homemade fertilizer for indoor plants

Crafting the Perfect Homemade Fertilizer for Indoor Plants

Indoor gardening enthusiasts often overlook the power of nutrition in nurturing their green companions. However, the secret to vibrant and healthy indoor plants lies in the very essence of what we feed them. Stepping away from store-bought options, this article unveils the art of creating homemade fertilizer for indoor plants.

With just a few simple ingredients from around your home, you can unlock the door to flourishing plant life. Dive into our guide to discover how to blend eco-friendly, cost-effective fertilizers that promise to bring out the best in your indoor garden.

The Basics of Making Homemade Fertilizer

Making Homemade Fertilizer

Embarking on the journey of creating homemade fertilizer for your indoor plants begins with understanding the unique needs of your green friends. Each plant in your indoor garden has its own specific dietary preferences, requiring a balanced mix of nutrients to thrive.

For instance, some plants may crave a nitrogen-rich diet, while others might require more potassium or phosphorus. It’s essential to tailor your homemade fertilizer to these needs, ensuring your plants receive the right nourishment to grow strong and healthy.

Safety is paramount when preparing and using homemade fertilizers. Always wear gloves to protect your skin from any potential irritants found in natural ingredients. Additionally, be mindful of your storage practices. Keep your homemade fertilizer mixtures in clearly labeled, sealed containers, stored out of reach from pets and children to prevent accidental ingestion.

Furthermore, consider the environmental impact of the ingredients you choose. Opt for organic, sustainably-sourced materials whenever possible to not only benefit your plants but also the planet. By following these basic principles, you can create effective, eco-friendly fertilizers that will enrich your indoor garden and promote vibrant plant growth.

6 Homemade Fertilizers for Indoor Plants

1. Coffee Grounds

Coffee Grounds

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Coffee grounds are a fantastic source of nitrogen, which is crucial for leafy growth. They also contain potassium and magnesium, promoting overall plant health. To use coffee grounds as fertilizer, simply sprinkle them around the soil surface or mix them in lightly with the topsoil. For acid-loving plants like ferns and African violets, this can help maintain the acidic soil conditions they thrive in. Avoid overuse, as too much acidity can hinder plant growth.

2. Eggshell


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Eggshells are rich in calcium, essential for cell wall structure and plant growth. To make eggshell fertilizer, rinse and collect eggshells until you have a sizable amount. Dry them thoroughly, then grind into a fine powder using a blender or mortar and pestle. Sprinkle this calcium-rich powder around the base of your plants or mix it into the soil at planting time to help prevent blossom end rot and promote healthy growth.

3. Banana Peel

Banana Peel 

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Banana peels are an excellent source of potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, promoting flower and fruit development. To create a banana peel fertilizer, chop peels into small pieces and bury them in the soil near your plants. Alternatively, soak peels in water for a few days to make a nutrient-rich tea. Strain the liquid and use it to water your plants, providing them with a quick potassium boost.

4. Aquarium Water

Aquarium Water

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When you change the water in your fish tank, save the old water to use on your plants. Aquarium water is enriched with nitrogen and trace nutrients from fish waste, acting as a natural fertilizer. It’s particularly beneficial for leaf growth and can improve the overall health of your plants. Just be sure to use freshwater only, as saltwater can harm plants.

5. Compost Tea

Compost Tea

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Compost tea is a liquid gold for gardeners, teeming with beneficial microorganisms and nutrients. To make it, fill a burlap sack or an old pillowcase with compost and tie it closed. Submerge this in a bucket of water and let it steep for a few days, stirring occasionally.

The resulting tea can be diluted with water until it’s the color of weak tea and used to water plants or spray on leaves. This not only feeds the plant but also adds beneficial microorganisms to the soil.

6. Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt 

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Epsom salt, a natural mineral composed of magnesium and sulfate, is essential for seed germination, chlorophyll production, and the strengthening of cell walls. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and use this solution to water your plants once a month. This can help in correcting magnesium deficiencies, leading to greener leaves and more robust plant growth.

By utilizing these recipes, you can create a range of homemade fertilizers tailored to the specific needs of your indoor plants, ensuring they receive the right balance of nutrients to thrive in your home environment.

How to Apply Homemade Fertilizers

Apply Homemade Fertilizers

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Applying homemade fertilizers to your indoor plants requires a thoughtful approach to ensure optimal plant health and growth. Here’s how to make the most of your natural fertilizers by applying them correctly:

Know Your Plant’s Needs

First, it’s vital to understand the specific nutritional requirements of each plant. Some plants may benefit from a higher nitrogen content for leaf development, while others might need more potassium to enhance flowering and fruiting. Tailor your application based on these needs.

Application Frequency

Generally, homemade fertilizers can be applied more frequently than synthetic ones since they are less concentrated. However, moderation is key. A good rule of thumb is to fertilize every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) and reduce frequency during the dormant season (fall and winter).

Application Methods

1. Solid Applications (Coffee Grounds, Eggshell Powder, Banana Peels):

Gently work the fertilizer into the top inch of soil around the plant, avoiding direct contact with the plant stem to prevent burning.

For potted plants, sprinkle a thin layer on the soil surface. This method is especially beneficial for slow-release nutrients like those from eggshells or banana peels.

2. Liquid Applications (Compost Tea, Banana Peel Tea, Aquarium Water, Epsom Salt Solution):

Water the plants at the base, using the nutrient-rich solution in place of regular watering. This ensures the nutrients are delivered directly to the roots where they’re most needed.

For foliar feeding, especially with compost tea or Epsom salt solution, use a spray bottle to lightly mist the leaves. This can be particularly effective for nutrients that are absorbed through the leaves.

Quantity to Apply

Avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to nutrient burn, manifesting as browned leaf tips and weak plant growth.

As a guideline, when using liquid fertilizers, ensure the soil is moist before application to prevent root shock. Typically, one cup of liquid fertilizer for small pots and up to a quart for larger ones during each application is sufficient.

Monitoring and Adjusting

After applying homemade fertilizers, monitor your plants for signs of improvement or distress. If plants show signs of nutrient burn (such as yellowing leaves or leaf burn), reduce the concentration of your fertilizer or its application frequency. Conversely, if plants appear to be thriving, you might have found the right balance.

Environmental Consideration

Be mindful of the environment within your home, including light, humidity, and temperature, as these can influence how well your plants utilize the nutrients they receive. Adjust your fertilizing routine according to seasonal changes and indoor climate conditions.

By following these guidelines for applying homemade fertilizers, you can ensure your indoor plants receive the right amount of nutrients in the most effective way, supporting their health and vibrant growth throughout the year.

Tips for Monitoring Plant Health

Plant Health

Monitoring the health of your indoor plants is crucial for identifying their needs and ensuring they benefit fully from your homemade fertilizers. Here are some tips to help you keep a close eye on your green friends:

  • Observe Leaf Color and Texture: Healthy plants typically have vibrant, green leaves. Yellowing or browning can indicate nutrient deficiencies or over-fertilization. Soft, wilting leaves might suggest water stress, either too much or too little.
  • Check for New Growth: Regular new growth is a good sign your plant is healthy and responding well to its environment, including the fertilizer. Slow growth or the absence of new leaves and shoots might require attention.
  • Inspect for Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for signs of pest infestations or diseases, such as spots on leaves, sticky residues, or visible bugs. Early detection is key to managing these issues before they harm your plant.
  • Monitor Soil Condition: Overly dry or waterlogged soil can stress plants, affecting their ability to absorb nutrients effectively. Ensure the soil is well-draining and moist, but not soggy.
  • Evaluate Flowering and Fruiting: For flowering and fruiting plants, the presence of blooms or fruits is a positive indicator of health. Lack of flowering might suggest a need for more specific nutrients, such as phosphorus.
  • Notice Root Health: If possible, check the roots for signs of health. White, robust roots indicate a healthy plant, while brown, mushy roots suggest overwatering or root rot.
  • Assess Overall Plant Vigor: A healthy plant stands upright and looks vigorous. If your plant appears lethargic or drooping despite proper care, it may need a closer examination for potential issues.
  • Adjust Fertilization Based on Observations: Use your observations to fine-tune your fertilization practices. If your plants show signs of excess nutrients, scale back on fertilizer application. Conversely, signs of nutrient deficiency might warrant a slightly increased dosage or frequency.

By regularly monitoring these aspects of your indoor plants, you can create an optimal environment that encourages their growth and vitality. Paying close attention to how they respond to homemade fertilizers will allow you to adjust your care routine to better suit their needs.


Embracing homemade fertilizer for indoor plants not only nurtures your greenery but also aligns with sustainable gardening practices. With these six simple recipes, you’re equipped to enhance your indoor garden’s health and vitality. Remember, the best fertilizer is the one tailored to your plant’s specific needs, so don’t hesitate to experiment and observe the results.

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