How Often to Fertilize Plants? Learn the Timing!

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Not that you’re a plant owner, it’s important to care for your plants. You’re probably aware that plants need fertilizer but how much and when can seem a bit confusing.

How often to fertilize plants: When you purchase plants, you should spend a bit of time researching their needs, including how often you should fertilize them. Some plants are happy if they have fertilizer twice a year. Others need fertilizer every four to six weeks. If you have a lot of different plants, you may want to create a calendar so you don’t forget this important task. Adding fertilizer is like feeding your plants and without enough nutrients, they can wither and eventually die. Also, look into what type of fertilizer your plant needs. While there are basic fertilizers out there, some plants have very unique needs. Adding the wrong fertilizer to a plant can spell disaster. The more you plan your garden, either inside or outside, the better it will be to take care of it. Then, you can appreciate the splendidness that nature has to offer.

4 Fertilizing Methods You can Use


Before you even start growing, you want your soil to be the best possible. This is where Banding comes into play.

Dig your holes or furrows for your plants and then place a band of fertilizer at the bottom. Be sure to cover it with an inch or two of soil so that the roots of your plants don’t come into direct contact with your raw fertilizer.

You can also add a band of fertilizer down the side of a row of crops, about two inches away from where they are growing. This will sink into the soil and as your plant roots grow out, they will absorb the nutrients.


When you have a larger area to fertilize, such as grass or a large garden, then you can use the broadcasting method. This is best done with a fertilizer applicator that you push so that you can ensure you have an even distribution.

Just as you would a lawnmower, slowly push the spreader back and forth across your lawn. The fertilizer will slowly drop from the bottom and there should be a spread that will help scatter it in an even fashion.

Broadcasting is best done when one area of your garden needs the same type of fertilizer at the same time. Because some plants are high-maintenance and need to be fertilized at specific times, this might not work if you have a garden with multiple types of plants.

Deep Soil Application

If you choose to use organic fertilizer, such as manure, you want to incorporate it into your soil. This is best done during the spring and the fall when you are changing crops out of your garden.

Start by digging up your soil. You may want to place some off to the side so that you can dig a bit deeper.

Then, add the manure or compost and then put the soil back in. Mix it all up for nutrient-dense soil that is ready for new crops.

Liquid Application

Perhaps the most common method for fertilizing plants is with a liquid application. For this to be successful, you will need to mix the fertilizer granules with the appropriate amount of water. Instructions will be on any package of fertilizer.

Once you have this mix you can then hand water your areas. Go slowly and make sure the soil is able to absorb all the nutrients.

Liquid application is best if you have many different plants that need different types of fertilizers. For example, some vegetables need more nitrogen than others, so you can mix up different ratios and apply them where needed.

Signs that Plants Need Fertilizing

Sign 1 – small fruit

Having ripe, juicy fruit is one of the main reasons for growing plants and if your fruit is lackluster, it means there are not enough nutrients in your soil. While you might not be able to get your plants back on track for the current growing season, you can improve the soil and grow larger fruit the following year.

Sign 2 – A lot of disease

Fertilizer has a lot of advantages and among them is the fact it can actually prevent some diseases from taking hold of plants. If you find your plants always succumb to disease, it’s time to increase your fertilizing.

Fertilizer can help create stronger roots, which means more nutrients are absorbed and there is less damage to the structure of your plants. The healthier your plants are, the better able they are to fight off disease.

Signs of Over-Fertilizing

Sign 1 – crust on the ground

If you use the liquid application method for fertilization, you want to make sure you thoroughly water the area. If not, the fertilizer will end up sitting on the soil and will not absorb into the ground.

Sign 2 – yellow or brown leaves

Unfortunately, too much fertilizer can actually damage or even kill your plants. If you notice yellow or brown spots on your plant leaves or a droopy appearance, it means there is too much fertilizer in their soil.

Sign 3 – Big, bushy leaves

When you use too much nitrogen, which is one of the key components of fertilizer, it can end up targeting the leaves and not the fruit or flowers of your plants. If you have small flowers but large leaves, it means there is too much fertilizer.

What happens if you fertilize plants too often?

While all plants have different fertilizing requirements, you should aim to fertilize your plants at least twice a year. Some, however, benefit from fertilizer every month.

Always research your plants to see what their requirements are. If you do fertilize them too much, they can actually end up dying as there will be too many chemicals in their soil.


Whether you have outdoor plants or indoor plants, fertilizer is key. By adding important nutrients to your plants, you can ensure they stay healthy and have a long life.

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