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It is well known that plants need various nutrients in addition to water and light to survive. Therefore, plant care not only includes an adequate supply of water, but also a supply of nutrients so that the plants can develop well. How abundantly the different flowers, vegetables or ornamental plants have to be supplied with food depends on the respective plant. There are specimens that are extremely frugal and others that are colloquially referred to as "heavy eaters". These so-called heavy feeders need nutrient-rich soil that has to be renewed or fertilized regularly so that they can develop well.

heavy feeder

When it comes to the need for nutrients in plants, we often speak of weak, medium and heavy consumers. Specifically, this classification is about the consumption of nitrogen (N), which the plants need for their development. For example, the need for nitrogen is high for heavy consumers and low for weak consumers. The group of medium consumers then includes plant species whose nitrogen consumption lies between the other two groups. Heavy-consuming plants are often equated exclusively with useful plants. But there are also many ornamental plants that belong to this group. For example, among pond plants and cacti there are also heavily consuming species. In addition, a distinction must be made between annual and perennial heavy feeders. In addition, heavy feeders do not only have to be planted out in the garden, they can also be cultivated on the balcony, terrace or as houseplants with the appropriate substrate.

tip: Since plants that consume a lot of nutrients have a high nutrient requirement, ornamental plants and flowers in particular, which are kept in tubs or pots on the balcony or terrace, should be fertilized accordingly regularly.


Anyone who grows vegetables in the garden may have already noticed that the yields of various types of vegetables are significantly lower in the second year of harvest, although impressive harvest successes were achieved in the previous year. If the weather, pests and diseases can be ruled out, then this is probably due to the fact that the soil was depleted by heavy-duty vegetables last year, and the new heavy-duty eaters no longer find enough nitrogen in the soil. In other words, it's about crop rotation in the vegetable garden. This means that if the vegetables are very consuming, their place in the vegetable garden must change every year so that

  • the plants find enough nitrogen
  • the soil can still recover

This applies to many types of vegetables from the plant families of cruciferous plants (Brassicaceae), nightshade plants (Solanaceae), pumpkin plants (Curbitaceae), foxtail plants (Amaranthaceae), daisy plants (Asteraceae), leek plants (Allioideae), umbelliferous plants (Apiaceae), ice plant plants (Aizoacea) and Sweet grasses (Poaceae). Consequently these are:


  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Romanesco
  • Red cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • white cabbage
  • savoy
  • Turnips (May and autumn turnips)
  • radish and radish
  • arugula
Romanesco, radishes, Brussels sprouts


  • cucumbers
  • pumpkin
  • Melons (watermelons and cantaloupes)
  • zucchini

foxtail family

  • real spinach
  • chard
  • Beetroot
  • sugar beet
chard. Beetroot

daisy family

  • artichoke
  • endive

allium plants

  • leek


  • carrots
  • celery
  • fennel


  • New Zealand spinach

nightshade family

  • aubergine
  • potato
  • Paprika (also hot peppers and chili)
  • tomato
tomatoes, eggplant

sweet grasses

  • sweetcorn

In addition to these vegetables, there are also useful plants that are highly consuming and location-loyal are. This means that they can be cultivated in the same location for several years. However, this presupposes that the soil is prepared accordingly every year, i.e. supplied with nutrients. We recommend compost, vegetable manure or horn meal. Local crops include:

  • Knotweed family (Polygonaceae): rhubarb
  • Asparagus family (Asparagaceae): Asparagus
  • Rose family (Rosaceae): Strawberries

tip: In the case of strawberries, you should change location after three years.

Crop rotation and crop rotation

Although the two terms "crop rotation" and "crop rotation" are often used synonymously in the hobby garden, attention should be drawn to the small difference between the two terms. For example, "crop rotation" refers to the cultivation of crops, such as vegetables, within one year, while "crop rotation" refers to the cultivation of different crops in different years.

As already mentioned, for a plentiful harvest of vegetables that are highly consuming, consider crop rotation. For the best crop rotation, you should therefore divide the vegetable garden into three to four zones. Not only does this allow the soil to recover, but you also have a wide variety of vegetables. To close the cycle, proceed as follows:

  • 1st year: heavy feeder bed
  • 2nd year: Mittelzehrer bed
  • 3rd year: weak feeder bed
  • Year 4: Recovery bed (if space allows)

In concrete terms, this means that in the following year the medium eaters move into the heavy eater bed, the weak eaters in the medium eater bed and the heavy eaters in the recovery bed, because this is prepared again at the end of the 4th year for vegetables that are heavy eaters. If you want to provide additional variety in the kitchen garden, you can also use flowers for crop rotation. For example, various weakly consuming summer flowers are recommended for the 3rd year or marigolds for the 4th year.

You should also make sure that you do not plant any vegetable varieties in the same bed in subsequent years that belong to the same plant family, as these plants often have a very similar plant family compared to other plant families nutritional needs to have. In addition, vegetables from the same plant family are susceptible to the same diseases and pests that like to overwinter in the ground.

tip: So that you don't lose track of things, we recommend a precise cultivation plan for the vegetable garden. In this way, the vegetables end up in the right place every year.


Although many well-known herbs, such as thyme, coriander or curry herb, have a low nutrient requirement, there are also kitchen herbs that are highly consuming. They need humus-rich and nutrient-rich soil for vigorous growth. Strong consumers among the herbs are for example:

  • basil
  • borage
  • lovage
  • Fruit Sage

ornamental plants

Ornamental plants delight us with their lush blooms, although here too it is important to note whether the flowers are highly consuming or not. Have a high need for nutrients:

  • asters
  • bamboos
  • chrysanthemums
  • dahlias
  • real jasmine
  • angel trumpet
  • geraniums
  • Montbretie
  • oleander
  • petunias
  • phlox
  • Delphiniums
  • sunflowers
  • Datura (Datura)
  • steppe candles
  • tagetes
  • tulips
  • water dost
  • citrus tree
  • Bidens
Larkspur, Dahlia, Montbretia

indoor plants

As with vegetables, garden and balcony plants, there are also heavy consumers of indoor plants. These should be fertilized once a week with a liquid fertilizer. Houseplants that consume a lot include:

  • calla
  • gold trumpet
  • hibiscus

pond plants

Planting heavy-consuming plants in the garden pond or on its banks will also help against algae in the pond. The heavily consuming pond plants therefore include:

in the shore zone

  • bulrush and bulrush
  • hedgehog butt
  • Small and large cattails
  • swamp iris

in shallow water

  • calamus
  • Pennywort
  • Giant Vallisneria
  • swan flower
  • fir fronds

in deep water or under water

  • Dense-leaved waterweed
  • chickweed
  • Canadian waterweed
  • water lily
  • thousand leaf
  • floating plants
  • seaweed fern
  • Three-furrowed duckweed
  • frog bite
  • floating fern
  • star liverwort
Water lily, Brazilian milfoil


Cacti are sometimes considered to be rather undemanding plants. But here, too, there are heavy consumers who thank them for an ample diet. Finally, the heavily consuming cacti include:

  • trichocereus
  • opuntias
  • hardy cacti

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