Potted plants look wonderful around the house or indoors but they have a problem. They live in pots! Potted plants can only get the nutrients that are in their pot. They can’t send their roots out in search of more food so if they run out, they just turn yellow and might even die.
Feeding plants is called fertilising. When a plant is planted into a pot, potting mix is used which has small granules in it that release fertiliser gradually over several months. These are called controlled release fertiliser. But, after several months, they don’t have any more nutrients in them so more controlled release fertiliser needs to be added.
Controlled release fertiliser is available in small tubs at the garden centre or hardware and only a small amount is needed for each pot; check the instructions on the tub. To apply the fertiliser, simply use the spoon in the tub to measure out the correct amount and then sprinkle it over the soil of the pot. Try to press it down so that the little granules have good contact with the soil. Every time you water the plant, small amounts of food will leach into the soil which the roots will suck up like a sponge.
Potted plants can also be fed with a liquid fertiliser but this only provides enough food for about two weeks and should only be used if the plants need a boost or are looking a little pale. To apply liquid fertiliser, mix it with a watering can and pour it over the leaves and around the soil.
Never put compost or animal manure into the soil with potted plants. It can make the potting mix turn mushy and water logged which will probably cause the plant to get a root rot disease.