There are some things to consider before choosing a houseplant food. While using fertilizer is an important part of plant care, don’t assume you need to fertilize regularly unless you do your research. For example, if you are repotting your houseplant you should check to see if your potting soil has fertilizer built in. If it does, don’t add more until the feeding period is up (most Miracle-Gro potting mixes feed plants for six months).
It is also important to know that for many plants if you administer a high concentration of plant food you can actually cause damage. It is a delicate balance of enough food to encourage healthy growth without giving it too much.
Research is the only way to know the best balance of essential nutrients for the type of plant you are growing.
Top Picks Roundup
Best All-Purpose Fertilizer - Miracle-Gro Plant Food
Best Fertilizer for Succulents & Cacti - Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food
Best Fertilizer for Orchids - Leaves & Soul Professional Orchid Spray
Best Fertilizer for Flowering Plants - MiracleGro Bloom Booster
Best Fertilizer for Tropical Plants - Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro
Best All-Purpose Fertilizer
Our top choice for the best all-purpose fertilizer is Miracle-Gro. One of the beautiful things about Miracle-Gro is they have been a trusted name for plant care for both outdoor plants and indoor potted plants. Miracle-Gro comes in many different types of fertilizer. The most popular is Miracle-Gro all purpose, granulated plant food.
The water soluble granules are mixed with a gallon of water in a bucket or watering can and applied to the soil every 1-2 weeks.
Miracle-Gro All-Purpose Plant Food
Starting around $5
Best Fertilizer for Succulents & Cacti
Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food is specially formulated for cacti, aloe, jade and other succulents. This liquid fertilizer comes in a convenient pump bottle that dispenses a pre-measured amount of solution with each pump.
Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food
$12.94 (for a 2-pack)
Best Fertilizer for Orchids
According to the Orchid Society, the best NPK ratio is 20-20-20. The fertilizer should be diluted to 1/4 strength and applied weekly during the growing season. Feed orchids “weakly, weekly” in this way versus a full-strength application one per month.
If you prefer to have an orchid spray fertilizer that is already diluted and ready for weekly use, this Leaves & Soul Professional Orchid Spray is sold on Amazon. Available for less than $15 it takes all of the guesswork out of your orchid plant care.
Leaves & Sou Professional Orchid Spray
Best Fertilizer for Flowering Houseplants
The correct nutrients will facilitate brighter and bigger blooms in flowering houseplants. Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster is a tried and true all-purpose flower food that is available from many retailers starting around $10.
Some flowers need a special kind of fertilizer. If you are growing African violets you should consider purchasing a plant food specific to their needs. African violet plant food is a special type of fertilizer with the right balance (3% nitrogen, 3% available phosphate, 3% soluble potassium).
Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster
Starting around $8
Best Fertilizer for Tropical Plants
Tropical plants, like Monstera, ZZ Plant, and Pothos need slightly more nitrogen in their NPK ratio. A good liquid fertilizer for these plants is Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro, available on Amazon for around $15.
Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro
Additional Fertilizer Considerations
There are several different types of fertilizer (i.e. liquid, granules, etc), as well as both synthetic and organic formulas. In addition to giving your plant the nutrients it needs, these options can make feeding more convenient for you while meeting your personal preferences.
Here are a few of our favorites. A more extensive plant food buying guide can be found here.
Best Organic Fertilizer
Oftentimes people are looking for an organic houseplant fertilizer that derives its nutrients from natural ingredients, like compost, beneficial soil microbes, or worm castings. The biggest advantage is that they are less likely to burn your plants if you accidentally overfertilize. The downside of organic fertilizers is they cost more and are less potent.
Many organic fertilizers naturally have the micronutrients that plants need, like calcium and magnesium, but they sometimes don’t have high enough levels of the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Some, like the seaweed formulas below, are better suited as supplemental fertilizers and can even be diluted and used as foliar sprays to increase nutrient uptake from the plant roots.
Our top pick for an all-purpose organic fertilizer is FoxFarm Happy Frog. Available on Amazon it is a 6-4-5 fertilizer formula (NPK Nitrogen: 6; NPK Phosphorus: 4; NPK Potassium: 5). Retailing at $19.15for four pounds, these plant nutrients are sold in a powder form.
FoxFarm also makes a great flowering plant fertilizer that is organic. Made from earthworm castings and bat guano, it is a liquid concentrate fertilizer. A pint of the liquid plant food retails for around $15.
A second choice is Neptune’s Harvest, also available on Amazon, which is a liquid fertilizer made from hydrolized fish and seaweed. A 28 ounce bottle is sold for under $25, making this organic fertilizer a steal.
Bloom City also makes a kelp and seaweed fertilizer that comes in a concentrated liquid. Another product with exceptional ratings, one quart of this water-soluble fertilizer will net you 180 gallons of plant food when mixed. It’s available on Amazon for around $20.
Best Synthetic Fertilizer
Jack’s Classic 20-20-20 all purpose fertilizer gives indoor gardeners the best bang for their buck. For less than $16 you get a full 1.5 pounds of this powder fertilizer, and just 1/2 teaspoon is needed per gallon of water.
Best Fertilizer By Type
The best overall plantfood that is available in liquid, water soluble (powder or granular fertilizer), and spikes is Miracle-Gro. Available globally at an exceptional price, Miracle-Gro is a name the plant lovers have come to depend on for feeding their plants.
Liquid and water soluble fertilizers must be diluted and applied in certain quantities at certain times. Fertilizer spikes are a type of slow-release fertilizer that protects against over or underfertilizing. Simply push a stake in the soil once a month and water as usual.
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