Feed Your Houseplants in February


Snowed inside for the final stretch of winter,
thinking about the things I need…
Don’t forget that your plants want to grow,
this is the time to feed…

Damn, that was a cheesy, I think I’ll leave it anyway… I have nothing to lose…

February, for me, is the part of the winter when I like to give my plants a dose of fertilizer, whatever nutrients the potting soil may have contained when you planted are now long gone and should be replaced. Before I fertilize my house plants, I always like to check for signs of salt build up on my pots, this will be most evident on plants in terra-cotta pots, the white crust at the bottom of the pot will be very noticeable.

If any of your containers have white crust on the bottom of the pot, you have two options to consider.

If any of your containers have this white crust on the bottom of the pot, you have two main options to consider.

1. Re-pot the plant – using fresh potting soil, which can be expensive and labor intensive, but worth it if you have time. In all reality house plants should be potted up once a year anyway, but I prefer to do my transplants outside in the Summer, so I personally prefer this next method.

2. Flush the potting mix – place the potted plant in a sink, with the intention of allowing water to flush through the soil. Pour fresh water through the soil allowing it to run out, the amount of water used should be 5x the size of the plant container… A 1 gallon pot should be flushed with 5 gallons of clean water, do not reuse the water on house plants, use it outside. Once your pots have been flushed, water them with a diluted mix of all-purpose fertilizer.


Discount fertilizers like miracle grow are commonly salt based products, although I do occasionally use them, I don’t recommend them. Salt does the same thing to a plant that it does to a human, it makes them thirsty as hell. The plant will essentially become a water highway, since the water based fertilizer is already highly nutrient rich, the plant no longer has a need for the tiny root hairs that normally absorb nutrients from the soil, and will systematically abort them… This in turn will make the plant starve if you ever stop feeding it miracle grow… Consider spending a little more money and go with an organic option…

Although these types of fertilizers can make your plants magically grow, they are not the most responsible option for the home gardener. I have heard that cadmium is a common ingredient in many bargain fertilizers, that is something I am going to have to look into.

As far as houseplants are concerned – just use less than recommended for outside plants…

As far as food is concerned – don’t screw around, organic only…

As far as annual flowers are concerned – use discretion…

As far as perennials and trees are concerned – choose a slow release organic fertilizer suited for the situation…

Hang in their people, it’s almost Spring!

peace – chriscondello


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3 thoughts on “Feed Your Houseplants in February

  1. Lovely photos and that was really good advice. I better keep that in mind.


  2. windhound says:

    You have very fortunate plants. Thanks for this reminder. Beautiful light filled photographs.


  3. Kay says:

    Beautiful flowers!


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