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How To Feed House Plants

How To Feed House Plants

Getting the feed right for your house plants is essential. There are many different types of plant feed, and too much or or too little could kill the plant. Tom Cole demonstrates some of the rules of house plant feeding.

Step 1: Which fertiliser?

Foliage based plants require a fertiliser which is high in Nitrogen, where as flowering plants need one high in potash. Alternatively you can simply use a general house plant feed.

Remember that some plants, such as cacti and orchids may require a specialist feed available from good garden centers.

Step 2: When to feed

Newly potted plants should not require feeding for the first few months, the composts nutrients will deplete after about 6 weeks.

You should feed your plants from early spring to late summer, whilst the plants are in active growth, and stop in the winter.

Monitor the growth of the plants to determine how often (if at all) any fertiliser should be used. Schedules can range from every watering to every three months, it depends entirely on the plant type.

Step 3: General fertilising

Always follow the guidelines on the feed's packaging. The general rule is to pour a tablespoon of feed into a little water and mix into a paste, then dilute this paste by adding water to the watering can, and simply apply to the plants.

Step 4: Time released fertilser

Time released fertilisers such as Plant Spikes and Osmocote are perfect for large and well established plants. Push 3 to 5 sticks or tablets into the soil and then re-cover. This feed can last from 2 months up to an entire season, depending on the brand.

Step 5: Foliar feed

This is designed for foliage based plants that are not in bloom. Spray the feed all over the leaves from a distance of around 30cms. This is the fastest way of getting feed into the plant, and is a perfect quick fix for leaves that are yellowing.

As with all feeding, the compost must be moist, otherwise you run the risk of scorching the plant.