The soil of a garden needs all the major nutrients to supply your plants. Soil is the medium that is responsible for the health of your plants. 

If you add amendments to the soil then it will fulfill the deficiency of your soil. A fertility test will help you a lot. Some nurseries also do soil tests, they will report along with recommendations.  

This will help you a lot and you will know what is the deficiency in your soil and you will add amendments according to the result of the report. You can perform the soil test at home. 

In this article, we will discuss how BONE MEAL will help your soil to produce healthy plants. We will also discuss what a bone meal and what type of nutrients it has.

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As the name shows the source of bone meal is ground animal bones. Generally, beef bones are used for making a bone meal and other types of bones such as fishbone meal can be used to make bone meal fertilizer. 

Bones are a by-product of the beef industry. When you add bone meal to the soil it will undergo a sterilization process and increase the nutrients in the soil.

You should be careful as most of the bone meal comes from beef bones so most people think that mad cow disease may also come with it to your edible plants. 

This thing can not happen because before making fertilizer for your plants, the meat of that animal is tested which bones are going to be used. 

If the result of the test will be positive then the bones of this animal will not be used. The bones are used to make a powder that’s why it kills off any pathogens. 


Bone meal is a good source of phosphorus and calcium. If you want to make the root systems of your plant-strong then you need phosphorus for this purpose. 

Phosphorus helps to increase flower and fruit development but remember before using a bone meal in your soil you should always check the pH of the soil. 

Experienced gardeners know what is pH but if you are a newbie then this information will help you. If the pH of the soil is above 7 it means the soil is alkaline and if it is below seven it means it is acidic. 

Before adding the bone meal to the soil, you should make some adjustments as it will help your plants and work appropriately. 

You will get the appropriate amount of Nitrogen from the manure and grasses but if you see a deficiency of phosphorus in the soil then this will be fulfilled with the help of bone meal.


There are many options of fertilizers available for your soil. Organic fertilizers, steamed bone meal, and organic cottonseed meal fertilizers are the best option. 

If you are interested in an organic way of gardening then fertilizers need a variety of fungi in the soil because in this way nutrients are available for your plants. 

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When you add bone meal powder to the soil then the phosphorus of it will work with other organic matter to increase the prolific root growth of your plants. 

It has traces of calcium which is a micronutrient for the health and growth of your plants. The other nutrients of the bone meal are nitrogen and potassium. 

Bone meal is of slow-release fertilizer which helps the plants to get all the required nutrients according to their need. That’s why there is no need to worry about the sudden introduction of new nutrients. 

The best thing is that you can easily mix it into your soil and you can easily find it at your local hardware store or mercury. 

An interesting thing is that it can increase the number of beneficial microbes in the soil which encourages the plant’s growth.


Before adding any type of fertilizers to your soil you should always test the type of soil you have. If you add fertilizers without checking your soil’s nutrients then it will cause imbalances and other problems. 

Make sure that you have checked the pH of the soil because without checking the pH you can limit plant uptake of certain nutrients. 

If the result of your test shows that your soil is deficient then you can add some bone meal to it.

You can easily add bone meal to the soil without facing any trouble.

  • The amount of bone meal you need for your soil is about the rate of 10 pounds to 100 square feet. Make sure after adding bone meal water your plants thoroughly. The phosphorus which is present in the bone meal releases slowly, it will take 4 months. 
  • If you add bone meal to your soil before planting then it will help to nourish your plants.
  • You need to add a few tablespoons of bone meal into the bottom of the planting hole.  After that water your plants thoroughly so the work of the bone mail will become easier.
  • If you are adding bone meal to your compost pile then you should follow the instructions which are given on the fertilizer label.

Before the growing season starts you need half a cup of bone meal powder to sprinkle over the roots of the plants.  This can be done after planting so the buds begin making their appearance. 

Besides phosphorus bone meal also add other nutrients to the soil like nitrogen. It is very important to read all the instructions carefully which are on the label before using the bone meal. 

If the test of the soil shows pH levels are off then don’t add bone meal until the appropriate amount of amendment is not added to the soil. If you follow all the instructions then bone meal fertilizer would not harm and burn your plants

You have to wait for 4 months so the bone meal will penetrate the soil.  Remember too much bone meal will cause problems for you. 

It means there is no need to re-apply it throughout the year, once the application is good enough for your plants.

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Read More: 

  1. Why You Should Use White Vinegar In Your Garden
  2. 10 Ways To Use Baking Soda In Your Garden


Following are the plants which like extra phosphorus that’s why you have to add a bone meal in the soil so they will get a reasonable amount of phosphorus from it.

  1.     Dahlias
  2.     Iris
  3.     Sweet Pea
  4.     Squid
  5.     Garden Tulip
  6.     Geranium
  7.     Roses
  8.     Outdoor palms
  9.     daffodils Narcissus
  10. Roses
  11. Freesia
  12. Bottle Brush
  13. Oriental Lilies
  14. Passion Flowers
  15. Rocket Ligularia and more

The plants which are mentioned above like the application of bone meal fertilizer. Besides these plants, the list is very long which is like the nutrients of the bone meal fertilizer. 


We had discussed above the advantages of the bone meal but at the same time, there are some drawbacks. But if you follow all the instructions then there is no need to worry about it.

  • The main disadvantage of bone meal is that it can easily be ingested. That’s why you should be careful and avoid inhaling it. It is suggested that you should wear a mask while applying it to the soil. Because the powder of bone meal is not good for your lungs if you inhale it. It may exacerbate allergies and other respiratory problems.
  • The main source of bone meal is animals’ bones and most of the gardeners avoid animal-derived fertilizers. 
  • Another downside is that if you add bone meal with the wrong pH then you are wasting your time. Bone meal will not work if the pH of the soil is above 7. 
  • If your soil doesn’t need a bone meal or you add it with the wrong pH. It will become the reason for slow root development because the excess amount of phosphorus is not good for your plants, unnecessary phosphorus is also not good for the environment and it is a total waste of money. 
  • Another problem which is caused by the application of bone meal is that meat-loving animals attract it.  The scent of bone meal attracts carnivorous intruders so avoid the top-dress of soil with this type of fertilizer.
  • The pets like cats and dogs are attracted towards the bone meal which is not good for their health as they can ingest it. 


As both bone meal and blood meal are by-products of meat but they are not the same. A blood meal is a good fertilizer and a great source of nitrogen and it is good to fulfill the deficiency of nitrogen in the soil. 

Blood meal can lower the pH level in the soil. It is good if you use it for that soil which is too alkaline. On the other hand bone meal is a good source of phosphorus. 

But you should be careful while using what type of fertilizers as they may stress you for burning your young plants.

Read More: 

  1. Best Ways To Use Epsom Salt In The Garden
  2. 10 Surprising Uses Of Hydrogen Peroxide In Your Garden
  3. How To Use Old Tea Bags In The Garden


If you don’t like to use bone meal then you have many other alternative ways to provide phosphorus to your plants. 

For example, rock phosphate or manure can be used as a substitute for bone meal. 

The other way of providing phosphorus to your plants is vegetable-based fertilizers like soybean meal. Soybean meals work like bone meals. 

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