4 Natural Ways To Fertilize Houseplants

As someone so infatuated with living a life surrounded by plants, one would think my thumb would be a littttttle bit greener.

The truth is: I’m still learning how to keep these beauties thriving, and I can use all the help I can get.

Luckily, there are tons of simple, natural ways to keep houseplants healthy. Here are a few I’ve found out about – and if you have any ideas to add, leave a comment!

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Eggshells. Eggshells are filled with calcium, which is essential for plants to develop a strong cellular structure. You can make a fertilizer tea by crushing up a bunch of eggshells, adding them to boiling water, and allowing to steep overnight. In the morning, pour the tea right onto the soil to give your babies some love. Another way you can use eggshells is to create a powder by placing a bunch of clean and dry eggshells into your food processor. The powder can be mixed into the soil right before potting a new plant.

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Coffee. Many gardeners add coffee grounds to their compost piles to help nourish plants and kill weeds and pathogens – but you can used brewed coffee on plants, too! Brewed coffee contains a good amount of potassium and magnesium, which are excellent for plant growth. Use equal parts cooled plain coffee and water, and water your plants as you normally would. Because of the acidic nature of coffee, this technique should be reserved for plants that do well in acidic conditions, like ferns, roses, and aloe.

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Green tea. The tannic acid in green tea will slightly raise the acidity of soil, just like coffee. Green tea also increases nutrient levels in soil and improves oxygenation, which helps roots thrive. You can add tea leaves right into your soil or water your plants with brewed tea after it has cooled. Again, be sure to use this on plants that thrive in more acidic conditions.

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Epsom salt. High quality Epsom salt is rich in magnesium and sulfate, two minerals that together provide incredible nourishment for plants, allowing them to grow fuller and greener, and live longer lives. You can water plants twice a month with 1 tablespoon of high quality Epsom salt dissolved in 1 gallon of water, or mist their leaves with a mixture twice as concentrated. You can also add Epsom salt granules directly to soil when repotting.

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+ How do you keep your houseplants thriving? Do share!

Follow Brigette on Instagram, and have a look at her blog Hummusbird!

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7 years ago

oddly enough coffee killed my coriander

7 years ago

Needed this post – because I honestly have no idea how to keep plants alive, thanks for the tips!! Esp. the eggshells- I’d totally forgotten about that.

Warm Regards,

7 years ago

This is amazing! I never thought of using eggshells–what a perfect way to better the environment without wasting any food!

7 years ago

Yes! Thank you for this post. I’m definitely going to try out the eggshell fertilizer “tea.” Right now I have about 10 houseplants in my room alone that I only care for with sunshine, water and love. I’m sure they’ll delight in getting some more nutrients.

Dee | http://www.daundra.com/blog

7 years ago

I love this post! I can never keep my little plants alive, but I will definitely try some of these tips.

But I have always thought that salt would kill plants…or maybe just if you add too much?


Kimberly Randolph
3 years ago
Reply to  Lindsey

Epsom salt not table salt

Jamie Ann
7 years ago
7 years ago

i love your shower curtain! where did you find it? great plant tips too;)

FP Brigette
7 years ago

Amanda – Thanks! It was a thrift store gem :)

7 years ago

Huh! I never thought you could use such practical things to actually fertilize your plants! These are great tips! Thanks for sharing this post. I am pretty terrible with house plants!


7 years ago

Wow! I can totally do the coffee grounds and epson salt idea. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am trying to expand my green thumb. We eat a lot of salsa, so I bought some cilantro for my windo sill and I know I will have to transplant soon because soil only has a certain length of time for nourishment in its original containers. I found your post on BlogLovin, I’d love if you stopped by and said hello some time.

7 years ago

Amazing. My plants love eggshells and coffee but I had no idea about the epsom salt. I always have that around the house, so that will be a good edition to my gardening regime. I’d love to see a blog post about natural ways to keep pests away from plants.

7 years ago

egg shells who would have though have so much calcium. I put egg shells in my fruit smoothies each week day .. . try adding aluminum foil to your plants and your cats whisker

7 years ago

Amanda- im sure it could be a diy project, just take a normal clear or transparent-ish shower curtain and a large piece of lace or a lace table cloth, then loop the shower curtain rings through both the plastic curtain and the lace. done! :D

7 years ago

Pickle juice can also do great things for a plant! My gardenia especially LOVES pickle juice. It helps make the soil acidic – so plants that don’t like coffee probably won’t like pickle juice either. Once, I applied coffee grounds, pickle juice, and a magnesium supplement cap broken open to my gardenia – and two days later, it had three gorgeous blooms! Thanks for all of the other ideas here, I’d never heard of the eggshell one :)

6 years ago

I didn’t know aloe likes acidic soil. Some of mine is doing great and some is barely hanging in there.

6 years ago

Using coffee grounds on houseplants, i find not being a great idea personally. The times i have tried, it turns fungal and kills the plant. I dont know if it i used to much or if it is the fungus though. Herbal teawater and rice water looks to have done wonders till now.

thanks for the tips :)

5 years ago

Hi there, ty for sharing your suggestions! I’m wondering if it matters if the coffee and tea are decafeinnated; do you know?

Robin Henderson
5 years ago

Hi…Im very interested in learning all there is to know about growing very healthy houseplants!!!

5 years ago

My gardener told me to put ripe bananas in the soil, with skin and all.

5 years ago

Even people with brown thumbs can grow Sansevierias. There are dozens of varieties to choose from. Short. Tall. Wide. Narrow. I put my plants outdoors on the porch in summer and they are happy as can be. In the fall I bring them in and mostly don’t water them. They sit dormant in my living room window.
Thanks for the article. It makes me appreciate my plants all over again.

5 years ago

I make banana “tea” from the skin (I put it in a jar for 2 days). I also read in one permaculture book that you can use your pee. :)

Willie Mae Bell
5 years ago

I have houseplants and been growing them for years. Now I am in apartment with only a north window and mostly shade , some sun not much . After I got cancer in 2014 it seem a though they got sick to and started dying off as I got better they got better but they are not as healthy as the was. So I’m asking would the green tea help them? And what window is better for plants. Would love a feed back . Thank you for your time . Have a bless day !

5 years ago

I noticed in your post you mentioned that you could use a good quality Epsom salt for fertilizer what about Himalayan pink sea salt because this has about 90 plus minerals in it. Could I use this also it seems as though it would make the plants boost a lot better what do you think?

Dee Landers
4 years ago

I get a little worried on the salt thing because I use it on what some people refer to as “stinging weed,” They lie close to the ground under grass, cannot be seen until you are pulling green huge splinters that feel like bee stings out of your foot. I dig them up with the roots they go about 4 inches in the ground, even for a tiny plant, when done I put salt in the hole or they will surely come back, you leave one tiny root and they will sprout everywhere, but salt makes sure they don’t come back! .thank God…this house was over-run with them when we moved here because nobody had lived here for about ten yrs. (Five acres) It was a nightmare for about 2 years, but it took about five to get rid of all of those little monsters.

I have put bananas in food processor and then in a bucket of hot water, and let sit for two days and then put a dash into each of my plants I am planting with the rest water and it works great. Have used it for a very long time. Thank you for the egg shell idea, I have always put egg shells in my dirt, but never tried powder, I love that idea. I really like all of your suggestions and thank you for sharing your ideas with us, it is very much appreciated.

I’m not suggesting to everyone, but I grew tulips for about 3yrs and all of a sudden the green came up but only a few bloomed, and very few made more bulbs when I dug some up to spread them out…I gave up on them until someone told me, “Put a rusty penny everywhere the green pops up next year and watch what happens…two yrs later…WOW! They bloomed and two and three came up, not just one. Not sure what else they are good for, if anyone has any suggestions I am anxious to know. I used to get three and four bulbs from my tulips in the past, now I am getting six to ten bulbs from them every few years, it’s really great. I hope this helps someone…and any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Also…coffee grounds in the dirt of cucumbers and squash keep slugs from ruining your crops, and also get rid of root eating varmints that tear your garden up from the roots up. Styrofoam plates around the garden with beer in them will draw slugs to them, and not your plants. I know this is just for fertilizer but I wanted to help with the other side too.