Best fertilizers?

tanyaleeApril 13, 2007

I am wondering what is the best way to feed houseplants? Does it differ from one type to another? I have tried a few different things. I have done the stakes, the stuff you sprinkle on it, and the liquid types. I know they would grow better with some. When I do use it I get excited, and tend to over do it. Which is why I have been shying away from feeding them lately. Thanks in advance for all of your help!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

There is no 'best' fertilizer. There are some bad ones, though. The stakes are not a good way to fertilize, and neither are the tablets. I believe the 'most' people find a soluble product (liquid or powder to mix in water) that they can dilute and apply appropriately as part of watering.

Containerized plants DO need to be fertilized, but probably not nearly as much most people think that they do. Too much (either too often or too strong) fertilizer can cause serious problems for plants at the very worst.

As the days become longer, your plants are wanting to come out of their winter 'rest' period, during which they should not have been fertilized. Mine have already had their first dose.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 2:28PM
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Hi Tanylalee,

I also think it depends on the type of plant and what you want from it. For example, if it's a plant that blooms, you might want to use a bloom booster type fertilizer (one with a higher middle number).

As Rhizo said, I'd be careful not to over-fertilize.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 2:40PM
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Hi Tanylalee, there's some good advice above so I'll just share my own method. I usually choose a liquid fertilizer (sometimes powder) and dilute it even more than what the instructions suggest. By diluting it to at least half the strength (usually even more), I can feed my plants more often without worrying about hurting them. Generally speaking though, I fertilize about once a month during the growing season, two times for plants that need to be fed more often. I just started feeding my plants a couple of weeks ago when I noticed they were started to grow more vigorously.

Try not to feed your plants too much, you'll hurt them. If you enjoy walking around with a watering can filled with fertilizer, dilute it to at least 1/2, and even better 1/3 - 1/4, the recommended mix. With a weak solution, you'll feel like you're pampering your plants and they won't be hurt by your TLC. When in doubt, always go for the weaker feeding mix. Even in plants, "less is more"!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 4:19PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

My preferred practice has been diluting solid and using often, rather like naturelover_mtl suggested.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 5:43PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

If you follow the directions on the label you shouldn't overfertilize. To be on the safe side, you can dilute it even more.

I'm really lazy about fertilizing. I hit the plants with some liquid Miracle Gro a few times over the spring and summer. But I don't want them to grow very much because I'm out of room!

I recently discovered the wonders of the timed release pellets like Osmocote. You can dump it on the soil and be done for 4 months. Much easier than mixing up stuff in the watering can every time. Again, no more than the label says.

I stop fertilizing in the fall and don't start again until spring.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 10:41AM
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Can I ask why you can't/don't fertilize in the fall? I am just wondering. Thanks all!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 2:08PM
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I too use a combo of liquid, powder and some pellets. Don't care for stakes or pills. Seems like all the two latter do is fertilize the area the pills/stakes are set.
Why not fertilize in fall and winter? Most plants go dormant (sleep) in fall. So, by feeding a dormant plant will only proceed in spindly growth.
So, it's best to start feeding when you notice new growth as days lengthen and stop when they slow down. Toni

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 2:26PM
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