When to Feed House Plants

I have about 14 houseplants. Could you please tell me when is the right time to feed my house plants and how often I should do it?

Hi Tom,

There are three major nutrients plant food provides: nitrogen for the leaves; phosphorus to stimulate root growth, and potassium to help plants bloom.

Although different plants require different types of plant food in different amounts and in different strengths, there are a few general rules that you should follow for most house plants.

Use liquid and slow release plant food for houseplants.

Never feed a plant when the soil is very dry, it burns the roots.

Feed plants sparingly or not at all during the fall and winter when they are dormant or resting.

Feed plants during the spring and summer when they are actively producing new leaves.

Feed flowering plants after they have finished blooming.

Too much plant food is worse than not enough plant food. Excess food that is not absorbed builds up in the soil and causes brown leaf tips. I usually recommend diluting fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. to 1/2 the recommended strength. With ferns it should be 1/4 the recommended strength.

Certain plants like Gardenias and Prayer plants are acid loving plants and like an acidic plant food. Blooming plants like Orchids and African violets have specific fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.s made for their specific needs. Look up your plants in the Popular Houseplant section of the website. You will find specific instructions on what kind of plant food to use and how often to use it.