How to use fish emulsion on plants

Is fish emulsion good for houseplants


Not only is fish fertilizer an organic option, it is made from fish parts that would otherwise be wasted. It contains plenty of nutrients for quick absorption by plants. Fish fertilizer for plants is a mild, all-purpose feeding option that can be used at any time. It may be used as a soil drench, foliar spray, in the form of fish meal, or added to the compost pile.

Selecting fish fertilizer is a terrific option for leafy green veggies due to its high nitrogen content. Fish emulsion use is especially beneficial as a lawn fertilizer in the early spring.

How to use fish emulsion on plants

How to use fish emulsion on plants

Tip: best fertilizer for indoor plants

What is fish emulsion?

Using fish for fertilizer isn’t a new concept. Native Americans taught the settlers at Jamestown how to catch and bury fish to use as fertilizer. Organic farmers across the globe use fish emulsion in place of toxic chemical fertilizers.

Fish emulsion is an organic garden fertilizer that is made from whole fish or parts of fish. It is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, plus trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine, and sodium.

How to use fish emulsion on plants

How to use fish emulsion on plants

How often can you use fish emulsion fertilizers?

Since the fish emulsion acts fast on providing nutrients, more frequent applications are required.

Many plants grown outdoors are watered twice per week. Research has shown, that the application of half ounce of fish emulsion mixed with 1 gallon of water applied twice weekly helped plants grow vigorously.

Try using fish emulsion on flowering plants or as a drench to encourage healthy plant roots.

Check The Percentages

Before feeding plants using fish emulsion, always check the nutrient levels currently present in the soil to avoid overfeeding. Follow the instructions on the packet, if using store brought emulsions.

How to use fish emulsion on plants

How to use fish emulsion on plants

How to use fish emulsion fertilizer on plants

Fish emulsion fertilizer can be used as both a foliar spray or a soil drench. To prepare your fertilizer, you will need a large container in which you can dilute the fertilizer with water. For both homemade and commercially bought fish emulsion fertilizer, the ratio is between one and three tablespoons of fish emulsion fertilizer to every gallon of water. Mix the solution together, and that’s it, you are ready to feed your plants. You can fill your watering can with your mixed fertilizer, and water the plants overhead, thereby ensuring both the foliage and the soil benefits from the fertilizer. You could also fill a sprayer with the mixture and feed your plants this way.

Alternatively, water the plants at the soil level, drenching the soil to feed the roots of the plant with your fish emulsion fertilizer. As this is a fast-acting fertilizer, the plants will absorb the nutrients very quickly. This means you will need to repeat the feeding process with your plants for optimum growth. It is recommended when using fish emulsion fertilizer that you feed your plants twice a week for the best results.

Fortunately, the nutrient ratios in fish emulsion fertilizer are mild, so while this means that you do need to repeatedly feed the plants, it also means that chances of causing damage or burning the plants are very low. If you are cautious or inexperienced in using fertilizer, then fish emulsion fertilizer would be a good option, as it is pretty much foolproof. More potent fertilizers will need to be used less often, but they do carry the risk of causing fertilizer burn.

Fish emulsion fertilizer, as you may expect, does have a foul smell. You can disguise the smell by adding essential oils, but take precautions by not fertilizing plants close to open windows of your house, or near patio areas where you might be relaxing or dining. For the same reason, never use this fertilizer on houseplants, unless you want your home to smell like a fish market!

How to use fish emulsion on plants

How to use fish emulsion on plants

How to make fish emulsion for plants

Commercial fish emulsion can be pricey, plus it lacks bacterial microorganisms important for soil and plant health. You don’t have to buy fish emulsion as you can make your own fish emulsion if you have fish scraps available. All you need is a bucket with a lid, mesh screen, sealable bottle, dried leaves, sawdust, or other brown material, fish scraps, and water. (An optional addition of molasses can help build up microbes that speed decomposition.) It is important to note that with any homemade fertilizer the ratio of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus will be unknown. Here is how to make it:

  1. Designate a five-quart bucket for the emulsion. It will always smell like fish after this, so you likely won’t want to reuse it for something else.
  2. Get fish scraps from a store, or put your own in.
  3. Layer them in with leaves until the bucket is two-thirds full. The “browns” help control odor.
  4. Top the layers with a fish layer.
  5. Cover the mixture with water, leaving a few inches of space on top of the bucket.
  6. Seal the bucket and tuck it away. Check it each day for a week, and then every few days, to see if the gas is building up. When you notice gasses begin to form, you should stir the mixture once a week.
  7. It should sit for about a month. If you live in a warmer climate, it may tend to break down faster.
  8. To use the homemade fish emulsion, strain out leaves and fish bits by using a fine metal screen (an old window screen works well). Avoid smelling like a fish by being careful not to allow it on your skin or clothing. Place the strained emulsion into a sealable bottle. Dilute about 5 ounces of the emulsion into 1 gallon of water, or dilute 30 ounces of it into a 5-gallon bucket. Apply to the garden.
  9. Don’t get rid of the leftover scraps. Add more water to the bucket and start the process again. You can typically use used material about three times.

Tip: how to make fertilizer for indoor plants

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