As almost all tropical plants will continue blooming after the cold winter season passes, early spring is the best time to fertilize your tropical plant. During this phase of your plant, it’s best to enhance its growth using fertilizer. However, choosing fertilizer that is formulated especially for tropical plants may be quite tough if you don’t know how to. Here’s everything you need to know about tropical plant fertilizers to support their growth.
All You Need To Know Before Feeding Your Tropical Plant Fertilizer.
As a rule of thumb, before giving your tropical plant food, you need to inspect some crucial aspects. First, check out which species of tropical plants you have. Is it in the Araceae Family? Or is it a flowering tropical plant such as orchids and hibiscus? Each species, as they require different growth conditions, makes the fertilizer composition differ from each other. Some tropical plants need lots of fertilizer, while others may completely dislike the additional food.
Types of tropical plant fertilizer
Generally, there are four types of tropical plant fertilizer to pick based on your personal preferences. Most gardeners mix the different types of these fertilizers to quickly boost the plant’s growth.
‘Slow-release’ or ‘Controlled-release’ Fertilizers
This type of tropical plant food provides nutrients to the plant’s roots for an extended period of time and is available for all types of tropical plants–annual, perennial, shrub, or trees. When using the ‘slow-release’ fertilizers, you can save more time since you don’t need to fertilize often.
Inorganic and Organic Fertilizers
Inorganic fertilizers are additional tropical plant food that is synthesized from non-living materials, and organic fertilizers are the complete opposite of them–it’s derived from living materials such as plants and animals.
Both tropical plant fertilizers certainly can boost your tropical plant’s growth. However, the disadvantage of inorganic fertilizers, as they are prone to make the soil more acidic, could impact the plant’s life. Furthermore, most of the tropical plants’ natural habitat is in tropical rainforests, where the soil pH is already acidic. To address this problem, it’s best to mix inorganic fertilizer with an organic one.
Dry fertilizers are the easiest to apply. All you need to do is just scatter this tropical plant fertilizer all over the soil. Avoid applying dry fertilizer when the foliage is wet.
In contrast to dry fertilizers, you need to mix the water-soluble fertilizers with water. The best interval to apply is once a week. This type of fertilizer is usually used for tropical plants that grow in containers.
Enjoying the time when tropical plants are rapidly blooming must be a fantastic view to watch, and fertilizing could help you to achieve this goal. But over-fertilizing, in order to see more growth, could lead to more harm than good. When applying the tropical plant fertilizer, take some time to read the directions carefully. Root rot, wilt, browning, or yellowing leaves, and stunted or no growth are the major signs of excessive fertilizing on your tropical plant.
Helpful Gardener Tips: Fertilize outdoor tropical plants during the coolest part of the day, usually when it’s the hot summertime.
What Is The Best Tropical Plant Food?
Chemical compositions such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, ammonia, and superphosphate are among the top materials in commercial inorganic fertilizers. Although the use of nitrogen as inorganic tropical plant fertilizer should be reduced since nitrogen naturally acidifies the soil, they are still essential to promote the plant’s new growth.
The best fertilizer ratio application for tropical plants could be divided into two, that is foliage plants and flowering plants. Foliage tropical plants are plants that are mainly grown for their decorative foliage. The foremost example of this is Philodendrons. Flowering tropical plants are plants that produce blooms and fruits, like Anthuriums.
Tropical Plant Fertilizer Ratio for Foliage Plant
Foliage tropical plants like Aglaonema, Calathea, and Monstera deliciosa will do well in both a 20-20-20 fertilizer ratio and a 3-2-1 fertilizer ratio. The 20-20-20 fertilizer ratio contains equal amounts of basic nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. While the 3-2-1 fertilizer ratio contains 3% of nitrogen, 2% of phosphorus, and 1% potassium.
Tropical Plant Fertilizer Ratio for Flowering plant
For flowering tropical plants, the recommended ratio of tropical plant food is the 3-2-1 ratio. The higher use of nitrogen is still recommended, as nitrogen helps to develop growth in the blooming process.
Additionally, the different use of potting media also takes a role when giving tropical plant fertilizer. Use the 3-2-1 ratio when you’re using non-soil potting media, including perlite, sand, vermiculite, coco peat, and orchid barks. If the potting media contains clay, it’s more suggested to use the equal 1-1-1 ratio to increase phosphorus and potassium.
Organic Tropical Plant Food You Should Try
Providing your tropical plant with commercially available inorganic fertilizer may be way easier. However, as we stated before, the prolonged use of these types of chemical fertilizers has its downside effect.
You can minimize these outcomes by mixing and adding, or occasionally using organic fertilizers. Take note that each organic fertilizer contains different types of nutrients and moisture. So make sure to check out your tropical plants first and decide what they need.
Organic byproducts such as animal manure, wood shaving, alfalfa meal, rice bran, crushed eggshells, kitchen waste, and coffee grounds are the top star ingredients when making your own organic tropical plant fertilizer. It’s also important to remember that over-fertilizing your tropical plant with these organic byproducts, even though they may seem to do ‘minimal harm’, could also lead to unwanted problems such as stunted growth.
So What Is The Best Tropical Plant Food In A Nutshell?
As you can see, providing your tropical plant fertilizer doesn’t have to be that complicated. Make sure to not over-fertilizing and pick the best fertilizer based on your plant’s need using the right ratio. Based on your personal preferences, if you like to keep things simple, you can select dry fertilizers as they are easier to use on the go. Also, keep track of when to fertilize your tropical plant to make them as happy and healthy as possible.
New author in the hood. Loves gardening and flowers are my spirit animals (yes I know they are not animals but I insist). I will be covering most of the flowers’ topics here and occasionally random though as well.