Supporting houseplant growth can be done in various ways, one of which is by offering fertilizers. Fertilizer provides additional nutrients for your plants to thrive. Some people prefer to give NPK fertilizer, while the rest believe that natural fertilizer for indoor plants is better.
Furthermore, natural fertilizers are made from natural ingredients, such as coffee grounds, dried tea leaves, kelp meal, and gelatin powder. However, you can add other waste ingredients, such as egg shells, bone meal, banana peels, and aquarium water.
They offer abundant nutrients, thus increasing organic matter in the soil to encourage your plants’ growth. But are they better than commercial compost in the market? Let’s check out what ingredients to make natural fertilizers for indoor plants and their benefits!
Table of Contents
- What Is Natural Fertilizer?
- Natural Houseplant Fertilizers
- Benefits Of Using Homemade Fertilizers For Houseplants
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Is Natural Fertilizer?
Let us introduce you to natural fertilizers before we jump to all the ingredients to make your houseplant fertilizer. To add nutrients, natural fertilizers are generally made from natural ingredients, such as animal manure, agricultural waste, and mineral components.
The most frequently used elements in making this fertilizer are banana peels, bone meal, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea leaves, rabbit droppings, chicken manure, and more.
Moreover, each ingredient can share nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, three essential components in plant growth and development. Some even share vitamins and proteins, which also play a role in the production of tissue cells.
Now we are coming to the question, “Are natural fertilizers better?”
Well, organic and synthetic fertilizers are both safe and good for your plants as long as you provide them in moderation. However, natural fertilizer allows you to create your formulation with accessible ingredients from your surroundings. Let’s find out each component you can use below!
Natural Houseplant Fertilizers
Compost is the main ingredient in making natural fertilizers because they mark up about 50% of the plant’s nutritional requirements. Meanwhile, you can add the rest of the required nutrients, such as NPK, vitamins, and proteins, from natural ingredients around you. What are the specific benefits of each of these ingredients? Let’s find out!
1. Aquarium Water
Are you a fish keeper? Don’t throw away the water while draining your aquarium. Instead, keep the water to fertilize your indoor plants. The water in the aquarium contains organic matter from the excretion process of your fish and the decomposition of leftover fish food.
Suppose you also grow water plants in the aquarium. In that case, they will also produce nitrogen from fish waste which will be very useful to encourage foliage growth in your plants. You can pour the water directly on the plants or mix it with potting soil first.
2. Bone Meal
Don’t throw away the chicken or beef bones after enjoying your meals because they can make an excellent natural fertilizer for indoor plants. Just dry the bones and ground them until they turn into bone meal. This bone meal is a source of calcium and phosphorus that support a strong root system.
Moreover, phosphorus acts as an energy converter crucial in photosynthesis, while calcium maintains cell structure and immune system against diseases. You can add bone meal to the soil or mix it with your high-quality compost to boost its phosphorus content.
3. Banana Peels
Who would have thought banana peels could be the mainstay of natural raw materials to make a natural fertilizer for indoor plants? They are loaded with potassium which regulates the distribution of sugar, carbohydrate, and other nutrients within the plant tissues.
It also aids the movement of stomata to optimally absorb carbon dioxide, which is needed in the photosynthesis process. To use banana peels, you can simply put them on the surface of the soil, then cover them with some layer of soil.
However, we recommend cutting it first to facilitate the process of breaking down nutrients. In addition, you can throw them into your compost bin and wait for the maggots to do the job. Furthermore, you may try blending it with water to make a puree. It will allow quicker nutrient absorption for your plants, especially potassium, magnesium, and nitrogen found in banana peels.
4. Coffee Grounds
Share the excitement and benefits of the coffee ground you drink every morning to fertilize houseplants. Coffee grounds lack potassium and phosphorus but are high in nitrogen, which promotes lush leaves. Thus, it is a perfect addition to your indoor plants’ growth phase. You can add it to the potting soil and mix them well.
In addition, some people include the coffee grounds to make liquid fertilizer by soaking them in water for about a week. Given its high acidity, coffee ground fertilizer is ideal for acid-loving plants, such as African violets, ferns, Christmas cactus, and jade plants.
5. Crushed Egg Shells
Similar to bone meal, egg shells are an excellent source of calcium that serves as a vital constituent for the cell structure. It also prevents pathogens from infecting your houseplants. Even more remarkable, these materials are available abundantly and considered waste. So, they will save lots of money. How do you add them to the plants?
First, you must clean them with tap water or soak them in the water. Then, drain the egg shells before drying. Next, take out your food processor and crush them until they turn into powder. Finally, add the powder to the soil pot.
Another method is simply to crush the egg shells with a rolling pin, then pour them into the water. Let the mixture sit for a night. Then, drain the water. Now, you can use the water extract for your plants as liquid fertilizer.
6. Epsom Salt
Have you heard about Epsom salts? It is one of the most fantastic materials for making natural fertilizer for indoor plants. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate that will help the houseplant germinate and grow dense foliage in the later stage.
They are also essential nutrients that encourage flowering and prevent pests from invading your precious plants. Considering these enormous benefits, no wonder many gardeners include Epsom salts in their homemade fertilizer recipes.
If you are interested in making one, you can take one teaspoon of Epsom salts into a quart of water, then dissolve it. After that, pour the mixture into your plant soil. In addition, you can just put a pinch of salt and sprinkle it on the soil surface.
7. Gelatin Powder
Leafy plants with stunning variegation, such as Monstera and Calathea, will rely on nitrogen supply as it encourages lush foliage growth. Thankfully, nitrogen sources can be easily obtained from various natural ingredients, one of which is gelatin powder. Gelatin powder can boost nitrogen in the soil, thus providing an adequate amount of this chemical component for your houseplants. Luckily, it is widely available in the market.
To make it a fertilizer, try to dissolve a 7-gram packet of gelatin powder into a cup of hot water, then stir it well. Next, add three additional cold water and stir again until dissolved. You can immediately pour this mixture into your plants slowly and evenly monthly.
8. Green Tea Leaves
Save your used green tea bags because you know what? You can make it a natural plant fertilizer! Like ground coffee, green tea is acidic, making it an exceptional fertilizer material for acid-loving plants, such as African violets and begonias.
The green tea leaves contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, essential nutrients for your indoor plants to thrive. In addition, it is a slow-release kind of fertilizer that will steadily supply nutrients for them. You can just take out the leaves from the tea bags, then put them in your pot or brew them like you make a cup of tea. After that, cool down the tea and pour it into the soil.
9. Kelp Meal
You may recognize kelp as a delicious meal. But, if you merge the words into one, it is a different case. Kelp meal is a seaweed product that has been mashed into a powder-like texture but is coarser.
It is beneficial for plants as it enables them to absorb nutrients from the surroundings better. In addition, it improves their immune system in battling pests and diseases. So, how to fertilize a houseplant with a kelp meal? Spread the meal on the soil surface where your plants grow thoroughly. You can mix it with the soil before applying it to the houseplants.
Nope, it’s not a melting sugar. Molasses is a byproduct of the refining sugar process, generally used to add sweetness to food. Besides, it is a natural source of minerals, like carbon, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, and many more.
In agriculture, molasses is added to compost tea as a beneficial microbe food so that it grows well. Meanwhile, molasses are also known to boost microbial growth in the soil.
Given those important values, molasses can make the best homemade fertilizer for your indoor plants. You can mix one tablespoon of molasses with two liters of water and then pour it into the soil where your plants grow.
11. Wood Ash
While coffee grounds and tea leaves will increase the soil acidity, wood ash can increase the pH of your soil. In addition, this wood-burning product also provides a high dose of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and iron to your plants, enhancing growth and development.
Moreover, it also acts as a pest repellent for slugs, snails, and some insects. You may give it to the soil or mix it with compost to provide your plants with a balanced fertilizer.
Benefits Of Using Homemade Fertilizers For Houseplants
There are numerous benefits to giving natural fertilizer for indoor plants as they provide excellent nutrients and are easy to make. Some of the other advantages of using homemade fertilizers for houseplants are:
Since the ingredients to make homemade fertilizers can be obtained from your surroundings, it offers a better option to save money! Some elements are even waste that has essential nutritional value for your plants, such as egg shells, tea bags, and bone meal.
2. Slow Release
Most natural fertilizers are slow-release, meaning they guarantee a steady supply for your plants to meet their nutritional needs. Slow-release fertilizers won’t overwhelm your plants with abundant nutrients, which may cause another issue, such as root burn, which often occurs with synthetic fertilizers.
3. Environmentally Friendly
Considering the natural ingredients used in making homemade natural fertilizers, they are easier to degrade and offer renewable sources. This fertilizer improves soil structure and health by increasing water holding capacity and encouraging microbial growth.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do you make natural fertilizer for houseplants?
Natural or organic fertilizers can be made from scratch with a compost pile as the base. Some waste or raw ingredients commonly added to natural fertilizers are banana peels, egg shells, tea leaves, coffee grounds, wood ash, and bone meal.
You just need to add these ingredients to your compost, mix well, then let it sit for a while. Next, add to the potting soil of your indoor plants. To make it easier, you can directly feed it to your plants without adding compost. However, the existing nutrients are not balanced.
Can I use rice as fertilizer?
Well, rice may not be a good option as organic fertilizer ingredients for your indoor plants. However, rice water works great as it contains soluble starch that can be easily absorbed by the plant roots. The soluble starch is also a food source of beneficial microorganisms, thus encouraging their growth in the soil.
Besides, vitamins and small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are also available in the water. Therefore, it is important to include other natural plant fertilizer ingredients to enhance the nutrients.
What does milk do for plants?
Other than feeding humans, milk also benefits the plant by maintaining moisture and increasing the calcium content in the soil. It is also a source of vitamin B and protein that can help improve your crop’s yield.
In addition, the best advantage of applying milk to your plant is it acts as a natural pesticide that can get rid of aphids, spider mites, and thrips, especially for squash, cucumber, and zucchini. Some also suggest that milk can prevent mosaic leaf viruses that may cause tobacco mosaic disease.
How do you add coffee grounds to potted plants?
You can use coffee grounds to fertilize indoor plants by adding them to your compost, then mixing them well. After that, take some of the mixtures to your potting soil and remix them. Now, you can apply it to your houseplants.
However, if you prefer liquid fertilizer, add a teaspoon of coffee grounds to a gallon of water and stir them well. And that’s it! Just pour it into your indoor plants. But remember not to give too much as the coffee can increase the soil acidity.
Which house plants benefit from eggshells?
Crushed egg shells provide additional calcium for both outdoor plants and houseplants. Some indoor plants that benefit from eggshells include orchids, hoya, ivy, African violet, kalanchoe, and spider plants. The essential mineral aids the production of tissue cells and helps those plants to grow better. As for the crops, you can add eggshells to tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.