Plants, like other living organisms, need specific conditions to grow and remain healthy. Sunlight, water, and nutrients are essential conditions for the plant’s vital processes. If you are taking care of any plants, you may be familiar with how an unhappy plant looks like. You may notice some wilting and discoloration, for example, depending on what the deficiency is. Homemade plant food may be the answer to some of your plant’s needs.
In this article, we share information about plant food and how to make your own:
* What is plant food?
* When to use plant food
* Preparing your own homemade plant food
What Is Plant Food
Plants need a range of minerals to grow, including potassium and nitrogen. Under normal conditions, these come from the soil or growing medium where the plants live. When a plant does not get all of the elements it needs, its growth can become stunted, it can start to wilt and die, or its leaves can become discolored and yellow. Plant food provides a supplement to these nutrients when they are in short supply.
You can buy or make plant food. The most important elements in it are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. Magnesium and calcium can also be included as they are essential for many plant functions as well.
You may be wondering what the difference is between plant food and fertilizer. Sometimes these terms are interchanged. A fertilizer contains the required macronutrients and micronutrients for optimum growth. Also included in the mixture, there are some fillers and ballast. Fertilizer can be organic or natural and come in different versions. They can also be referred to as plant food, as they are in this article because they are what a plant needs to grow well. Scientifically speaking, through the process of photosynthesis, plants take in sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to make their own special food.
When to Use Plant Food
There are two main situations where you might want to use plant food. If you have potted or garden plants that have used up the nutrients in the soil, it might be time to add more from plant food. You can realize that this has happened when the plants are not growing as well as they used to. For potting soil, there is a finite supply of nutrients, so over time, if no new nutrients are introduced, these can become depleted.
Another time where you might want to use plant food is when you have a floral arrangement in water. Cut flowers can stay fresh for about a week in a container of water, but after that, they begin to wilt and die. If you want your cut flowers to stay alive for longer, you can introduce some supplemental minerals by adding a bit of plant food to the water. Make sure you follow the instructions on the packet of your store-bought plant food.
If you want to order flowers for delivery, you can do so on our website. At FloraQueen, we pride ourselves on delivering fresh, professional arrangements to people all over the world. Whether you get flowers from an online delivery service, a local supplier, or your own garden, you can enjoy them for much longer by regularly changing the water and adding some plant food to the water as well.
Preparing Your Own Homemade Plant Food
Store-bought plant food is easy and convenient to get. There are many varieties with different compositions. It is a good idea to check what is in the packet before you buy it and use it with your plants. Making your own plant food can also be a good idea for many reasons. For one, you have more control over what you add. Some commercial plant food variations have a lot of added fillers and chemicals in them. These might not be the best for your plant. Another reason to go with homemade plant food is that it is cheaper. Finally, making this nutrient mix at home allows you to learn more about what plants need and makes you a better gardener overall.
There are many recipes for making plant food at home. With some, you may have all the ingredients you need at home, but with others, you might have to top with some products from your local grocery or garden store.
To make your own plant food, try this recipe. To a gallon of water, add a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of epsom salts, and half a teaspoon of ammonia. This can be prepared in an old milk or water plastic container. After mixing all the components, you should leave the mixture for about an hour to ensure that all the additives have dissolved. This homemade plant food can then be added directly to the soil of your potted plants. The roots of the plants can then absorb the nutrients efficiently. You should notice a difference in your plants in the coming days, especially if the signs of a mineral deficiency had become apparent.
Sometimes you can get away with adding some nutrient-rich kitchen waste to your plants to treat common deficiencies. For example, when plants are lacking in nitrogen, you can add some coffee grounds to the soil because these are rich in nitrogen. This can effectively deal with the stunted growth, pale, and yellow leaves that are common when a plant is not getting enough nitrogen. Legumes such as peas and beans are nitrogen-rich plants. These can be planted near your deficient plants for a steady supply of nitrogen.
A phosphorous deficiency in plants can result in stunted growth and darkening leaf edges. Bone meal or fish tank water free from salt water can be added to the soil. Lack of potassium causes spots on the leaves and colored edges. For this, you can bury banana peels in the soil. Crushed eggshells in the soil provide calcium when you notice yellow spots and weakened stems. Yellowing veins and leaf edges can also signify magnesium deficiency. This can be treated with Epsom salts.
When you grow plants in pots, the important minerals and nutrients in the soil can become used up over time. Adding some plant food is a way to replenish the soil. You can buy plant food from the store or use some of our easy home remedies.