Indoor Plant Fertilizers Guide

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indoor plant fertilizers

Do you know that Indoor Plant Fertilizers are just as important as outdoor fertilizers?

Most of the time, just like a lot of people, you might not give a lot of attention to fertilizing your houseplants.

However, proper feeding is also important for the healthy growth and development of indoor plants.

Unlike an outdoor garden, where mother nature provides rain and the plants are able to search for foods, the nutrients available to your indoor plants are limited.

This is because the potting soil in the pot does not have access to the soil and its nutrients, but only what you provide them in the form of supplemental feeding.

Think of indoor plant fertilizers as the second half of your potting soil.

When the potting soil is fresh, your plant will not need much feeding, because they are fortified and often have fertilizers and enhancements mixed in.

However, you will need to feed your plants with nutrients in order for them to grow.

Keep on reading.

Indoor Plant Fertilizers

Fertilizers are important for houseplants especially the ones in a container as they have limited soil in their pots.

Once the nutrients finish, the roots of your plants are unable to spread or stretch out to find more.

Therefore, this is one of the reasons why you should always opt for a good quality of potting soil.

They already have some slow-release fertilizers mixed in them to support the initial needs of your plants.

Once that finishes, ill will be important for you to add more or to repot with a fresh mix.

indoor plant fertilizers 1

Moreover, if you are not sure about the amount of fertilizer you need to add, it is always better to under- fertilize than overfertilize them.

Adding too much fertilizer can cause the leaves of your plants to turn brown or yellow.

Additionally, if you are using liquid fertilizers that make sure to dilute them first.

This is quite a hand trick as most of the labels also call for.

Thus, you can reduce the risk of over-fertilizing but your plants will still get enough of what they need.

Types of Indoor Plants Fertilizers

There are different types of fertilizer varieties:

  • liquids
  • sticks
  • tablets
  •  granules
  • slow-release forms

However, one of the best fertilizers that are beneficial for your indoor plants is liquid and slow-release fertilizers.

You might think that sticks and granules are convenient, however, once you insert a fertilizer stick into the pot, you do not have control over its release.

On the other hand, granular fertilizers are most often best for outdoor plants and gardens.

Let’s discuss them as follows:

Liquid Fertilizers

You can apply liquid fertilizers by diluting them into the water and applying them with a watering can.

Depending on the instructions of the label, you might fertilize every time you water.

This type of fertilizer will affect the growth of your plants and you can notice a dramatic increase in blooms and may need more feeding.

liquid fertilizers

Moreover, always make sure to research your plant requirements to learn about their specific needs.

Liquid fertilizers provide a steady supply of nutrients that can be controlled.

It is easy to suspend the feeding of the plant when it goes into the dormant phase during winters.

However, you can also increase the feeding when the plant is sending up new growth.

The disadvantage, however, is to you will need to remember to do it every time.

Slow-Release Fertilizers

These products are popular for both indoor and outdoor plants and have even gained popularity among both professional growers and gardeners.

Slow-release fertilizers are enclosed in a time-release shell that slowly leaches nutrients into the soil.

Moreover, the individual pellets have coatings of different thicknesses that dissolve at different rates.

indoor plant fertilizers 2

Thus, the actual release of the fertilizer is staggered over time.

A single application of this fertilizer can last between 4 to 9 months.

However, the main drawback is the higher cost of slow-release fertilizer, but as it lasts for a long period of time, the cost balances it out.

Granular Fertilizers

You can mix dry pellets of pure fertilizer into the potting soil by hand.

Though more commonly, they are beneficial for outdoor gardens, you can also use them for indoor containers, however, their application can be tricky.

granular fertilizers

Granular fertilizers add all of their nutrients when you water the pot, making it hard to control how much the plants are receiving at once.

This type of fertilizer is very inexpensive, however, not a great choice for feeding houseplants.

Buying Fertilizer

All-purpose fertilizers contain the basic macronutrients that plants require to grow.

These include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Each of these macronutrients has a specific function:

  • Nitrogen encourages healthy foliage growth
  • Phosphorus encourages bigger and healthy blooms
  • Potassium helps for a strong root system

Additionally, to these macronutrients, better-quality fertilizers contain micronutrients like boron, magnesium, and manganese.

This helps encourage healthier growth.

Make sure to study the fertilizer label to determine the type of nutrients they contain.

Now, let’s discuss the natural indoor plant fertilizer options.

Natural Indoor Plant Fertilizers

Natural houseplant fertilizers help your plants to thrive and stay healthy, just like inorganic fertilizers.

There are different items you can use natural indoor plant fertilizers and you probably might have them already in your kitchen.

The reason why these plants are beneficial is that they add essential nutrients like potassium, nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus to the soil.

This is because they break slowly so your indoor plants will have a long-lasting supply of nutrients that will help to support their growth and development.

You can make a homemade liquid fertilizer easily. Let’s discuss these options as follows:

1# Banana Peels: Most commonly used in compost or trash, banana peels are a rich source of potassium.

They also contain small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium. Banana Peels are ideal slow-release natural houseplant fertilizers and you can either add them directly into the plant.

However, you can also cut them into small pieces and mix them into the soil before potting a new plant or blend the peels and mix with water.

natural fertilizers 1

2# EggShells: Eggshells are a rich source of calcium and can help to reduce the acidity of the soil, and they also contain phosphorus and other minerlas.

However, before using them, remove the inner membrane, wash them and allow them to dry.

Crush them and mix into the soil or soak them in water overnight and use the liquid water.

3# Worm Tea: It is a great way to turn kitchen scraps into a natural fertilizer.

Place the scraps of fruit and vegetables on the top of the worm farm and they will break it down to create a liquid tea.

Other Natural Indoor Plant Fertilizers

Some of the other natural plant fertilizers are:

Cooking Water: The water you use to boil or steam your vegetable is packed with nutrients that your indoor plants will love.

After you are done cooking, allow the water to cool down and use it to give your houseplants.

Coffee Grounds: You can use coffee grounds to help feed nutrients to your indoor plants.

Mix a scoop of coffee grounds with the potting mix before plating or combining its grounds with water and use the liquid to waste your plants.

natural fertilizers

However, it is important to keep in mind that it can make the soil acidic, thus, it is best to use it for plants that like acidic soils.

Epsom Salt: This salt contains minerals like magnesium and sulfate.

Mix or dissolve 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt into a liter of water or sprinkle a small amount of it on the surface of the soil.

Fish Tank Water: Water from a fish aquarium contains huge amounts of nutrients like nitrogen and potassium.

You can use this water for your house plants.

Hair: Your hair contains valuable nutrients that can help in the growth and development of your indoor plants.

Mix a handful of them, in the soil as they include nitrogen and magnesium that help your plants.

Green Tea: If you like drinking green tea, then you can save used tea bags and use them to create an easy and inexpensive homemade houseplant food.

Empty the leaves from the bag and place them on the soil or brew than to create a liquid fertilizer that is high in nutrients.

Just like coffee grounds, green tea is best for plants that like acidic soils.

Molasses: Molasses is a thick black liquid that comes from refining sugar cane. Moreover, it contains a wide range of nutrients.

Mix 1 tablespoon of molasses with a half-gallon or about 2 liters of water and use it on your plants.

Final Thoughts

A regular dose of important plant nutrients goes a long way towards better growth. While in some cases, fertilizing your indoor plants can be overwhelming, but once you figure out the right amount, it will get easier.

If you are not fertilizing your plants, they will most likely not bloom or grow as they should with all the important nutrients. Thus, you will need to add these nutrients for their growth and development.

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