How To Fertilize House Plants


Whether you're finding your houseplants aren't looking very healthy, or you haven't seen any new growth over the spring and summer, it may be time to fertilize. As your plants live and grow, they absorb the nutrients and minerals in the soil. When these nutrients aren't replaced to keep your plants nourished, they may begin to show the signs of this malnourishment by not growing or flowering. If you don't know how to fertilize houseplants, don't worry; you can do it quickly and easily.

Step 1

Read the instructions on your particular package of granule fertilizer, and decide how often you'll be fertilizing your plants. Often the fertilizer package will state two amounts to use: one based on fertilizing with every watering and another for fertilizing occasionally.

Step 2

Fill a watering can with water up to the amount your fertilizer suggests, typically a gallon. Spoon in the correct amount of granule and mix together.

Step 3

Water your houseplants as usual to introduce the fertilizer to the soil. If you have over watered, let the plant sit in its saucer or base for an hour before pouring off the excess water.

Step 4

Use as frequently as the manufacturer recommends for the type of plants you have and the strength of the fertilizer, but do not over fertilize. Over fertilizing is known to "burn" your plants' roots and leaves and can harm your plants.

Step 5

Observe your plants for a few weeks anytime after you fertilize them to check how well are responding to the fertilizer. Look for new growth and/or blooming to let you know your plant is healthy.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your granule fertilizer didn't come with its own measuring scoop, you can use a teaspoon or tablespoon. However, it's best to make sure that this measuring spoon is never used for food preparation once it has been used for fertilizer.

Things You'll Need

  • Granule fertilizer
  • Watering can
  • Water
  • Spike sticks, optional


  • The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual; Barbara Pleasant; 2005
  • Learn 2 Grow: How to Fertilize Houseplants

Who Can Help

  • Information About Houseplants
Keywords: granule fertilizer, fertilizing houseplants, houseplant fertilizing

About this Author

Writing from Virginia, Margaret Telsch-Williams specializes in personal finance, money management, gardening, crafts and sewing, cooking, DIY projects and travel. When not writing instructional articles online, she works for the website Widescreen Warrior as a contributor and podcast co-host discussing all things film and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a master's degree in writing.