Best fertilizer for ferns

Contents

The Hosta Gardening Calendar

Winter (Period of dormancy): December-January-February-March

In winter, hostas are dormant, they do not grow at all. There is no winter root growth as in other perennials. Most hostas need 600-700 hours below 40 degrees F of cold dormancy, but they will emerge as stronger plants if their dormancy is extended beyond the minimum required.

Labeling: Make new permanent labels.

Light: Full sun, under deciduous trees, but very weak intensity.

Nutrients: None needed

Pests: Check for fresh vole runs, especially after the snow melts. Bait runs or set traps as necessary.

Protection: If the garden was not mulched in fall, this is an easy time to touch up that 1” layer of coarse mulch.

Propagation: None.

Water: Usually no extra watering is needed. In very dry winters, especially in areas that usually do not have snow, watering once or twice throughout the winter may be needed or emergence of the foliage may be delayed and the plants will be smaller.

Fun! Surf the Internet for hosta information. Make want lists of new hostas from hosta catalogues received in the mail and on your favorite websites. Many nurseries have “Early Bird” specials in January. Catch up on reading The Hosta Journal. Visit www.Hosta.org.

Spring (Foliage emergence begins): March-April-early May

As the ground warms under spring’s ever increasing light intensities, the dormant buds of the hostas begin to swell and break through the mulch, looking like bullets coming out of the ground. The small bud scales that protect the true leaves open and recurve allowing a cigar-shaped flush of usually three to four leaves to emerge well above the ground. Soil temperature and moisture seem to effect the timing of the emergence of hostas the most. In very dry winters the emergence of hostas will be delayed unless the garden is irrigated. As the new hosta leaves expand, ample water is also needed for them to gain maximum size.

Labeling: Check for lost labels and replace as needed.

Light: Full sun, moderate intensity. Usually no shading necessary.

Nutrients: Apply slow release fertilizer (e.g. Osmocote, Nutricote, organic fertilizers) or 10-10-10 granular fertilizer around clumps as the hostas emerge. If you only use a liquid fertilizer, then apply weekly beginning as the first leaves start to unfurl.

Pests: Begin slug control before hosta leaves emerge. The slugs will be active on warm nights before the hostas will. Try to limit their populations before they hide in the hosta foliage. If early attacks by deer are a problem, spray a repellent. Little is needed at this time but it may need to be repeated every 10 days as the hostas enlarge. Stay on vole patrol.

Protection: Finish your spring clean-up of fallen branches, old hosta foliage and scapes. Last chance to mulch. Pull mulch away from emerging hosta shoots to reduce the risk of petiole rot, especially if hardwood bark is used as mulch. Protect from late freezes with frost cloth, nursery pots, boxes, lightweight bed sheets or newspaper. Hostas with unfurled leaves can be protected by covering with mulch.

Propagation: Hostas may be divided in half or quarters as they begin to emerge. Be prepared to provide them with extra water and care as they will have oversized leaves for their recently reduced root system. New roots will not begin forming until the first set of new leaves are almost fully expanded, several weeks after division. Save drastic division for late summer.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist. Fresh hostas are mostly water, make sure plenty is available as they expand. Beautiful spring days with bright light, low humidity and brisk winds dehydrate new hosta leaves quickly, do not be afraid to irrigate generously.

Fun! This is the best hosta season of the year! Go out several times a day and watch your hostas spring from the earth. You can almost see them grow! Count the number of new shoots and calculate how much your hosta investment has increased. A one division hosta purchased for $25 last fall, with its three new shoots, has now tripled in value to $75. Drag you neighbors over to see your hostas do their magic act. This is the time of year when everything is right in the hosta world. Go to a local hosta meeting.

Late Spring (Period of rapid foliage and root growth): May-June

Most hostas, except the fragrant flowered ones which produce new flushes of leaves into July, produce all their leaves in about 6-8 weeks. This occurs in usually one or two flushes of 3-4 leaves per shoot, (division). These leaves are at first “soft”, expanding rapidly, metabolizing, (growing) at a high rate. As they reach their mature size they “harden off” and stop expanding, slowing their production of white wax and purple pigments, (anthocyanins). At this time fresh new white roots emerge from the shoot above last year’s roots and lengthen rapidly. Soon the second flush of 3-4 leaves will appear and mature, followed by another period of root initiation. Hostas need abundant water and nutrients, especially nitrogen, during this period of rapid leaf and root growth.

Labeling: Pull labels further out from under the expanding hosta clumps. Notice how much bigger your hostas are than they were last year. Congratulate yourself and give your hostas praise.

Light: Shade fills the garden as the trees leaf out. Watch for bleaching of early rising yellow hostas. They may need to be moved.

Nutrients: Reapply 10-10-10 after 4-6 weeks depending on the amount of heavy rainfall. Continue your liquid feed program. If you want your hostas to be the biggest on your block, (and who doesn’t?), supplement granular fertilizers with a foliar liquid feed of a high nitrogen fertilizer with added magnesium every two weeks (e.g. Miracle-Gro Tomato Plant Food 18-18-21, Peters 20-20-20 with a pinch of Epsom salts per gallon of water added.)

Pests: Check hostas for evidence of Hosta Virus X. Unlike foliar nematodes, HVX symptoms will show early in the growing season. Remove and dispose of any infected plants!!! Watch for slug and vole damage. If a hosta does not come up, go digging around looking for it. It may have become vole food, so check the hostas around it for vole damage by pulling gently on the foliage and seeing if they are firmly rooted in the ground. If they too have been nibbled, you may need to pot them up and regrow their roots. Bait or set traps. If a hosta comes up much smaller than last year, it may have become a victim of tree roots and need to be potted also. Remove all the rotted roots and soft parts of the crown and rinse it in a 10% bleach solution before potting. Make a note, that hosta bed may need reworking in late summer. Ugh!

Protection: Deter deer!

Propagation: Do not divide hostas with soft foliage. Once they harden off, you can move entire clumps safely, being careful not to damage the roots. Use a digging fork, not a shovel if you can so you do not cut off the root tips. Wait until late summer to divide drastically.

Water: Water, Water, Water! Especially if it is a dry spring. Fill your hostas to the brim with water.

Fun! Plant those hostas that you ordered in the winter. Happiness is a new hosta bed! Visit local nurseries and raid the big box stores; hunt for bargains and maybe do a little hosta sport fishing with your hosta buddy. Take pride in your perfect hostas, all fresh and free from holes. Show them off. Visit them daily and choose your favorites.

Summer (Period of bloom and seed set) June-July-August

The time of bloom in hosta species and their cultivars varies from late May or June to September. A particular hosta will normally bloom once for about 3 weeks during the summer, producing a flower scape from the growing bud that just finished producing the flushes of leaves. The scape has a number of lily-like flowers that are open for one day only and are bee pollinated. (H. plantaginea opens in the evening and may be moth pollinated.) Seed pods are formed from fertilized ovaries at the base of the pistil and swell in size. Black, single-winged seeds are usually ripe in 6-8 weeks.

Labeling: Replace the labels that the squirrels have pulled up.

Light: This is the brightest and more importantly, hottest light of the year. The sun is at its maximum height in the sky and often beds that were bathed in shade in early May are now in full sun. Hostas can tolerate direct light but they hate heat! If leaf margins begin to brown, it may be time to move that hosta to a cooler spot in the garden. On the other hand, year by year shade gardens become shadier. Consider removing a branch here or there during the summer to create spotlights of bright light in the garden. Maybe even consider removing an entire tree, but that should probably wait until winter.

Nutrients: Blooming hostas still need nutrients to maintain their foliage and produce seeds but not a high nitrogen diet. If you are liquid feeding weekly, continue if there is ample rain. In times of drought reduce feeding to every other week. Discontinue any supplemental foliar feeding; hosta leaves have expanded to their maximum by now. Remember if it doesn’t rain, then your slow release fertilizer is not being released. Irrigation may be a good idea.

Pests: If it turns dry, the deer will show up looking for some lush hosta foliage full of water. Spray deer repellent every 3 weeks or more often and rotate your favorite brands. Leave the electric fence on at all times. Be on the look out for the symptoms of foliar nematodes, those nasty brown streaks. If you have a major problem, remove the most highly infected hostas and water less and feed less. Starve the hostas and stress the worms. Quarantine your garden. If you have a minor issue, remove infected hostas and all the ones touching them. A few years of this may eliminate the problem almost completely.

Protection: Watch for petiole rot. This fungus attacks the base of hosta petioles, secreting a substance that eats through the plant tissue causing the leaves to fall on the ground. This usually occurs in the first hot dry weather of the summer. Pull back mulch. Treat with 10% bleach solution immediately and retreat if necessary. There are also fungicides (e.g. Terrachlor) that can be applied. Other fungi may attack the hosta leaves, especially in hot, humid climates in wet summers. Apply fungicides (e.g. Daconil) as a preventative in late June every 2 weeks as necessary. Rotate fungicides.

Propagation: Divide hostas as the heat of summer passes. August is the best time to drastically divide and plant or pot hostas. Try to give your hostas 6 weeks before the first frost to establish new roots in their new home.

Water: Like nutrients, a hosta’s demands for water are reduced after their leaves are mature. Increased temperatures however, increase the transpiration rate, the rate at which the water is pulled out of the hosta leaves, requiring more water to replace it. Transpiration affects trees to an even greater degree as they pump water up and out of the garden soil. In hot weather sometimes keeping your hostas full of water all day long is a constant battle. Continue the fight. Dry soil may cause your hostas to go heat dormant or worse, dry rot at the bottom of the crown. In heavily shaded gardens, irrigation during the day can cool those hot leaves.

Fun! Cut some scapes after a couple of flowers have opened and bring them inside to enjoy for two or more weeks. Cut and remove the other scapes when 75% of the flowers have opened, unless you wish to save the seeds. Take in a hosta convention, regional events are inexpensive and allow plenty of time to socialize. Visit other local gardens and get some new ideas. Remember to bring a hosta along as a gift. Begin to plant new acquisitions.

Late Summer (Growth of buds for next year) late-August-September

With the full extension of the flowering inflorescence, the growing tip, (meristem), of the hosta shoot is carried high into the air, at the end of the scape. New “dormant” buds now begin to form at the base of the scape, that will go through cold dormancy and produce the new shoots and leaves of the plant in the next spring. Ideally, three buds are formed, but frequently less are formed by large hosta cultivars. In some early flowering hostas, these buds may produce a second growth of new shoots, leaves, flower scapes and more dormant buds the same summer, especially if they are grown in areas where the growing season is long, as in the Southeastern US.

Labeling: Place plant labels, temporary or permanent, with each new hosta. Bury a plastic label with the plant name in pencil in the same position for each hosta. Map garden if you are so inclined.

Light: Days begin to shorten, hostas begin to look tired.

Nutrients: Fertilize newly planted hostas with 10-10-10 or a little slow release fertilizer. If some hostas make a few new leaves then liquid feed once in August.

Pests: Check for voles moving into the garden. Check for foliar nematodes, again. Check the oldest leaves. If the deer still want your hostas, then at some point, open the gate and let them clean up the garden for you.

Protection: Mulch newly worked areas.

Propagation: Continue to divide hostas. Try to get them finished 6 weeks before the first frost. You can do it later but remember hostas do not grow roots over the winter.

Water: Turn off the irrigation and put the hoses away. Lack of water will encourage dormancy. Of course, continue to water your new plantings. I use a watering can.

Fun! Look for fall specials from your favorite hosta nurseries. Hostas planted in the fall will look a year older than the ones you buy next spring. Continue to plant new acquisitions. Start collecting seeds from early flowering hostas.

Fall (Maturation of seeds and onset of dormancy) late September-October-November

As the days shorten toward winter, hostas prepare for dormancy. As the chloroplasts begin to break down and the bright yellows of hidden pigments, caroteins and xanthrophylls, begin to appear, green hosta leaves turn to gold. The leaves then begin to dry and petioles weaken and droop. The dry air helps the ripe seed pods to spring open, allowing the seeds to fly away on the wind. Usually it takes two or three hard freezes to knock the shriveled hosta foliage to the ground, while the flower scapes will persist intact through the first snows of winter.

Labeling: Make sure every hosta has a label before it becomes unidentifiable. The ones in pots probably need a new label as well. They tend to fade over the winter.

Light: The leaves are falling and the light continues to fade never the less. The days shorten inducing dormancy.

Nutrients: None needed.

Pests: Only the voles are a problem now. Begin to bait and trap again.

Protection: Remove tree leaves from the garden to discourage the voles from moving in. I use a leaf blower and not a rake. Finish cutting flower scapes. Apply mulch to your new plantings and touch up as needed.

Propagation: Hurry up! It is almost too late.

Water: Make sure your hostas are full of water the night before the first hard freeze. Usually rain comes with the first real cold front of the season, but if the fall has been dry you might need to soak the garden one more time before you lock the pump house for the winter.

Fun! Collect a few seeds and plant them right away. They will be up in 2-3 weeks and you will have a few hostas to play with all winter. Cheer up. I know your hostas look terrible now, tired from another full turn of their life cycle. This last sad memory of them as they retire for the year, I believe, just makes them look that much more perfect when they emerge with their fresh leaves next spring. Take a break, you have earned it!

Learn how to make hostas grow bigger, bushier and lusher by using Epsom salt in this article!

What Epsom Salt Do to Plants

Epsom salt is “hydrated magnesium sulfate,” it consists of 10 percent Magnesium and 13 percent Sulfur. Both of them are considered as secondary essential nutrients after Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Magnesium in Epsom salt increases water retention, helps in better intake of nutrients, and most importantly in the creation of chlorophyll, on which the process of photosynthesis depends. Similarly, sulfur also participates in the development of chlorophyll, increases the plant’s resistance to diseases and helps in growth.

How Epsom Salt Helps Hostas

Application of Epsom salt in hostas, reduce the stunted growth, make their leaves greener and thicker as it boosts chlorophyll levels. It also facilitates bushier plant growth and their resistance against diseases and pests.

1. Get Rid of Slugs

Slugs are the most common pests that affect hostas. To get rid of them, place a tablespoon of Epsom salt in a shape of a ring around hostas to prevent slugs. The sharp crystals of Epsom salt will irritate their body and they will avoid coming near your plants. Apply once a week for best results.

2. For Yellowing Hosta Leaves

Yellow hosta leaves can be the sign of Magnesium deficiency. As a solution, add a tablespoon of Epsom salt around the base of your hosta plant per 12 inches of its height, once a month (or more frequently, if required) until it starts to look green again.

3. For Lush and Healthy Hosta Plants

Even if your soil is not deficient in Magnesium, some factors like acidic soil, low soil temperature, cation exchange capacity of soil, excess potassium or sodium reduce the uptake of Magnesium from plant roots. In that case, foliar feeding your hosta plants with Epsom salt solution is a good idea. Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of water and spray once in a month on the foliage in the rapid growth period. When growth slows, reduce the quantity to 1 tablespoon. The foliar application will keep your hostas lush and healthy.

4. Mix Epsom Salt with Fertilizer

You can also mix a pinch of Epsom salt with the all-purpose liquid fertilizer before feeding the hosta plants and then apply according to the instructions on the fertilizer’s packet to enhance its efficiency.

Tips and Warnings

  • As with any ingredient, the success of Epsom salt for hostas depends on its balanced use.
  • Avoid overdosing. Also, it is best to look for the sign of Magnesium and Sulfur deficiency in plants to get the desired results from Epsom salt application.

Watering and Fertilizing a Boston Fern

A green, leafy Boston fern can be a beautiful addition to any porch, patio, or room in your home. If you have one of these ferns, do you know the best way to water and fertilize it? Refer to the information below.

Sufficient Watering

Boston ferns like constantly moist soil, but soil that is not too wet. One method for watering a Boston fern is to place the potted fern directly into a basin of water and allow it to soak up the moisture on its own.

Best Type of Water

Because tap water often has contaminates, such as chlorine, your fern will like distilled water much better.

Fertilize Frequency

The amount of fertilizer you should apply to your plant will vary, depending on the season during which it receives fertilizer. During the warmer months of the year, your fern should be fertilized every other week. In cooler weather, once each month.

Fertilizer Types

A fertilizer made by adding two tablespoons of Epsom Salts to a gallon of water will help keep your fern leafy and green. This solution should be added every six months. During the warmer months, a water-soluble plant food should be added every two weeks. During the cooler months, it can be added monthly.

Homemade Fertilizers – 15 Simple and Inexpensive Options

Grow Your Own Groceries with Homemade Fertilizers

There was a time when people gardened because backyard produce was far better and cheaper than anything from the store. To tell the truth, it still is, or at least it still can be. The trick is knowing that back in the day, people used their own compost and homemade fertilizers.

Yet some are convinced that you have to spend a bundle of money to have a really nice, healthy garden. I think that this misconception grew out of the fact that most people have backyards that are filled with really poor/weak soil.

The reasons for this are complicated—a subject for another day. Suffice it to say that if the soil is weak, your plants will also be weak. And so it follows that weak plants have poor production, leading to more time and money spent on a low quantity of low-quality vegetables.

Healthy Soil Equals Healthy Plants

This means that you need to enrich your soil. Because most people are not making their own compost at home, they need to buy fertilizer. Plant fertilizers purchased from the local garden center often contain chemicals that may harm your plants, and are not environmentally friendly.

In addition, fertilizer can be a bit pricey, and this is most likely why the myth that home gardens are expensive continues. This is not necessarily true. You needn’t spend a bundle of money because, believe it or not, you are full of fertilizer!

Make Your Own Homemade Fertilizers

Making your own organic plant food is easy and fun. It should be noted that most people understand that the best way to get good garden soil is to use compost to amend the soil. Of course, that is true. Compost can be made at home out of leftover food scraps and lawn clippings, and so it is virtually cost-free.

Composting may be all one needs for a successful home vegetable crop. If, however, the soil is still lacking in nutrients or if you are planting a more demanding vegetable garden, augmenting with another type of fertilizer may be advisable. So why spend good money on store bought fertilizer when you can make it yourself with just a little information?

Fertilize with Beer and Milk: “A Simple Fertilizer From the Greek Gods”

Nourishing Nutrients for Prolific Plants

The key to a good garden is good soil. Of the essential nutrients plants need to thrive, most of them are found in soil. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and to a lesser extent calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are called macronutrients, and these are the nutrients that plants need most.

The remaining micronutrients can be supplied in smaller amounts even by some of the poorest soils out there.

While it may not be the most exciting of gardening topics, nothing is more important than having a basic understanding of fertilizer. Just like you and I need nourishment—so do plants. Understanding just a small bit of information about fertilizer can go a long way toward helping your garden to grow big, strong, healthy plants on a light budget. Before we look at some inexpensive homemade fertilizers, let’s look briefly at the subject in general. All fertilizers fall into one of two basic categories: chemical/synthetic or natural/organic.

Organic Fertilizers Versus Synthetic Fertilizers

Chemical/synthetic fertilizers are manufactured using synthetic substances that usually contain highly concentrated forms of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (these are the N-P-K values listed on the fertilizer packaging).

These fertilizers work quickly because they feed the plants directly. But they do come with a downside—they do not improve the soil itself and they can, over time, even destroy the beneficial organisms needed for healthy soil. When you use large quantities of this inorganic stuff over and over again, its byproducts will actually build up in the soil and in time they can hinder plant growth.

Organic/natural fertilizers often use alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, or fish emulsion to provide nitrogen; bone meal or rock phosphate to provide phosphorus; and kelp meal or granite meal to provide potassium.

The downside here is that they work much more slowly, first breaking down in the soil into forms that the plant roots can more easily absorb, then making their way up the plant roots to your hungry plants.

Organic/natural fertilizers, on the other hand, don’t feed the plants directly but rather add essential nutrients to the soil where they become available to the plants, more slowly, over time.

Understanding the Basics about N-P-K

While there are also many important micronutrients in good fertilizer, it is understanding the “big 3,” the N-P-K, that is the key to making your own effective fertilizer at home. The N is for nitrogen, the P for phosphorus, and the K for Potassium. Each has an important role to play in the health of your garden.

Nitrogen is the nutrient plants use most to grow large and lush—tall stems with lots of good leafy growth. If you examine the N-P-K content of commercial products that advertise “miracle growth” you will find there is no real miracle at all—the amazing growth is due to a balanced but high N-P-K ratio with a hefty amount of nitrogen in the mix.

Phosphorus is needed to grow strong healthy root systems, and to promote vigorous flowering. Commercial “blooming” mixes are usually high in phosphorus.

Potassium helps with plant growth, protein production, plant hardiness, disease resistance, insect resistance and efficient water use. Plants without enough potassium grow slowly and can have yellow leaves.

Read More: “How to Measure Your Favorite Organic Fertilizers”

Less Is More

Always remember the one basic rule that applies to the use of all fertilizers—”less is more.” If you use too much fertilizer or too strong a concentration, you could do much more harm than good. Plant roots can be harmed and you will soon see the tell-tale symptoms of fertilizer burn—brown, curled leaf edges and leaves that wither and fall from the stem. Always err on the side of caution—”less is more!”

Now, with a simple understanding of the information above, you are ready to get out and make your own fertilizer. For my purposes I needed a good, effective, general use fertilizer. Here are a few of the solutions that have brought me success:

Easy Household Fertilizers

There are quite a few common items found in your kitchen, and elsewhere around the house, that can be used as plant fertilizer.

Aquarium Water

Water your plants with the aquarium water taken right out of the tank when cleaning it. Fresh water only please, do not use water from a salt water tank. The fish waste makes a great plant fertilizer.

Bananas

Bananas are not only tasty and healthy for humans, but they also benefit many different plants. When planting roses, bury a banana (or just the peel) in the hole alongside the rose. As the rose grows, bury bananas or banana peels into the top layer of the soil. Both of these approaches will provide the much-needed potassium that plants need for proper growth.

Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is an excellent source of many different nutrients that plants use. This includes carbon, iron, sulfur, potash, calcium, manganese, potassium, copper, and magnesium. What makes this an excellent type of fertilizer is that it feeds beneficial bacteria, which keep the soil and plants healthy. To use blackstrap molasses as a fertilizer, mix it with another all-purpose fertilizer. A good combination to use is 1 cup each of epsom salts and alfalfa meal. Dissolve this combination in 4 gallons of water and top it off with 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses. Or simply mix blackstrap molasses in with compost tea. Do this only after the compost tea has steeped.

Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds contain about 2% nitrogen, about a third of a percent of phosphoric acid, and varying amounts of potash (generally less than 1%). Coffee grounds are particularly useful on those plants that like things a bit more acidic, such as blueberries, evergreens, azaleas, roses, camellias, avocados, and many fruit trees. I recommend that you allow the coffee grounds to dry and then scatter them lightly, as a mulch, around your plants. Avoid scattering them thickly when they are wet, because clumps of coffee grounds have a tendency to get moldy.

Cooking Water

Many different nutrients are released into the water that food is cooked in. Water that is used to boil potatoes, vegetables, eggs, and even pasta can be used as a fertilizer. Just remember to let the water cool before applying it to your soil.

Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of the wet-milling process for corn. It is used not only as an organic pre-emergent herbicide, but also as a fertilizer that is 10% nitrogen. To use as a fertilizer, simply spread a thin layer of corn gluten meal and scratch it into the top inch of soil. Plant veggie starts inside the treated area for optimum nitrogen benefit, and do not worry about accidentally harming your plants. Corn gluten meal only works as an herbicide before seeds germinate, not after, so it won’t hurt plants that have already sprouted.

Egg Shells

Egg shells contain about 1% nitrogen, about a half-percent phosphoric acid, and other trace elements that make them a practical fertilizer. Calcium is an essential plant nutrient which plays a fundamental part in cell manufacture and growth. Most roots must have some calcium at the growing tips to grow effectively. Plant growth removes large quantities of calcium from the soil, and calcium must be replenished, so this is an ideal way to “recycle” your egg shells. Simply crush them, powder them in an old coffee grinder, and sprinkle them around your garden soil.

Epsom Salts

1 tablespoon of epsom salts can be combined with 1 gallon of water and put into a sprayer. Apply once a month, directly to the foliage, for a quick dose of magnesium and sulfur.

Wood Ash (From Your Fireplace or Fire Pit)

Ashes can be sprinkled onto your soil to supply potassium and calcium carbonate. Hardwood is best—and no charcoal or lighter fluid, please, as this can harm your plants. Don’t use ash in areas where you are trying to maintain acid-loving plants—the ashes are alkaline and can increase alkalinity in the soil.

Gelatin

Gelatin can be a great nitrogen source. Dissolve 1 package of gelatin in 1 cup of hot water and then add 3 cups of cold water. Pour directly on the soil around your plants once a month. This is great for houseplants!

Green Tea

A weak solution of green tea can be used to water plants every 4 weeks. Use 1 teabag to 2 gallons of water.

Hair

Hair is a good source of nitrogen, and it does double duty as a deer repellent. A good source for this hair is not only your hairbrush, but also the local barbershop or beauty salon. Many of these establishments will save hair for your garden, if you ask them for it. But do not limit yourself to only human hair. Dog hair, horse hair, and cat hair work just as well.

Horse Feed

What makes horse feed irresistible to horses is also what makes it an excellent fertilizer. The magic ingredient is molasses. To use horse feed as a fertilizer is simple and easy. It can be used as a soil amendment just by sprinkling it on top of the soil. Alternatively, it can be dissolved in water alone or combined with another organic fertilizer, and applied as a soil drench.

Matches

The old-fashioned easy-strike matches are a great source of magnesium. To use this as a fertilizer, simply place the whole match in the hole with the plant, or soak the matches in water. The magnesium will dissolve into the water and make application easier.

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is not only good for human consumption but also for plants. This source of calcium needs to be mixed in to the soil prior to planting. Since the milk is in powder form, it is ready for use by your plants.

Read More: “How to Fertilize Container Gardens”

4 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes

These are some slightly more complex fertilizer recipes that I like to use. My favorites are the Simple Tea and the Quick Fix, but each of these make regular appearances in our garden fertilizing schedule:

Recipe #1—Simple Tea Fertilizer

This simple recipe has been used for thousands of years. Give it a try in your garden for a quick and inexpensive dose of nutrients for your plants.

Instructions

• In a 5 gallon bucket, mix 1/4 cup of epsom salts, 2 cups of urine (yes, good old pee pee), and 2 cups of wood ash (again, no lighter fluid or charcoal, please).
• Fill the rest of the bucket about half way with grass clippings, pruned green leaves, or even green weeds pulled right out of the ground.
• Fill the bucket to the top with water and allow the mix to steep for three days.
• After steeping, strain the tea or decant into empty milk jugs or old 2 liter bottles.
• Before use, dilute by 50% by mixing half water and half tea into your favorite watering can.
• Apply this wonderful mix by pouring it directly onto the soil around your plants.

If your results are anything like mine, you will see a noticeable difference in just a few days.

Note: Only steep for 3 days. By the third day, most of the soluble nutrients will have seeped out into the water solution. Stopping now prevents fermentation, which you want to avoid. Fermented materials will smell bad, and their pH can change rapidly, so it’s important to stick with a 3-day steeping, and then use the concentrate within a day or 2.

Recipe #2—Homemade Fish Emulsion Fertilizer

Fish emulsion is a homemade fertilizer made using fish waste—such as fish parts and guts—and water. This organic all-purpose fertilizer has also been around for thousands of years and it works great, but it takes weeks to make, and the mixture must have time to rot before you can use it. Yes, there is some bad smell here—it is made from rotting fish, after all!

Instructions

• To begin the process, fill a 55-gallon drum about one-third full with a ratio of 2 parts water and 1 part fish waste.
• Allow this mixture to steep for 24 hours.
• After steeping, add more water to the drum until it is completely full.
• Cover loosely and let the drum ferment for several weeks—we usually allow about 3 weeks for fermentation.
• To use, apply the fish emulsion fertilizer to the soil around your plants at a rate of 3 gallons of liquid for every 100 square feet of yard or garden.

Recipe #3—Seaweed Fertilizer

Another fertilizer with a thousand-year pedigree. Not only is seaweed an all-purpose organic fertilizer, but it also contains mannitol. Mannitol is a compound that increases a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients in the soil. Either fresh or dried seaweed can be used to create the all-purpose fertilizer. However, if you use fresh seaweed or dry, salted seaweed, ensure it is thoroughly washed before using.

Instructions

• Add 8 cups of chopped seaweed to a 5 gallon bucket and fill halfway with water. (Rainwater is always best if it’s available.)
• Loosely cover the container, and let the seaweed steep for about 3 weeks.
• After steeping, strain the seaweed and transfer the liquid to a container to store it for up to 3 weeks.
• To use, mix half water and half seaweed tea into your favorite watering can and apply it to the soil around your plants. Your plants will thank you for it within just a few days.

Recipe #4—The Quick Fix Fertilizer

If you haven’t got time to wait 3 days to make the Simple Tea, you might want to try this idea. Most of the ingredients can be found around your home.

Instructions

• In an empty 1 gallon milk jug, mix 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon of ammonia (a very strong source of quick nitrogen), 3 teaspoons of instant iced tea (the tannic acid in this helps the plants to more quickly and easily absorb nutrients), 3 teaspoons blackstrap molasses (this helps feed soil bacteria), 3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizer, as it combines with the air and water as it decomposes, freeing the oxygen elements and thus providing a supplement of oxygen to the plants and aerating the soil), 1/4 cup crushed bone scraps (this adds phosphorus—any bones will do but I like to use fish bones myself as they also provide potassium), 1 crushed eggshell or 1/2 a dried banana peel for potassium (you can omit if using fish bones, but I would still add the eggshell for the calcium—especially for tomatoes, as it helps prevent blossom end rot)
• Fill the jug the rest of the way with water (again, rainwater is best). Replace cap and allow the jug to sit in the sun for about 1 hour to warm, then water your plants with this mixture at full strength.

Using What Your Animals Give You

There are many other ways to make your own fertilizer, and some are easier to make than others. It doesn’t get much easier than using manure from your animals. For eons, man used “free” fertilizer from manure to fertilize his crops. Manure can be used as is after drying, or in the form of manure tea.

Before manure is used in the garden, it should be aged and dried, and/or composted first. Age fresh manure for at least 6 months. Well-aged manure on its own makes a great fertilizer for garden plants. You can spread aged manure directly on top of your garden soil at a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Another option is to till it, or mix it by hand, into the top layer of soil in the fall or winter, prior to spring planting.

Generally, fall is the best time to use manure in the garden. This allows plenty of time for the manure to break down, eliminating the threat of burning plants in the garden come springtime. As the soil absorbs manure, nutrients are released. This enriches the soil, which in turn helps the plants. One of the most important benefits of using manure in the garden is its ability to condition the soil.

Composting manure is one of the best and safest ways to use this free fertilizer, as it eliminates the possibility of burning your plants and controls potentially harmful bacteria.

Nearly any kind of manure can be used. Generally horse, cow, and chicken manures are the most commonly used for manure fertilizer. Some people also use sheep, rabbit, turkey, and more. It is not recommended that you use manure from your cats, dogs, other household pets – or any other meat-eating animals. These manures are unsuitable for the garden or the compost pile, as they are likely to carry parasites.

Making Manure Tea Fertilizer

I will leave you with one last recipe. I use this tea regularly and it works great—just make sure that your manure is well-aged and comes from animals that have not been grazing on fields treated with broad-leaf herbicides, such as Grazon.

Read More: “How to Rescue a Garden Destroyed by Grazon Contamination”

Bonus Recipe: Manure Tea Fertilizer

Manure tea enriches the soil and adds much-needed nutrients for healthy plant growth. The nutrients found in manure tea make it an ideal fertilizer for garden plants. The nutrients from manure dissolve easily in water so that they can then be added to a sprayer or simply used in a watering can. The leftover manure can be thrown in the garden or reused in the compost pile.

Manure tea can be used each time you water plants, or periodically. It can also be used to water lawns. However, it is important to dilute the tea prior to use so as to avoid burning the roots or foliage of plants. I fill my watering can halfway with the tea and then fill it to the top with rainwater. I use this every 3 weeks or so during the growing season.

Instructions

• Place a shovelful of well-aged manure in a large burlap sack or pillowcase.
• Make certain that the manure has been well aged or “cured” beforehand. Fresh manure is much too strong for plants, and it can contain harmful bacteria.
• Suspend the manure-filled “tea bag” in a 5 gallon bucket, and add water to create a mix of 5 parts water to 1 part manure.
• Allow this mixture to steep for up to 2 weeks.
• After steeping, remove the bag, allowing it to hang above the container until the dripping has stopped.
• Skipping the tea bag and adding the manure directly to the water usually speeds up the brewing process. Without a bag, the tea is usually ready within only a few days if you stir it thoroughly during this period. Once it has fully brewed, you will have to strain it to separate the solids from the liquid. The remaining manure can then be added to the compost pile.
• To use, dilute the tea by half, as mentioned above, prior to use.

Helpful Resource: “How Much Nutrient Is in Your Homemade Fertilizer?”

Add to This List of Homemade Fertilizers

This list of homemade fertilizers is by no means exhaustive. If I’ve missed any of your favorites, be sure to let me know in the comments below! Keep in mind that the most important thing you really need to understand about making your own fertilizer is that you control what goes into the fertilizer, so you know exactly what goes into your garden and therefore what goes into your body. Making your fertilizer is also a great way to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Lately, before I toss anything into my trash, I stop and ask myself, “How else can I use this?” As often as not, the things I would have otherwise thrown away can help out in my garden. And, best of all, I’ve come to realize that my home, my animals, and even my own body are all full of fertilizer!

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The Grow Network is a global network of people who produce their own food and medicine. We’re the coolest bunch of backyard researchers on Earth! We’re constantly sharing, discovering, and working together to test new paths for sustainable living—while reconnecting with the “old ways” that are slipping away in our modern world. We value soil, water, sunlight, simplicity, sustainability, usefulness, and freedom. We strive to produce, prepare, and preserve our own food and medicine, and we hope you do, too!

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123RF Liquid fertilisers are an easy way to give your vegetable plants a nutritional boost in a controlled dose.

As spring gets going, your vegetables will amp up their growth and a dose of liquid fertiliser can do wonders to ensure healthy growth.

Unlike granular fertilisers, liquid fertilisers get the nutrients to your plants quickly, so you can feed them when they need it most.

When using a solid fertiliser in the garden it can be easy to add too much, which in turn can be detrimental to your plants. Too much nitrogen added to beetroot, for example, will lead to big green tops and not much root.

A liquid fertiliser, on the other hand, makes it easy to give plants the boost they need, in a controlled dose.

* Easy to grow veges
* How to grow and store veges
* Beginner’s guide to starting a garden

You don’t have to spend money to get a nutrient-packed drink for your vegetables. You probably have what you need at home for at least one of these recipes.

Elien Lewis A manure tea can help in the production of nicely rounded, plump garlic bulbs.

1. MANURE TEA

An excellent source of nitrogen. You’ll need 1 part well-aged manure and 5 parts water, a large bucket (with a lid) and a sack/pillowcase.

Chicken, horse, sheep…It doesn’t really matter what manure you use for this tea as long as it is well aged.
Shovel the manure into the sack or pillow case and place it in the bucket. Top up with water and cover (it’s like a giant tea bag).
Let it sit for one to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, dilute it to the ratio of 1:16.
You can empty the manure-filled sack into your compost afterwards.

Elien Lewis You probably already have most of the ingredients you need to make your own liquid fertiliser at home.

2. COMPOST TEA

Use the same ratio as above, 1 part organic matter to 5 parts water. This time, you’ll be using some homemade compost instead of manure.

Homemade compost is known as black gold in the gardening world and compost tea is the golden liquid.
In a bucket, shovel in 1 part homemade compost and top it up with 5 parts water. Stir and let it sit for four days.
When it’s ready to use, strain it through some sort of cloth, for example, an old t-shirt. Use it immediately and dilute to the ratio of 1:10.

123RF STOCK PHOTO The seaweed fertiliser may take about eight weeks to process and get a bit smelly, but it packs a nutritional punch.

3. SEAWEED LIQUID FERTILISER

Living in New Zealand means this one is an easy one to make as there’s nearly always a beach close by.

Seaweed is packed full of goodies for your plants, including potassium, nitrogen, phosphate and magnesium. It also helps combat transplant shock when moving plants and seedlings.
We are sticking with the 1:5 ratio again. Scour your local beach for the seaweed, you won’t need a huge amount.
Rinse the seaweed well to remove excess salt, then place it in a bucket, cover with water and let it sit.
The seaweed needs to decompose for this fertiliser so let it sit for about eight weeks in a dark place, away from your house – this one can get a bit stinky. Dilute to a ratio of 1:2.

Elien Lewis Banana peels and water are all you need to make these simple fertilisers.

4. BANANA PEEL LIQUID FERTILISER(S)

Banana peel is such a treat for plants, especially roses. They’re packed with potassium, phosphorus and calcium. You can make a banana peel fertiliser in a few different ways.

  • Banana peel tea:

​Soak two to three banana skins in roughly 600ml of water for a few days. The minerals will leach into the water, which you can then use as it is for your plants, with no need to dilute. Give the soaked peels to your worms or put it in the compost.

  • Banana peel smoothie:

Blitz your peels together with a cup of water to make a banana peel slurry. Pour this on the base of your roses and they’ll love you for it.

  • Banana smoothie

Spoiled, old bananas can be blitzed into liquid too and poured around your plants. Try it in your vegetable garden.

5. WEEDY TEA

This has to be the easiest one to source and make.

You can use all sorts of weeds from around your garden for this, especially those with tap roots, such as dock, comfrey, dandelions or wild fennel.

The long tap roots mean the plant can absorb more nutrients, which are passed into the leaves. When these leaves are put in the weed tea, the nutrients will leach into the water, ready to be poured back into the garden.

Sticking with the 1:5 ratio (1 part weeds, 5 parts water), fill a bucket with your sourced weeds. Cover them with water then put a lid on the bucket. Let it steep for about two weeks.

Dilute it to a ratio of 1:10 and use it anywhere in the garden.

Once the weeds have decomposed in the bucket, chuck them in your compost and start again.

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Grow

Ferns

Ferns reached the height of their popularity in the Victorian era when it was fashionable for grand gardens to have a specially constructed fernery. But for most of the twentieth century, flamboyant flowering plants outshone the ferns.

Now, it seems, the situation has changed and once again we are appreciating the special qualities of ferns. Their serenity adds a delicate charm to shaded garden beds. Potted ferns make delightful indoor or outdoor specimens.

Outdoor Ferns

Many ferns will grow happily outdoors as long as they are given plenty of moisture and some shade. Popular choices include bird’s nest fern, hen and chicken fern, king fern, tree ferns.

Indoor Ferns

Ferns do best in a moist atmosphere so should be kept away from strong draughts, air conditioning, and sunlight though windows. They grow well in bathrooms where the high humidity levels keep them happy.

Maidenhair, Boston, hare’s foot and leather ferns are all widely used indoors.

Epiphytic Ferns

These ferns naturally grow high up in trees where they feed themselves by catching falling leaf litter. Plants that grow in trees are called epiphytes. The best known epiphytic ferns are elkhorns and staghorns.

Potted Ferns

Pot ferns into a mix with relatively low nutrient levels. A mix that holds extra moisture (like Yates Patio & Tub mix or Thrive Hanging Basket mix) are best.

Fertilising Ferns

Every fern grower you speak to will have his or her own favourite method of feeding. The important thing to remember is that ferns grow slowly and have quite limited fertiliser requirements. Don’t overdo it!

Feed potted ferns with controlled release Nutricote (there’s one that’s specifically labelled “Fern & Palm”) or half strength Thrive Soluble. Some indoor gardeners find they get good results by using gentle, organic fish emulsion.

Outdoor ferns appreciate an occasional sprinkling with Dynamic Lifter, and mulching with old leaves or well-rotted manure.

Some fern experts swear that their ferns enjoy a tonic of vitamin B1. They recommend dissolving one vitamin B1 tablet in 2 litres of water and pouring the solution over the root system.

Pests and Diseases

One of the worst pests is fern scale. The usual recommendation for controlling scale is to spray with white oil. Unfortunately, with sensitive fern leaves, this cure can sometimes be worse than the disease. A safer treatment may be to trim off all the leaves and fertilise to encourage fresh new growth.

Rose Gun or Bug Oil will control mealy bugs and thrips. Two-spotted mite (or red spider) can be controlled with applications of Mavrik or Nature’s Way Insect Spray. These will also help take care of caterpillars, but it’s best to remove caterpillars by hand if possible. Check your ferns every week and try to get rid of pests before they reach nuisance proportions.

This area is for general comments from members of the public. Some questions or comments may not receive a reply from Yates. For all consumer related enquiries, please contact us.

Fertilizing Outdoor Ferns – Types Of Garden Fern Fertilizer

The oldest discovered fossil of a fern is dated back to about 360 million years ago. The interrupted fern, Osmunda claytoniana, has not changed or evolved at all in 180 million years. It grows wild and rampant all over Northeastern America and Asia, exactly as it has for over a hundred million years. Many of the ferns we grow as common garden ferns are the same species of fern that has grown here since the Cretaceous period, about 145 million years ago. What this means for us is that Mother Nature has got fern growing down pat, and no matter how much of a black thumb you think you have, you probably won’t kill them. That said, when it comes to fertilizing outdoor ferns, there are things you should know.

Fertilizer for Garden Ferns

About the most harmful thing you can do for ferns is too much. Ferns are very sensitive to over fertilization. In nature, they get the nutrients they need from fallen leaves or evergreen needles and rainwater running off their tree companions.

The best thing to try if ferns look pale and limp is to add organic material like peat, leaf mold or worm castings around the root zone. If fern beds are well maintained and kept free of fallen leaves and debris, it’s best to top dress the soil around your ferns each spring with rich organic material.

Feeding Outdoor Fern Plants

If you feel you must use fertilizer for garden ferns, use only a light slow release fertilizer. 10-10-10 is plenty, but you could use up to 15-15-15.

If the outer fronds or tips of the fronds turn brown, this is a sign of over fertilizing outdoor ferns. You can then try to flush the fertilizer from the soil with extra watering. Ferns like a lot of water and should be fine with this flushing, but if tips turn black, decrease the watering.

Slow release fertilizer for garden ferns should only be done annually in the spring. Container grown outdoor ferns can be fertilized in spring, and again in midsummer if they look pale and unhealthy. Fertilizer is leached out of container grown plants quicker than it is leached from garden soil.

Never apply garden fern fertilizer in the fall. Even ferns divided in fall will not need to be fertilized until spring. Adding fertilizer in fall can be far more hurtful than helpful. You can cover fern crowns with mulch, straw or peat in late autumn though for a little boost of nutrients in early spring.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.

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Indoor ferns have gotten a bad reputation. This post will focus on fern care in general, but I will illustrate using Nephrolepsis exaltata plants, or the common Boston Fern.

They can be tricky to grow. But it doesn’t have to be! I will teach you everything you need for success and will I will also give you some secrets that few, if any, generic websites will give you. So keep reading!

Growing ferns in pots indoors is actually quite easy as long as you do a few things to set yourself up for success! So keep reading to arm yourself with all the needed knowledge to grow ferns indoors.

Indoor Fern Care

There are several elements that are crucial for growing indoor ferns such as the Boston Fern, or any fern for that matter:

Light

Very careful attention to watering and fertilizing

Proper potting mix

Proper pot type and size

And last but not least, the VERY misunderstood topic of humidity

Keep reading to explore these topics. But first, take a look at this photo of me with my Nephrolepsis pendula which is closely related to the common Boston fern, but it has longer fronds.

The care is the same as the common Boston Fern, Nephrolepsis exaltata.

Light for Indoor Ferns

This one will be the easiest topic to understand and implement. Ferns in general can not tolerate strong, direct sun. They will thrive in bright indirect sun, but a little bit of sunshine is OK.

Especially if it is morning sunshine. If you live in a colder, more northern climate like I do, some direct sunshine especially in the winter is very beneficial since it is weaker then.

The fern that I’m hugging in the photo above is living in our sunroom. It has been hanging in front of a Northern exposure window since I purchased the fern back in 2015.

The room also has a sky light and a short wall of East windows. As a result, it receives largely bright indirect light, but it does get a little morning sunshine at times.

Whatever you do, just avoid long, extended periods of direct sunshine, especially if you live in warmer climates. Ferns just didn’t evolve to tolerate a lot of direct sunshine.

If all you have are super-sunny windows (which is a good problem to have), you can set the plant a little further back. Another thing you can do is diffuse the sunshine with either sheer curtains or partially closed blinds.

Watering Your Indoor Ferns

The absolute most critical aspect of being able to grow ferns successfully is very careful attention to watering! Many people think that humidity is the most important topic in fern care but watering is MUCH more important!

While humidity is important, proper soil moisture is even MORE important. In fact, it is paramount. Humidity is a VERY misunderstood topic and I will elaborate on that in the following sections.

Ferns are not houseplants that you can forget about and water whenever the hell you remember. If you want a houseplant that you can neglect, I suggest that you grow more plants like Sansevieria. Click HERE to read my blog post on growing Sansevieria.

In general, ferns like to be kept on the moister side. For most houseplants, I normally recommend that the top inch or so of the potting soil dry out before watering it again.

This can apply to ferns as well, but it would be even better to water your fern when the surface of the soil is just barely dried out.

Whatever you do, your fern’s soil should NEVER go completely dry! This will be a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, you don’t want to drown your fern either. So be careful not to let your fern sit in water for extended periods of time.

If you let your fern go dry, it will develop dry fronds and it will shed leaves excessively. Some amount of shedding is normal so don’t expect perfection! But be careful to not let your fern go too dry.

Don’t freak out if your ferns develop some dry fronds, especially in the middle of winter. This is normal and no cause for alarm (unless you let that soil dry out too much…in which case, whip out that watering can!)

Fertilizing Your Ferns

No special fertilizer is needed other than a general purpose fertilizer. I fertilize with every watering, dilutely, throughout the growing season.

I refrain from fertilizing in the winter when growth pretty much comes to a halt.

One wonderful all-purpose fertilizer that I use for many of my houseplants is the Schultz All Purpose 10-15-10 that I purchase from Amazon. Aren’t sure what 10-15-10 on the fertilizer label means? Then click HERE to read my blog post about fertilizers. It is helpful to understand the basics!

Potting Mixes for Ferns

Many sites just don’t talk about potting mixes for ferns, so keep reading and really absorb this section. This is very important.

There are various potting mixes that you can use for indoor ferns. Take a look at the list below. You can either purchase a pre-packaged mix, or you can even create your own easy blends for ferns if you want to give your mix a custom touch! A

I use Miracle-Gro Potting Mix for quite a variety of plants. It’s a fantastic all-around potting mix and has the added benefit of having fertilizer added to the mix. So you can use this potting mix and not have to worry about fertilizing for a few months.

One wonderful potting mix that is stellar for ferns is the Miracle-Grow Moisture Control Potting Mix. It absorbs more water than standard potting soils and offers you a buffer in case you are sometimes forgetful in watering your ferns!

This is a great potting mix for any houseplants that like to stay on the moister side such as ferns. I would avoid this product for plants that like to dry out in between watering…such as cacti, succulents, etc.

Lastly, one other thing that you can try is mixing vermiculite in with any old, good houseplant potting mix that you have on hand. Vermiculite holds moisture, so when mixed in with a standard houseplant potting mix, it will benefit your ferns and other moisture loving plants.

Pot Type & Size for Ferns

I have a couple important comments here. First of all, as far as pot type, you can use whatever type of pot you’d like, except you should avoid terra cotta pots.

Terra cotta pots dry out much too quickly for ferns, so using terra cotta would work against your favor. You are trying to conserve moisture so don’t make your life harder by repotting ferns into terra cotta pots.

Keep a close eye as your ferns grow. As they get more and more pot bound (and they will!), it will become harder and harder to keep them well watered.

When plants get very pot bound, they will use water up much more quickly. So at this point, you have two options.

  1. You can just water more frequently.
  2. You can repot into a larger pot. Which can be annoying for a larger fern but possible!

In the photograph of me hugging my large hanging fern, it is planted in a special pot. This particular pot is absolutely amazing and it has made my life a lot easier.

I highly recommend this pot for your hanging ferns. The one I have at home is no longer available from the manufacturer, but here is a similar self-watering hanging pot.

It will make all the difference in growing ferns! I still water from above and likely some of the water will then go into the reservoir. As long as you don’t absolutely flood your plant, you should be fine.

You will be amazed how much water ferns will use up, especially as their roots grow and become somewhat potbound!

I even know of people that successfully grow maidenhair ferns in self-watering pots and have great success. Maidenhair ferns are notoriously difficult indoors, but self watering pots will make a world of difference!

Humidity for Ferns

The MUCH misunderstood topic of humidity!

The most effective way to increase humidity is to use a humidifer. Forget the misting. You may be shocked to hear this, but you see the picture of that beautiful fern that I posed with? I never mist it. You read that correctly. I never mist it!

Why? Because if you pay more attention to keeping your fern properly watered, it will benefit your plant FAR more than the dinky little misting bottle that you are sashaying around with.

Do yourself a favor and get a humidifier if you really want to increase the humidity in your space. I use the Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier that I purchased from Amazon and it is amazing! It has so many features, including both warm and cool mist options.

You can also set the percent humidity to where you want it, and is very adjustable overall.

The water reservoir is also a very nice size and will last a long time. It even has a little compartment where you can add essential oils! And to boot, it even has a remote control.

I’ve purchased so many of the cheaper humidifiers and they just don’t last, and they don’t offer the features that this humidifier provides. You will not be disappointed!

I use mine almost non-stop in the winter when the air is painfully dry. Not only is dry air bad for plants, but also for our skin! Do yourself and your plant collection a favor and humidify the air!

How can you measure humidity? Get a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level. You should aim for at least 50% humidity levels. A level of 60-70% would be even better if you can!

But like I mentioned earlier, make sure you get your watering down pat first and then worry about humidity. If you have both, then you are golden!

So go on and go show your indoor ferns some love!

Plants dying due to over/lack of fertilization? Make these easy fertilizers at home using ingredients from your kitchen! Most plants require 3 components to survive- sunlight, water, and soil. Plants, unlike us humans and animals, cannot express their needs and therefore it is crucial that we take care of them the best we can. The soil is an important element for plant growth as they get their nutrients and nourishment from it. The soil is to plants what food is to us, humans. Therefore, fertilization of the soil acts as a boost to the already present nutrients in the soil. Think of it as getting a healthy balanced diet every time your body is running out of nutrients. Below, you will find a list of easy DIY Fertilizers For Your Plants which can easily be found in your kitchen and will help boost up your houseplants-

EGGSHELLS:

Just like we humans enjoy eating eggs in our breakfast as they are a good source of calcium and potassium for our body, our plants could use them too. Calcium found in these eggshells helps plants build a strong cell structure. To use eggshells, remove the contents inside the egg, clean the eggshells and crush them well with the help of a mortar and pestle. Now evenly spread the crushed shells over the top layer of soil. The shells would be automatically absorbed by the soil.

GRASS CLIPPINGS:

Once you have mowed the extra grass from your lawn, you can use these grass clippings as a homemade fertilizer for your indoor as well as outdoor plants. Surprisingly, grass clipping has the most needed macronutrients- Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium in them. Evenly spread chopped grass clippings over the bottom layer of the soil and cover them with the remaining soil. Since the grass clippings contain 80% water, they will easily decompose after a time period.

COFFEE:

If your home has acid-loving plants like nasturtium, daffodils, marigold, sweet potato, parsley, potatoes etc, then this fertilizer is a must have on your gardening list. Coffee has the ability to maintain the required nitrogen as well as acid level in such plants and is a fertilizer available in every kitchen. There are two ways to use coffee grounds; either you can evenly sprinkle coffee grounds over the top layer of soil or you can dilute them in fresh water and drizzle them over your plants.

BANANA PEELS:

We always tend to throw away the banana skin unaware of the fact that our little garden needs them the most. Rich in phosphorus and potassium, banana peels would help your plants to strengthen, boost up fruiting and protect them from diseases. So the next time you eat a banana, reserve the peel for your garden. To mix banana peel in the soil, you can either chop them and sow them deep in the soil or soak them in fresh water for 3-4 days and then spray the water over the plants.

VINEGAR:

Vinegar is another fertilizer which would uplift the alkaline level in your container plants. Other than boosting the alkalinity, it also keeps the ants at bay. Vinegar also helps the plants to get rid of weeds. Do not directly pour the white vinegar into the soil. Always dilute 1 cup of vinegar in 2 gallons of fresh water while watering your plants. This is one of the best DIY Fertilizers For Your Plants.

TEA:

Just like coffee, the acid-loving plants enjoy tea as a fertilizer. Because tea contains citric and tannic acid which helps maintain the pH levels of the soil. Since tea is so readily available in almost all Indian houses, it would make sense to use these for your indoor plants as well. Once you finish drinking or pouring your tea, strain the leaves and let them cool. Or, if you’re using a tea bag, remove the tea bag from your drink. And then cut open to let it cool. Once cooled, mix these leaves with the soil of the houseplant. Alternatively, you can soak fresh tea leaves and then pour that water directly into the soil and that would be a great DIY Fertilizers For Your Plants.

So there you have 5 DIY Fertilizers For Your Plants which you can use to boost up your garden. Unlike chemical fertilizers, these ones are natural and do not harm the plant or soil in any way. Over-fertilization shouldn’t be an issue with these. Just make sure to use these a maximum of once a month. Fertilizing doesn’t get easier than this!

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