Fertilising your plant babies

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Being a houseplant parent can be confusing at times! Unlike human babies, houseplants don’t cry when they’re hungry. Instead, they respond to their environment in different, far more subtle, ways. Knowing when it’s time to feed houseplants is challenging stuff, even for long-time houseplant growers. Today, we’d like to review the basic ins and outs of houseplant fertiliser and cue you in on how and when to feed your houseplants.

What kind of fertiliser?

Many houseplants are prized for their lush green foliage and will benefit from a fertiliser that is high in Nitrogen. Or a well-rounded, balanced fertiliser with an equal amount of each nutrient (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium – NPK), e.g.: 12-6-6 or 10-10-10 respectively. Nitrogen encourages healthy foliage growth, Phosphorous encourages root growth and Potassium encourages bigger healthier blooms. If you are not sure where to find the ratio on the product, or if the ratio isn’t displayed for some reason, then consider using a reputable organic fertiliser brand to be sure you are meeting the various needs of your plant.

Types of fertilisers and how to apply them

It’s easier than you think, but whatever you do, don’t just tip fertiliser into your potted plants. We recommend the following:

Liquid fertilisers:

Liquid fertilisers, for example, Nitrosol provide a steady supply of nutrients that can precisely be controlled. It’s also easy to suspend feeding when the plant is dormant during the winter months

Dilute the fertiliser in a ratio of ¼ to ½ teaspoon fertiliser per gallon of water and apply with a watering can. Water your plant before you fertilise it. It keeps the fertiliser from burning the roots, and the moist soil helps the fertiliser absorb better. The type of plant will impact the frequency of fertilising. Always research plant requirements to learn about their specific nutritional needs.

Slow release fertilsers:

By applying a slow-release fertiliser or also known as granule fertilizer, that is coated in time-release shells, will slowly leach nutrients into the soil. The individual pellets have coatings of different thicknesses that dissolve at different rates, so the actual release of the fertiliser is staggered over time. Imbali has its own Slow release fertilizer, that lasts up to 6 months.

When to apply fertiliser

A rule of thumb is to fertilise only when your houseplants are actively growing. Feeding them while they’re dormant can burn their foliage or even kill them. That’s why Spring and summer are the best times to apply fertilisers.

Start fertilising houseplants about 8 weeks before the last expected spring frost. The danger of spring frost typically passes around September 15th. This means that you should begin to fertilise your houseplants in mid-September. This is when the days begin to lengthen noticeably, and houseplants shift from a semi-dormant state into a period of active growth.

How often to apply fertiliser

During this growing season, we suggest using a liquid fertiliser every second time you water, following the application instructions carefully, e.g., how much to dilute. If using a slow-release fertiliser, apply every 4 to 9 months.

Whilst the time of day is not super important, we suggest feeding your plants in the morning, as this gives it more time to absorb nutrients during the active part of the day.

Becoming the fertilizer wizard

As you can see, fertilising houseplants doesn’t have to be an overly complex practice. Use the right products and apply them according to a schedule, and your houseplant family will be as happy and healthy as can be. Always remember to follow the instruction provided, and soon you will have healthy, happy plants.