Every hobby gardener wants decorative colorful flower balls on his hydrangeas in summer. The plants need the right fertilizer so that the flowers develop as desired. Since hydrangeas are often cultivated in a near-natural cottage garden, organic fertilizers should be primarily used here. Horn shavings and horn meal are ideal here, but there are differences between the two fertilizers. Everything about horn fertilizer and how this hydrangea helps is explained in the following article.

Horndünger Definition

Horn fertilizer is available in two versions. This is actually a waste product from the slaughter of ungulates. Because horn shavings and horn meal are the crushed hooves and horns of cattle and other farm animals. These provide a lot of good nutrients and, above all, nitrogen for the faster growth of the plant. So it is apparently the same product, but there is one crucial difference:

  • Horn shavings are coarser
  • can be used as a long-term fertilizer
  • Nutrients are only released into the soil later
  • but all the longer
  • re-fertilization is only necessary after three months
  • Horn meal is finely ground
  • thus an immediate fertilizer
  • Nutrients are instantly released into soil
  • regular fertilization required
  • about every two to three weeks
Tip: If both fertilizers, flour and shavings, are added to the first fertilization in spring, then the horn meal can work immediately, later the hydrangea will fall back on the reserves from the long-term fertilization with the horn shavings.

The right moment

As with all other fertilizers, fertilization with horn takes place during the hydrangea’s vegetation phase. The first application of fertilizer after winter should start around March, when the plant sprouts again. In the case of horn shavings, the next fertilization takes place after about three months. From September fertilization should be completely stopped so that the hydrangea can go into hibernation. So it is sufficient if fertilization with horn shavings is carried out twice. In addition, horn meal can be mixed in with the first fertilization so that the plant is immediately supplied with nutrients and nitrogen.

Instructions: Hydrangeas fertilize with horn fertilizer

It is important that both the horn shavings and the flour are lifted underground. Care must be taken here so that the roots of the hydrangeas are not damaged. However, it is sufficient if the fertilizer has been incorporated about ten centimeters below the surface of the earth, the nutrients then reach the lower areas with the irrigation water and can be easily absorbed via the roots. You should also proceed as follows when fertilizing with horn:

  • when fertilizing for the first time in spring
  • Fold in the flour and shavings
  • this ensures first and long-term care
  • second fertilization after three months only chips
  • also fertilize when planting
  • Compost with horn shavings and flour in the planting hole
  • alternatively mix with bucket earth


The advantages of horn fertilizer are obvious. Because there are quite a few of these. So the advantages are as follows:

  • natural, organic fertilizer
  • no chemical additives
  • Waste product from animal slaughter
  • in this way, all parts of the animal are sensibly used
  • can be used as a long-term and immediate fertilizer
  • also helps against snails and weeds
  • add to the soil mixed with mulch


Fertilizing hydrangeas with horn fertilizer takes a bit of work. Because if you just sprinkle shavings or flour around the hydrangea, the nutrients won’t get into the soil. Nitrogen in particular is a gas that escapes into the air if it is only applied superficially. Therefore, horn manure must always be dug under the ground. You have to work very carefully here so that the roots of the hydrangea are not damaged. Other disadvantages are the following:

  • Horn fertilizer alone is not enough
  • always mix with other fertilizer
  • for example with compost
Tip: To make it easier to mix the fertilizer underground, it is simply mixed in advance with the compost used and then folded in together. The nitrogen in the horn fertilizer also ensures that the compost decomposes more quickly and releases the nutrients more quickly.

Make liquid fertilizer

Hydrangeas are often cultivated in pots because of their low winter hardiness. Here it can be difficult to mix the horn shavings or the flour into the ground. For such a case, liquid fertilizer can also be made from horn shavings. This can be done very easily as follows:

  • Fill the horn shavings into the bottle or bowl
  • in lukewarm water
  • Let it soak for a week

Then you can use the fertilizer like normal liquid fertilizer from the trade and give it every few weeks with the irrigation water. For this purpose, a cap of liquid fertilizer is simply added to the water.

Horn shavings and horn meal are good organic fertilizer alternatives. However, these should always be combined with other fertilizers, as the horn fertilizer mainly contains nitrogen and a few nutrients. Nitrogen is important for the good growth of the hydrangeas, for the abundant flowering you have to combine the horn fertilizer with suitable mineral or organic fertilizers such as compost. So the plant is completely cared for, it grows beautifully lush, has bright green leaves and beautiful, decorative flower clusters.

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