Miracle-Gro All Purpose Food: General Indoor and Outdoor Plant Fertilizer
When should indoor plants be fertilized?
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.
Should indoor plants be fertilized?
Fertilizers are available in granular, slow-release, stick, liquid, and tablet forms in nurseries and garden centers. Even though sticks and tablets are simple to use, some gardeners dislike them because they believe the fertilizer is not evenly distributed throughout the pot.
You can fill your watering can straight with liquid fertilizers. Some are designed to be used either every other time or each time you water. To find out how much and when to apply a product, read the label.
Slow-release Pellets with a resin coating are used for time-released fertilizers like Osomcote. Every time you water them, some of their nutrients are progressively released.
Slow Release Fertilizer
Despite being more expensive than other types, slow-release fertilizers can persist for months after one application.
For the majority of indoor plants, general-purpose fertilizers work perfectly. They include three crucial macronutrients: potassium (K) for strong blooms, phosphorus (P) for strong roots, and nitrogen (N) for healthy leaf growth. Micronutrients like magnesium, boron, and manganese are also found in some fertilizers.
Use specialized fertilizers made for African violets, tropical plants, cacti, and specific other houseplants for optimum results.
Which plants ought to be fertilized sparingly?
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), false indigo (Baptisia australis), asters, pinks (Dianthus spp.), rock roses (Helianthemum spp.), sea holly (Eryngium spp.), bee balm (Monarda didyma), speedwell (Veronica spp.), and coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) are perennial plants that thrive without
Why are indoor plant leaves yellowing?
To figure out why your favorite houseplant has suddenly started to produce yellow leaves, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes, but you will need to perform some investigation. This is due to the fact that yellow leaves might indicate a variety of conditions. Here are seven typical causes of yellow leaves in houseplants.
Yellow leaves can be caused by either too much or too little water. Your plant may eventually sacrifice some of its foliage in an effort to conserve moisture if it is not given enough water. Conversely, too much water will frequently cause the death of your plant’s roots because they are unable to breathe in saturated soil. Yellow leaves will also grow on your plant as a result of this.
Start by making sure your plant is in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom if you want to avoid any of these issues. Between waterings, the extra water will be able to drain via these holes. When the top inch of soil seems dry to the touch, water your plants only then. From pot to pot, frequency may vary depending on factors like size (larger pots with more soil generally need less frequent watering), season (most plants don’t use much moisture during the dark days of winter), and plant type (succulents, for example, don’t need as much water as heavy drinkers like peace lilies).
If houseplants receive too much or too little light, their leaves may also become yellow. If plants that prefer shade, such as tropical ferns, nerve plants, and calathea, are forced to dwell in a bright location, their leaves will gradually start to turn yellow.
Conversely, if cultivated in gloomy settings, sun-loving indoor plants like succulents, crotons, and jade plants may begin to yellow. When purchasing a new houseplant, always read the label and put it in a location that meets its light needs. Most types of houseplants will thrive in direct, bright light.
It might not be a problem if your houseplant begins to drop yellow leaves as soon as you get it home from the garden center. Most likely, your plant is simply shedding leaves it can no longer support as it adjusts to the lower light levels in your home. Some species, like the ficus, for instance, will occasionally drop their yellow leaves when they are relocated. But don’t worry; usually, after a little period of adjusting, your plant will produce a new crop of foliage.
Repotting houseplants shouldn’t be done for at least a week or two after you get them home, to give them time to become used to their new surroundings and reduce transplant stress.
Lower leaves on older plants frequently turn yellow and drop off. Your plant is not sick as a result of this. It simply means that the plant no longer requires those lower leaves because they are now shadowed by higher foliage. Additionally, keep in mind that many typical houseplants are actually trees in their original habitats, and that when they grow larger, they attempt to develop a trunk by shedding their leaves. For instance, Norfolk Island pines sometimes sacrifice their lower boughs as they get taller and taller.
If a houseplant lacks some essential nutrients in the soil, they will also grow yellow or splotchy leaves. Since plants are typically cultivated and marketed in nutrient-rich potting mix, this is typically not an issue when you initially purchase a plant (and most of our plants come with a time-release fertilizer added). To retain healthy leaves, however, your plants will eventually exhaust the food that they were given and require a little boost of plant food. Every time you water your plants, give them a small amount of diluted liquid fertilizer to keep them healthy.
Yellow leaves on your houseplants can also be caused by indoor plant pests like aphids and spider mites. Both suck plant juices, which makes the leaves appear aerated and fading. Aphids have tiny rice-grain-like attachments at the ends of their stems. Spider mites produce fine-hair-like webs on the undersides of the leaves of your plants, but they are nearly impossible to notice with the naked eye. An organic insecticide for houseplants can be used to control both pests. Maintain a high degree of humidity around your plants because these pests also thrive in dry air.
Because they are tropical plants, indoor plants don’t like harsh weather. Your plants may drop yellow leaves if they are forced to dwell too close to a heat vent, fireplace, air conditioner, or drafty window or door. Most houseplants grow in a range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t overdo it
If the dosage is too high or you apply the fertilizer too frequently, it might burn the roots of plants. In a large grow pot, salts are harder to remove from the soil than they are in a garden.
For instance, do not increase the fertilizer’s recommended ratio from 1 oz per gallon to 4 oz per gallon in the mistaken belief that the plant will benefit.
To prevent burn, I regularly apply fertilizers (aside from Eleanor’s) at half strength for indoor plants.
How frequently ought indoor plants to be watered?
Although watering houseplants may seem like a straightforward operation, many people either overwater them or neglect them until they get parched. Generally speaking, the potting soil for indoor plants should be kept damp but not soggy. In the spring and summer, they typically need watering once or twice a week; in the fall and winter, they require less watering. However, this isn’t always the case, depending on the kind of houseplant.
- Only give orchids a small bit of water once a week to water them.
- Succulents and cacti need relatively little water. When the potting mix has dried out, only water.
- Water citrus plants more frequently and consistently than you would other houseplants.
The Westland Watering Indicator makes it easier to know when to water. This watering stick is very simple to use and may be used all year round. Just insert the stick into the pot of compost. The indicator will then turn red to let you know when the plant needs extra water. When no additional water is required, the indicator will turn blue. Within two hours of watering the plant, the indicator’s color should shift from red to blue.
Another crucial factor is the type of water used on indoor plants. This is due to the fact that many plants are sensitive to the salts and chemicals found in tap water. So it is advisable to use rainwater to water your plants.
To promote lush, robust growth, indoor plants must be fed while they are developing. Only while a houseplant is actively developing, not when it is dormant, should it be fed.
During the growing season (spring and summer), the majority of indoor plants need typically be fed every other watering, or around every 10 to 14 days. In the fall and winter, feed indoor plants after every fourth watering because they will need fewer nutrients.
Using a liquid concentrate feed is a good approach to feed houseplants. These are a fantastic way to feed and water your plant simultaneously. They work best, though, when the mixture isn’t created too powerful or too weak. Given that it is filled with the necessary nutrients, Westland Houseplant Feed is a fantastic plant food for indoor plants. Additionally, it contains a simple measure doser that requires only a squeeze of the bottle to fill the dosing chamber. Any extra plant food will be removed by the doser, leaving you with a 5ml dose to mix with 1 liter of water. This indicates that the combination you use to feed your plants is the proper strength.
The list of specialized feeds for various types of indoor plants that include the precise ratio of nutrients required for their growth is provided below.
- Feed for succulents and cacti offers nutrients that improve flowering.
- Citrus feed: provides nutrients that promote fruit development and set.