So, you’re looking at how to fertilise your houseplant but finding it a difficult place to start… On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about plant nutrition, organic fertilisers, and how to maximize healthy growth in your houseplants.
What Is Fertiliser?
Simply put, fertiliser is the food and nutrients we give to plants. Like humans, plants need an intricate balance of nutrients in order to stay happy and healthy.
Fertiliser is a complex (and often concentrated) balance of plant nutrients (mined minerals) that help to maintain healthy roots, stems, leaves, and sometimes flowers.
Fertiliser is often diluted with water and then added to a soil structure (containing houseplants, crops, or vegetables). Most fertilising will take place during early spring (every couple of weeks) and summer and will cease over the winter months.
As different plants often have different needs and requirements, there are many different types of fertiliser: liquid fertiliser chemical fertiliser, granular fertilisers, and bone meal to name a few!
What Are Fertilisers Made From?
Before we get on to how to fertilise your houseplant, it is first important to know the basics about indoor plants and fertiliser!
All fertilisers contain the name three elements: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. On the packaging of every fertiliser, you will be able to see an NPK rating.
An NPK rating will tell you about the ratio that a fertiliser contains. As different plants may need more of one particular element than another, it is no surprise that there is a huge variation from fertiliser to fertiliser.
What Role Does Each Element Perform in My Fertiliser?
Predictably, each element in a fertiliser is responsible for a different function! So, what role do these elements perform?
Nitrogen (N) – Nitrogen is largely responsible for the growth of leaves on the plant. As a general rule of thumb, palm plants (Areca Palm, Parlour Palm, and Kentia Palms) often prefer a nitrogen-rich fertiliser!
Phosphorus (P) – Phosphorus is largely responsible for root growth and flower and fruit development. Any plant that needs a strong stem (Bird of Paradise, Fiddle Leaf Fig, and Rubber Plants) will benefit from a phosphorus-dense fertiliser.
Potassium (K) – Potassium is a nutrient that helps the overall functions of a flowering plant to perform correctly. Any plant that flowers (Anthurium, Peace Lily, and Fruit Trees) will like a potassium-dense fertiliser.
What Types of Fertiliser Are There?
There are a number of different fertilisers on the market today! During the growing season, your plants may respond differently to all the fertilsers you own. As such, it may be best to have more than one fertilliser on hand, so you can maximise growth during the growing season.
So, what types of fertilisers are on the market today?
Liquid Fertiliser – Liquid foliar fertilisers offer the fastest and easiest way to provide plant nutrients into your soil. This makes liquid the most popular houseplant fertiliser on the market today
Granular Fertilisers – fertilisers like these are dry and typically come in the form of pellets. Most granular fertilisers are slow-release fertilisers and will gradually release nutrients to your plant over a long period.
Organic Fertilisers – these fertilisers are defined as any fertiliser that is derived from a natural plant or animal source. These are generally more environmentally friendly to use than inorganic fertilisers.
Inorganic Fertilisers – inorganic fertilisers are any fertilisers that are made from non-natural chemicals. Typically, these fertillisers go through plenty of refining and manufacturing until they become safe for your plants.
Will My Plant Prefer an Organic or Inorganic Fertiliser?
Plants are not usually too fussy as to how they get their fertiliser. The difference in these fertilisers is much more of a question for plant parents, and the respective moral views they hold.
Inorganic, or Chemical fertiliser, are usually comprised of highly refined elements that are not always natural. Whilst inorganic fertilisers still contain many of the elements needed in plant food, they also take a lot of energy to refine and produce. This can have a harmful effect on the environment.
As such, this raises an important question: if you own plants because you care for the environment, why would you purchase chemical fertilisers that are damaging our natural envirnoment?
This very question has led to new growth in the popularity of organic fertilisers, like: bone meal, liquid seaweed, and manure. Provided you’re savvy on your knowledge of natural compounds, organic fertilizers strile a perfect balance between plant growth and being enviornmentally friendly!
How To Fertilise Your Houseplant
So, the all important question… How do I fertilise my houseplant?! Fertilising houseplants is actually a very simple process. You want to strike a fine balance between offering your houseplants the primary macronutrients whilst also minimising the chances of damaging roots.
If you add too much fertiliser to your plant’s soil substrate, this may scorch its roots. As a general rule of thumb, you will always want to make your liquid fertiliser solution slightly more watery than what the label instructions state.
How Do I Minimise Scorched Roots?
When it comes to fertilising houseplants and garden plants, the one major point of concern is always going to be plant roots. It is essential that you don’t use too much fertiliser as this will burn the roots of your plant.
One way minimise this is to use slow-release fertilisers or granular fertilisers. Slow-release fertilisers will provide nutrients to your plants over a longer period of time than a typical fertiliser.
With low doses of fertiliser being absorbed over a long period of time, you’re lowering the likelihood of root scorching.
Another way to minimise the chance of scorched roots is to use organic fertilisers. Like slow release fertilisers, organic plant food will offer a lower concentration of plant food, making you less likely to burn roots.
How Often Should I Use Fertiliser?
There is no overarching rule as to when you should be Fertilising houseplants. Indoor plants have many different needs and requirements.
Whilst some house plants want fertiliser fortnightly over the growing season, some may only require it every six weeks or monthly. It’s always best to check your houseplant care guides to get fertiliser advice that is tailored to each plant you own.
What are the Best Houseplant Fertilizers For My Houseplants?
At Oxy-Plants, we have a range of fertilisers to help you with supplemental feeding. From bonsai food to all-purpose fertiliser, there’s no reason for your plants to have a nutrient deficiency!
If you’re looking for the swiss army knife of fertilisers, Miracle Gro Pour & Feed Plant Food is perfect! This liquid fertiliser is great for feeding plants of all descriptions. It is a well-balanced fertiliser that most indoor plants will benefit from. Just be sure to dilute this product with water before adding it to potting soil.
If you own a bonsai tree, then we recommend using Vitax Bonsai Soluble Feed. Bonsai fertiliser is specially developed with relatively high phosphorus and potash levels. This helps to strengthen stems and root systems without causing excessive lush top growth. This soluble bonsai feed is suitable for most bonsai species and will certainly offer the nutrients needed for new growth.
If you happen to be not so green-fingered, then why not try one of our slow-release fertilisers for your house plant? Miracle Gro Drip & Feed All Purpose or Miracle Gro Push & Feed take all of the hassles out of houseplant fertiliser. Simply place them in your soil and let them do the rest!
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