- Brody Hall
- Apr 26, 2022
- No Comments
If your plants have a case of the blahs, give them a boost with plant food. In this article, we review some of the best liquid (and non liquid) plant food options for indoor plants that you can buy online.
While the term ‘plant food’ is used interchangeably with ‘fertilizer’ nowadays, there are some subtle differences between plant food and fertilizer.
Reading: Best plant food for potted plants
Plant food is especially important for potted and container plants because they can’t root deeper into the Earth or wait for organic matter to decompose to access a boost of nutrition. To keep your container plants healthy, it’s a good idea to apply regular doses of essential nutrients and trace elements, and make sure you’re using the best soil you can find.
Plant food (including actual fertilizer that’s just called plant food) is typically formulated just for this purpose. Plant food usually contains lower NPK values, allowing gardeners to apply it more frequently than heavy fertilizers.
And that’s just what we’ve rounded up for you today! The recommendations in this guide are intended for regular, weekly to bi-weekly use on houseplants, to keep them fit and thriving!
the best liquid plant food for indoor plants
1. best liquid plant food: Easy Peasy Liquid Indoor Plant Food
key specs: 250ml / 8oz | NPK ratio: 4-3-4 | high-concentrate
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With an N-P-K ratio specifically engineered for indoor plants, this liquid fertilizer is sure to have your leafy housemates revealing their best selves in no time. Its been perfectly balanced to promote healthy green With an N-P-K ratio specifically engineered for indoor plants, this liquid fertilizer is sure to have your leafy housemates revealing their best selves in no time. It’s been perfectly balanced to promote healthy green plant growth and encourage colorful, regular flowering. While its fast-acting chemical fertilizer mix helps plants develop a strong root system and healthy, strong-looking trunks and branches.
2. best synthetic fertilizer: Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food
key specs: 2x 236ml / 8oz | NPK ratio: 1-1-1 | a gentle 2-pack fertilizer that’s great for beginners
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This fast-acting, synthetic fertilizer from Miracle-Gro makes it easy to grow healthy plants, indoors or out! Its high-quality, low-concentration mix of macro and micronutrients gently feeds all potted household plants. The Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food formula promotes optimal growth and development of your indoor houseplants, resulting in larger, brighter green leaves and more frequent blooms.
3. best mix-and-use liquid plant food: Joyful Dirt Premium Concentrated All-Purpose Organic Plant Food and Fertilizer
key specs: 100g / 3.5oz | NPK ratio: 8-1-5 | an all-purpose fertilizer that’s made in the USA
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If you have one of every type of fertilizer and more plant food than actual plants, save on storage space with this powdered plant food. Joyful Dirt is an all-purpose house plant fertilizer that feeds your plants naturally and organically. It is made of 100% organic ingredients that are safe for pets and children. Simply sprinkle the water soluble granules about an eighth of a teaspoon per plant around a plant’s base and water in or mix one to two tablespoons per half a gallon of water or apply directly around the base of the plant with a watering can. This blend of water-soluble fertilizer has been formulated for all houseplants and has been engineered not to harm or burn your plants even when over-applied.
4. best organic liquid plant food: The Grow Co. Organic Indoor Plant Food
key specs: 237ml / 8oz | NPK ratio: 1-1-1 | plant-based, vegan, and urea free
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The Grow Co. Organic Indoor Plant Food is a well-rounded all purpose fertilizer made for all indoor plants, succulents, and cacti. It contains safe, all-natural organic ingredients that are sure to keep your plants not only fed and healthy but also looking their best. The nutrient-rich formula promotes healthy plant growth and leaves your indoor garden looking lush and green. Plus it contains essential macro and micronutrients including nitrogen, potassium, calcium, iron, sulfur, among others.
5. best root-boosting liquid plant food: Noot Bio-Organic Plant Food
key specs: 1.18 fl. oz / 35mL | NPK .10/.15/.12 | rich in mycorrhizae and essential micronutrients to nourish plant’s roots
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The LiquiDirt Nano Powder indoor plant food has been designed to feed indoor plants with the essential Thank the indoor plant pioneers at Noot for this nifty, easy-to-use plant food. It’s specially formulated with 16 different kinds of mycorrhizae (beneficial microbes that light up your plants’ root zone) that improve nutrient and water uptake. Due to its bioactive content, make sure to keep this product away from direct sunlight, and avoid ordering when the temperatures where you live are over 60°F. The NPK profile is balanced and super gentle, allowing you to give your plants a dose of this bio-activator every time you water without threat of fertilizer burn. Dosing and applying this plant food couldn’t be more straightforward!
6. best hydroponic liquid plant food: Fox Farm Grow Big Hydroponic Plant Food
key specs: 16 fl. oz. 473 mL | NPK ratio: 3-2-6 | earthworm castings, Norwegian kelp and micronutrients galore
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Hydroponic growers rejoice for this hydro-specific plant food from Fox Farm. Whether you have a professional hydroponic operation or a diy hydroponic system to maintain, this liquid plant food is a good choice. Based on their wildly popular Grow Big plant food, they’ve tailored this vegetative growth bomb formula by adding micronutrients, increasing the nitrogen and phosphorous levels, lowering potassium, and adding salts to suit the needs of hydroponic plants. This is a one-and-done solution for plant starts through the first signs of flowering. Simply feed 2-3 tsp of this magic potion per gallon of water with every reservoir change. For maintaining long-term health, you’ll need a pH measuring kit, EC meter and pH additives to make sure your hydroponic plants are absorbing nutrients properly. Be careful adding this product to hard water though, and make sure to measure the pH and EC of your reservoir before and after adding for the first time to check for pH swings.
7. best bargain liquid plant food: Miracle-Gro Liquid All Purpose Plant Food Concentrate
key specs: 32 fl. oz / 946 mL | NPK ratio: 12-4-8 | primary features
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Miracles can come true with this tried-and-tested favorite from Miracle-Gro! Ok, maybe not miracles – but proven results with synthetic compounds developed in chem labs 🤓 This highly concentrated, all-purpose plant food has all the nutrients your houseplants need to perk up and produce vibrant foliage for all to enjoy. Do note that 100% of the nitrogen in this indoor plant fertilizer comes from urea, so make sure to test your soil’s pH at the beginning of the growing season and buy a good potting soil (or make your own) before going wild with this stuff.
Using urea long-term is proven to lower soil pH, making nitrogen and other nutrients less available to plants. Stop using it right away if you notice your plants in distress and switch to a milder NPK-based plant food, or better yet – re-balance your soil with organic amendments.
8. best succulent liquid plant food: Home+Tree Succulent + Cactus Plant Food
key specs: 8 Fl Oz / 236 mL | 3-1-2 | formulated for succulents and cacti
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Even low-maintenance succulents need a healthy diet of macronutrients to stay prickly / plump and thriving! Whether you have burro’s tail, jade, aloe, zebra plants, Christmas cacti, or another type of succulent, this formula from Home+Tree will give your plant a boost of color and vitality – perhaps even prompting a bloom! Wait until your plant’s soil has completely dried out to use this plant food so you don’t drown your succulent’s roots. We love that this brand is on an environmental mission: Every purchase of this plant food will support reforestation of American National Forests.
9. best lush foliage liquid plant food: Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro Liquid Plant Food
key specs: 237ml /8oz | NPK ratio: 1-1-1 | plant-based, vegan, and urea free
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Serious indoor gardeners and professional growers alike swear by this plant food from Dyna-Gro. It’s designed as a one-stop-solution for all of your growing needs, and contains a wide range of trace minerals to support strong vegetative growth and healthy roots systems. You can use the plant food alone or together with Dyna-Gro’s full range of plant fertilizers and supplements. This plant food checks all of the boxes with a solid NPK profile and low-salt content. And it’s super affordable! It is composed of synthetic chemicals though, so don’t be shocked by its radioactive green color when you open the bottle.
10. best highly concentrated liquid plant food: Schultz Concentrated Liquid Plant Food Plus
Read more: Top 10+ best fridge under 1000
key specs: 8 Fl. Oz / 236 mL | NPK ratio: 10-15-10 | nourishes plants with a few simple drops
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If you’re on the hunt for an easy-to-use plant food that’s highly concentrated, look no further this old-time favorite from Schultz Co. Founded in 1947, Shultz has established a name in the garden supply business largely for its simple and effective plant foods (it was family owned until 2002). The beauty of this plant food is in its blend of readily available and slow-release nutrients, making it suitable for seedlings and transplants in small doses.
Whatever you’re using it for though, you don’t need much; just a squeeze or two with the convenient dropper tool will nourish your houseplants, edibles, and starts for a few weeks at a time (actual dosing starts at 6 drops per quart of water). Don’t combine this plant food with additional fertilizers unless you’ve tested your soil and know what you’re doing – you might burn your plants.
still unsure which one is best for you?
There seem to be almost more plant food options available these days than actual plants. Ok, ok… that’s not quite true – there are 435,000 land plant species alone on Earth – but you know what I mean!
Understanding the difference between plant food and plant fertilizer is the first step. Where synthetic fertilizers provide a targeted solution to certain deficiencies, a well-rounded nutrient rich plant food will feed plants slowly and support overall plant health.
The nutrients plants receive will help them grow strong roots and a strong immune system to ward off pests. This is especially important for potted plants since the soil conditions are often pretty barren compared to the natural world.
And if you have flowering plants, then you’ll get to enjoy all the colorful flowers that come with regular feeding.
Learn about what plant food can do for your plants and why you need it below.
why houseplants require plant food
Just like any regular outdoor plant, indoor plants also need a source of sustenance to maintain healthy growth, resist pests and diseases, and reproduce successfully. Here’s a full list of why indoor plants require fertilization:
- happier healthier plants: essential macro and micronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, boron, magnesium, manganese, etc. are, at some level, necessary to plant health and reproduction.
- boosted flowering and reproduction: healthier plants will grow faster and flower or bloom more frequently or more abundantly. Regular feeding will also promote healthy root growth, which will help them absorb even more nutrients.
- increased air-purification: just as a healthy plant that is regularly fed will grow fast, it will also subsequently photosynthesize at a faster rate. This increased photosynthesis means a greater rate of gas exchange, which creates more oxygen production and faster removal of air-borne toxicogenic particles. In other words, a plant’s air-purifying capacity will be boosted.
- help fending off nasties: just like us, when a plant has all its nutritional requirements met it is much healthier in general and will possess the ability to resist and fight off life-threatening pests and diseases that may harm or eventually kill the plant.
how often to use plant food
The best plant food, like the best fertilizers, should be used with caution. Even though some plants grow better with regular feeding, an all purpose plant food may still be quite strong for your potted plants. Many indoor gardeners recommend mixing in a slow release formula with water every 7 to 14 days, and frequent watering in between to help flush any excess nutrients.
We tested this exact approach and ended up with a bad case of fertilizer burn, so use with caution. I recommend giving your plants a good feed with water soluble plant food and then monitor your plant growth. (You can remove the plants from the soil and weigh them, like we did, to observe root growth as well as leaf growth!) Many slow release plant food options can last for up to three months, so it may not be necessary to feed your plants all that often.
When in doubt, remember that plants speak in colors and turgidity (stiffness). If your plant begins to change colors or lose its form, then you know that you’ve gone too far.
Getting your plants on a regular feeding schedule will save you the headaches and guesswork that treating nutrient deficient houseplants involves. Give them a weekly or bi-weekly dose of plant food, and rest easy knowing your plants are getting what they need. Choose a plant food with a nutrient profile that suits most of your indoor plants, and supplement as needed with calcium, magnesium, organic matter, and always the highest quality potting soil you can get your hands on when you notice signs it’s time to repot your lovelies. Your hungry plants will thank you!
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For more information, please see more information about Best plant food for potted plants