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Do I Need Plant Nutrients to Grow Indoor Plants?

Care For Your Indoor Plants: Nutrients Your Plant Needs.

Indoor plants that are housed in containers or pots can live without plant food or fertilizer, to keep your plants healthy and attractive, you have to make sure your plant has the required nutrients. It is common knowledge that through photosynthesis plants manufacture their own food.

That being said, it is unarguable that all life on this planet depends on photosynthesis - a process by which green plants turn carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen, using light energy trapped by chlorophyll then convert it into water and air into sugars. These sugars are the food they burn energy to live and grow.

In the process, they release oxygen while consuming carbon dioxide. What you’re exactly doing when you say you’re feeding your plants is fertilizing them — providing them with certain nutrients they need to thrive. Consider fertilizers as like the vitamins you take to nourish yourself.

Most nutrients needed for plants are absorbed from the soil — especially, the soil solution, which is the moisture that is contained soil pores (the spaces between soil particles). If any nutrients are present only in forms that plants can’t absorb or are missing, the plant won’t develop to their full potential. Plants that grow in the soil have far-ranging roots that look for what the plant’s needs. Plants whose roots are restricted to pots and containers depend on you to provide a constant supply of nutrients.

For plants to grow healthy and to their full potential, plants need 16 different elements which are; hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon — the building blocks for photosynthesis they are needed in huge amounts. Basically, all plants can get these naturally from air and water. Plants also need a large amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, these elements are called the primary nutrients, and they form the basis for most fertilizers.

While the secondary nutrients needed by the plants are; calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, they are needed in lesser quantities. Though they’re normally present in sufficient quantities in garden soil, they may be missing in soil-less mixes, particularly those that contain few ingredients.

The micronutrients, just as the name sounds are required in even lesser quantities. They include iron, manganese, copper, boron, molybdenum, chlorine, and zinc, and perhaps others. Researchers are still studying the nuances of plant nutrition. Just like secondary nutrients, micronutrients may also be lacking in soil-less mixes.


Understanding the usefulness of fertilizers is key to plant development and growth, but a question that begs for the answer is “Do fertilizers help my plant flower and bloom in time? “Is it worth the money?” There are fertilizers specifically formulated for bud and bloom development, they are usually higher in phosphorus than the other two primary nutrients.

The reason behind this is because phosphorus is a vital nutrient that is used in stimulating and improving bud set and development, bloom and seed formation. It can assist in hastening a plant's maturity. It's also key in photosynthesis and respiration. Fertilizers that stimulate the roots also have a large amount of phosphorus than the other two primary nutrients because phosphorus helps reinforce young roots and gives them a strong start.

Phosphorus is the key elements associated with flower growth and production, other vital elements are nitrogen and potassium together with micronutrients and the secondary nutrients. Nitrogen is the most important element in amino acids, usually called the building blocks of life. Nitrogen stimulates robust green growth, which is responsible for healthy stems and leaves while helping fruit and seed production.

Nitrogen also aids and improve growth in roots and is essential for the uptake of other nutrients. On the other hand, potassium is important to numerous areas of plant growth, including tolerance for drought, stem strength, disease resistance, better texture, color and flavor of fruits, and photosynthesis. Spending a few dollars on getting the appropriate fertilizers to improve your plant bloom, growth and resistance to diseases are definitely worth it in the long run. Using a soil that has added nutrients come with a lot of advantages than disadvantages, to make your plant grow healthy, you have to enhance or add nutrients that are deficient in the soil mix. It goes a long way in the growth and development of the plant.

Every time you water a plant, some of the nutrients leach out of the soil. Not like plants living outside, houseplants don’t have a constant source of nutrient renewal except you fertilize them regularly. For plants that are newly bought, they have been heavily fertilized in the greenhouse and can wait a few weeks before you start fertilizing. You can fertilize once a month when plants are either flowering or growing.

It’s best you choose an organic fertilizer that’s suitable for your houseplants and follow the instructions carefully. While natural fertilizers would likely not burn or damage your plants compared to a synthetic fertilizer, it is imperative you always apply the correct amount. Just take into consideration that plants grown in low light will not need as much fertilizer as plants grown outside or in bright light.

Virtually all plants grown recently are in soilless mixes that have little in the way of nutrients, making consistent fertilizing very essential. Liquid fertilizers are water-soluble powders or liquid concentrates that combine with water to make a fertilizer solution. They generally need a hose-end sprayer or watering can. The liquid nutrients usually last one or two weeks, so you must reapply them often. The benefit of liquid fertilizers is that they are quickly taken up by the plants, so plants get their nutrients almost immediately after application. These liquid fertilizers are very good, especially during the growing season. You can use liquid fertilizers as a good addition to granular fertilizers for plants in containers because constant watering of these containers causes leaching of nutrients, so use with caution.

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