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What to do if nutrient deficiencies are found?
Houseplants can suffer from nutrient deficiencies in the soil for several reasons:
1. In the case of long-term growth without changing the soil, the soil is simply depleted. At the same time, the plant usually shows signs of a lack of many micro- and macroelements: chlorosis, small leaves, lack of growth, thin pale shoots, leaf curl. But with such symptoms, it is important to exclude pest damage. Usually, this situation does not cause difficulties, it is enough to remember when the flowers were transplanted and into what soil. In this case, it is impractical to feed the plants. It is more correct to first transplant, and after 1.5-2 months start feeding.
2. In case of planting plants in unsuitable soil, sooner or later a deficiency of any nutrient will appear. This happens when planting in too acidic or alkaline soil, but the problem is that it is very difficult to determine which specific element is missing, and sometimes impossible. Exceptions are some plants with characteristic symptoms.
So, citrus fruits, coffee trees, avocados often suffer from a lack of potassium, the signs are very characteristic - edge burn of the leaves.
And the reason for the lack of manganese may be in watering with hard water (gardenias are especially sensitive to this). Here it is necessary to transplant the plant into soil with a pH not higher than 5.5 and water it from now on only with soft water.
If it is possible to establish which particular element is missing, then you can feed the flowers not with a complex, but with a mineral fertilizer, making up for the lack of a particular substance.
3. In the case of overfeeding with fertilizers, an imbalance of substances occurs, an excess of one element causes a deficiency of another (or a number of elements). For example, excessive nitrogen fertilization (when fed with urea or mullein) may be the cause of calcium deficiency. It would be more correct to flush the soil in pots from salts or transplant the flowers into a fresh substrate.
So that indoor flowers do not suffer from lack of nutrition
- choose the right soil, in particular, according to its pH value for each specific plant;
- transplant into fresh soil on time, even if the plant does not need a larger pot, transplant it into new soil in the same pot;
- water the plants with soft water whenever possible;
- do not abuse fertilizers, apply them strictly according to the instructions or in smaller quantities;
- apply fertilizers in accordance with the type and physiological state of the plant.
When to feed indoor flowers
Indoor plants with a limited area of nutrition greatly deplete the land. When the roots cover the soil ball, they form a felt-like layer in which the individual roots do not even have contact with the ground. Therefore, if the roots are completely entwined and penetrated with an earthen lump, then the plant should be transplanted into nutrient soil, and not fed with fertilizers.
Fertilizing watering is best done in the evening. Only healthy plants can be fertilized during growth and flowering. During the dormant period and when the growth of some plants stops in late summer and autumn, the plant is not fertilized. You can also not fertilize unrooted and diseased plants. Fast-growing indoor flowers are fertilized more often, slow-growing - less often, tub plants are also rarely fertilized.
Fertilizer should not be applied when the earthen lump is dry, as this can burn the roots. It is necessary to water with diluted fertilizers, when the soil has not yet dried up, in a day or two after watering with ordinary water (depending on the rate of drying of the substrate).
For most indoor flowering plants, it is recommended to apply full mineral fertilizer at least twice: during budding or flower bud formation and during flowering.
When fertilizing with fertilizers is not recommended
- Plants during the dormant period or at the end of the growing season before the dormant period.
- Freshly transplanted plant and just purchased plant (top dressing no earlier than 1 month later)
- Diseased plants when the cause of the disease state has not been established.
- Plants with a damaged root system (root rot if the plant has been heavily flooded).
- It is not recommended to feed cacti with organic fertilizers.
What are the fertilizers
Nitrogen fertilizers promote enhanced stem growth and lush foliage. With an excess of nitrogen, the plants fatten, the growing season lengthens, and the beginning of flowering is delayed, the plants more easily get sick with fungal diseases.
Phosphoric acid fertilizers accelerate abundant and long-term flowering of plants and have a positive effect on the formation of flower buds.
Potash fertilizers promote plant growth. Together with phosphate fertilizer, potassium has a good effect on the abundant flowering of plants and the color of flowers. For flowering plants, potash fertilizer is most often used during the initiation and development of flower buds and when buds appear.
Some other plants, in which leaf and flower buds emerge from one sinus, do not tolerate this fertilizer during the period of the appearance of camellia buds.
Fertilized plants fatten, bloom later, undeveloped buds die off. Cut flowers from overfed plants do not hold well in water.
Usually fertilizers of a narrow focus: nitrogen, potash or phosphorus, are used in gardening when growing vegetables and flowers. In indoor floriculture, such fertilizers are rarely used, but the composition indicated on the fertilizer package always indicates the ratio of the main elements. It is designated as NPK, that is, N - nitrogen nitrogen, P - phosphorus phosphorus, K - kalium potassium. The NPK ratio can be very different in fertilizers intended for different plant groups.
For vegetative ornamental-deciduous plants, the proportion of nitrogen will be two to three times higher than for decorative-flowering plants. Therefore, if we are talking about nitrogen fertilizers for indoor plants, we mean a complex fertilizer with a large dose of nitrogen and a low content of potassium and phosphorus.
If you do not know what kind of fertilizer is needed for a particular plant, then it is better to choose a preparation in which the fertilizer formula has an equal ratio of NPK: 12-12-12 or 10-10-10, etc. For flowering plants, the dose of phosphorus significantly exceeds the nitrogen dose, the formula fertilizer can be as follows: NPK = 20-50-20 or 10-50-10.
Now fertilizers are produced in the form of insoluble powders and granules, tablets and sticks, as well as in liquid form. The label must contain an indication of the percentage of this fertilizer and instructions for use.
Powders and granules are widely used in horticulture, for open ground. In indoor floriculture, it is better to use tablets or sticks that are immersed in the soil. But there are significant drawbacks here. Firstly, nutrients are concentrated in one place, and secondly, if necessary, for example, with the onset of a dormant period, this top dressing is difficult to extract from the soil. Therefore, the most effective liquid fertilizers.
The concentration of fertilizing watering should be low, especially at the beginning of plant growth. More frequent watering with a weak solution has the best effect.
Even now, when you can buy almost any fertilizer in the store, many indoor flower owners fertilize plants with organic fertilizers brought from their dacha or garden.
Organic fertilizers improve the physical properties of the soil, increase its ability to absorb moisture, reduce soil acidity, and improve its aeration.
Humus (rotted manure) is an extremely valuable nitrogen fertilizer. As a fertilizing watering, an infusion of mullein is used (1 part of manure to 10 parts of water). Manure top dressing does not contain enough phosphorus, so superphosphate can be added to it at the rate of 12-15 g per fertilizer bucket. There are plants, such as asparagus, that are very fond of feeding with mullein. It is best to smear the walls of the pot with a cow cake when transplanting them, and then cover the earth.
Feeding with bird droppings is even more effective than feeding with mullein. In terms of nutritional value, bird droppings are superior to mullein and, moreover, do not have such a strong odor. Before use, bird droppings are diluted with water to a slightly turbid greenish hue. However, a high concentration solution can destroy the plant.
Microbiological fertilizers, in addition to the main nutrients, contain a complex of useful soil microorganisms and their metabolic products. These microorganisms produce various physiologically active substances that have a positive effect on the growth and development of plants, and actively restore the natural soil layer. One of these preparations is "Baikal EM1" - intended for watering and spraying indoor plants. It contains lactic acid, nitrogen-fixing, photosynthetic bacteria, yeast and their metabolic products. For these preparations, the storage conditions are especially important, as a rule, at temperatures above 0 ° C, but not above 20 ° C. The preparation "Baikal EM1" is diluted in warm non-chlorinated water in a ratio of 1: 2000, ie. 1 teaspoon for 5-8 liters of water).Indoor plants are watered and sprayed once every 1-2 weeks.
Top dressing with fertilizers (beginning)