Have you just invested in a houseplant? Is it wilting already? That may be due to the lack of energy it receives from the soil it has been potted within. Fertilizing a plant makes a big difference as it works towards improving plant health.
If you want your plant to grow and look vibrant in the United States, you must invest in good fertilizers that give energy to your houseplant’s soil.
So, if you are going for a fertilizer anyway, why not opt for a natural one? Natural fertilizers are safe and efficient as they provide nutrients to a plant without taking away from it. These fertilizers do not harm the environment; they give back to it and reduce waste.
How to Fertilise Naturally in the USA
Plants are fragile, and natural minerals can be used to make them strong. Some waste products, such as coffee grounds or eggshells, can be used. They can be recycled within our houseplants to rejuvenate their health.
Here are some steps to fertilize houseplants naturally, along with some tips if you want to go for artificial fertilizers.
What are Natural Fertilizers?
When nutrients are processed or artificially added, they lose their inherent form. Natural fertilizers are materials that have nutrients present in a raw form.
The reason most people use chemical fertilizers is that they work fast. It takes natural fertilizers some time to decompose and provide the soil’s energy. Chemical fertilizers work immediately.
However, the slow release of natural fertilizers is much better than the immediate release of harmful ones.
Natural fertilizers are not the same as organic fertilizers. Natural fertilizers can contain organic and mineral components, for example, ones found in cow manure, limestone, and kelp. However, it’s hard to use these anywhere but in commercial farming.
You can make your fertilizers using the waste in your home. Here’s how;
How to Fertilise Houseplants Naturally in the USA?
Chemical fertilizers are costly, require investment such as the time needed to purchase them, and may not always work.
These synthetic fertilizers can be replaced by natural ones, reducing wastage as natural fertilizers are often made of everyday waste items in the household.
Be it Texas or Boston, everyone loves their caffeine. Some people get their morning energy from sipping tea early in the day. Others consume massive amounts of green tea to lose weight, stay healthy, or flush toxins from the body.
Green tea or coffee grounds can be a great option to see some of your flowering houseplants flourish. These plants love the acid that green tea provides. It lowers the pH of the soil and provides essential nutrients the plant needs to grow.
Your plant can do well if its soil is energized by tea bags left to brew for some time. Some grounds that have been left over for a long time can also be added to plants to revitalize them.
Coffee grounds are a great addition to the soil in which a plant rests its roots. This is because they are rich in nitrogen, which is an excellent food for a plant. Try to proceed cautiously when using coffee grounds since they can be toxic if sprinkled directly onto a plant.
Soak grounds in water, similar to the method applied to tea leaves, and use them sparingly. These grounds can be great for flowering plants as they enrich the stem and the flower.
Eggshells contain a large amount of calcium which is helpful when it comes to lowering the acidity within the soil. Instead of investing in large amounts of expensive limestone, choose eggshells and don’t throw them away. Add them to your soils as fertilizers.
Remember not just to throw the eggshells into the soil whole. Try to grind them up and mix them into the soil after leaving them in boiling water for eight to twelve hours.
Rotten Fruit or Peels
Peels, especially banana peels, can provide potassium to the soil. It does not work quite as fast as chemical fertilizer, but it can slowly release the nutrients needed to be absorbed by the soil. These peels can also provide nitrogen and magnesium, which are great for plant life.
The peels can be added to the soil as a whole; however, it is best to blend them with a bit of water and add them to the soil so they can seep into it. This can help them decompose much faster and release your soil’s nutrients.
You know your soil is losing its alkalinity when it isn’t performing how you want it to. Ashes from a burnt piece of wood can reintroduce alkalinity to the soil. It can work to raise its pH and provide the soil with calcium and potassium, which can work on many different kinds of plants.
You need to be careful with the fertilizer you add to your plants. Wood ash does not work with every plant and is a good solution only when the alkalinity of a plant is low. Plants with high alkalinity may find wood ash toxic for their soil.
Try to test the alkalinity of your soil with litmus paper and add wood ash only if the soil shows a pH level below 6.5.
Try to sprinkle ashes over the soil and massage them in gradually. Only use as much as is required and drown the soil with water to prevent it from drying out.
Epsom salts work in a similar way to wood ash. These provide nutrients to plants that have a deficiency of Magnesium and Sulfur. These salts in large quantities can be dangerous for soils and should be used sparingly.
Try to understand what your plant is telling you. If you are working with natural fertilizers already, try to avoid using Epsom salts.
Epsom salts are great for bringing back the color and foliage of a plant. When the leaves fade to a lighter color or dull down to a sad yellow, it’s time to fertilize your soil! Try to check the leaves of your plants regularly to prevent decoloration and wilting in time.
Molasses are great for adding to plants that need homemade fertilizers and cannot bear the extreme chemical fertilizers on the market. It is also affordable, so you do not have to burn a hole in your pocket if you want to fertilize your plants.
You can make molasses at home and add it to your plant to give it its daily dose of carbon, calcium, potassium, and manganese, along with many other minerals that act as its food source and encourage the soil to strengthen the plant.
The sugar in molasses is excellent for the plant’s growth along with the organisms that live in the soil and give the plant life. This molasses can be mixed in with Epsom salt or even wood ash to create a rounded supplement for the soil
Natural Fertilizer That You Can Purchase Commercially
You don’t need to sift through your fridge for rotten food or make your own molasses every time you want to fertilize a houseplant. Some fertilizers can be purchased from the market. You can sprinkle them onto the soil or insert them within the soil layers.
These fertilizers contain different kinds of meal, blood, limestone, insects, and often kelp. Try to look for labels to understand whether the fertilizers contain the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium your plant needs to grow.
If you are looking for nitrogen, it can be found in fish and most kinds of cottonseed or alfalfa meals. Phosphorus exists in rocks and bone meals, and potassium is abundant in kelp and granite.
Why Natural Fertilizer?
There are many benefits of using natural fertilizers and many reasons you should swap them with chemical fertilizers.
They Aren’t Harsh on the Plant
Natural fertilizers take their sweet time to decompose. They do not seep into the plant immediately and give it time to adapt.
Chemical fertilizers can burn the leaves of your plants, leading to that yellow tint that you hate so much. Since natural fertilizers aren’t that toxic, there’s no fear of overexposure to acidity.
They Work on the Soil from the Inside Out
Natural fertilizers do not just improve the appearance of the soil and the plants. They work on the quality of the soil. They are great if you want to give some structure to your soil, allowing it to drain and absorb minerals better, leading to the plant’s long life.
Natural fertilizers make it so that the soil can hold more nutrition for the plant and the organisms in the soil.
Everyone knows how bad chemical fertilizers are for the ecosystem. Some chemical fertilizers aren’t even biodegradable. Moreover, the waste produced in your kitchen can be recycled within your houseplants and not wasted.
Natural fertilizers reduce the damage you cause to your surroundings.
Not everyone can afford chemical fertilizers. You do not have to part with your kidney to fertilize your plants anymore. Better, more affordable solutions can help you get the foliage you want at less cost.
Why Not Chemical Fertilizer?
Chemical fertilizers are great if you want quick results. However, like all things that reap quick results, these fertilizers wreak havoc on the plant and the ecosystem.
Anything that is created in a laboratory immediately raises eyebrows. If you have a green thumb, all you ever think of is ways to provide organic nutrition to your plants. Trading in your plant’s health for N-P-K values may not be that rewarding in the future.
Quite like fast food, chemical fertilizers can be found anywhere and everywhere. However, that doesn’t mean that they should be opted for.
The chemical fertilizers’ nutrients are immediately released into the soil and the plant. This can shock the plant, leading it to over-fertilize itself. You can easily spot this in a plant’s yellowed or burnt leaves.
These fertilizers aren’t really sustainable since a large variety is sourced through non-sustainable resources (fossil fuels) that lead back to the same issue; environmental damage.
These can directly harm the environment, but worse is the effect they have on the people. Since non-renewable resources are scarce, these fertilizers lead to an increase in scarcity and decreased availability.
Unlike natural fertilizers, chemical ones do not add to the soil. In fact, they take away from it. The soil they add to eventually turns barren as the organic compounds die. This weakens the soil and prevents it from absorbing any nutrients in the future.
Here are some ways to prevent issues associated with artificial fertilizers.
Like natural fertilizers, this tip is one you must go by. Understand the level of chemicals present in fertilizers and try to fertilize sparingly. Over-fertilizing can damage your soil and eventually kill your houseplant.
Try to follow the instructions with chemical fertilizers, and only fertilize if and when needed. A good rule of thumb is to watch out for spring (or plants placed in direct sunlight) when flowers bloom. In this season, your plants are growing and need more attention. Try to increase fertilizing in this period.
Speak the Plant’s Language
Understand the kind of houseplant you have invested in and what it needs from you. Not every plant requires the unique type of fertilizer that you own. Adjust fertilization levels accordingly to encourage growth.
Why Fertilize? Why Not!
Your houseplant depends on you for survival. Understanding what it needs can go a long way toward better plant health. Try to understand how much your plant is absorbing and what is affecting it negatively. Use tests, such as litmus or moisture tests, to gauge your plant’s health.
Plants that are brought inside lose touch with the outer environment. They need you to introduce that environment back into their ecosystems. Try to opt for natural fertilizers in the US as they are the closest thing to what they need. Go natural!
You may like the following house plant articles:
- Why is My Potted House Plant Moldy?
- How to Remove Mold from House Plant Soil?
- Types of House Plants with Large Leaves
- Can You Be Allergic to Houseplants?
- How to Kill House Plant Bugs
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.