Bone meal is an organic fertilizer that increases the growth of plant roots, flowers and fruits.
Bone meal is made from the sterilized bones of animals from slaughterhouses. Although modern processing methods destroy some of the minerals in bone meal, it is still an excellent source of phosphorous for plants. Bone meal contains 10 to 13 percent phosphorus, in addition to small amounts of nitrogen and calcium.
The phosphorus in bone meal promotes root growth as well as the growth of flowers and fruit. The small amount of nitrogen in bone meal will not increase the growth of leaves or delay fruiting, while the calcium will promote healthy fruiting. Bone meal will not damage or burn the roots of plants.
Bone meal is not soluble, so it might take some time before any benefits are noticed. It must be put in the hole when planting or worked into the soil around the roots of existing plants so the roots grow through the bone meal. Dogs, cats and other animals are attracted to the scent of bone meal, and might dig up the area where it is applied.
Bone meal is the preferred fertilizer for flower bulbs. It is also an excellent fertilizer for root crops. Bone meal helps peas, beans and other legumes fix nitrogen in the soil.
Apply bone meal in the fall or spring according to the manufacturer's recommendation and work into the soil. Use in the planting hole when planting perennials and shrubs. Avoid using on acid-loving plants such as azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons.