All about Feeding plant and How to feed plants naturally

All about Feeding plant and How to feed plants naturally

Let’s see about the nutrients plants need to survive, grow, bloom, produce fruits, etc.

The popular n.p.k – Primary macronutrients:

  • (N)Nitrogen: All plants need it, without it plants cannot make plant protein that helps them in continuously building new tissues (read leaves, branches, etc.)
  • (P)Phosphorous: Helps in the production of flowers and fruits but most importantly a strong root system.
  • (K)Potassium: The energy powerhouse of the plant a.k.a carbohydrates which plants can only make with the help of potassium

Secondary macronutrients:

  • Calcium: Plants do not need much calcium but they surely need enough to improve the soil & bind the soil together.
  • Magnesium: Plants cannot process sunlight in the absence of magnesium. In short, there is no photosynthesis (that’s how the plant makes their food) if there is no magnesium.
  • Sulfur: Like we humans, plants need proteins to build & repair themselves and they produce plant protein only with the help of sulfur.


  • Copper: important for reproduction
  • Manganese: Works with plant enzymes to help break down carbohydrates and metabolize nitrogen
  • Iron: Essential for the formation of chlorophyll
  • Zinc: Regulates consumption of sugar in the plant
  • Boron: Aids production of sugar and carbohydrates, chlorophyll synthesis
  • Molybdenum: Helps the plant capture nitrogen
  • Chlorine: Required for photosynthesis

The organic ingredients of the potting mix take care of these nutrients and this can be maintained with regular feeding.

Feeding your plants

Plants are babies and unlike us humans, they are babies forever when it comes to their food because they are 100% dependent on you to feed them and like babies, they can only give you signs.

1. Regular feeding is the key

The most important thing to remember is that your container has a limited ecosystem and capacity to hold nutrients for a long. As the plant grows it consumes the necessary nutrients from potting mix and keeps on depleting it. Rains and water drainage also plays role in leeching the potting mix of nutrients. That’s why plants need regular feeding.

Implant this thought in your mind and you will have no issues feeding your plants.

2. Highest quality potting mix

Recall plants don’t care about their container until they begin to struggle to grow. The same goes for the potting mix. The potting mix in the container is the main source of nutrients for the plant. Therefore a high-quality potting mix makes a great difference in the way your plants are fed.

A potting mix is like a powerhouse of organic matter and slow-release fertilizers.

A good potting mix from the beginning of a plant’s journey ensures that the plant keeps getting high-quality nutrients for optimum growth.

3. Foliar feeding

  • A nutritious potting mix takes care of a majority of your plant’s nutrition but you would be surprised to know that plants may absorb 8-20 times more nutrients through their foliage than through the roots.
  • Feeding through foliar sprays is like humans taking health supplements on top of regular food to ensure optimum health levels.
  • Regular feed through foliar sprays gives your plant a health boost and helps them maintain its growth.
  • While organic fertilizers are slow-release and therefore slow to absorb by plants. Organic foliar fertilizers are fast-acting.

You can buy formulated organic foliar spray fertilizers from stores but if you want DIYs, they are:

  • Liquid seaweed extract
  • Neem oil

There are 100s of organic spray fertilizers that are available and many you can make yourself but you begin with these two because they are effective, economic, easily available, and hassle-free.

7 commandments of foliar feed

  • Typically a foliar spray fertilizer is applied when the plant is transplanted, begins to bloom and the first fruits start showing. However, for a Terrace garden, I recommend applying foliar feeding in uniform regular intervals.
  • Spray your plants early morning when the weather is cool or evening. Spray plants until you see them dripping from the leaves (this is called drenching). Spray in the evenings around 6 pm so I don’t have to worry about any kind of leaf burn from sunlight.
  • If there is a forecast for rain, then postpone foliar spray to avoid washing it away to waste.
  • Don’t spray when the winds are strong. The spray won’t stay on the leaves and will not be as effective. Also, due to the opposite wind direction, you may get yourself in contact with the sprays, especially on your face & eyes. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Get a good-quality spray pump. For a few plants, a 1-liter hand spray will do. Personally use a 5-liter pressure spray pump because I have a lot of plants and it saves a lot of energy and prevents me from sore thumb and fingers.
  • Make sure your plants are well watered the day you apply a foliar feed and the day after (especially on hotter days). This is important for the nutrient uptake of the plant. Just avoid overwatering.
  • The key to getting good results is a routine for foliage spray.

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