Calathea Fertilizer Requirements

Calatheas need a specific fertilization routine to keep them healthy. For a colorful Calathea that thrives all year round, ensure you adjust how much you fertilize between winter and summer. Also, you will need to choose the right fertilizer. Well, here we are going to talk about fertilizer for Calathea.

When and How Often Should You Fertilize Your Calatheas?

Calathea plants are not heavy feeders and do not require a dose of fertilizer every time they are watered. Also, it is best to avoid fertilizing recently propagated plants until they have had an opportunity to develop naturally. Instead, you are able to focus on fertilizing the plant once per season in the summer, spring, and fall. Do not forget to space those fertilizer doses out by about 8 weeks or more to make sure the plant is not being overfed.

Calathea Fertilizer Requirements

For those who have a particularly large Calathea plant or the species is recognized for needing more feeding, you are able to try a diluted dose once a month during those seasons. It is better to slightly under-fertilize than to overfeed the plant because you will be able to tell it needs more from fading colors.

If your Calathea is not actively putting out new leaves, you do not fertilize it. Remember that a lack of proper light or watering conditions cannot be overcome with more fertilizer. Only humidity and indirect light can allow the plant to take advantage of the nutrients. If you add too much fertilizer to the soil, emptying the container and replacing the potting mix will assist your plant.

The Best Fertilizer for Calathea

You have to know that Calathea plants prefer more nitrogen than the other two macronutrients, and only need a small dose of trace nutrients from the soil. For your information, an NPK (Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium) fertilizer ratio of 3-1-2 is highly recommended, with urea or ammonia-based nitrogen preferred. It means that liquid or dry fertilizers based on minerals are preferred to those created by organic materials.

The exception is composted manure or manure extracts which frequently contain lots of urea-derived nitrogen. Also, fish emulsions and seaweed liquids can be good choices for those reasons.  Compost and other homemade fertilizers will tend to be too low in nitrogen for your Calathea plants. For your information, coffee grounds are one convenient homemade fertilizer which is easy to apply to the Calathea plants. They are especially rich in nitrogen and only release a small dose of it while adding a good smell when they dry. Also, these plants can handle the slightly acidic nature of the grounds.

How to Apply Fertilizer for Calathea?

Liquid fertilizers will allow immediate access to the nutrients and also distribution through the soil. If you want to apply liquid fertilizers for your Calathea, simply you are able to dilute the fertilizer by half to know how the plant reacts first. Work up to a full-strength application of a 3-1-2 fertilizer if your plant shows signs of needing it.

Usually, for most Calathea plants, half strength application once per season or three times a year is more than sufficient. Only larger Calathea and more demanding varieties will need full-strength fertilization several times a year.

For pellets, simply you are able to place them in the soil as the manufacturer recommends and then let the fertilizer reach the roots each time you water.

Signs Your Calathea is Lacking Nutrients and Needs Feeding

Yellowing and fading leaves show that your Calathea is no longer getting all the nutrients it needs from its soil. Because this Calathea plant is not a heavy feeder, fresh soil with compost or fertilizer mixed in will likely make it going for a year or two years. But, after that, the nutrients are usually depleted. A Calathea stuck in soil with no fertilizer will show signs like fading and loss of color first. Then, their leaves will yellow, with slow growth to replace the foliage lost naturally over time.

Mild wilting and drooping which does not respond to watering or light changes can be caused by a lack of fertilizer too. In this case, consider pruning your Calathea to cut back past prime foliage.

Why Do Calatheas Need Nutrients from Fertilizer?

Calathea plants rely on water and sunlight for most of their needs. However, macronutrients also play a crucial role in plant health for ensuring your plant is sufficiently healthy to keep pests, bugs, and diseases. Also, secondary nutrients and micronutrients help certain plants grow strong and healthy, while other species may not require them at all. The three macronutrients for the plants are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Required for making amino acids and operating the plant’s metabolism, those nutrients and others are supplied by an appropriate soil base first. However, for the houseplants grown in containers, fertilizer is required.

You have to know that fertilizers are derived from raw minerals mined from the earth or organic materials such as manure and compost. Mineral fertilizers are more direct and also easier to control the precise application. Aside from that, they are also less messy for indoor applications like the Calatheas grown as houseplants.

Some Key Considerations for Fertilizing Calathea

Need to know that fertilizing for Calathea is very easy. Usually, the plant does not require a lot of nutrients, particularly when smaller or during the winter. The calathea is going to develop brown tips and probably yellow down the centers of the leaves, losing color in the process. Sadly, this can also be confused with too much light or too little water.

In fact, excess fertilizer is frequently overlooked until the Calathea plant is badly shocked. Utilizing a too strong fertilizer or that offers a slow-release can leave the plant struggling to survive. Eliminating the affected soil and replacing it entirely, rinsing the plant roots in the process, will be able to help reverse the damage. Also, replacing the potting mix regularly is a great practice to keep salts from fertilizer and minerals from water from building up.

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