Top Overfertilization Symptoms in Indoor Plants and Solutions

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Here are the Top Overfertilization Symptoms in Indoor Plants and Solutions that will help you give the right feed to your green friends!

Overfertilization Symptoms in Indoor Plants

When it comes to feeding houseplants, always ensure that the proportions are correct. To see the plant grow beautifully is a sign that your fertilizer is doing a great job! But how to tell that you have overfed them? Well, here are the Top Overfertilization Symptoms in Indoor Plants and Solutions for you!

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Overfertilization Symptoms of Indoor Plants

1. Yellowing and Wilting of Lower Leaves

Wilting and yellowing are mainly caused due to excessive fertilizer, causing the leaves to burn away and turn yellow. However, this might also happen due to overwatering and not enough sunlight exposure.

2. Brown or Burnt Leaf Tips

Brown or burnt leaf tips indicate that the plant is not absorbing water properly, which might be due to overfertilization, which hampers the water supply.

Note: Overfeeding might sometimes also cause excessive leaf drop. This might be due to disease or infection too. 

3. A White Layer on the Topsoil

This is the main sign of overfertilization. When you see a thin white layer on topsoil, it’s an indication of salt built-up, which can also be due to heavy water. Always refer to the label while fertilizing your plants.

4. Little or No Flowers

If you have excessively fertilized your flowering houseplants with nitrogen-rich feed, then it will result in lush foliage but no blooms. The key here is to feed in lower quantities but in a regular manner to ensure the plant stays healthy and flowers well.

5. Excessive or Low Growth

Excess of anything is bad, and the same goes with the fertilizer. People generally think that feeding more than required to the plant will result in more growth, but this is not the case. Overfertilization causes an imbalance of nutrients, which may lead to excessive or no growth of the plant.

How to Solve Overfertilization

Overfertilization Symptoms in Indoor Plants 2

  • If you can visually see the white layer on the topsoil, scrape out the top 1-2 inches of topsoil and replace it with a fresh potting mix.
  • Snip away the damaged foliage so that the plant diverts its energy into growing new leaves.
  • Keep the pot in a sink, under running water. This will help to flush out the excess fertilizer from the soil. Do make sure that the growing medium is not washed away in the process.
  • Lastly, take out the plant, wash the roots, and re-plant it using a fresh, high-quality potting mix. Refrain from fertilizing the plant for 3-5 months.

The Bottom Line

Houseplants, generally, do not get much sunlight, and people usually tend to water them once in 7-10 days. This eliminates the fertilizer to leach out from the soil, and over time, it accumulates. Feeding the plant then leads to more accumulation, eventually killing it in the longer run.

Always refer to the label while fertilizing houseplants. If you are using a rich potting mix, then you don’t have to use them much. It is not required to feed the plant every month when they are not actively growing, and it is a good idea to use a weaker dose than a recommended one to ensure your plant stays healthy for a long time to come. Also, avoid fertilizing the plants during their dormant period and in winters.

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