All plants, like all humans, need vitamins and minerals to grow big and strong! When plants are in the wild, they have plenty of access to the world, and a theoretically infinite supply of nutrients (the Earth is an isolated system, so not actually infinite). However, when growing plants in a container, they are essentially stranded on a desert isle with no real means of going beyond the pot. And that’s where you come in (hello plant parents)!
Plants that you just purchase on a whim are usually heavily fertilized by the growers. They are good to stay in the same pot and soil for up to a year. Yet, as the plant exhausts its supply of nutrients in the soil over time, you must replenish them for the continued health of the plant (you probably are not aware of this, but every time you water your plant, nutrients unavoidably leach out of the soil). This can be done by either using a fertilizer of your choice, or by changing the soil with fresh soil, which comes with a baseline of nutrients.
How to Fertilize your plant
Fertilize your plants only once a month when plants are flowering or actively growing. What that mean is, you only give plant food from the spring time to end of summer time. During the winter, plants are generally not growing much, so giving your plants fertilizer can only do more harm then good. Also, be careful not to add too much fertilizer at once—too much can burn your plant’s roots! Finally, read the instructions carefully before you apply any fertilizer. We usually recommend applying half the strength that the label suggests. Also keep in mind that faster growing plants, like a pothos, will want more frequent applications than slow growers, like a snake plant.
Things to keep in mind
Fertilizers are not your cure-all! If you see a plant is wilting, yellowing, or browning, it may be a telltale sign of a problem. Take the time to analyze the symptoms before you feed the plant food. Think of your vitamins, you wouldn’t take extra so that you can cure your toothache, right? Adding fertilizer when a plant does not need it, or when a plant is actually sick, can be worse than doing nothing at all.
Fertilizer will only work on healthy plants, or plants that need the extra oomph 😉 Do you have any tips when it comes to fertilizer? Please share it with us in the comment below.
P.S Read more debunked Plant Myth Monday HERE.