Tips for Feeding Indoor Plants

Houseplants add decoration to a home, as well as adding moisture to the air. They can also help keep the air within a home clean. When choosing plants to bring into the home, be sure that the plant is healthy. According to the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, choose plants that do not have yellowing or browning leaves, and be sure that the plants are insect free.


Proper watering is important for the health of any houseplant. For most plants, watering before the soil dries out is essential. The care tag that came with the plant indicates how often to water a given plant. Generally speaking, water plants when the soil one-half to one inch down into the pot is dry. Test this by poking a finger into the soil. Other liquids can be used in place of water. Compost tea is simply diluted compost. This is made by home gardeners using their own compost and water and can be used every few months or so on household plants. Leftover coffee and tea, cooled, can also be used. These have antioxidants that are beneficial to the soil. Water from cooking pasta, eggs and vegetables can also be used, again adding needed nutrients to the soil. The foods cooked in the liquids contain many nutrients. Be sure the water has cooled before using. When using an organic dish detergent, used dishwasher can also be used to feed houseplants. Again, be sure the water is cooling before adding it to the plant pot.

Feeding the Soil

There are other ways in which the soil of houseplants can be made more nutrient rich for the plants. Once a year, compost can be added to the perimeter of the soil. Try working it in just a little. Crushed eggshells can be sprinkled on top of the soil, as can used coffee or tea grounds. When re-potting or starting a new plant, use fresh potting soil. If a fertilizer is used, be sure that it is organic. Fertilizing generally takes place in the spring.

Tools for Feeding

Self-watering planters allow a plant to be watered only when needed. These work for most houseplants. Simply add water to the planters' reservoir and leave it alone. Every so often, check the reservoir to be sure that there is still water in it. Watering bulbs also make the process of watering plants easier. Fill the bulbs with water and add them to the pot. Refill with more water as needed. Use only water with these types of watering systems, rather than vegetable and other waters. this will prevent any odd odors, which do not occur when the waters are added directly to the soil. Solid nutrients can still be added to the pots when using these systems.

Keywords: feeding plants, indoor plants, water plants

About this Author

Shannon Buck is a freelance writer residing in the small town of Milford, Maine. Her work has appeared on several sites including, where she writes The Green Mom column. She has written on many subjects, including home improvement, gardening, low-income living, writing and homeschooling.