How to save House plants from over-fertilization.
For many of us the understanding is- fertilizer equals to nutrients, which equals to growth. Which is true, but you could be doing more harm than good if you’re improperly fertilizing your house plants.
Generally we recommend that you do not fertilize during winter/cold season and only fertilize during spring when our House plants are in active growing mode. How often to fertilize will vary according to the product, some fertilizers recommend every 2 weeks and some recommend once every few months- we would recommend that you follow the instructions on the label but also keep a log on how your house plants are responding to the fertilizer.
Some signs that you might be over-fertilizing are yellowing boards on leaves (Aka fertilizer burn), stunted growth or white salt build-up on the soil. These damages might sound cosmetic but the problem goes deeper, right down to the roots to cause reverse-osmosis. Fertilizers are packed with the good stuff but they are also full of different types of salts, and as we all know, too much salt build-up can actually suck away the nutrients from your plant’s roots. A process referred to as reverse-osmosis.
We always recommend that you use a little less fertilizer than the recommended amount.
What to do if you Over-fertilize
If your plant is already showing signs of over-fertilization then there are few things you can do to save your house plant:
1. If you see salt build-up on top of the soil.
- Gently scoop away the topsoil where the salt has concentrated. Do not disturb the plant’s root too much.
- Leaching is a process where you “flush” away the excess nutrients with water.
- Place your affected house plant in a tub, sink or outdoors then water your plants till you see the water drain out from the bottom, repeat this process 1 or 2 more times. Be careful with this method, over watering can cause root-rot, we recommend you wait for the soil to dry out before another round of leaching. We also recommend you use distilled water since it holds no dissolved minerals.
And remember to be patient. It could be another few months before you see a beautiful foliage but the joy of saving a plant from the brink of its death is sure to merit you full-fillness and a cool party story (if you’re at a house plant swap meet). And if all methods fail then save cuttings and propagate for whole new plants!