What Fertilizer Works Best for Houseplants?

What Fertilizer Works Best for Houseplants? image by Keep your houseplants fertilized. sxc.hu


Houseplants are a nice addition to the home. They help purify the air, as well as being aesthetically pleasing if well taken care of. Houseplants do need care, including an occasional fertilizer. With a plethora of fertilizers available, information will help you decide which one is best for house plants.


There are many varieties of houseplants, including spider plants, gardenias and purple passion plants. Many of these plants are kept outdoors during the warm months and then brought in during the colder months. Houseplants are kept in pots and need to be properly cared for in order to thrive.


Fortunately, most houseplants can be cared for in a similar manner. They all need light; however, the amount of light depends on the plant. Baby tears, for example, need maximum light exposure while Boston ferns need a low amount of light. All houseplants also need to be kept moist, as well as be fertilized on occasion.


Houseplants need a fertilizer that contains the three major elements: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Every kind of fertilizer is labeled with the specific amount--in percentage--that is contained of each element, per pound. The best fertilizers for houseplants are the ones labeled as 20-20-20. The first number indicates the amount of N, the second P, and the third K.


Houseplants should be fertilized only during the growing season. Generally, you should fertilize once a month in the spring and summer, and then only two or three times in the fall or early winter. However, you do not want to overfertilize your plant. If your plant requires less light, you do not need to fertilize it as often. If it requires lots of light, you may need to fertilize it more often. If you notice dead leaves or stunted growth, you may be overfertilizing. You should ease up on your fertilizing schedule to see if that helps the plant regain its health.

Brand Names

There are many brand names that sell 20-20-20 fertilizers. Examples include Scotts, Miracle Gro, Peter's and Jack's. They are available in granule, liquid, tablet and crystalline forms. Each works well; however, be sure to read the label carefully since each brand's dosing instructions will differ and you do not want to overdose your plant.

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About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.

Photo by: Keep your houseplants fertilized. sxc.hu