Some people equate fertilizing to feeding. They therefore mistakenly give their plants plenty of fertilizers as opposed to natural food. Plants get their share of food and energy from sunlight and water. If your plant is not getting substantial levels of light and water, then no amount of fertilizers will help it grow well. On the contrary, adding fertilizers to plants that aren’t getting enough sunlight in the first place might do it more harm.
Your best bet is to therefore give your plant the breathing space it needs to grow under naturally thriving conditions. Give it adequate sunlight and water while allowing it to soak up minerals from a nutrient-rich soil. However, if your plant is dropping its leaves or is showing signs of weakness and undergrowth despite being fed well, then there’s a good chance it might need any one or a combination of three things- less water, more light, and/or a little fertilizer. Simply observing your plant’s ambient conditions will help you understand it’s most absolute need.
Once you’ve done your basics right and know you aren’t depriving your plant of its most natural food supplies, then you can use fertilizers to help replenish some of the nutrition your plant ( especially indoors plants as they might not have a regular source of natural sunlight) is likely to lose along the way.
In addition to adequate sunlight and water, the three most crucial elements all plants need are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium- also called N-P-K for short. As each element aids for a specific aspect of plant health, they are generally blended together in varying proportions- each proportion tailored to enhance a specific aspect of plant growth. Fortunately, most fertilizers clearly mention their purpose as well as the ratio of the three elements in the mixture.
In addition to N-P-K, most fertilizers also contain other elements that are vital to healthy plant growth. Some trace elements important to plant health are calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and sulfur to name a few.
As a general rule, it helps to fertilize your plant at least once a month; preferably during the time when they are growing and flowering. Make sure you check the label for the N-P-K ratio and choose a fertilizer that’s specifically designed for your plant’s need.
Since most commercial fertilizers are inorganic and synthetic in nature, choosing an organic fertilizer that is specific to your plant’s needs can minimize the risk of agitating your plants. Here are some natural and organic fertilizer recipes to help you get started.
The Ideal Fertilizer and Compost Content for Your Plant
1. Perishable Food Supplies
Almost anything organic and from the household can be added to your compost heap. For instance, banana peels are a great source of potassium for your plants. Likewise, coffee grounds and tea leaves are great in replenishing any lost nitrogen content in your plant. Other kitchen scraps such as vegetable peels and egg shells work equally well too.
2. Fresh Seaweeds
A walk into the local Asian market will leave you with plenty of fresh seaweeds to feed your plants with. Irrespective of whether you buy them fresh or dried, seaweeds are excellent for soil amendments. Simply chop up a small bunch of seaweeds and add it to 4 gallons of water. Soak the mixture while letting it rest for a couple of weeks. Once set, add a few used tea leaves to the mixture and use it to drench the soil and foliage. Rich in several trace minerals, this mixture can do wonders to a weak and worn-out plant.
Adding molasses in compost tea almost doubles the amount of microbes and beneficial bacteria that microbes feed on. Simply mix 1-4 tablespoons of molasses with a table spoon of used tea leaves and add it to a gallon of water. Water your plants with this mixture and watch them thrive on it.
4. Animal Manure
When it comes to finding the right organic fertilizer for your plant, animal manure is just the thing you need. Composted and aged animal manure work wonders to revive even the most dull and weak plants.
5. Earth Worms
Yes, you heard me right. A can of earthworms can instantly brighten an avid gardener’s eye. Earth worms are by far, one of the most effective fertilizers for your plant. Simply add a can of worms to your soil and watch your plants thrive!