How To Fertilise Your Houseplants

When it comes to fertilising your houseplants, less is always more. It can be confusing and slightly overwhelming to know exactly what your plants need to thrive. We want everyone to feel confident that they’re being the best plant parents they can be. Below we’ve outlined how often your plants should be fertilised, why fertiliser is important and what kinds of organic fertiliser can be used all year round.

Why should I be fertilising?

In the wild, our houseplants get exactly the right nutrients from the water and soil around them. When we bring these plants into our homes, we need to make sure that their soil is full of the right nutrients to keep our plants healthy and thriving. Healthy soil makes for a healthy plant. At first your houseplant may arrive already having been recently fertilised. Most plants come from greenhouses in Amsterdam and the growers will often fertilise the plants one last time before they are shipped off to the UK.

With that in mind, your houseplants should arrive very healthy. Over the next 4-6 months your new green friends will absorb all the soil’s nutrients through their root system which is keeping the foliage looking so fresh and vibrant. Once the roots have absorbed all they can, it’s time to replenish the soil with fresh potting mix. The potting mix you use will very much depend on how much fertiliser your plant will need.

Potting mixes can be specifically formulated to make sure your plant is getting the right ingredients. Each plant thrives on different types of soil. The types of materials used in your plants’ soils can certainly boost and help them thrive but it can’t replace fertilising completely.

Here at Quirky Plants we are extremely environmentally conscious and we highly recommend a mixture of peat free soil, orchid bark, perlite/pumice and then adding in our vegan fertiliser or fortifying fertiliser once a month in the growing season. Our fertiliser contains 13 key nutrients and minerals including Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium which are essential in keeping your houseplants healthy. 

When and how should I be fertilising?

At Quirky Plants we often get questions like ‘when should I be fertilising?’ and ‘how often should I be fertilising? Both are very common questions that you might be asking yourself. In most cases houseplants arrive with slow release fertiliser in the soil already so we would only suggest fertilising around 2-3 months after you first receive your houseplants to avoid over-fertilising. 

Typically in the UK we tend to fertilise between the months of March-September. This is because during the spring and summer we often see the most growth. Fertilising in the winter could cause harm and shock to a houseplant that is in dormancy. Having said this, it's not uncommon to come across houseplant enthusiasts who fertilise all through Winter because their plants are still actively growing. Some people keep their homes between 24ºC-26ºC during the winter and have grow lights to help encourage a warmer, sunnier climate. In these conditions fertilising in the winter shouldn’t be a problem. 

Most indoor plants should be fertilised once a month with the exception of a few houseplants needing more or less. It’s also good to research each plant's individual needs with our care documents but as a rule, once a month is fairly common. 

Our fortifying fertiliser and vegan fertiliser come with instructions on how many caps per litre of water you’ll need. We suggest starting off with half the recommended strength to avoid shocking your houseplant. You can slowly build up to the recommended strength over 3-6 months. 

Natural fertiliser

Natural fertiliser is a winner all around. It will help you to reduce kitchen waste and give your houseplants a much welcome nutrients boost. 
Egg shells, banana peels and coffee grounds can be used all year ‘round without fear of giving your houseplants fertiliser burn. We encourage anyone who is new to fertilisers to start with natural fertilisers for a few months and then slowly build to chemical fertilisers once your confidence grows. 

Another widely loved natural fertiliser is broccoli water (or any cooled down water that’s been used to cook your veggies.) Yes that’s right, don’t chuck that green water into the sink. Save it for the houseplants. Vegetable water and banana peels are both bursting with potassium which is a nutrient that houseplants love. 

We hope our fertilising tips help your plants stay full and healthy for many years to come.

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