Updated: Mar 5

After their dormancy in winter, your plants are starting to wake up and enter their growth phase again come spring! It's always a good idea to start fertilizing in late April or early May, continuing into September.

There are so many different fertilizers - they have number codes, some are liquid, some are pellets - what do they mean?

man watering fiddle leaf fig houseplant
Spring is the best time to start fertilizing your houseplants.

As an example, our 10-15-10 Houseplant Fertilizer is an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. It contains the basic macronutrients to keep your plants happy and healthy, including Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. As a general rule, all fertilizer labels will be listed in this order for the 3 macronutrients , and they each have a specific function:

  • Nitrogen will help to develop fuller, healthier foliage

  • Phosphorous will encourage bigger, healthier blooms

  • Potassium will help to grow a stronger root system

So back to our example of the 10-15-10.

The numbers refer to the NPK values - 10% Nitrogen, 15% Phosphorous, and 10% Potassium.

This particular fertilizer is pretty even across the board, making it a great general houseplant food! Use it on your Pothos to encourage fuller and healthier foliage, or on your outdoor Daisies to encourage fuller blooms.

You can get into specialty fertilizers for specific plants. For example, if you're looking to fertilize your flowering plants in particular, look for a fertilizer with a significantly higher middle number for a higher percentage of Phosphorous (potash) to promote healthier blooms.

Slower growing plants, like Cactus, require less fertilizer less frequently, and typically their fertilizers will have lower NPK numbers for that reason.

Faster growing plants, like Begonias, can be fertilized more often and can handle a higher NPK value because they're always growing and hungry!

All that said, always be sure to follow the instructions on your fertilizer label. Giving your plants too much fertilizer can easily harm or kill your plant. Leaves can scorch or bleach due to overfeeding, so start slow, less is more, and monitor its use according to the instructions.

Another important thing to note, is that your plant still needs to be in the proper environment to thrive. If you have a Bird of Paradise (thrives in bright light) in a low light space, don't expect fertilizer to magically help it grow. Fertilizers are more like a booster for plants to get the necessary nutrients, but their real 'food' is derived from the sunlight they intake.

So if your plant looks sad, first ask yourself if it's in the right environment before choosing to fertilize. Once it's getting the light and care it needs, a gentle fertilizer is a great way to help it continue to thrive!

Fertilizers we carry:

Schultz 10-15-10 Liquid Plant Food (liquid concentrate)

Schultz 2-7-7 Liquid Cactus Food (liquid concentrate)

Earth Medicine Organic Microbial Fertilizer (pellet)

Indoor plants are the home decor staple that will never go out of style! They are beautiful, vibrant

elements that can make any room spring to life. But for many, the biggest challenge is caring for them properly to make sure that they thrive in your home.

To help out new plant owners as they begin their plant journey, Redfin reached out to

houseplant experts from across North America to share the most common mistakes beginners make when it comes to indoor plant care. 

Check out the full article that we, along with other houseplant experts, were recently featured in here:

Indoor Plant Care: 19 Common Mistakes Beginners Make

This article includes great tips and tricks for all plant parents, new and experienced. To learn more about our selected 'Plant Mistake', check out our previous blog post on 'How to Repot your Plants'!

Repotting your plants is a necessary step to help them grow and thrive, but if it's done improperly or unnecessarily - it can actually harm your plants! Here are some helpful tips and instructions to walk you through the process.

Not sure when it's time to repot? Check for any roots sneaking up along the top of the soil, or if you are seeing any roots growing out the drainage holes at the bottom of your pot.

Also when watering, if you are noticing the water seems to rush right through the pot, these are signs that your plant is becoming root-bound and needs more room to grow!

Are you checking any of those boxes? Then it's time for a repot!

Here are some helpful guidelines.

  1. You should only increase your pot size by approximately 2" in diameter and height. If your current plant is in a 4" diameter pot, you should be repotting into a 6" diameter pot. Moving it to a bigger pot too soon cause be overwhelming for your plant. Too much soil for too little roots can cause it to remain wet for too long and easily lead to root rot. No thanks!

  2. Always (and we mean always) select a pot with drainage holes! No drainage means there is nowhere for your water to go and can lead to root rot in plants. If you would like to put it into a pot without drainage (aka decorative pot), we suggest repotting it into a plastic grower's pot with drainage holes that can then be dropped into the decorative pot.

  3. If your plant is currently in a plastic pot: gently squeeze the sides to loosen the soil. Tilt it slightly and slide it out of its old pot. If your plant is in a ceramic/'non-squeezable' pot: use a trowel or dull soil knife and, much like a cake out of the oven, run the tool along the sides of the pot to loosen it. This may take a couple goes depending on the size. Be gentle and take your time! Once loosened, tilt the pot and carefully lift your plant out.

  4. Add a couple inches of fresh, well-draining soil to the bottom of your new pot.

  5. Place the plant in the center of your new pot, ensuring the root ball is 2" below the top of the pot's rim. If it's too low or high, add or remove a bit of soil to the bottom of the pot.

  6. Using your fresh soil, fill the sides and top of pot, only packing lightly so your plant is sturdy enough in place. The soil should be filled to about 1" from the top the pot.

  7. We suggest allowing your plant to settle into it's new home before watering. Allow atleast 48hrs before you water it.

And that's it!

Now your plant has room to grow.

General rule of thumb for larger plants is to repot every 2 - 3 years. Again, it's a general rule, and it's always best to monitor your plant for any signs that it's ready for a repot.

Happy planting!

-Plant Therapy