Fertilizing Houseplants

January 2, 2014

Plants seem to thrive on fish food mixed into soil. It's cheap and easily obtainable.


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I am a lazy gardener and don't know all that much about fertilizing houseplants. I love to have plants in my house and those that continue to be healthy get to stay and those that prove troublesome get set outside to fend for themselves : )

What is the best thing to use to fertilize houseplants and when do you fertilize?

By StellaBell from Manchester, WA


January 20, 20120 found this helpful

Compost (naturally decomposing vegetable matter) is hands-down the best fertilizer for any plant. You say you're a lazy gardener, so you probably don't make your own. But many towns provide free compost to anyone who comes down to pick it up. If you use compost, you can work it into the soil when you're repotting, or lightly cover the soil at the top of the pot - the nutrients will go into the plant when you water. Also, whenever you trim a plant of dead leaves, you can crumble or crush them directly onto the soil.

If you don't want to use compost, plain room-temperature tea or coffee are also good for plants. When you've got some left over, dump it into one of your houseplants that could use water. Tea leaves and coffee grounds are good to put on the soil, too. You can also rinse eggshells and leave them in your watering can, or crush and sprinkle them on top of the soil. The calcium and other nutrients will go into the water, and eventually, your plants.

In terms of timing, you can use liquid tea or coffee every few times you water, or eggshell water every time. The solids can go on top of the pot every few months, except for the plant's own leaves. They can go in whenever you have any to trim.

One warning - town compost is full of toxic lawn-care chemicals, so it's not suitable for any plants you're intending to eat. You should also avoid using this if you have pets who eat your houseplants.

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January 25, 20120 found this helpful

At one point in my life I was so busy that I couldn't spend a lot of what free time I had fussing with the houseplants. So I used Jobe fertiliser spikes, followed the directions and labels, and had great results.

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February 14, 2011

How do I use coffee grounds on houseplants?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

By Tina Marie Thomas from Boswell, PA


February 17, 20110 found this helpful

You sprinkle them on the soil. Some people swear by using coffee grounds on houseplants, others say it is harmful to the plant. Here is one opinion:

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July 12, 2018

Take advantage of the minerals left in water that has been used to boil eggs. This page has information about using water from hard boiled eggs for houseplants.

Hard Boiled Eggs in pot on the stove.

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