Best Philodendron Fertilizer: Expert Tips for Flourishing Plants
Do you need help to achieve that lush, vibrant look with your Philodendrons? You’re not alone—nailing the perfect balance of nutrients for these leafy greens can be tricky.
But don’t fret – we’ve got you at the Garden Bench Top!
This guide is your golden ticket to flourishing Philodendrons, packed with expert tips on the best philodendron fertilizers to transform your indoor jungle.
So, stick around, and let’s take your plant parent skills to the next level!
Understanding Philodendron Fertilizer Requirements
If you are new to the indoor plant space, it is worth your while to familiarize yourself with the core components of plant fertilizers.
What is the ideal NPK Ratio for Philodendrons?
The three primary nutrients that Philodendrons need are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These elements are vital for their growth, root development, and health.
A well-balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20:20:20 is ideal for philodendrons.
This means the fertilizer contains 20% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus, and 20% potassium.
Nitrogen is essential for leaf and stem growth.
Phosphorous is critical for root development and foliage.
While potassium is crucial for overall plant health and resistance to diseases.
Does A Philodendron Need Other Micronutrients?
Philodendrons also benefit from additional calcium, magnesium, and sulfur micronutrients.
These micronutrients can be found in many fertilizers and help provide your Philodendron with the energy to produce those luscious leaves we enjoy seeing.
When we first started growing philodendrons, we noticed a significant improvement in their overall health and growth once we began using fertilizers designed to provide foliage the essential nutrients. Our Philodendron’s leaves became greener, and the plant grew more vigorously.
Garden Bench Top Tip – Increase Your Plant Awareness
Each species of Philodendron has its own specific fertilizer requirements. So we encourage you to increase your plant awareness and get to know your plant…intimately!
FYI – this is one of the three fundamental Plant Parenting LAWs we teach our community – Find out more HERE.
What About Trace Minerals for Your Philodendron?
Trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts but are crucial for your Philodendron to grow healthy and strong. Here are some of them:
- Iron (Fe) – It’s like a little energy booster for your plant, helping it produce chlorophyll and giving it a vibrant green color.
- Zinc (Zn) – This one’s a multitasker! It helps with healthy growth and development and also assists in the plant’s immune system.
- Copper (Cu) – Think of it as the plant’s trainer, ensuring it grows strong and helps with photosynthesis.
- Manganese (Mn) – It’s vital to the plant’s growth and development process.
- Boron (B) – This helps your plant absorb the other nutrients it needs.
- Molybdenum (Mo) – It’s like the friend who helps your plant make the best nitrogen use.
- Chlorine (Cl) – Not just for pools! In plants, it helps with photosynthesis.
But that’s enough of the chemistry lesson. Let’s learn more about the different types of fertilizer available!
Best Fertilizer Options for Philodendrons
First, it’s essential to know that fertilizer isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. Different plants need different nutrients, and luckily, your Philodendrons have many options.
- You might see something called balanced fertilizer at the store. This is a great all-rounder because it has equal parts of the three significant nutrients discussed above: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These guys help with everything from leaf growth to root strength.
- Next up, we have foliar fertilizer. This is a spray that you mist onto the leaves. It’s super easy to use and quickly absorbed, so your potted plant gets a fast nutrient boost.
- Then there’s slow-release fertilizer. These pellets are mixed into the soil and slowly dissolve over time, giving a steady supply of nutrients. It’s like a buffet your plant can munch on whenever it’s hungry!
- Last but not least, there’s liquid fertilizer. It’s mixed with water; you simply water your plant with it. The nutrients are quickly absorbed, making it a good pick-me-up if your plant looks under the weather.
Most commercial fertilizer brands come with instructions, which we recommend following. After all, the manufacturers know their products and their applications the best.
However, a good rule of thumb is to fertilize every two weeks during the growing season (spring and summer).
In the colder months, your plant is taking a nap, so you can cut back to once a month.
And remember, too much of a good thing can be harmful, so avoid over-fertilizing – something we’ll touch on later in this guide.
Organic Fertilizers – Homemade Fertilizer Solutions for Philodendrons
Organic fertilizers deserve their very own section because we always prefer to use naturally produced products over synthetic fertilizers.
So, here is a list of our favorite organic fertilizers (in no particular order)
If you have an aquarium, the nutrient-rich water can serve as a fantastic source of fertilizer for your plants.
Fish waste is the perfect natural nitrogen fertilizer – which, as we identified earlier, is like a superfood for your plant’s leaves, making them lush and green.
As long as you don’t have any saltwater fish or any substances harmful to plants in your tank, you can use the fish tank water during water changes to nourish your philodendrons.
So, your everyday coffee habit could be a real treat for your Philodendron plant.
Like aquarium water, used coffee grounds are full of nitrogen.
But remember, let the coffee grounds cool first. Then, sprinkle them on the soil like you’re seasoning a dish, or mix them into the top layer of soil. It’s a simple yet effective way to keep your plant looking great.
Crushed eggshells from kitchen leftovers are a good source of calcium for your plants.
There are a few steps to get your eggshells into a usable state. However, it is a simple process, and we have detailed those steps in this guide for HOW TO GRIND EGGSHELLS FOR PLANTS.
Worm castings are rich in nutrients and greatly enhance soil structure – and they are one of our staple ingredients for our soil mixes.
They are a fantastic all-round natural fertilizer for indoor plants rich in organic matter and contain all the necessary nutrients and minerals.
And the great thing about worm castings is that it is impossible to over-fertilize with worm castings!
You may be able to tell we are passionate about worm castings, and we have written many articles and guides about their applications.
Check out this plant superfood HERE.
How Often Should You Fertilize Philodendrons?
To answer this question, we must first understand that a philodendron’s fertilizer requirements change as we move from one season to the next.
Philodendrons love the warmer months of spring and summer, just like us. That’s when they’re really growing and filling out. To help them along, it’s a good idea to feed them a bit more. Think of it as giving them a hearty breakfast to start their day!
Aim to feed your plant twice a month during spring and summer.
You’ll be amazed at how much they grow!
Then, your Philodendron will slow down when the weather cools down and we head into autumn. It’s like they’re getting ready to hibernate for winter.
Winter is nap time for your Philodendron. They will only need a little food. Again, feeding them once a month should do the trick. If your plant looks happy and healthy, don’t be afraid to skip a feeding.
Cut back on feeding your Philodendron to once a month during autumn and winter.
Just a word of caution – it is possible to overfeed your plant. We’ll discuss these problems in the next section.
How to Prevent Common Fertilizer Issues
Overfertilization is a common issue many plant parents face, especially those new to indoor gardening.
It’s essential to remember that moderation is key; more nutrients are sometimes better.
Overfertilizing a philodendron can lead to root damage, discoloration, and even holes in the leaves. This is also known as fertilizer burn because the discoloration and holes look like they have been burned into the Philodendron’s leaves.
We recommend always following the manufacturer’s instructions on the label to prevent this.
It’s also crucial to ensure that your pot has proper drainage. This helps prevent excess fertilizer salts from accumulating and harming your plant.
It is also possible to deprive your Philodendron of certain nutrients.
Look out for various signs like:
- leaves wilting,
- yellowing of leaves or
- stunted growth.
To avoid this, use a well-balanced fertilizer that contains the three key ingredients – Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium along with the essential micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.
Root damage can occur due to excessive fertilizer chemicals present in the soil.
If you notice a white crust forming on your topsoil, it could indicate excess fertilizer in the potting mixture.
Try giving your Philodendron a water flush to rid your soil of excessive fertilizer. Watch this video by Marianne from My Wasteless Life to learn how to flush your houseplants’ soil.
You can also repot your Philodendron periodically to reduce the likelihood of fertilizer buildup.
By following these preventative measures and providing the right fertilizer, our philodendrons will thrive and continue to brighten our indoor spaces.