Plants need to eat, just like you do. But their diet usually includes plenty of sunshine, frequent light rain, and ionic minerals from decaying matter on the forest floor that they suck out of the soil through their roots. While you as a human might not want to keep growing when you eat a lot, plants usually do.
To overcome these problems when you grow plants indoors, here are some easy strategies for how and when to fertilize your plants so that they always have enough to eat.
What Do Plants Eat?
For the most part, plants are pretty simple. They use their entire bodies to eat.
- Light is taken in through photosynthesis in the leaves (and stems).
- Carbon Dioxide is breathed in through tiny mouths (stomata) in the leaves.
- Water is eaten absorbed through the roots.
- Major and Micro Nutrients are also absorbed through the roots.
Plants take that light, Carbon Dioxide and Water, to create glucose, a sugary syrup that powers all their major functions.
When plants need their vitamins grow bigger and stay healthy, they absorb nutrients in the soil around them.
Your Indoor Plants Are Hungry
If you bought your plant from a store, it’s likely that the soil was already fertilized when you got it. This fertilizer usually lasts for about a month or two. But if you calculate how long the plant was at the nursery, then shipped to that store, waiting around for you to notice it and buy it, you can see that by the time the plant reaches your house, the fertilizer may be completely consumed.
Because your indoor plant lives in a tiny universe that’s not connected to the outside, where it would normally have access to soil that includes all of the fertilizer it needs to grow bigger and stay healthy, now it’s your job to provide that fertilizer.
Farmers long ago noticed that if they spread animal poop all over their fields and then grew their crops, the plants grew healthier, stronger and more robust. Fortunately, we have come a long way since then and you don’t need to spread poop on your plants to keep them healthy – actually that could kill them if you don’t know what you’re doing.
As it turns out, the minerals such as iron, nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and calcium from that poop were the key ingredients for plant health. To supplement your plants these days, all you have to do is buy a premade fertilizer and add it to the soil.
How Do I Fertilize My Indoor Plants?
There are plenty of clever options when it comes to fertilizing your plants. Each has its own strengths and drawbacks.
Liquids: are diluted into water and offered up to your plants as needed every time you water them. The benefits are that you can give some plants more food when they need it LIKE THIS. The drawback is that watering your plant becomes a bigger chore, and you have to remember to fertilize.
Slow-Release: is an easier method of fertilizing indoor and outdoor plants. Time-release thick shells around the pellets dissolve at different times, lasting from 4-9 months and slowly adding nutrients into the soil. However, this is the most expensive fertilizer on the market.
Sticks: are spikes placed into the soil around your plant. Unfortunately, they don’t spread well in soil, so the minerals they add are often not absorbed at all by the plants. They end up washing away whenever plants are watered. Sticks often contain specific nutrients, which can be advantageous if you only need a few specific additions to your soil, but that also means going through the hassle of measuring and testing your plants soil and realistically, you know you’re never going to do that.
Tablets: are applied by poking a hole in the soil so you can apply them close to plant roots. They’re supposed to release slowly over time, but temperature variations can either release everything at once, causing root burn, or prohibit any release, causing nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, plants often have differing nutrient requirements as they grow, but tablets simply release nutrients based on the environment and not the plant’s needs.
Granules: are designed for outdoor plants, so don’t bother trying to use these on indoor plants.
Liferocks: our favorite fertilizer is a sustainable source of plant nutrition that lasts for up to 5 years, then leaves the soil in better condition than when it started. Mixing up one cup of these special stones into a gallon of soil is enough to super power any roots nearby and offer an easy ionic exchange so that plants can suck up the nutrients they need, when they need them. It’s a set it and forget it method of fertilizer that’s easier for you and better for your plants. Because this product lasts so long, it’s actually the least expensive fertilizer on the market. Shop now for liferocks smart-release plant food.
Can I Over-Fertilize My Plants?
Yes! You can easily over-fertilize your plants, which will scorch their leaves, or kill it. Plus, there are environmental laws about adding too much fertilizer because the nutrients slip through soil easily and contaminate groundwater. This is true of both indoor and outdoor plants, since eventually you will need to dispose of the soil for your indoor plants and it will still contain excess nutrients.
Too much fertilizer is far worse than too little, yet that’s one of the main ways that well-intentioned plant lovers kill their babies.
If you don’t want to be a plant killer, or be humiliated by your friends and family, we recommend using non-toxic liferocks, which offer nutrition on demand for indoor plants. Plant roots interact directly with the zeolite stones to deliver the exact amount of nutrients needed, when they’re required. The stones hold excess minerals to keep them from leeching through the soil.
Some key takeaways for you to consider when thinking about how and when you should fertilize your indoor plants are:
- Indoor plants need fertilizer to make up for deficiencies in the soil
- There are many choices of fertilizers to use on indoor plants
- Too much fertilizer will damage or kill your plants
- Our favorite fertilizer is liferocks, the easiest, most effective and least expensive fertilizer
Why did we go with liferocks as the top choice for fertilizer? Because you can’t over-fertilize your indoor plants, it offers the exact amount of plant nutrients needed on-demand, you only need to mess with it once every 5 years, and over time it’s actually the least expensive fertilizer because you don’t need to replace it. Plus, it’s better for the environment because it doesn’t leech nutrients from the soil, or allow too many nutrients to pollute the groundwater.