Don’t just pour fertilizer on your potted plants, though it’s simpler than you would think. According to Hillman, you should dilute the fertilizer at a rate of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water. To be on the safe side, he advises, “I counsel folks to dilute it a little more than the package suggests.”
You should also water your plant before fertilizing it. Additionally, the moist soil improves fertilizer absorption while preventing fertilizer from burning the roots. You are correct if you assume that a fish emulsion fertilizer will smell. Hillman, though, claims that it passes in a day or two. In order to get rid of extra fertilizer water, dump any water runoff dishes that may be underneath your pot or planter.
Do indoor plants require fertilizer?
You are aware that indoor plants require water and sunlight, but what about fertilizer? Fertilizing indoor plants during the growing season can provide them the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) they require to thrive (K).
Similar to learning how to repot a plant, feeding your houseplants can seem intimidating at first. However, after you master the fundamentals, you’ll wonder how your plants ever survived without it. The numerous types of fertilizer available, what fertilizer is (hint: it’s not plant food), and how and when to fertilize houseplants are all covered in the sections below.
What is fertilizer?
First and foremost, plants do not eat fertilizer. Photosynthesis is the process through which plants produce their sustenance while utilizing sunlight. Fertilizer promotes fresh, healthy growth in a similar manner to a multivitamin. Additionally, it can be utilized to replenish the vital minerals that our plants’ potting soil loses as they mature. The main ingredients, or macronutrients, in fertilizers are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), which we will discuss in more detail later. Fertilizers can also contain a variety of other nutrients.
When should I fertilize my houseplants?
like excessive amounts of light or water Your plants may suffer if you use too much fertilizer. During the growing season, which runs from early spring to late summer, we advise fertilizing indoor plants moderately. Plants will gain the most from new nutrients at this period, while they are actively growing. Depending on the fertilizer you’re using, you can typically fertilize your plants monthly or every other week. Read the label carefully because each brand may have a different suggestion for dilution and timing.
Fertilizer will not help newly potted or repotted plants. They haven’t even begun to use all the nutrients in their fresh potting mix! Wait 23 months after a fresh repotting before fertilizing actively growing plants during the growing season to prevent potentially harming recently replanted plants. You can postpone fertilizing until the following growing season if you potted during the autumn and winter.
Because of their decreased metabolic activity, plants in low-light conditions don’t require fertilizer. They don’t consume nutrients as efficiently as individuals who are in brighter light.
What do the numbers on fertilizer mean?
Three of the approximately 17 necessary plant nutrients are prominently featured on the front of the majority of fertilizers. The N-P-K ratio is represented by the three numbers you see: N stands for nitrogen, P for phosphorus, and K for potassium. The main macronutrients that your plant requires are these.
A fertilizer label can include an N-P-K ratio that looks like 10-5-8. Higher ratio fertilizers are more concentrated than lower ratio fertilizers. Do not assume that a fertilizer with greater numbers is superior than one with fewer numbers just because it has higher numbers. It just needs more water to be diluted with because it is more concentrated.
Micronutrients could be included in your fertilizer, making it a complete fertilizer. These can contain things like chlorine, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, and molybdenum. Each micronutrient plays a part in the cellular, enzymatic, and developmental processes of plants, but they are not as essential as the NPK macronutrients. Your fertilizer’s micronutrient content will probably be listed on the back of the container.
For your indoor plants, you can use any all-balanced fertilizer (for instance, 5-5-5) or one with a ratio that fits the goal you want to achieve. In order to stimulate leaf production, for instance, a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen to phosphorous ratio is best, whereas a higher phosphorous to nitrogen ratio aids in promoting fruiting and blooming.
Is solid or liquid fertilizer better?
There are various types of fertilizers. It is mainly a matter of preference when selecting the type of fertilizer to use. Both give the vital nutrients that plants require, yet they each have advantages and disadvantages.
The two types of fertilizers used most frequently for indoor plants are liquid and powder. They may also be the most economical depending on how concentrated they are, or how high their N-P-K ratio is. Fertilizers in liquid and powder form are also simple to use and diluted in water. You can also immediately add a variety of powder fertilizers to the potting soil.
Perhaps less frequently used for houseplants are solid fertilizers, sometimes known as dry or granular fertilizers. Because some granular fertilizers (fertilizer pellets) release nutrients over time, you run the risk of overfertilizing a plant or fertilizing it when it is dormant or growing slowly because of poor light.
Is chemical or organic fertilizer better?
Another option is selecting between synthetic fertilizers, commonly known as chemical fertilizers, and organic fertilizers. The macro and micro nutrients in synthetic fertilizers are typically more precisely balanced and concentrated. They might be more affordable, particularly if you buy them in liquid form to dilute. With less, you can obtain the same amount of nutrients.
Organic fertilizers are typically less concentrated because they are created from all-natural components, such as reprocessed food waste. However, mild is a benefit, not a drawback, of houseplant fertilizer. Although it can be slightly more expensive than other forms, organic fertilizer is a safe, chemical-free choice. Choosing an organic fertilizer may be the finest option if you have pets who share your space.
Chemical and organic fertilizers both supply nitrates, potassium ions, and phosphates to plants, but in different ways. It strikes a balance between your personal preferences and those of your plants.
Quick Tips for Fertilizing Houseplants
First tip: Since plants begin to actively grow in the spring, it is the optimal time to begin fertilizing them. Fast-growing plants should get fertilizer more frequently than slower-growing or dormant plants, such as cacti (i.e., most plants in winter.)
Second tip: Dilute your fertilizer. Less fertilization is preferable to more fertilization. If the potting mix is deficient in nutrients and you haven’t fertilized in about a year, you can improve the efficacy of the fertilizer by diluting it with less water.
3. Plants that produce fruits or flowers over their lifetimes will need extra fertilizer. Picking off fruits or flowers depletes them of their nutrients, which we should replenish.
Know your N, P, and K values. The ratio of macronutrients that should be present in your fertilizer is the one that your plant requires. It resembles the numbers 10-8-10. Find another fertilizer if this isn’t stated on the package.
5. Plants only require a smaller amount of micronutrients than they do of macronutrients, notwithstanding their importance. Micronutrients are typically present in fertilizers, however they aren’t usually highlighted on the front of the fertilizer container.