Word is we get two extra minutes of sunlight a day right now. Almost imperceptible to me, but my plants see it. Pushing out the new fuzzy buds of spring, my once lugubrious house plants are down right peppy now. And that’s what’s put fertilizer on my brain.
Fertilizer is a tricky subject. Something that adheres nicely to that old adage ‘everything is best in moderation’. Throughout the winter, however, it’s honestly best to not fertilize at all. The last thing you want to do is make your plants grow when it’s not time to be growing. The best time to fertilize (and the best time to do everything in gardening) is to act when the plant tells you to (I don’t hear voices, I promise). The flushed pink nubs of buds appeared on my Tibouchina about three weeks ago, and I started rubbing my hands (almost salivating, actually). Even though it was below freezing outside, my princess flower was telling me ‘not long to wait now….’.
When you start to see these silent signs, get ready to hop on the horse again. It’s time to go, and it will happen fast. Fertilize when these new spring leaves have unfurled, and do it gently with a dilute solution to begin with. In general, I always feed less than the recommended dose on the back of the package. A great fertilizer to start with is something with an organic seaweed base. About once a month after feeding, it’s good practice to flush away any salts that may have accrued in your house plant’s soil over the course of its residence in its pot.
Getting the jump on spring and giving your plants that vital dose of N (nitrogen) P (phosphorous) and K (potassium) will ensure they give you lots of the good stuff (flowers! fruit! They’re coming!) all season long.