

How often should I put manure on my plants?

It depends on the climatic conditions, growth stage, and the type of flowering plant.

You can apply well-rotted manure once in the growing season.

A small amount of manure can be applied thrice in a year. But, avoid over-fertilization.

Homemade manure for flowering plants

You can make nutrient-rich manure for your garden with the right proportion of carbon and nitrogen elements.

What will you need to make manure for flowers at home?

  • Manure of cow, horse, chicken, or rabbit
  • 2 parts of Brown material (dry leaves, plant stems & twigs)
  • Compost bin
  • Moisture (water)
  • Oxygen (air)

Homemade manure procedure

  • Choose a compost bin with at least 4×4 feet.
  • Add brown material first.
  • Add a layer of fresh manure to it.
  • Add more brown material layers to maintain the proportion of carbon and nitrogen in the compost.
  • Add moisture and turn after every 2-3 weeks.
  • Add the required amount of water if needed.
  • Avoid excess moisture; otherwise, you’ll end up having odor compost.
  • After a few months, you’ll have black, odorless, nutrient-rich composted manure for your flowering plants.


Using manure to fertilize flowering plants isn’t new. Composted manure has been used to enrich the growing medium for a long time.

While applying manure, make sure you compost the manure to avoid the burning of plants.

Pathogens and ammonia present in fresh cow manure can harm your plants. Undigested weed seeds can also germinate if you don’t compost properly.

Both cold and hot composting are good for breaking complex compounds and making nutrients readily available for plants.

As composted manure releases nutrients gradually, it helps to avoid over-fertilization.

But, conduct a soil test before adding manure to the garden.

You can use chicken manure or cow manure to fertilize your garden, but the best manure for flowering plants is the one that is composed properly.

manure for flowers