Fertilizers: How to Keep Your Indoor Houseplants Vibrant and Healthy

Fertilizers for indoor houseplants in a liquid food are necessary for health and growth. Over a period of time after watering your plants, the soil becomes depleted of the needed minerals and nutrients.

Plants need different elements from the soil to grow.  If they are not present in the right amount the plants will not be as healthy or grow as they should. This is why it is necessary for you to supplement with a good plant food.


When to Feed Your Plants

Your plant might need feeding if it is not growing as fast as it should.

If you notice the growth of the plant is stunted and it is spring or summer you can safely add nutrients in small amounts over a period of one to two weeks.

Just be careful not to over-fertilize.  Some signs that you have added too much fertilizer are the tip of the leaves are turning brown or the leaves are drooping downwards.

Fertilizer Crystals

Feed your indoor plants with all purpose commercial products that are balanced and have micronutrients. They are water soluble and come in the forms of liquid or crystals. These types spread evenly through the soil and can be applied to the foliage during feedings. Always mix with water according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Slow-Release Fertilizers

Slow-release fertilizing allows the nutrients to slowly dissolve into the soil. They may be water soluble chemicals covered with a plastic resin, or they may be synthetic organics that require decomposition by microorganisms. These are excellent because they release nutrients over a long period of time.

All plant foods whether chemical or organic have a series of numbers printed on the package or container showing the percentage of nitrogen (first number), phosphoric acid (second number), and potassium oxide (third number) on the package of the fertilizer formula (such as 20-20-20).

Nitrogen (N) promotes vigorous growth and rich green foliage and helps branches, stalks, and stems form. A deficiency in nitrogen will show slow growth, small branches and yellowing leaves.

Phosphorous (P) promotes a good root system. It stimulates root branching and growth of root hairs and aids in plant maturation. A deficiency shows weak branches and roots with poor flowers. The plant suffers parasite attacks.

Potassium (K) promotes vigorous flowers and fruits enhancing size, number, and color. A deficiency shows crinkling leaves with brown edges and weak stems.

Dilute the solution using half the manufacturer’s recommended dose and apply during the active growing season.

1. Make sure soil is moist when you feed plants.

2. Feed only healthy plants. Unhealthy plant roots cannot absorb nutrition.

3. Don’t overfeed. Too much will burn roots and leaves and may kill your plant.

Plant foods are either chemical or organic fertilizers

Chemical plant foods are composed of chemically synthesized artificial compounds such as ammonium sulfate and minerals which come from ground up limestone. They are usually available to the plant within 24 hours of application. Will cause damage to plants if over applied.

Organic plant foods are made from enriched plant or animal matter such as manure and bonemeal. They are weaker than the chemical kind and slow acting. The nutrients become available over several weeks and last longer. This type food is less likely to harm your plants if over applied.

Selecting the right kind of nutrients for your indoor houseplants with the proper balance of elements will prevent damage and produce beautiful, lush plants.

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