It’s easy to overlook fertilizing your houseplants. We water them, put them in a sunny window and then sometimes just leave it at that. But, it’s important to remember that the soil in the pot will only provide so much nutrition for your plant.
Houseplants sometimes need a little boost to keep them healthy, thriving, and blooming during the Spring & Summer months when they are growing the most.
Here are some general guidelines & tips for fertilizing your houseplants, but it’s best to research your specific plant and get to know its individual fertilizing needs.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions below and I can try to help!
My Tips for Fertilizing Your Houseplants
How much fertilizer? Not too much!
Houseplants do well with lower doses of fertilizer than your outdoor flowers would. Sometimes even the directions on the fertilizer package suggest too strong of a dose. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and give a lower dose.
I always give less than the recommended amount on the package. If you over-fertilize your plant you will see yellowing or leaves drop. When you add too much fertilizer to the soil plants are unable to absorb water and this is where the term” burning your plants” comes from.
Timing is everything when you are fertilizing your houseplants.
Most plants will not need to be fertilized in the winter. Starting up again in the spring with a low dose will help encourage new growth and blooming.
During the warmer summer months when the plants are more active you can up the dose if you think your plant needs it.Your plant will not be growing much during the winter, so you do not need to fertilize it.
If you are planning to repot your houseplant in the Spring, I would recommend fertilizing it ~4 weeks before repotting. Repotting is necessary for plants to continue to grow and absorb water and nutrients from the soil. Repotting your houseplant also helps reduce root rot and the formation of a giant root ball.
What do those numbers on the plant fertilizer package mean?
The numbers on the fertilizer package are referred to as the N-P-K ratio. They stand for (N) Nitrogen (P) Phosphorous and (K) Potassium. The numbers reflect the percentage of each nutrient found in the fertilizer.
- Nitrogen is responsible for green leafy growth.
- Phosphorous encourages strong root development and flowering.
- Potassium helps with overall growth and helps keep plants balanced.
Most general houseplant fertilizers will work. But always remember to check your plant’s individual needs before selecting a fertilizer. Some plants will require more of one nutrient than another.
What fertilizer can I use for my houseplants?
There are two main types of fertilizers to choose from.
The first is a water-soluble fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is made of tiny granules that dissolve instantly when added to water. It’s very common and easy to find at any nursery, garden center, or even grocery store.
The second type of commonly used fertilizer is liquid fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is concentrated and needs to be diluted with water before use, usually using a dropper or small measuring cup.
I use Jack’s 15-30-15 Houseplant Special Fertilizer on majority of my houseplants.
I use Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food for my succulents during the summer.
Another easy liquid houseplant fertilizer that is made from natural seaweed is Bloomingo Indoor Plant Food. It has a lot of great reviews on amazon, but I have not yet given it a try. It also claims to be safe for pets, if that is a concern for you that may be appealing. We keep all of our soil and fertilizer in a closet away from our pets.
You can also use leftover diluted drip coffee as fertilizer for your houseplants. I water our plants with leftover coffee every 2 weeks. My houseplants love coffee just as much as I do!
Remember to keep your plants happy with sunlight, periodic fertilizing and, of course, lots of love.