How often to feed indoor plants

House plants grow throughout spring, summer and autumn. During this time, a regular feed will help to keep them healthy.

The roots of garden plants can spread through the soil to find nutrients, but pot-grown houseplants are completely reliant upon you for the minerals they need.

Use our guide, below, to choose the fertiliser with the right nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) content for your houseplants, and discover when and how to feed them.

how often to feed indoor plants

how often to feed indoor plants

Why do plants need feeding?

Like any living thing, plants need water and food to survive. They make a lot of their food themselves, converting sunlight into energy, but that doesn’t give them all the nutrients they need to grow healthily. In the wild, plants would suck up nutrients from the soil.

Those nutrients get constantly refreshed with rotting plant matter, animal/insect droppings and other delightful things. Obviously they don’t have access to those sorts of nutrients indoors. They only have what is in their potting soil. So we have to top that up with nutrients.

Regularly feeding your plants is equivalent to someone making sure you eat your five portions of fruit and vegetables. You’d survive without them, but you wouldn’t be very healthy.

How often to feed indoor plants

Feeding houseplants during their growing period is vital to encourage lush and healthy growth. Houseplants should only be fed when they are actively growing and not when they are resting.

In general, the majority of houseplants should be fed every second watering during the growing season (spring and summer), which is probably every 10 to 14 days. In autumn and winter feed every fourth watering as houseplants will require fewer nutrients.

how often to feed indoor plants

how often to feed indoor plants

How to feed

There are two easy ways to fertilize houseplants. You can use a granular, slow-release fertilizer scratched into the top of the soil. Or you can apply liquid houseplant fertilizer when you water.

Liquid Fertilizer for Feeding Houseplants

Most people feed their houseplants by mixing concentrated liquid fertilizer in clean room temperature water and watering the plants with the solution. Make sure you don’t make the mixture too strong and mix the solution according to manufacturer recommendations.

Be sure the compost is already moist, which will help the fertilizer absorb easier and quicker. Mix only enough fertilizer to feed your plants. Don’t make up large quantities and store the mixture because it can get stronger while it sits.

Tip best liquid fertilizer for indoor plants

Feeding Sticks and Pills for Feeding Houseplants

Feeding sticks are another quick and easy way people fertilize their indoor plants. All you do is push the fertilizer pegs into the compost about 1 cm from the pot’s side. There are fertilizer pills as well. Both the sticks and the pills give the plants food over a longer period of time, but they sometimes encourage the roots to become congested around them.

how often to feed indoor plants

how often to feed indoor plants

Tips for fertilizing indoor plants

Don’t overdo it

Fertilizers can burn the roots of plants if the concentration is too strong or you apply it too often. In the garden, salts leach out of the soil easier than in a small grow pot.

For example; if your houseplant is looking sad, and the fertilizer calls for a ratio of 1 oz per gallon, don’t up to 4 oz per gallon thinking you’ll help the plant.

I routinely use fertilizers (except Eleanor’s) for indoor plants at 1/2 strength to avoid burn.

Don’t fertilize a plant that is bone dry and stressed (wilting or drooping)
Water it as you normally would and let it recover before fertilizing.

Pay attention to lighting

If your plants are in low light, fertilize them less often. The growth is slower and so is the rate at which the soil dries out.

Tip: how to use fish emulsion on plants

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