How to Fertilize an Indoor Herb Garden

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Having planted your mini-masterpiece, you may be wondering how to fertilize your indoor herb garden.

Obviously, indoor plants can’t get the nutrients they need from rain and garden soil and need a helping hand.

After you have chosen the herbs for your indoor garden, you must select the right fertilizer.

Unfortunately, not all fertilizers are created equal. Despite some advertising claims, they can all be overused enough to damage your indoor herbs.

Let’s look at the type of fertilizers you can use, how to apply them, and why you need a monthly maintenance schedule.

How to Fertilize an Indoor Herb Garden

There are actually several types of fertilizer you can use for your indoor garden. These include packaged granular mixes and fish emulsions. The best option is one that is water-soluble, and it should be applied at one-quarter the recommended rate. Full strength fertilizer would be too concentrated. The herbs should be watered once per week, following a thorough watering. In addition, the herb garden will require a monthly flush to remove any harmful elements or salts. Outdoor plants are subject to natural cleansing, such as through rain showers. Still, an indoor garden will need extra help to complete the process.  

1. Types of Fertilizers You Can Use Indoors

Many types of fertilizers will work for an indoor herb garden.

Fertilizers are often referred to as plant food, but that’s not strictly true.

The process of photosynthesis supplies all the food that plants need, but fertilizer can provide micronutrients.

Think of it as adding extra minerals and vitamins.

Macronutrients are also necessary, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

You can tell if any of your herbs lack specific nutrients by looking at the colour of their leaves.

Yellow leaves indicate a lack of nitrogen, brown edges show a need for potassium, and purple leaves reveal that more phosphorus is necessary.

For indoor feeding, use a water-soluble fertilizer or one that can be dissolved in water.

These can include:

  • A packaged granular that you measure and dissolve in water before applying
  • A fish emulsion that is concentrated and must be added to water before using

2. How to Apply Fertilizers

Regardless of the type of fertilizer you choose, you will apply it at one-quarter of the recommended rate.

This is because standard fertilizer ratios are too concentrated for container plants.

In a garden, the fertilizer naturally filters out into the soil surrounding the plant and the rest of the area.

As a result, the nutrients are dispersed, and the plant takes as much fertilizer as it needs for healthy growth.

However, everything inside the pot is trapped for potted indoor herbs, so the fertilizer has nowhere to go.

As a result, a build-up can occur, and too much fertilizer can end up doing more harm than good to your plants.

To apply fertilizer most efficiently, follow this procedure once a week:

  1. Mix the fertilizer at one-quarter the strength recommended by the manufacturer
  2. Water your herb plants thoroughly
  3. Apply the weakened fertilizer solution

By watering the plant before fertilization, you will increase the plant’s absorption rate.

This is because it has already soaked up a lot of water in the potting soil, and the roots are actively soaking up the water.

If you forget to fertilize for a week or more, do not over-fertilize the next time to make up for the missed opportunity.

Instead, simply fertilize as if you didn’t miss a week.

3. Monthly Maintenance When Fertilizing an Indoor Herb Garden

It is absolutely essential to flush your indoor herb plants every month.

The containers can trap salts and harmful elements inside the soil that would usually be filtered through the ground of an outdoor garden.

Further, the environment inside your home is not conducive to natural cleansing processes such as rain and fresh air circulation.

This can counteract your fertilization efforts and inhibit plant growth.

If you want your indoor plants to be happy and healthy, take once a month to flush the soil.

It is straightforward and can be done while you work on other projects around the house.

  1. Put the herb plant in the sink and water it thoroughly.
  2. Allow all of the excess moisture to drain out.
  3. Once it stops dripping, water it entirely once again.
  4. Drain it entirely in the sink and return it to its sunny spot.

This simple process will remove any salts in the soil, and it is the perfect time for your weekly fertilizer.

You can also take this opportunity to mist your herbs, as they need high humidity to encourage growth.

Placing the herb pots on a tray of pebbles containing water can also help create the necessary humidity.

Container Herb Gardening

Final Thoughts

So, we have now learned the importance of how to fertilize an indoor herb garden.

Indoor plants cannot access the nutrients they need, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

A water-soluble fertilizer is ideal and should be used at a quarter-strength.

A monthly maintenance schedule is also necessary for the optimum growth of your herbs.

Thoroughly flushing the herb pots will ensure the removal of salts and toxins from the soil.

Make time to mist your herbs as well to help with providing humidity.

If you fertilize your indoor herb garden regularly, it ensures continued growth.

You can look forward to delicious herbs year-round.

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