A DIY and Homemade Hibiscus Fertilizer Recipe
What are Hibiscus Plants?
Hibiscus plants produce lovely flowers that are exotic and very popular in the tropics. A hibiscus flower is a nice flower to have in the house in any climate as well. To keep this flower healthy and flowering indoors, you will be required to use fertilizer on it from time to time.
Lack of use of fertilizer on the flower may lead to withering and yellow leaves, since it’s unable to obtain some nutrients it needs from the soil. However, too much fertilizer could be bad for plants as it could cause acidity or excesses in nitrogen (N) as well. Finding the right balance is easy though and the good news about saving some money by making your own fertilizer is that most of the ingredients you use are slow-release and will not burn your Hibiscus foliage.
You can either choose to buy fertilizer and follow the instructions carefully, or decide to do it yourself using household items. The latter is what we’re going to look at in the most detail today, so let’s get started:
What to look for in commercial fertilizers for hibiscus?
When you want to use a fertilizer, you have to choose whether you want to use a slow-release or water-soluble fertilizer. Before obtaining any fertilizer, you need to look for symbols like nitrogen (N) phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). These are important to provide positive nutrients to the soil. For Hibiscus, always go with a lower amount of phosphorus like a 10-4-12 ratio or something very similar.
The nitrogen could hurt the plant if used in excess or in limits. Nitrogen is useful in promoting healthy leaves, but too much burns foliage. Phosphorus is good for large blooms and also for the growth of a good root system, but it’s needed in much smaller amounts for hibiscus. Then the potassium is good for root development and overall plant health. It should be the highest ratio out of the three for these plants.
How often should you use fertilizer on a hibiscus flower?
The number of times you use fertilizer depends on the type of fertilizer chosen. If it is a DIY fertilizer, each item you use will have its frequency depending on selected items.
The soluble and slow-release fertilizers also need to be balanced in terms of nutrients. The water-soluble ones should be used at low strength, and the slow release ones need to be used at least four times per year which is easier if you’re busy all the time like me!
How to make homemade fertilizer
There are at least 15 different ways in which you can come up with DIY fertilizers at home. Some of these that are most beneficial for hibiscus blooms include:
1. Coffee grounds
Coffee gives nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium in a slow-release form. You dry the used coffee grounds on a newspaper and leave in sunlight for two to three days. Then, sprinkle it over the soil close to where branching begins.
Use egg-shells that have gone through a food processor. The egg-shells have 100% calcium carbonate. You grind the egg-shells into fine particles and sprinkle over the soil.
3. Dirty fish water
If you have a fish tank in your house, use the dirty fish water to water the hibiscus. There is no need to use any fertilizer as the fish have already done all the work. Just don’t do this if you had to use any fish antibiotics or other chemicals in the water recently.
4. Epsom salt
Is Epsom salt good for hibiscus plants? The answer is yes. Use one tablespoon of Epsom salt and 1 gallon of water. Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulphate, which are two nutrients necessary for plants. You combine 1 tablespoon Epsom salt and 1 gallon of water and use this solution on the plants. Repeat this method once every month.
5. Vinegar fertilizer.
Use one tablespoon of white vinegar and one gallon of water. Combine the water and vinegar then use this solution to water the plants. Repeat this process every three months. The acetic acid in vinegar increases the acidity in the soil. Hibiscus thrive in slightly acidic soil growing conditions.
6. Cooking water
The food we cook releases plant-healthy nutrients into the cooking water after boiling. The water you use to boil vegetables, eggs, potatoes or even pasta is full of nutrients that can be used as fertilizer. Before using this water for the plants, you need to make sure it cools first.
7. Wood ash.
Wood ash contains calcium carbonate and potassium, so it is suitable for the plants. Ensure the ash used does not have any charcoal or lighter fluid, which could hurt the plants.
8. Gelatin powder
Gelatin is rich in nitrogen and is suitable for house plants. Dissolve one pack of gelatin powder, one cup of hot water then add three cups of cold water. You then pour the solution directly to your plants and repeat the process once a month.
9. Horse feed
Horse feed contains molasses, which makes an excellent fertilizer. Sprinkle the horse feed directly on the soil, or you dissolve it in a bucket of water, add another fertilizer, and apply it on the soil drench.
10. Matches sticks
Match sticks are a great provider of magnesium. You can either insert a whole match stick directly into the soil or just dissolve the match sticks in water and pour the water directly into the soil.
11. Powdered milk
It is a good source of calcium. You simply mix a few cups of diluted powdered milk into the soil before planting.
Where to buy a good and affordable fertilizer
If you don’t have time to go the DIY route, we totally understand! The good news is, commercial fertilizers are available in small sizes that are affordable and will likely last you a full year if you only have a few houseplants to tend to. Fertilizer for Less is a good site where you can look for cheap and effective fertilizers at an affordable price.