Is Bone Meal Good for Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas are popular flowering shrubs that are beloved for their beautiful blooms and vibrant colours. 

However, to keep them looking their best, provide them with the proper nutrients they need to thrive. One popular fertilizer for hydrangeas is bone meal, a natural product made from ground-up bones.

Bone meal is a rich and valuable source of calcium and phosphorus. Phosphorus helps plants develop strong roots, produce more flowers, and resist disease, while calcium helps build strong cell walls, which leads to healthier plants. 

So, is bone meal good for hydrangeas? The answer is yes! Hydrangeas are heavy feeders and require a lot of nutrients to produce their showy blooms. Bone meal is an excellent source of the phosphorus and calcium that Hydrangeas need to thrive.

Essential Nutrients for Growing Hydrangeas

One of the most essential nutrients for hydrangeas are nitrogen and Phosphorus. Providing your hydrangeas with these essential nutrients can help them grow and bloom to their full potential.

Hydrangeas also require several micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and iron. Calcium helps to build strong cell walls, which leads to healthier plants overall, while magnesium is essential for photosynthesis and chlorophyll production. Iron is needed for the synthesis of chlorophyll, which gives plants its green colour.

Be mindful of the amounts and ratios of these nutrients, as too much of one of them can harm your Hydrangeas. 

Bone Meal Nutritional Content

Bone meal is a popular fertilizer used by gardeners to provide plants with essential nutrients for growth. This natural product is made from ground-up bones and is rich in several key nutrients that plants need.

One of the primary benefits of bone meal is its high phosphorus content. Phosphorus is a vital nutrient for plants. It boosts root development, flower production, and overall plant growth. 

Bone meal is also a good source of calcium. Besides it, bone meal has other nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can further support plant growth and health.

A bone meal is a slow-release fertilizer that releases nutrients into the soil over time. This can be advantageous for plants, as it allows them to receive a steady supply of nutrients instead of a sudden burst that can be harmful. 

Is Bone Meal Good for Hydrangeas?

Yes, the bone meal is good for Hydrangeas. Bone meal is a natural fertilizer that is made from dry animal bones. It is rich in several nutrients that plants need to grow and thrive.

Hydrangeas are heavy feeders and bone meal is an excellent choice for it, as it contains phosphorus and calcium.

Moreover, it is a slow-release fertilizer. This means it provides a slow release of nutrients over time.

When used as a fertilizer, bone meal can increase the number of blooms that plants produce each year and extend their bloom season.

Bone meal is also a natural product that won’t harm the environment or your plants, making it an ideal choice for organic gardeners. It is easy to use, and can simply be sprinkled around the base of the plants and worked into the soil. 

Using bone meal in moderation is important since excessive amounts may cause imbalances in soil nutrients.

(Read on my article on Do Hydrangeas Like Clay Soil?)

How to Use Bone Meal for Hydrangeas?

To use a bone meal for hydrangeas, you only need to apply it once a year in the spring. Before applying it, test the pH levels of the soil first with the help of a pH tester. If the pH is too high, amend the soil to make it a little acidic.

Once you’ve adjusted the pH level, sprinkle about 3 cups of bone meal for every 100 square feet of soil around the base of the hydrangea plant. After it, water the plant thoroughly. 

Be careful not to over-fertilize your plants, as this can lead to nutrient burn and can damage your plant. 

Bone meal for flowering plants

Bone meal is a popular organic fertilizer that provides essential nutrients to plants, including flowering plants like hydrangeas. It is high in phosphorus, which is necessary for root development, flowering, and fruiting.

Bone meal is made from animal bones that are crushed into a fine powder. It’s an excellent source of slow-release nutrients that can help plants grow strong and healthy.

Moreover, use bone meal as a fertilizer for flowering plants like hydrangeas. All you need to do is to sprinkle it around the base of the plant and then water it thoroughly.

However, bone meal is not a balanced fertilizer and contains very little nitrogen and potassium. It’s also ineffective in alkaline soils and can raise the pH level of the soil over time. First test your soil’s pH level before applying bone meal.

Check this out: How to use eggshells to fertilize hydrangeas?

How to make bone meal fertilize hydrangeas at home?

Making your own bone meal fertilizer for hydrangeas can be a cost-effective and sustainable option.

  • Clean- Clean the bones with water.
  • Bake your bones – Set your oven to a temperature of 400-450°F and place the bones in the oven until they become completely dry and fragile. This typically takes about an hour for small and medium-sized bones.
  • Grind the bones – Once the bones cool down, you can grind them up into a fine powder using a blender.
  • Apply the bone meal – Sprinkle the bone meal around the base of your hydrangea plants, making sure to work it into the soil with a rake.
  • Water it – Water hydrangeas thoroughly after applying the bone meal to help the nutrients penetrate the soil and reach the roots.

Drawbacks of Bone Meal

  1. Bone meal can attract unwanted pests such as rodents, raccoons, and dogs due to its strong scent.
  2. Using bone meal as the sole fertilizer may not provide plants with all the nutrients they need.
  3. In soils with high pH levels, bone meal may not work effectively.
  4. Bone meal has the potential to increase the pH levels of your soil.
  5. The use of bone meal may potentially slow the development of roots.
  6. The use of bone meal can pollute the groundwater.

Does bone meal make the soil acidic?

Bone meal is made from animal bones, and it has a neutral pH level. When added to soil, it will not immediately make the soil acidic.

Bone meal can affect soil acidity levels depending on various factors, including the type of soil and the amount of bone meal used.

In soils with low pH levels, the use of bone meal may not be advisable, as it could further lower the pH level and make the soil too acidic for plant growth. 

Also Read: How to use Epsom Salt for Hydrangeas?

Can you mix the bone meal with water for plants?

Yes, you can. Mixing bone meal with water can create a liquid fertilizer that can be easily applied to your plants. 

To make this fertilizer, simply mix the bone meal with water according to the packet instructions. However, this involves adding bone meal to water and stirring until the bone meal dissolves.

After creating the bone meal and water mixture, you can apply it to your plants by pouring it directly on the soil around the base of the plant. This method of application can be especially beneficial for plants that have shallow roots and need nutrients close to the surface.

Is bone meal better than fertilizer for hydrangeas?

While bone meal is a natural source of nutrients and can help provide the necessary phosphorus for healthy blooms, it’s not a complete fertilizer.  

Whereas, fertilizer gives a more balanced blend of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, that can help promote overall plant growth and health.

However, if your soil is already rich in nitrogen and potassium, using bone meal as a phosphorus supplement can be a good choice.

Furthermore, using a bone meal or fertilizer for hydrangeas depends on your specific soil conditions and the needs of your plants. It’s always a good idea to test your soil before taking any action.

(Don’t miss this: Is Bone Meal Good for Hostas?)

Growing Hydrangeas

Here are some tips to help you grow hydrangeas successfully –

Location – Hydrangeas prefer a spot with partial shade, where they can get some sun in the morning and some shade in the afternoon. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to wilt, while too much shade can inhibit flowering.

Soil – Hydrangeas thrive in soil that is well-draining, moist, and rich in organic matter. They do best in soil with a pH range of 5.2 to 6.0. You can amend the soil with compost to improve its texture and nutrient content.

Watering – Hydrangeas require regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather. Ensure the potting soil is moist consistently but not waterlogged. To prevent the development of fungal diseases, it is recommended to water the hydrangeas at the base of the plant (avoiding wetting the leaves).

Fertilizing – Hydrangeas grow well if they are fertilized once or twice in summer. You can use a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10, or a fertilizer specifically formulated for hydrangeas.

Pruning – Depending on the type of hydrangea you have, pruning can be done in late winter or early spring. This helps to promote new growth and encourage flowering. Be careful not to prune off next year’s flower buds, which form on the previous year’s growth.

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A bone meal can be a beneficial fertilizer for hydrangeas. It is a natural source of essential nutrients like phosphorus, calcium, and nitrogen, which can promote root growth and flower production.

However, bone meal does have some drawbacks, but using it according to your plant’s needs can work well. If you decide to use bone meal, be sure to follow the proper application methods. However, bone meal can work as a fertilizer but can’t take the place of the actual fertilizer your hydrangeas need.