Houseplants – Fertilizer is an essential element for plant growth. It aids photosynthesis, which is the process of using sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and sugar.
However, too much fertilizer can be detrimental to the overall health of your houseplants, particularly if you use chemical fertilizers. Over fertilization may cause foliage yellowing or browning, stunted growth, leaf drop or even death.
Signs of Over Fertilization in Houseplants
Over fertilization can be indicated by yellowish leaves, a dull appearance to the plant and a loss of overall vigor. To prevent over fertilization, follow a houseplant fertilizer schedule. Over fertilization is not a problem with all plants. In fact, some plants do better when over fertilized from time to time.
In addition, check plant tags for information regarding fertilizer needs. If the tags don’t provide this information, over fertilization will likely occur as too much fertilizer is applied regularly. It is best to find out what works for each individual plant prior to applying fertilizer regularly.
How to Test Over Fertilization Houseplants
There are a couple ways to test for over fertilization. The first is by checking the soil. A healthy plant’s soil should be a rich, dark color and smell earthy. If the soil is lighter in shade and smells overly strong, it is likely that you’ve been over feeding your plant. Another way to test for over fertilization is by checking the leaves. Over fertilization will cause leaves to grow thick and lanky. In addition, leaves can become yellow or translucent and even begin to wilt.
How to Prevent Over Fertilization of Your Houseplants
When attempting to prevent over fertilization of your houseplants, there are a few basic guidelines that can help you determine how often you need to fertilize your plants.
First, if you’re using a water-soluble fertilizer, it’s important not to apply it more than once every two weeks.
Second, never put fertilizer on dry soil; always wait until the soil has had a chance to completely absorb any excess water before applying fertilizer.
Third, don’t fertilize your plants immediately after transplanting them into new pots or containers; wait at least three weeks after repotting before adding fertilizer to new soil.
Finally, always read the instructions on the package of fertilizer very carefully before applying it to your houseplants; different types of plants require different amounts of fertilizer and even different types of fertilizer contain different levels of nitrogen and phosphorous specifically tailored for certain plants and plant needs!
Tips for Fertilization Houseplants
In general, houseplants should be fertilized about once a month from spring through fall. In winter, when plants are dormant but still growing, fertilizer is usually unnecessary. Some plants, such as most tropical plants, can be fertilized throughout the year.
It’s important to know that too much fertilizer can damage plants, especially when plants are potted in clay containers. This usually results in root burn or root rot. Over fertilizing is more common than under fertilizing with houseplants because most people tend to use too much fertilizer rather than too little.
The best way to determine whether you need to fertilize your houseplants is to learn how they respond to fertilizer. If you feed your plants and notice new growth or flowers within a day or two of feeding, they probably aren’t getting enough fertilizer. If there is no response in the form of new leaves or blooms within a week or two after feeding, they probably aren’t getting enough food or it is time to switch to a different kind of fertilizer.
When using commercial organic houseplant fertilizers, follow the instructions on the package carefully and use only what is recommended for the size of your plant; overuse can cause damage. Organic fertilizers are preferred for houseplants because they are less likely than chemical fertilizers to burn roots when used incorrectly..