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Spring is on the way! What to look for in a plant fertilizer.

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

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:



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