Caring for indoor plants isn’t the same as caring for your outdoor garden. While there are similarities, you need to take into consideration the uniqueness of your indoor plants and their needs as opposed to the general outdoor planting. Here are some easy tips for you to remember, especially when it comes to fertilizing your indoor plants.
Fertilizer and Sunlight
DON’T mistake fertilizer as a replacement for good, wholesome sunlight. While the nutrients in fertilizer and plant food are essential for good growth, sunlight is the source of food for plants. Sunlight is needed for photosynthesis, or it won’t matter how much fertilizer you use – your plants won’t be able to turn it into food.
DO make sure your plants get the right amount of both sunlight and fertilizer. Sure, your plants will take from basic potting soil, but they’ll flourish with the right fertilizer.
Choosing a Fertilizer
DON’T assume all of your indoor plants are made the same. Fertilizer generally contains a mix of the top three nutrients a plant needs – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, each of these elements serves a purpose, and green, leafy plants need more nitrogen, while flowering plants require a boost of phosphorus.
DO get the right fertilizer for the right type of plant. Potassium is necessary for plants with dormant periods, so if you have a ‘hibernating plant,’ make sure the fertilizer is rich in potassium. Otherwise, divide your efforts between leafy and flowering strains. For green plants, consider a 30-20-20 mix (you can find the proportions on the label), and for flowering plants, try something with 15-30-15.
Chemical vs. Organic
DON’T be concerned with affecting the environment. Since potted plants indoors don’t run the risk of chemicals leaking into other soil and contaminating larger common areas, you can use chemical fertilizers guilt-free. Of course, you may still wish to use organic fertilizers, and the only cautionary warning here is to be aware that many organic materials carry a strange smell.
DO consider cost and effectiveness, as well as personal preference. If you want the convenience of a liquid fertilizer, you’ll have to pay for it. Tablets and granules are less expensive but take a little more effort to use. If you don’t mind paying for it, you can get a spray that is absorbed through the leaves of the plant for a very convenient means of fertilizing.
Be conscious of the choices you make when fertilizing indoor plants. They don’t have access to the natural ingredients that outdoor plants have, and they rely on you to build a solid, healthy basis for growth and productivity. Be sure you have what you need for each type of indoor plant you intend to cultivate.