Whenever someone is new to indoor gardening, they usually stick to feeding their plants with the classic components found in nature: Water and sunlight. If they are particularly spicy, they might try fertilizer. But nine times out of ten, they are not even going to research into what is the best food for indoor plants.
But the more advanced an indoor grower of plants becomes, the more they are looking to solve niche problems. And that should be your main goal when discerning which food is the best for your plants. Water and sunlight are powerful, but they do not offer everything every plant needs.
Generally, when you are looking for the best food you can feed your indoor plants, you are looking for the best fertilizer you can give them. These can either be home-made or store-bought. Home-made fertilizer is best for growth, while store-bought can let you actually harvest your plants.
Not everyone is interested in “harvesting” anything, however. That is why homemade fertilizer is even worth mentioning: While store-bought fertilizer is, strictly speaking, better for growing things, it might be an expensive way to grow more than you can manage. Growing your plants too much just means they are harder to feed.
How Is Fertilizer Food For Plants?
The best plant food is fertilizer. But what is fertilizer? Fertilizer is a part of the cycle of energy plants create. In physics, all systems contain three things: “Work”, which is what they do. “Fuel”, which is burned to produce “Work”. And “Waste”, which is the by product of Fuel and Work.
Waste is created because no fuel can be burned with perfect efficiency. The amount of work that can be done with any fuel is always going to be lesser than the energy contained within the fuel, as it takes energy to turn fuel into work. Therefore, there is always a net loss of energy. This loss exits the system as waste.
Fertilizer is waste that is repurposed into more fuel. Fertilizer comes from farms, where it is usually animal feces. These feces are rich in nutrients and bacteria, but it is bacteria that cannot reproduce in or consume plants. As such, plants have adapted to consume their nutrients and grow stronger by them.
You do not need to use animal feces on your plants to fertilize them though. There are far more sanitary waste products you can use. Store-bought fertilizer does not even use waste products at this point.
What Is The Best Home-Made Fertilizer?
The best fertilizer you can make at home is using pasta water. You can use any kind of wheat-based pasta, but macaroni and cheese are ideal due to being so easily accessible. This method uses the bacteria on food waste rather than the bacteria in animal waste in order to feed your plants.
Making mac and cheese involves boiling the macaroni in some water, and then straining it to separate the water from the macaroni. When you do this though, do not let the water go down the drain. You see, that water now has a bunch of different things in it, including some forms of microscopic life.
Everything in the world has bacteria on it. This might sound alarming, but it is the truth. Just as true is the fact that most of this bacteria is not harmful to humans, and that which is harmful to humans is pretty easily dealt with. Dried macaroni has bacteria on it, as well as still-living wheat cells. These are separated out when boiling.
When they are separated out, they go into the water. The water becomes a soup of all manner of tiny lifeforms and the waste product of these lifeforms. It is, essentially, a little ecosystem teeming with life. This is exactly the kind of thing your plants love to extract nutrients from. Wait for that water to cool, then use it on your plants.
What you will see is that your plants will be super-charged by that water. It will have all the advantages of watering them normally, as well as a degree of the advantages of fertilizing your plants. This method will work with any pasta, so whenever you make mac and cheese, spaghetti, ramen, whatever, you can use this.
Now, this is not to say that this manner of fertilization is as effective as store-bought fertilizer. But store-bought fertilizer is far from a “natural” solution, and it can be extremely expensive. You are not going to be able to feed the world off of plants fertilized with pasta water, but you will help your plant’s health tremendously.
What Is The Best Store-Bought Fertilizer?
If you are looking for a brand name, simply check out Jack’s 20-20-20 Fertilizer. This will get you started on all your needs when it comes to growing your plants full and healthy. Just remember that fertilizer does not replace sunlight and water, it just supplements it. Fertilizers cannot be digested without water and sunlight.
If you are looking for advice, then here it is: You do not need store-bought fertilizer unless you have an indoor garden that you are planning to harvest fruits or vegetables out of. There are a few reasons for this, but the short version of all of them is that store-bought fertilizer can actually make plants more difficult to care for.
When you add fertilizer to a plant you can sometimes go as far as doubling its size. This presents a predicament for you, the caretaker of that plant: Do you continue to buy fertilizer for it, possibly increasing its size even more? If you do not get more fertilizer, there will have to be a process of downsizing the plant.
This downsizing process can be both difficult and even deadly for the plant. Therefore, it is sometimes better to avoid using store-bought fertilizer altogether. Home-made fertilizer does not share this problem. Store-bought fertilizer is the product of highly advanced chemistry to make it as effective as possible.
In short, store-bought fertilizer is meant for a specific need. If you want to grow your plants at a healthy, but sustainable rate, the best food for indoor plants is home-made fertilizer made from pasta water.