The Q&A Archives: Feeding Houseplants

Question: A radio personality recommends common houshold items like coke, sugar, ammonia, etc, in a mixture for the feeding of houseplants. I would like to make a formula to feed my plants basis but I am afraid to use these. Do you have any suggestions for bi-weekly feedings?

Answer: You're wise to steer clear of unconventional fertilizer concoctions. There may be useful elements in the products mentioned, but there are other ingredients that are equally useless, as far as plant nutrition is concerned. The easiest way to feed your houseplants is to substitute one watering each month with a diluted mixture of liquid plant food. If you want to feed every two weeks, dilute the formula to half-strength. For instance if using a granular plant food, such as a 20-20-20, and the package calls for one tablespoon per five gallons of water, mix only one-half tablespoon per five gallons of water. If you need less than that, or don't want to store a lot of fertilizer solution, you can calculate in the following manner: 3 teaspoons equal one tablespoon, and 4 quarts equals one gallon. You could safely use one-quarter teaspoon of fertilizer per half-gallon of water, for a diluted solution that you use every 2-3 weeks. Hope this information helps.

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