Tips & Tricks

Plant Food 101

An assortment of tropical plants on display in the Rooted Chinatown location in 2019.

Ensure your indoor plants never go hungry again. While plants generate their own sustenance via photosynthesis (thanks, sunshine ☀️), they also absorb essential nutrients from soil and rainwater in their natural habitat. To maintain your houseplants' health, it's important to provide nutrient-rich soil and plant food, mimicking their outdoor environment for optimal growth and vitality.

What Is Plant Food?

Plant food, or fertilizer, offers a solution for plants experiencing nutrient deficiencies or needing an extra boost during their growing season. While not a complete substitute for healthy soil, it promotes lush foliage growth at a faster rate. Fresh soils and potting mixes are nutrient-rich, but these nutrients deplete over time, making it essential for plant collectors to incorporate feeding into their care regimen ~6 weeks after repotting during the growing season.

When it comes to plant food options, you've got a couple of contenders. The crowd favorite is liquid fertilizer, which is easily diluted and watered into the soil. Dry fertilizers and compost are other options rising in popularity in the plant scene. Foliar food, on the other hand, is a topical fertilizer that gets absorbed through the plant's foliage. It's a bit gentler on the leaves, so there's less risk of leaf burn, but it might not pack the same punch.

Typically, you can feed your plants from March through October, about once or twice a month. But hey, every plant has its own taste buds, so always check their specific needs before feeding!

How to Use Plant Food:

Measure your plant food carefully. When in doubt, use less than recommended until you get the hang of it.

If using liquid fertilizer, like Flourish Plant Food or Super Kabuto Cactus Fertilizer, dilute it in water according to the instructions, and use the concoction to water your plants.

If using compost or a dry fertilizer like Joyful Dirt, simply add a generous amount to your top soil, water as usual, and let the nutrients do their thing.

How to Use Foliar Feeders:

For a fast and foolproof method, grab your foliar plant food and spray it directly onto the foliage, including the undersides where thousands of pores reside. The nutrients are absorbed through the stomata, leaving your plant satisfied for about two weeks. Easy peasy!

You're all set to nourish your plant family! 🧑‍🍳 Seriously, both options offer excellent nutrient sources for your houseplants and should be part of your care routine for thriving foliage. Remember to follow the instructions for your chosen plant food, and you'll see growth in no time. If you still need a helping hand, reach out to us at, and we'll guide you through it. Let's keep those plants well-fed!

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