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  • Writer's pictureRachel Barnack

Green Thumb's Guide: How and When to Fertilize Your Houseplants!

Houseplants bring life and vibrancy to any indoor space, but to keep them thriving, proper care is essential! One crucial aspect of plant care often overlooked by beginners is fertilization. Knowing how and when to fertilize your houseplants can make all the difference in their growth and overall health. In this guide, we'll delve into the why, when, and how of fertilizing indoor plants.

Understanding the Why!

Before we dive into the intricacies of fertilizing, let's understand why it's necessary for houseplants. While potting soil provides some nutrients, over time, these nutrients get depleted as plants grow and absorb them. Fertilizers replenish these essential nutrients, ensuring that your plants have everything they need to thrive.

When to Fertilize!

Timing is crucial when it comes to fertilizing your houseplants. The general rule of thumb is to fertilize during the growing season, typically from early spring to late summer or early fall. This is when plants are actively growing and will benefit the most from the added nutrients.

However, it's essential to pay attention to individual plant needs. Some plants, like succulents and cacti, have a dormant period during the winter months and may not require fertilization during this time. On the other hand, some flowering houseplants may benefit from continued fertilization even during the winter to support blooming.

Signs Your Plant Needs Fertilizing!

Observing your plants is key to understanding their needs. Signs that your plant may need fertilizing include slow or stunted growth, yellowing leaves (especially if it starts from the bottom of the plant), or a general lack of vibrancy in foliage color. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to give your plant a nutrient boost.

How to Fertilize!

Now that we've covered the basics, let's discuss how to do it effectively. Here are some essential tips:

1. Choose the Right Fertilizer: There are various types of fertilizers available, including liquid, granular, and slow-release fertilizers. Choose a fertilizer formulated specifically for indoor plants, and follow the instructions on the packaging. Our favorite is Joyful Dirt Organics! You can use joyful in your daily waterings or sprinkle it onto your plants soil to fertilize.

2. Dilute Liquid Fertilizers: If you're using liquid fertilizer, dilute it to half or a quarter of the recommended strength to avoid over-fertilizing, which can damage your plants' roots.

3. Apply During Watering: The most common method of fertilizing houseplants is by adding fertilizer to the water when watering. This ensures that the nutrients are distributed evenly to the plant's roots.

4. Avoid Fertilizing Dry Soil: Fertilizing dry soil can risk burning the plant's roots. Always water your plant thoroughly before applying fertilizer.

5. Flush Out Excess Salts: Every few months, it's a good idea to flush out excess salts that may accumulate in the soil from fertilizing. To do this, water the plant thoroughly until water runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

6. Adjust According to Plant Needs: Some plants may require more frequent fertilization than others. Pay attention to your plant's growth and adjust your fertilizing schedule accordingly!

Fertilizing your houseplants is a vital aspect of plant care that should not be overlooked. By understanding when and how to fertilize your indoor plants, you can ensure they receive the nutrients they need to thrive. Remember to observe your plants regularly and adjust your fertilizing routine based on their individual needs. With proper care, your indoor jungle will flourish, bringing joy and beauty to your home for years to come.

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