Ever wonder why fertilizing your houseplant is so important?
Without fertilizer, your houseplant would completely deteriorate over time because fertilizer gives your plants important nutrients that they would otherwise be lacking. It’s important to fertilize your plants frequently and also to make the right choices in the fertilizer you select for your houseplants.
Here are a few tips we think might help you better understand what plant fertilizer is as well as what the best kind of fertilizer is for houseplants.
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Overview of Why Fertilizing Is Important
After a crop is harvested, important nutrients go with the yield, leaving the soil depleted. That’s why it’s important to fertilize your plants. Doing so will restore the nutrients and allow the plant to stay healthy and happy.
If you don’t replenish your plants by using fertilizer, eventually, they will start to deteriorate. And when a plant isn’t able to grow with proper nutrients, it won’t produce good fruit or provide the beauty in your home that you desire.
What Is Plant Fertilizer?
Fertilizer is essential to the growth and health of your plants. It contains a blend of nutrients that are formulated to keep your plants strong and healthy.
Though the exact makeup of fertilizers vary, they will always contain three macronutrients that are crucial to a plant’s survival and development: phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen.
Some fertilizers will keep the big three macronutrients in equal proportion, while others will favor one over the other two. Some brands also add micronutrients to their recipe.
Additionally, a large portion of fertilizer typically consists of fillers. However, despite the name, these aren’t just filling space, but rather are elements that help plants improve their absorption of the important nutrients contained in the fertilizer.
The fertilizer that is right for your houseplant is going to largely depend on your soil and the type of plants you are growing.
How Frequently Should You Fertilize Houseplants?
If you’re growing plants indoors, you may wonder, do houseplants really need fertilizer? Or you may want to know, can you fertilize houseplants too much?
The short answer to both questions is yes. Fertilizer can be beneficial to indoor plants, just as it can be for those grown outdoors.
However, you want to be careful with the frequency with which you give your plants fertilizer.
How often you need to fertilize your houseplants is going to depend on the plant you’re growing as well as the fertilizer you use. Keep in mind you will only need to fertilize your houseplants when they are actively growing.
Plants usually have a dormant period in which they are resting, so fertilizer won’t benefit them during this time.
In general, fertilize your plants in spring and summer. The frequency will range from every two weeks to as little as once every four months, depending on the type of fertilizer you use.
Pay close attention to the instructions that accompany the product you select. However, if you’re growing houseplants, you’ll want to dilute the nutrients that you add to your plants because the full-strength recommendations for fertilizer are usually designed with outdoor plants in mind, which grow more quickly than indoor ones.
What is the Number on Houseplant Fertilizer?
You may see a strange number on your houseplant fertilizer that looks like “3-1-2”. This number is important because it indicates the volume of NPK, or the key macronutrients contained in the fertilizer. This means that there are three parts of nitrogen, one of phosphorus, and two of potassium.
All plants require both macro and micronutrients, but they need them in different amounts. Therefore, you may notice fertilizers use different ratios. These target specific needs for different plants and growing techniques.
However, 3-1-2 is the ideal ratio for houseplants in general because it can be used for any houseplant. You can also use higher volumes that maintain this same proportion, such as 24-8-16 and 9-3-6.
Additionally, you can always check with professionals, as they have a good sense for what ratios are best suited to different types of plants and growth.
Should I Use Liquid Fertilizer for Houseplants?
Fertilizer come in a wide variety of forms, including liquids, sticks, tablets, granules, and slow-release options. They each have different applications and benefits, which can be confusing if you’re new to gardening.
You might be asking yourself, is liquid fertilizer good for houseplants? If so, it’s important to know that liquid fertilizer is actually one of the most ideal options for houseplants because it can provide a consistent supply of nutrients that is able to be easily measured and controlled
Liquid fertilizer is mixed in with the water you use to water your plant. You might need to give your plant liquid fertilizer every single time you water it, but you also might not.
The specific schedule will vary depending on the brand of fertilizer you use and the type of plant you are growing.
What Is the Best Way to Add Fertilizer to a Houseplant?
The best way to add fertilizer is going to depend on which method of fertilizer application you are using. However, for houseplants, you should really stick to liquid or slow-release fertilizer.
With liquid fertilizer, you can add it with the water you give your plants on a schedule that is set based on your fertilizer brand and your plant’s needs.
Slow-release fertilizers allow nutrients to seep into the soil gradually. They accomplish this because they are covered in time-release shells.
These shells are actually just different coatings that have a range of thicknesses, so they are able to dissolve at varying times.
I hope that you’ve learned some important information about how to fertilize your houseplants. Do you have any tips or tricks for correctly fertilizing houseplants? We’d love to hear them in the comments!