How to fertilize plants – indoor and garden – care

The main conditions necessary for the normal growth and development of plants are light, air, water and nutrients contained in the soil.

If a plant lacks even one of these elements, its life is in serious danger. Plant roots extract water from the soil with minerals dissolved in it. With the help of all the same water, nutrients are then delivered to the leaves and fruits. So water is a vital component of any nutritional complex.

Three main elements

The main nutrients for plants are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. All of them to one degree or another are present in ordinary garden soil. Nitrogen contributes to the development of green mass – stems and foliage. Phosphorus is responsible for root growth and also accelerates flowering and makes it abundant. Potassium is needed for the general growth of the plant and the formation of shoots and fruits. Essential nutrients are essential for all plants, but in varying proportions. Plants usually take exactly the amount of each element they need from the soil. So your task is to ensure that the basic elements enter the soil in sufficient quantities.

Photosynthesis & Evaporation of water

Other trace elements

Plants need small doses of minerals such as calcium, sulfur, iron, copper and zinc to grow. Plants are generally not deficient in iron and magnesium, but there are exceptions. In particular, tomatoes suffer from a lack of magnesium. Plants that prefer slightly acidic soils, but planted in an alkaline environment, need additional iron.


You can find a huge number of varieties of fertilizers in stores, but they all contain basic elements (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and trace elements in different proportions. Both organic and inorganic fertilizers can be applied both in liquid (concentrated or diluted) and in solid (granules, balls or sticks) form.

Liquid fertilizers

Liquid fertilizers are sold as a concentrate or powder that must be dissolved in water. These fertilizers work for several days after application. They usually give actively growing plants a noticeable impetus in development, but they must be applied regularly, since they do not persist in the soil for long.

Solid fertilizers

Solid fertilizers are produced in the form of granules or tablets. They are suitable for plants in the stage of stable growth, as they release nutrients more slowly and their effectiveness is calculated for a long time. Such fertilizers need to be applied once or twice a season.

How to fertilize plants - indoor and garden - care

Farmer Noël Zia Lee

When to fertilize

General-purpose fertilizers should be applied in the spring, at the beginning of the season. Some of them, for example, root formation stimulants, are introduced at the time of planting seedlings, in spring or autumn. You can enhance the growth and ripening of vegetables in the summer with the help of granular fertilizers buried in the ground around the plant stems. Avoid applying granular fertilizers, especially those rich in nitrogen, after mid-summer: nitrogen causes leaf growth and fresh shoots can be damaged by early frosts. Apply granules only to wet soil.

Liquid fertilizers can be applied throughout spring and summer, especially if the goal is to enhance flowering or fruit growth.

Compost or vermicompost

Compost is a fertilizer obtained from plant materials by biodegradation. Especially effective is compost made from legumes (beans or peas) that retain nitrogen in the soil. Grass clippings or weeds, like most other plants, do not have this ability. On the contrary, they need a lot of nitrogen to root, so they take it from the ground.

Universal fertilizers

Directional fertilizers

Ideal for soil restoration and preparation for planting, for general top dressing. They are both organic and inorganic. These fertilizers compensate for the lack of certain nutrients, for example, the lack of magnesium in tomatoes.

How to fertilize plants - indoor and garden - care
Flowers in a pot

Farmer James Jordan

Top dressing of garden plants

Continuous feeding helps garden plants to resist weeds, pests and diseases. Fertilizers allow ornamental plants to bloom longer and produce more buds, increase the yield of vegetables and fruits. For best results, it is important to feed each plant with the exact elements it needs at the moment.


Always use a special rose fertilizer that contains magnesium and sulfur. With it, roses tolerate winter cold better.


Most bulbs are perennials, so the supply of nutrients, due to which flowers will develop next year, accumulates in the bulb itself. Feed the bulbs immediately after flowering and before the petals begin to fall.

Plants in hanging baskets and containers.

Top dressing for such plants is extremely important: the amount of soil in a planter or basket is usually insignificant compared to the total weight of the plant, so the nutrients are quickly depleted. Slow-release fertilizers in granules or sticks are great for container plants in the stage of stable growth. For seasonal plants and seedlings, the best result is the regular use of liquid fertilizers.


With the formation of the first fruits, a special regular feeding, enriched with magnesium, is required.

How to fertilize plants - indoor and garden - care
Flowers in a pot

Farmer Thomas Tolkien


Fertilizer helps keep the lawn fresh and color. Spring fertilizers should be rich in nitrogen to help the growing grass, while in the fall, phosphorus and potassium should predominate, strengthening the grass before the winter cold. Some lawn dressings include weed control. Their advantage lies in the fact that well-fed grass starts to grow violently and fills in the places where the weeds were destroyed.

Feeding indoor plants

You do not need to have special knowledge and skills to create the best growing conditions for indoor plants. It is enough to learn a few basic rules.

How to fertilize plants - indoor and garden - care

Farmer Dominic’s pics

Additional fertilizing

  • Only healthy plants can be fertilized during the period of their enhanced growth and flowering. You can not feed plants that are moving into a dormant state or are already resting.
  • Freshly transplanted and diseased plants are not fed.
  • Fast growing plants are fertilized more often; large and slow growing – less often.
  • Water the plants with fertilizers from a small watering can without a grid. Try not to create splashes. Drops falling on stems or leaves must be washed off immediately with clean water to avoid burns on the plants.

For indoor plants, there are specially developed feeding formulas that take into account the conditions of their growth – a small volume of earthen coma and the rapid consumption of nutrients. These fertilizers are applied both in the form of liquids and in the form of soluble granules and pot sticks. Liquid top dressing starts in spring and lasts all summer. In the fall, plants should be allowed to rest so that they naturally prepare for winter.

Special fertilizers

Today many different plants are grown as indoor plants, and each of them requires fertilizers containing a certain complex of nutrients. When choosing a top dressing, you must focus on the species of the plant. There are fertilizers for cacti, ficuses, citrus fruits, palms, roses, azaleas, orchids, bonsai, as well as fertilizers for flowering and ornamental plants. The ratio of nutrients in them is balanced depending on the species, and all the necessary trace elements are added.

Greenhouse plants

Plants are grown in greenhouses that need a warm, humid atmosphere, which means regular watering. Greenhouse soil also tends to deplete quickly, so fertilization is essential. Liquid fertilizers usually accelerate the ripening of fruits and, as a rule, require regular application throughout the entire fertile season. A simpler solution is to use daddy fertilizers designed for greenhouses. The health of greenhouse plants, even more than indoor plants, depends on the correct selection of special specific fertilizers.

How to fertilize plants - indoor and garden - care

Farmer Samantha

Use for work


  • watering can
  • hand sprayer
  • hand hoe ripper
  • trowel
  • hand forks


  • fertilizers – liquid and granular; fertilizer sticks
  • growth promoters
  • root stimulants
  • Biohumus
How to fertilize plants - indoor and garden - care
You can bookmark this page

Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

View all posts by Anna Evans →
Copy link