How to properly fertilize indoor plants?

Houseplants, due to the fact that they grow in the limited framework of a container or pot, need to be fertilized to ensure good growth and development.

In different types of fertilizers, macronutrients are found – the main substances for plant nutrition. These include – phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, iron, nitrogen.

Microelements are also important – selenium, iodine, cobalt, vanadium, zinc, copper, boron and some others. An insufficient amount of macro- and microelements leads to a slowdown in plant growth, weak flowering, and wilting of stems.

Periodic replenishment of the substrate with organic and mineral fertilizers fills the plant’s nutrient needs.

From spring to autumn, this is the time of the most intensive growth and development in most plant species.

Therefore, the need for various fertilizers during this period increases. However, high-quality fertilizer will not eliminate the needs of plants for transplanting.

Organic fertilizers for indoor plants

Fertilizers of organic origin include some plant nutrients.

As well as contribute to the activation of soil microflora and improve its structure.

These include humus, manure, dry chicken and quail droppings.

Cow dung that has already been rotted and bird droppings is used for irrigation.

They are used in the following proportions:

  • one part manure to ten parts water;
  • one part bird droppings to twenty parts water.

If fresh cow dung is used, it must first go through a fermentation process. To do this, 1 part of manure is diluted with 15 parts of water. Further, ten parts of water are added to one part of the resulting mixture and used in top dressing.

Just like organic fertilizers for plants, they use water after washing the meat (which was passed through a paper filter) and crushed eggshells infused with water (up to a month).

In addition, biohumus, which is now presented in a wide range, is very effective.

Mineral fertilizers

Mineral fertilizers are used in liquid form by adding their concentrate to water for irrigation or in dry form (powder or capsules are dissolved in water).

There are also fertilizers in the form of sticks.

They are placed in the soil and plant nutrients are gradually released from them.

One of the most effective are complex mineral fertilizers. They contain several nutrients at once. These are water-soluble forms of macro- and microelements, at an approximate concentration of 2 g per liter of water.

As well as a very cheap and common complex fertilizer is wood ash. It contains such important elements as phosphorus, calcium, potassium.

It is used for planting substrate – it is mixed with soddy soil in a ratio of one to fifty. For top dressing, a solution of ash settled for a week is used. To prepare 25 g of ash, dissolve in a liter of boiled filtered water.

With a frequency of twice a year, indoor plants are watered with a weak solution of potassium permanganate.

Signs of missing elements

The deterioration of the appearance of a houseplant with adequate care and normal growing conditions indicates a lack of certain nutrients.

If there is not enough nitrogen, then the growth rate of the plant slows down sharply, the leaf blade decreases in size and turns pale.

With a lack of phosphorus, growth is disturbed, the formation of buds and the duration of flowering is reduced.

In addition, fruits and seeds do not ripen, the edges turn yellow and the leaves fall off.

A lack of potassium slows down the development of the supporting and conductive tissues of the plant, and resistance to fungal and bacterial diseases deteriorates sharply.

A decrease in the level of calcium in the substrate provokes a deterioration in the growth of the main and additional roots, withering of the stems, and death of young leaves.

Magnesium deficiency contributes to the lightening of the leaves, delaying the onset of flowering.

Iron deficiency causes leaf chlorosis, that is, discoloration.

The lack of boron in the substrate manifests itself in poor growth of stems, roots, irregular shape of leaves, incompletely developed flowers and lack of fruits, drying of growth points.

How to fill the plant’s need for certain elements?

In order to raise the level of boron, use boron superphosphate or a weak solution of boric acid. To prepare a solution for 0.1-0.2 g of boric acid, a liter of water is added.

If you need to replenish potassium reserves, then add potassium sulfate, or potassium chloride. To prepare a solution, use a concentration of 1.5 g of potassium salt per liter of water.

To add nitrogen, use ammonium sulfate, urea, or ammonium nitrate.

The concentration of the solution is 1 g per liter of water.

For top dressing with phosphorus, take superphosphate.

When applied to a dry substrate, one part of superphosphate is used per thirty parts of soil.

Or one part double superphosphate to sixty parts of soil.

To create a solution per liter of water, add 3 g of double superphosphate or 6 g of simple superphosphate.

Basic rules for fertilizing plants:

  • You can not fertilize the plant with an excess, from this its condition will worsen;
  • In no case should fertilizers be applied to the substrate for diseased, non-rooted plants; only healthy plants in the active phase of development can be fertilized;
  • Plants that receive less light need to be fertilized less often, as the nutrients in this case are not fully used and the substrate will be saline .;
  • It is impossible to fertilize plants in hot weather, it is necessary to avoid getting fertilizers on leaves and stems (except when foliar feeding is used);
  • If the plant is young, or very sensitive to salts (such as ferns or orchids), then top dressing should be done with a weak solution;
  • As different phases in the development of plants begin, different fertilizers are needed, during the growth of stems and leaves – nitrogen, during the formation of buds – phosphorus and potassium;
  • Two hours before fertilizing, moisten the substrate of the houseplant well;
  • Depending on the time of year, the frequency of fertilization varies, in spring and summer fertilize more often, in winter and autumn less often;
  • When the plant is actively growing, then slow-growing species fertilize once a month, fast-growing species – once a week.

Also read 10 tips for growing seeds!

Published: 10.12.2019

How to properly fertilize indoor plants?

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