Do Plants Need Plant Food? (Quick Read)


When you water your houseplants, do you give them plant food too? You might not need to.

House plants usually do well with water only, especially if they’re in a pot with good drainage. But, if your plants are looking a little pale, or if you want to make sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need, you can give them a little plant food.

Plants need food to grow and thrive, just like people do. However, some people believe that plants can get all of the nutrients they need from the soil. While it is true that plants can extract some nutrients from the soil, they still need supplemental plant food to grow big and healthy. Plant food comes in many forms, including water-soluble fertilizers, organic fertilizers, and compost.

This blog will tell you the basics of how important it is to feed plants.

Why would a plant need plant food?

Gardeners use plant food to enhance their soil by providing the critical nutrients plants require to develop and blossom properly. Plants need 13 more nutrients in addition to hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, which they usually obtain from the soil. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, commonly referred to as N-P-K on fertilizer labels, are the most important of these nutrients, or so-called “big three.”

Plant food is prepared solely to renew the soil and provide nutrients to plants, but it is up to the plants to design their own meals. 

Plants eat by absorbing nutrients from the soil and combining them with a unique combination of air, water, and sunlight. The plant gets carbon dioxide from the air, which it takes in through its leaves.

Do I Need Plant Food?

You won’t need to apply plant food for the first season if you’re planting in a fresh garden bed with soil that hasn’t been used before and is fertile and lush. 

When using commercial potting soil, you won’t need to add plant food first. However, after some time in either new fertile soil or commercial potting soil, plants will absorb the nutrients contained in the soil, necessitating plant food to replace those nutrients.

How Do I Know if the Plants Need Plant Food?

When plant nourishment is required, plants will display signs of malnutrition. When nitrogen levels are low, light green or yellow foliage appears, chlorosis (dark green veins on pale green leaves) appears when potassium levels are low. Dull, dark green foliage with purple leaves at the plant’s base or limited flowering appear when phosphorus levels are insufficient. Blossom-end rot might suggest a calcium deficit. 

Before administering a plant food, make sure the discoloration isn’t caused by overwatering (yellow leaves) or underwatering (dead or crisp foliage).

What is the best feed for plants?

Plant foods are concentrated plant nutrient sources. Rather than feeding the soil, they provide the plants. Plant food comes in various forms, each with its own set of nutrient values.

Garden compost, well-rotted manure, spent mushroom compost, poultry manure, and seaweed are also used to feed plants, but they contain far fewer nutrients. These chemicals are beneficial to the structure and fertility of the soil. When used as a soil conditioner or mulch, they increase the availability of plant nutrients already present in the soil to plant roots.

Comfrey, nettles, and wormery fluids are all excellent liquid fertilizers. Comfrey is high in potassium, making it ideal for flowering and fruiting plants and vegetables; nettles are high in nitrogen, especially in the spring; and wormery liquor is an excellent general feed.

What are the dangers of plant food?

Plant fertilizers can poison people and pets if they are inhaled or consumed inadvertently. It’s possible that touching the fertilizer will irritate your skin and that consuming it will be toxic. The poisoning is caused by nitrates, which are found in many foods, and is highly dangerous.

Nitrates are nitrogen that plants quickly absorb. Nitrogen is necessary for plant growth, but it can be extremely harmful when it is present in high concentrations in people. Nitrates reduce the ability of red blood cells to carry and distribute oxygen throughout our bodies.

Final Thoughts

They say that plants need food just like animals in the plant world. In the plant world, that food is called plant food. As a gardener, you want to make sure that your plants are healthy and happy, which is why you should always add a drop of plant food to your soil. 

We hope you enjoyed our blog about whether plants need plant food. It’s never too late to start making a change for the better. Plants need to be fed! So let’s take the time to feed our plants and watch them flourish. 

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