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Houseplant fertilizer

A beginner's guide to fertilizing your houseplants

If you are new to the world of houseplants, you may not know that fertilizer is an important part of keeping your plants healthy. Many plant owners think that as long as they water their plants regularly and give them plenty of sunlight, they don't need to worry about fertilizing their houseplants.

However, this couldn't be further from the truth! In this plant care guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about fertilizing your houseplants as a beginner gardener. In this plant care guide, we're going to look at these topics:

  1. How do I apply fertilizers to my houseplants?
  2. How often should I fertilize my houseplants?
  3. Can I fertilize my houseplants too much?
  4. What types of fertilizers are best for houseplants?
    1. Can you use fertilizers for specific plants for other plants?
    2. Which type of fertilizer is best for my plant?
  5. Are there any houseplants that don't need fertilization?
  6. Can I use outdoor fertilizers on indoor plants?
  7. How do I know if my houseplant needs more fertilization?
  8. Can I fertilize my houseplants with kitchen scraps or compost?

So get ready - it's time to unleash your inner green thumb with our beginner's guide to fertilizing your houseplants!

How do I apply fertilizers to my houseplants?

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In the beginning, when you're first getting fertilizer to feed your plant, it might be a little confusing how you should apply the fertilizer. How you apply the fertilizer depends on the type of fertilizer, so let's look at the differences.

Most houseplant fertilizers come in either water-soluble or granular form. If you're using a water-soluble fertilizer, you can mix it with water and pour it over the soil around your plants, or dissolve it in a watering can before watering your plants. Granular fertilizers can be mixed in with the soil around your plants, but take care not to get any on the leaves as this could burn them.

In general, it's important to not get any fertilizer on your plant's leaves, as this could burn them. Apply the fertilizer directly to the soil for an optimal result. When you're fertilizing your plant regularly, it's important to follow the directions that come with your fertilizer, as the dosage could be stronger or weaker. Let's see why that dosage is important!

How often should I fertilize my houseplants?

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Adding fertilizer to water

The amount of times you fertilize your houseplants is important for the plant's health. If you don't fertilize your plant often enough, it might not grow as big or as fast, and could get sick from bugs. But if you fertilize too much, it can hurt the roots and can even kill the plant.

On average, you should fertilize your houseplants once every 2 to 4 weeks during spring and summer, and not at all during the fall and winter. Of course, how often you fertilize your plant depends on the type of plant you're taking care of and the type of fertilizer you're using.

If you're using chemical fertilizers, you should follow the instructions on the label about how often to apply them, because these types of fertilizers could burn your plant's roots if you apply them too much or too often. If you're using natural or organic fertilizers, you might need to fertilize your plants more often, because they have lower nutrient levels.

Finally, it's important to pay attention to your houseplants and how they are doing. Check them occasionally to see if you need to change your fertilizing routine. If the plant looks healthy, don't change a thing, you're doing a fantastic job!

If the plant does not look healthy, it might need more fertilizer. Signs that the plant is not healthy are yellow leaves or slow growth. Before you fertilize again, try to think back about the last time you fertilized your plant, because you shouldn't fertilize your plant more than once per month. If you've recently fertilized it, there might be another problem.

Can I fertilize my houseplants too much?

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So you've got your fertilizer and fertilized your plant once or twice. But now you're wondering if you can fertilize your plant too much. Unfortunately, you can fertilize your plant too much and this could kill your plant if you're not careful. But don't be scared: fertilizing your plant too much once or twice is not going to kill your plant!

Like everything in life, the key to fertilizing your houseplant properly is to do so in moderation. Too much of a good thing can actually be bad. The same holds for fertilizing your plants. If you've consistently overfertilized your plant, meaning you've fertilized it too much for several months in a row, you might start to see symptoms of over-fertilization on your plant. If you see the leaves on your plants turning brown or yellow, it's an indication that you've given them too much fertilizer and need to stop immediately.

When you overfertilize your plants for months, your plant will deal with several other problems, including weakened stems. If you give your plants too much fertilizer, it can block them from getting the nutrients they need. Without the right nutrients, your plant won't be able to survive and will eventually die. So it's very important to monitor how much fertilizer you use and make sure not to overdo it!

What types of fertilizers are best for houseplants?

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Fertilizer sticks

If you've ever seen the different fertilizers at a plant shop before, you might have been a little confused about which one you need and which works best for your plant. There are many different types of fertilizers, some are for flowers, others for succulents or trees. Not only are there fertilizers for different plants, but there are also different types of fertilizers: liquid, solid sticks, and even little balls.

Can you use fertilizers for specific plants for other plants?

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Which one is the right fertilizer for you and your plant? Does it matter if you use a succulent fertilizer for a tree? What is the difference between these fertilizers? Let's explore!

The different fertilizers for different types of plants are fine to use for other plants. These all contain the same 3 ingredients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These ingredients are known as NPK and will be displayed on the fertilizer you've bought. For example, you might see 7-2-7, which is 7% nitrogen, 2% phosphorus, and 7% potassium.

Every plant prefers different NPK ratios, but they all need some of each of these. This is why the specific plant mixes will work best for that specific plant and will still work (but less effectively) for other plants.

Which type of fertilizer is best for my plant?

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Liquid fertilizers are a great option for houseplants because they can be easily absorbed by the soil and quickly provide nutrients. Liquid fertilizers dissolve quickly and can get to the roots of houseplants more quickly, allowing them to absorb the essential nutrients right away.

However, solid fertilizer sticks or spikes are also beneficial to houseplants. These are slow-release fertilizers and so last longer than liquid fertilizers, providing houseplants with a steady supply of nutrients over months.

I, personally, prefer to use liquid fertilizer, because it's much easier to remember which plant has been fertilized in the last few weeks than keep track of a plant that was fertilized 3 months ago with a slow-release fertilizer.

If you're interested to read more about which fertilizer is best for your houseplants, have a look at "What is the best type of fertilizer for houseplants?".

Are there any houseplants that don't need fertilization?

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Cactus in a terra cotta pot

So you know you should give your plants food, but perhaps you'd prefer not to fertilize your plants. Now you might be wondering if any plants won't ever need to be fertilized and still look great! Luckily, even for those that prefer to not fertilize their plants, there are still great plants you can take care of!

Plants like succulents and cacti won't need to be fertilized to stay healthy. These plants grow in soil/sand that's starved of nutrients, so they're used to not getting any nutrients from the soil. Instead, these plants get some nutrients from the rainfall that naturally occurs. These plants will stay great-looking, even if you never fertilize them.

Can I use outdoor fertilizers on indoor plants?

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Are you wondering if you can give outdoor fertilizers to your indoor plants? While it is possible, it is important to be aware of the type of fertilizer and how much to apply. Houseplant fertilizers made specifically for indoor plants may not have as many nutrients as outdoor fertilizers, so you should be very careful which the dosage to prevent overfertilizing your plants.

If you decide to use outdoor fertilizers on houseplants indoors, it's best to carefully experiment with one plant to find the correct dosage. It's best to use the fertilizer according to the instructions on the bottle or box and see how your plant responds to it. If you start to notice any signs that your plant might have been overfertilized, like yellow leaves and burnt leaf tips, you'll need to lower the dosage and try again.

Outdoor fertilizer is often stronger than houseplant fertilizer. But there is a second thing you'll need to keep in mind: houseplants grown indoors will need less fertilizer than plants that grow outdoors, because they receive less light, so grow more slowly.

Some houseplants have very delicate features or sensitive roots that can't handle outdoor fertilizer. To make sure your plant stays healthy, it's better to use a special fertilizer made just for indoor plants, so it won't hurt your plant.

How do I know if my houseplant needs more fertilization?

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Liquid fertilizer

We've talked about how too much fertilizer can be bad for plants, but what if they aren't getting enough of it? Let's look at some signs your plant can give you to tell you it needs more food!

Have you noticed any of your houseplants not looking so great? If their leaves are turning yellow, or the plant isn't growing much, or the stems are weak - it could mean your houseplant needs more fertilizer. Try adding some and see if that helps.

If you want to keep your houseplants looking their best, it's important to check the soil every once in a while. If it looks dry or dusty, your plant might not get all the nutrients it needs. Adding a fertilizer designed for houseplants can provide the nutrients to help keep them healthy and growing!

By checking in on your plant every once in a while and looking out for signs that your plant needs more fertilizer, you can catch any possible problems early on and fertilize your plants before any real harm can be done.

Can I fertilize my houseplants with kitchen scraps or compost?

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Using any of your kitchen scraps or compost is a cheap way to feed your plants, but is this okay to do? Will your houseplants grow well by doing this? Let's find out!

If you're looking to give your houseplants an extra boost, kitchen scraps and compost can be great fertilizer sources. However, you need to take care when using them - mix the compost well, test the soil for the right pH levels, and start by applying it at a lower dose. Keep testing the soil regularly and increase the dosage gradually until you find the perfect amount for your plant! That way, you can avoid any problems with over-fertilizing or nutrient burn.

So technically you can use your kitchen scraps to help feed your plants, but it's much easier and safer to get a fertilizer that's designed to feed your houseplants.


Fertilizing houseplants can be a tricky thing to do, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can make sure your houseplants stay healthy. You should always read the instructions on any fertilizer before applying it so that you don't give too much or too little.

For an easy way of fertilizing houseplants without worrying about overfertilization, use indoor plant-specific fertilizers instead of outdoor ones. Kitchen scraps and compost are also options for feeding plants if used carefully - just remember to check the soil regularly for pH levels! With these tips in mind, you'll be able to keep all your houseplants looking their best!

Be sure to share this plant care guide with your friends and family to help them keep their plants happy and healthy!

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: beginner-friendly

Posted on: Dec 24, 2022

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Frequently asked questions

How do I apply fertilizers to my houseplants?
Applying fertilizer to houseplants is fairly straightforward. Depending on the type of fertilizer you’re using, it can be as simple as mixing a liquid houseplant food with water and applying it directly to houseplant soil or foliage, or sprinkling granular houseplant fertilizer onto the houseplant’s soil and lightly working it in.
How often should I fertilize my houseplants?
The frequency with which houseplants should be fertilized depends on a variety of factors, including the type of houseplant, the environment it is grown in, and the type of fertilizer used. Generally speaking, you should fertilize your houseplant once per month in the spring and summer.
Can I fertilize my houseplants too much?
Yes, you can fertilize houseplants too much. Too much fertilizer can lead to nutrient toxicity, which causes houseplant leaves to turn brown or yellow and may even kill the plant eventually.
What types of fertilizers are best for houseplants?
Both liquid and granular houseplant fertilizers can be effective in providing houseplants with the nutrients they need. The key is finding the right formula for your houseplants and using it as directed.
Are there any houseplants that don't need fertilization?
Yes, some houseplants do not need to be fertilized. These include cacti, succulents, and most houseplant varieties of ferns. These houseplants are adapted to live in nutrient-deficient environments and don't need extra fertilizer for them to survive.
Can I use outdoor fertilizers on indoor plants?
Yes, you can use outdoor fertilizers on indoor houseplants. However, it is important to keep in mind that the types of houseplants you have, the environment they are growing in, and the type of fertilizer used all play a role in determining how often houseplants should be fertilized.
How do I know if my houseplant needs more fertilization?
If your houseplant is not thriving, appears pale or limp, has weak growth and small flowers, or has yellowing leaves with burnt tips, it could be a sign that it needs more fertilization.
Can I fertilize my houseplants with kitchen scraps or compost?
Yes, you can use kitchen scraps or compost to fertilize houseplants. When using kitchen scraps or compost, it is important that the material is broken down before applying it and that it does not contain any harmful pathogens.

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