Let's touch on a subject most people tend to neglect - fertilizer and importance of pH! Just like humans need proper nutrition to live, so do our plants.
Fertilizer for your plants is an absolute necessity in growing healthy and hearty plants throughout the year. There are different types of fertilizers, coming in all shapes and sizes for all your unique plants. 🌱 If your new to the whole fertilizing your plants thing, Liquid fertilizer, the All-Purpose kind is very easy to add to your watering canteen for an even distribution to those hungry beauties! This provides your plants with a balance of Macro and Micro nutrients they need to carry out the ever-so-important stages of photosynthesis and metabolism, therefore growth and development. You will notice that your fertilizer indicates the levels of N-P-K. These are the big 3 nutrients your plants need in order to thrive. 1. Nitrogen encourages healthy foliage growth. 2. Phosphorous encourages bigger, healthier blooms. 3. Potassium encourages a strong room system.
DEFICIENCIES - If you have never fertilized your plants, it maybe time to do so! Your plants are struggling even though you put it in the right location, with the right light and you water it like you should. That yellow leaf might just be an indication that your soil is lacking the nutrients the plant needs. Nutrient deficiencies can show up in many different ways like poor growth, failure to flower, change in coloration of the leaves and browning of the leaf tips. Simply staying on top of giving your plants the food it needs will most likely help prevent any major plant health issues. Keeping in mind that every plant has a different requirement. WHEN TO FERTILIZE - Most plants enjoy more frequent fertilization during their peak growth season, usually being once a month in the spring and summer and ceasing fertilizing during their dormant season, being fall and winter. A trick to ensure you are not over fertilizing your plants is to acquire a houseplant journal, pick a day that correlates with your watering schedule once a month and add the date to the fertilizer sections of your plants, crossing them off each time you complete the fertilizing! That way you will never forget your fertilizer months or accidentally double up. Also, allowing your plants a ‘flush’ of the soil every 6 months by bathing it with water, removes the built up excess salts from the soil which you can sometimes be seen as a crystal-like layer on the surface of the soil, and allow the soil to drain at least 1-2 hours.
However; it is very easy to over-fertilize your plants and cause long term harm to them, so much so that the moisture will be pulled from the roots, resulting in a starving plants with wilting, yellowing, ‘burning’, dropping leaves and little to no growth. It really is a delicate balance! PH - is also an important factor of plant growth and well being, the dirt they grow in is their home and we must ensure it is the best possible home we can give them, aside from your own of course! There are pH monitoring devices as well as pH indicators/testers available to you to ensure the optimal level for all your pretties, as most have specific ranges in which they flourish in. Too much fertilizer, like we talked about previously, can cause the pH in your solid to drop, creating an acidic environment and harming your plant. Example, the Monstera Deliciosa has a pH range of 5.5 to 6, though tolerating 5 to 7.5, but it will definitely let you know it is not happy with the conditions! I recently had this problem with my own monstera due to over fertilizing, I checked the pH and it was around 5, likely due to fertilizing twice within too short of a time frame! So, live and learn, I put the plant in my tub and flushed out the soil of the excess fertilizer, a few times actually, and allowed it to drain fully overnight, did not fertilize the monstera the following month, cut off the dead/dying leaves and viola! A couple months have passed and it looks as healthy as ever, phew!
Your plants are very good at telling you if they have an incidence of unhappiness, we just have to take a moment out of our busy lives to look, listen, put down the phone, turn off the TV and be in the moment with them. Investing in a moisture tester with a PH indicator isn't a bad thing either. Images - Cassidy Rae Photography