When and How to Fertilize Houseplants-A Few Simple Rules

African Violet blossom
When and how should I fertilize my house plants were serious questions for me. I usually fertilized my plants when I thought about it, which was not very often. I’m very good about proper watering, but not so much with feeding.  A few days ago I decided it was time to be more consistent, so I did some research, and this is what I learned

  • Fertilize your plants when they are actively growing which is usually spring and summer for most plants.
  • Most plants do not need fertilizing in the winter. Feeding while a plant is dormant can burn foliage. Don’t overdo and be sure to follow product instructions.  Make sure the soil is moist, before feeding, so the plant doesn’t take up the fertilizer too quickly which can also be harmful.
  •   The frequency of application depends upon the product and varies from every 2 weeks to once every 3 to 4 months. Every product gives a recommendation in their directions.

The more I read and learned about when and how to fertilize my house plants, the more I realized what a neglectful plant parent I’d been. I actually woke up very early the next morning thinking about my poor starving plants. I was up at 4:45 a.m. inspecting my little darlings. One of the things I read, was how house plant roots are limited to the nutrients found in there soil, which once used up, must be supplemented with fertilizer.

I’m embarrassed to admit that the photo above shows the many different types of fertilizers I’d bought over the years and rarely used. They were all stored away in our garden storage bin.

There are three types of fertilizer and I own all three. There is liquid, stick or tablet, and slow release. I prefer the liquid variety because I have more control of the amount and time of feeding. I carefully read and wrote down  the instructions for each container of fertilizer.  Every product advised how often to use their product and the correct amount.  My favorite fertilizer is Miracle Gro All Purpose and I learned that for houseplants, I should mix 1/2 tsp. of the powder to one gallon of water. I did exactly that and fertilized every single plant in our house. I could almost hear them thanking me. According to instructions I should repeat this every two weeks during their growing period. I actually marked it on my calendar and I’m quite excited to see what happens when my house plants are kept on a regular feeding schedule. I’ll be sure to let you know and include photos of the results.



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