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Liquid fertilizer

What is the best type of fertilizer for houseplants?

Fertilizing your plants is a great way to help your plants grow bigger, strong, and faster. The nutrients it gives your plants are also essential to keep it healthy in the long run and help it recover from damage and pests. Often times, the soil that came with your plant already contains fertilizer, so your plant will grow more quickly in the beginning and then slow down their growth after some months. Your plant will have absorbed all the nutrients the soil came with and it will need more of them to continue growing like it did.

But what is the best way to fertilize your plant and do all plants need the same level of fertilization? These are some great questions we're going to look at in this plant care guide. We'll cover these topics:

  1. Do all plants need fertilizer?
  2. When is the best time to fertilize?
  3. The different types of fertilizer for houseplants
  4. The best fertilizer to use for houseplants

First, we're going to clarify some confusion about fertilizer. It's important to know what it is and what it is not. Then we'll get into the information you came here for.

Do all plants need fertilizer?

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Fertilizing spikes

All plants need nutrients to grow, so all plants will need fertilizer at some point. However, plants don't all need the same amount of fertilizer to grow well. For example, if you have a very slow-growing plant like a succulent, you won't need to fertilize as much as you would for a fast-growing plant like an Alocasia. Alocasias are fast-growing plants, which means they need a lot of nutrients to grow big and strong.

All plants need fertilizer at some point, and forgetting to fertilize means your plant won't grow as quickly or will stop growing altogether. On the flip-side, you can also fertilize plants too much. This could happen when you fertilize your plant before it was able to absorb all the nutrients in the soil from the last time your fertilized. Too much fertilizer turns the soil acidic over time, which makes it a tough place to survive for your houseplant.

In the next section, we'll discover when you should fertilize your houseplants and when it's better not to do it.

When is the best time to fertilize your houseplants?

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We've discovered that some plants need less fertilizer than others, but what does that really mean? Does it mean that you give them less concentrated fertilizer? That could be an option, but that's difficult to keep track of. A better way is to increase the amount of time between fertilizing.

Slow-growing plants

The best time to fertilize plants that don't need a lot of nutrients, like the slow-growing succulents, is once at the beginning of spring and once at the beginning of summer. However, there is one thing to think about when you're considering fertilizing your slow-growing plants.

Since these plants don't use a lot of nutrients throughout the year it's a good idea to wait at least 3 months before fertilizing your plants if you've bought it from the store or if you've changed their soil. Often times, soil contains nutrients for the first 100 days, after which you'll need to add fertilizer yourself. If you add fertilizer before the 100 days are up, you could risk adding too much fertilizer to your soil.

Fast-growing plants

Fast-growing plants like (but not limited to) Monsteras, Alocasias, and Spider plants require a lot more nutrients throughout the year. The ideal time to fertilize these fast-growing plants is once per month in the spring and summer. This is their growing season in which they grow many leaves at the same time.

During the autumn/fall and winter, they go into their dormancy period during which they grow very slowly or not at all. During this time, you should not fertilize your fast-growing plants, as they won't absorb much of the nutrients and this could turn the soil acidic.

The different types of fertilizer for houseplants

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Fertilizer balls

When it comes to the different types of fertilizer for houseplants, there are a few options. You can choose the fertilizer that fits your plant care style best. Among several more advanced ways to fertilize your plants, like adding used ground coffee and eggshells, there are also a few easier ways to fertilize your plants that can fit your plant care style well:

  1. Liquid fertilizer
  2. Fertilizing spikes
  3. Fertilizing balls
  4. Fertilizing tablets

We'll briefly go over each and see if they're a good fit for you or not.

Liquid fertilizer

Liquid fertilizer is a fertilizer that you add to your water. When you water your plants, you also add fertilizer to the soil. This is an easy way to fertilize your plants, as you don't have to do anything extra besides watering your plants. However, there are two downsides: you actively need to remember to add fertilizer to you water and that dosage is everything. It's easy to add too much fertilizer to your water and this could make it difficult for your plant to stay healthy. When in doubt, always read the instructions that came with your fertilizer.

Fertilizing spikes

Fertilizing spikes are small sticks that you stick in the soil. Most of these spikes will fertilize your plant for up to 100 days. They will absorb water when you water your plant and release nutrients into the soil. They, along with the Fertilizing balls, are also called slow-release fertilizers. This way of fertilizing your plants is a do it once and forget about it for about 3 months.

Forgetting about it is also one of it's downsides though. If you forget that you put one of these spikes in your soil a few weeks ago and add another stick, you might give your plant too many nutrients that it won't be able to absorb. If you're using these spikes, it's a good idea to add reminders on your calendar to add spikes to the soil and stick to your schedule. This way you're more likely to give your plant the right amount of nutrients.

Fertilizing balls

Fertilizing balls are much like the fertilizing spikes in the sense that they're a use it once and forget about it for a while. They're also a slow-release fertilizer, which comes with the same benefits and disadvantages as the spikes. However, there is more. These fertilizing balls are very small and are supposed to be mixed in with your soil. This has the benefit that it feeds your plant throughout the whole pot, not just from a single spot. However, this also means it's a little more involved when the nutrients run out. You either have to dig holes in your pot of you have to refresh your soil. So in summary, it feeds your plant more consistently, but it also takes more work.

Fertilizing tablets

Fertilizer tablets from Instant Plant Food

Fertilizer tablets are a great compromise between liquid fertilizer and fertilizer balls/spikes. These tablets are dissolved in water, which makes them very easy to absorb for your plants. However, they also last much longer than most liquid fertilizers, which makes them like the spikes and balls. The tablets are concentrated, which means they pack a punch.

One of my favorite tablets is "instant plant food". They're concentrated tablets, that can feed a big plant or a few smaller plants for several months. Since you dissolve these tablets in water, you plant can absorb the nutrients quickly, so it can help your plants quickly.

If you're interested to try this product out yourself, you're in luck! I've got a 20% discount code: PLANTCARE20. I'm very happy with the results so far, so I think you should try it out with your own plants as well!

The best fertilizer to use for houseplants

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Fertilizing stick in soil

We've seen 4 different beginner-friendly types of fertilizer for houseplants, but which one is the best one of them all? The answer is, they're all great ways of fertilizing your houseplant. The one that's easiest for you to do is the best one to do. So let's describe the type of plant owner you need to be for these three fertilizers to find out which one is perfect for you.

Liquid fertilizer is perfect for you if you always remember to take care of your plants in a timely manner, while being taking great pride into finding the perfect combination of things to help your plant thrive. You love experimenting with different types of plants and if you could you'd want to take care of your plant every day. Your favorite plants are tropical plants.

Fertilizing spikes are perfect for you if you always forget about your plants for at least 2 weeks at a time. You buy low-maintenance plants or have found ways to make higher maintenance plants a little less effort. You pay attention to when your plant starts to grow more slowly during the growing season.

Fertilizing balls are perfect for you if you like to make sure your plant is always comfortable in its pot and you don't mind repotting your plant once per year to make this happen. You don't have time to take care of your plants every day, but you do like to spend a little longer on them once per week or once every two weeks.

Fertilizing tablets are perfect for you if you have many larger plants and you forget to fertilize your plants sometimes. The fertilizing tablets help your plants grow long-term, while also making it very easy for your plants to absorb the nutrients to grow more quickly.


Fertilizing your plants is very important to keep your plants strong and healthy over a longer period of time. Fertilizing your plants is often one of those things you overlook, because watering and sunlight are the most important things to keep in mind when you take care of your plant. However, without nutrients, your plant won't be able to grow bigger or recover from damages or pests as easily. Any living organism, including humans and plants need nutrients to survive and (hopefully) thrive.

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: fertilizer, beginner-friendly, soil

Posted on: Jan 27, 2021 Last updated on: Jul 25, 2021

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Frequently asked questions

Do all houseplants need fertilizer?
All plants need fertilizer in some way at some point. When the soil your plant came in runs out of nutrients (about 100 days), you'll need to add fertilizer to keep your plant growing strong and healthy.
When is the best time to fertilize my houseplant?
The best time to fertilize your houseplants is in the spring and summer. Slow-growing plants should be fertilize once at the beginning of spring and once at the beginning of summer. Fast-growing plants should be fertilized once per month in the spring and summer.
What is the best fertilizer for your houseplants?
All fertilizers are the best fertilizer for your houseplants. The one that works best for your plant care style is the best one to use. If you don't have a lot of time, fertilizing sticks or balls are great for you. You can also use liquid fertilizer for your houseplants and add it to the water you use to water your plants.

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