When To Feed Houseplants

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.

Adjust Your Watering Routine

Although it may seem contradictory, the majority of indoor plants require less water in the winter. Despite the fact that winter air is dryer, plants develop more slowly and some even fall into complete dormancy during the colder months. As a result, plants require less water to maintain their hydration, and overwatering can cause root rot. Remember that different plants require varied amounts of water. Drought-tolerant cacti and other succulents may not require any watering, whilst certain tropical plants may still need more frequent watering.

Winter months can cause surface soil to dry up more quickly, but it isn’t necessarily a sign that the plant needs water. When the soil is dry an inch or two below the surface, test it with your finger; if it is, it’s time to get the watering can out.


Do not water your houseplants with cold water. To prevent shocking the roots of the plant, use water that is close to room temperature. In some winter climates, tap water can become very chilly; thus, wait several hours before using it to water your plants. This kind of gradual warming also enables dissolved gases, such chlorine, to evaportate from the water.

Alter Humidity Levels

The largest challenge that indoor plants face throughout the winter months is often low humidity levels. Plants like a humidity level that is closer to 50%, which might drop to 10 to 20% in heated homes during the winter. If your home has a humidifier, move your plants there so they can benefit from it. If you don’t have a humidifier, find another way to increase the humidity.

Organize your plants first into groupings. Plants naturally release water through their leaves through transpiration, thus combining them will make good use of that moisture. Because they absorb moisture from showers and cooking, bathrooms and kitchens are the greatest places to keep plants.

The age-old method of putting your plants on or close to a tray of water is another excellent choice. But avoid letting the plants submerge themselves in the water. Put stones or pebbles in the tray to elevate the pots’ bottoms above the water line, then set the pots on top of the stones. By doing this, humidity levels will rise without encouraging root rot.

Instead than helping the plants, misting usually works better at making the gardener feel good about themselves. You might believe that spraying your plants will provide them with some comfort, however misting just provides a brief burst of moisture. Because indoor temperatures allow moisture to evaporate quickly, misting is necessary several times a day to be effective. Try misting if you only have a few plants and believe you will be really diligent about it. An indoor plant may rarely be over-mist. Misting plants in humid summers can result in fungal issues, but this shouldn’t be a concern in the winter.

Pay Attention to Temperature

Like most people, most plants thrive in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night and between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Keep your plants away from heat sources like radiators, ovens, fireplaces, and electronics in order to give them that, as well as from chilly drafts. Houseplants can die from temperature changes just as quickly as from extended exposure to heat or cold.

Follow the Sun

In addition to having fewer daylight hours, wintertime sunlight also comes in at a lower angle. Your houseplants might need to be moved to a brighter location or even given more light. An all-day sunny window with a south or west orientation is an ideal location. Moving plants next to a chilly window, however, should be avoided since they might experience a draft.

Every time you water your plants, rotate the pots by roughly a quarter of a turn. This prevents some branches from reaching for the light, allowing the plant to grow evenly and receive some sun on all sides.

The amount of light that reaches plant leaves can also be diminished by layers of dust. This dust can be removed from leaves with a moist cloth, giving plants more access to light during the winter.

Plants will need to be exposed to the grow lights for extended periods of time in regions where the winter sun is essentially nonexistent and where the majority of their light comes from supplemental lighting. If a plant needs six hours of direct sunshine, it can also require an additional 12 or 14 hours of light to provide the same amount of energy. Grow lights are far less strong than sunlight, thus plants require more time under them to absorb enough energy.

Put Your Houseplants on a Diet

Because they are not growing as quickly in the winter, the majority of houseplants don’t require any fertilizer. Stop feeding them until early spring as continuing to do so would only disrupt their natural cycle. Resuming fertilization will give them a boost for the growing season if you start to notice new growth or the present leaves seem to be turning greener.

Some tropical plants grow rather actively all winter long, especially vining climbers or trailers, and they may still need some feeding, but often at decreased rates.

When ought I to feed my plants?

The components for foliar and fruit production, bloom development, and root and overall plant health are found in fertilizers. The treatment is necessary for healthy plant vigor in poor soils. Fertilizer can be applied using stakes, a foliar spray, a time-release granular solution, or a soil drench. The optimal time of year to fertilize, regardless of the method you prefer, is an important consideration. Although each plant has some tiny variations, most plants follow the same general principle.

Early spring is the general recommendation for applying fertilizer on an annual basis. This promotes the development of leaves, flowers, and later fruit. In some regions, the unexpected arrival of a late freeze or even snow in the early spring might impair the new growth that fertilization has induced. To avoid harming juvenile growth in these areas, it is preferable to wait until the day of your last frost.

When applied to plants during the height of their growing cycle, fertilizer is most effective. For deciduous species, this is when the plant begins to leaf out, bloom, or put on new growth after emerging from the dormant winter stage. So spring would be the best time of year to fertilize the majority of plants.

When do I fertilize my houseplants in pots?

Over time, frequent watering might cause nutrients to be lost, even if you used potting soil with a slow-release fertilizer. Depending on the type of potting medium, watering frequency, and rate of plant growth, it’s a good idea to begin regular fertilizer treatments two to six weeks after planting a container.

There are numerous fertilizer alternatives available for container plants. Starting with an all-purpose fertilizer is an excellent idea.

  • In addition to other vital plant minerals like iron, manganese, and zinc, all-purpose fertilizers contain the nutrients nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which plants require in high concentrations.
  • Choose fertilizers, such as tomato food or bloom boosting fertilizer, that have higher ratios of phosphorus or potassium to nitrogen to encourage the formation of flowers or fruits.

In the winter, when should I fertilize my plants?

Plants require less fertilizer when they are semi-dormant. Most foliage plants can endure four months without feeding (November to March). When in bud and bloom, flowering plants may require feeding every two weeks, but even these only need minimal amounts from November to February.

Why don’t you feed plants during the winter?

In the colder months, light levels are reduced, which means that houseplants will naturally grow more slowly and require less water and food as a result.

They don’t require additional nutrients if they aren’t expending as much energy. Anything you give them will therefore probably end up in the ground where it will eventually burn its roots and kill the plant.

How frequently should you feed plants?

  • Pick a food for plants. Continuous release fertilizers are fantastic if you like a little hands-off approach, but liquid or water soluble plant feeds may be a better choice if you often work in the garden.
  • Get up and start eating. Feeding your plants in the early spring will help you achieve the best outcomes since it will provide them the nutrients they need to get the growing season started. Continue feeding as directed on the label on a regular basis.

Wait 30 days before applying fertilizer to newly planted plants in Miracle-Gro soil or potting mix because your plants will already be getting plenty of nutrients from the soil.

  • Add a reminder. Sometimes the hardest thing is remembering to feed your plants. Depending on the product you have, you will need to feed every 7–14 days if you’re using a water-soluble or liquid plant food.

Fertilizers with continuous releases are applied less frequently, typically every six weeks. To determine how frequently to use a product, always consult the label. Once you are aware of the proper feeding plan, you may assist yourself stay on track by setting a regular reminder on your phone or smart speaker.

How soon can I begin using Miracle-Gro?

Healthy roots are established by plants in nutrient-rich soil. Use Miracle-Gro All Purpose Garden Soil or Miracle-Gro Potting Mix in the early spring (but after the last frost) to prepare your garden or containers. The roots of your veggies, herbs, and flowers will receive their initial supply of essential nutrients from both products, which include continuous-release plant food.

At the start of the growing season, perennial flowers and plants that are already established require plant food as well. To release the nutrients into the soil, lightly work a granular fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed All Purpose Plant Food, into the surface soil around each plant base. Take care not to disrupt the roots or any new growth.

How frequently ought I to feed my plants?

I had a variety of roles as a founding worker at Gardener’s Supply over the years. I currently run my own business, which is called Johnnie Brook Creative. A huge vegetable garden, a seasonal greenhouse, a cutting garden, perennial gardens, a rock garden, a shade garden, berry plantings, numerous container plants, and a meadow garden are among the gardens surrounding my Richmond, Vermont, home. The garden is the only place I would rather be. Check out this Garden Gate magazine video interview from January 2021 if you’re interested in learning more.

The identical type of tray and soil were used when these seedlings were planted at the same time. The addition of fertilizer was the only change.

The majority of gardeners do not fertilize their plants, according to a National Gardening Association survey. However, there is no simpler approach to enhance a plant’s general appearance, flower and fruit production, and resistance to pests and diseases.

I adore plants and detest the idea of them going hungry. I also want every gardener to succeed as much as they can. So pay attention if you’re one of the millions of gardeners who don’t fertilize their plants.

Pots and planters, like this Viva Self-Watering Hanging Basket, will flourish with regular feeding.

Buy a water-soluble, organic plant food first. Because I’m going to advise you to fertilize frequently, I suggest organic. It’s important to follow the directions on the container when using synthetic fertilizers like “the blue stuff,” as it’s simple to “burn” your plants by using too much chemical fertilizer. PHC All-Purpose Fertilizer is made from organic ingredients, simple to use, and highly productive.

Two times per week, start fertilizing your container plants. Give your houseplants a weekly fertilizer. Every two to three weeks, give your garden plants a fertilizer. Give your landscape plants a monthly fertilizer.

Observe what transpires. I’m sure you’ll notice a significant improvement. There will be more flowers and fruit on your larger plants. They will also be more resilient to drought and other environmental stresses, as well as to pests and diseases.

Applying a liquid fertilizer to your soil is not a replacement for amending it with compost and granular organic fertilizers. Your plants are like teenagers during the growing season—they urgently require food! Since they are readily available right away, liquid fertilizers offer that rapid remedy.

Both your soil and your plants benefit from using compost and granular organic fertilizers. They should be added as you are setting up your garden or your containers at the start of the growing season. Apply them once more at the end of the season to replenish lost organic matter and nutrients for the greatest results. This will ensure that your soil has sufficient of reserves to support your finest garden yet next spring.

Three Reasons Container Plants Need Extra Help

What’s unique about plants growing in pots and planters, that they need their own special fertilizer? Here are a few ways that plants grown in containers differ from those in gardens.

  • restricted roots Plant roots can extend many feet or even yards in the garden in search of water and nutrients. On the other hand, when plants are cultivated in pots, their roots are constrained and are unable to extend out into the surrounding soil in search of nutrition. You must provide container plants with the water and nutrients they require for growth.
  • mixes for soilless planting. Many supposedly soil-containing mixtures are really comprised of peat, coir, and/or perlite instead of genuine soil. They have the advantages of being lighter and providing greater drainage than garden soil. On their own, soilless mixtures provide little to no nutrition. This means that you must provide all of the nutrients in the form of fertilizer that the plants require.
  • No helpful microorganisms. In order to guarantee that there are no plant disease organisms, soilless planting mixes have been sterilized. That implies that there aren’t any helpful germs either, though. Some fertilizers are broken down into forms that plants can utilise by soil bacteria. That’s acceptable in garden soil, but in containers devoid of soil bacteria, the nutrients must be available to plants right away.