There are many brands of fertilizers for house plants on the market. Choose a fertilizer that is good for the types of plant you have in your house. You can use a liquid fertilizer or a time release product that will gradually nourish the plants. When you choose the right fertilizer and use it correctly, your houseplants will flourish.
It’s important for your house plants to have the proper nutrients for growth. There are thirteen essential elements for plants to grow. Macronutrients are the most critical for your plants. The other elements are known as micronutrients. These are considered less critical for the overall health of the plants, but are still important.
Choosing a Fertilizer for House Plants
The fertilizer needed varies among plants. This information may be included on the care instructions, but this is often not the case. Consider the type of plant you will be feeding when selecting a fertilizer. Most flowering plants grow best with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous. Foliage tends to like higher concentrations of nitrogen. You can research online or in books to find the best nutrients for your plants.
A good complete fertilizer contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. These nutrients are indicated by NPK ratings. The N stands for nitrogen, the P for phosphorous and the K for potassium oxide. For example, if the fertilizer is listed as 15-30-15, that tells you that the fertilizer contains 15% nitrogen, 30% phosphorous and 15% potassium.
Types of Fertilizers for Houseplants
Fertilizers come in many varieties. You can find them in water soluble powders, liquids, time release pellets, water soluble pellets, tablets and sticks. The liquid and water soluble varieties should be diluted in water prior to use. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for dilution. These are then applied to the plant according to the directions. The tablets, time released pellets and sticks are added to the plant and release the nutrients over a period of time.
How to use Fertilizers
Your house plants may come with directions for care. These are generally found printed on plastic stakes in the soil inside the pot. This is not always the case. If there are directions for fertilizing the plant, follow these directions. If not, you can ask at the nursery or garden center or read about your specific type of plant in a book or on the internet. In general, house plants should be fertilized every two or three months. Choose a fertilizer that will give the proper nutrients that your plant requires. Follow the directions for correct usage.
Fertilizer tends to be most effective when used in periods of growth. For most house plants, this is between March and October. Like outdoor plants, the lower levels of light and lower temperatures of the winter months result in an inactive period. This is not the ideal time to add fertilizer as it won’t be utilized by the plant as it is during the growth phase.
Fertilizers should be applied to moist soil, not when it is too dry. If the soil is too dry, you are more likely to over fertilize the plant. This can lead to root damage. Water the plant first. Once the soil is wet, you can add the fertilizer. This will avoid damage to the roots, which can inhibit growth or even kill the plant.
Be careful not to use too much fertilizer on your plants. You will be able to tell if you’ve used too much by looking at the plant. Houseplants that have been given too much fertilizer will have leaves that are turning brown, white dust on the pots and wilting leaves. You can help the plant get rid of the extra fertilizer by giving it extra water. This will help the additional salts from the fertilizer. Place the plant in a sink to allow the water to drain from the plant without making a mess in the house. Use a lot of water, until it runs freely out the bottom of the pot.
Proper care is important in addition to fertilizers. House plants do better with indoor temperatures that do not fluctuate wildly. Unlike outdoor plants, your indoor plants require a stable temperature. During the night hours, don’t let the temperature drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The daytime temperatures should range from seventy to eighty degrees. Plants need some sunlight in order to grow properly. The amount of light needed depends, in part, on the type of plant. In general, place plants near a window, but not in direct sunlight.