Types of Fertilizers & How to Fertilize

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Fertilizers are basically food for the plants. We humans need food to live and grow, so do our plants. There are different types of fertilizers that you can use.

 

Organic Fertilizers

  • Worm Castings
  • Seaweed Kelp
  • Fish Emulsion
  • Compost Tea
  • Plant Extracts
  • Bat Guano
  • Egg Shells
  • Banana Peels
  • Aquarium Water
  • Ash

Chemical Fertilizers

  • Complete Balance Liquid
  • Slow Release Fertilizers

Worm Castings / Vermicast

Organic option to use instead of the fertilizer. It acts as an all-organic slow release fertilizer for the plants. It is basically the poo poo of earthworms, so it's also called “worm poo”, “worm casting manure” or “vermicast”

 

Benefits:

  • Organic option to a fertilizer
  • Acts as an insect repellent for aphids and spider mites.
  • Circular in shape, so improves aeration and drainage of the soil.

Manure

Manure, khaadh, or cattle dung is an organic fertilizer and one of the most common forms of organic matter and a source of nutrients for the plants.

Seaweed solution

Example of a seaweed fertilizer solution for fertilizing houseplants

 

Take 3ml of Seaweed fertilizer solution and mix it with 1 ltr of water.

Green Seaweeds picture underwater

Seaweed is a form of algae that grows in the marine systems or oceans and seas. Compost as well as seaweeds work in the same manner for plants - they both are organic matter which is rich in nutrients. Microbes present in the soil decompose this organic matter to simple nutrients for plants. 

 

Chemical Fertilizer: When to use and when not to use

Chemical Fertilizers also give nutrients to the plants but these are synthetic forms of nutrients. Studies show that in the long run, it actually harms the soil. Especially for home gardening, we do not really need a chemical or a factory grade fertilizer. Compost, Manure (Cattle dung, khaadh) and seaweed solution are great sources of nutrients for house plants. 

 

Banana peels for Phosphorus

If your plant needs phosphorus, you can make your own DIY fertilizer using Banana peels. It's simple and absolutely organic.

Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt is Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4) which is a totally different compound from table salt. Usually a teaspoon of epsom salt is added on the top layer of the soil.

Benefits:

  • Source of Magnesium which helps take other valuable nutrients easily (N and P)
  • Improves flower blooming.
  • Enhances the green color of leaves.
  • Great for plants like Rose, Tomatoes and peppers as they require more Magnesium

When to Fertilize

When you see your plant is dying, it's not the time to fertilize or try to revive your plant with a fertilizer because it wont work. The best time to fertilize is when you see the plant is healthy and growing. If your plant is dying, the root rot has already been set and I would prefer to propagate the plant and go that route of saving it than trying to bring it back from the dead.

 

Frequency of fertilizing your plants should be generally around 2 months. Stop fertilizing in the fall (winter). Start fertilizing in the Spring to Summer. Under fertilizing is better than over fertilizing

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