Choosing the Right Nutrients for Indoor Growing

Choosing the Right Nutrients for Indoor Growing

Choosing the Right Nutrients for Indoor Growing

Just like human beings’ plants also needs nutrients, water, and support for their survival and growth. The provision of right nutrition is a crucial factor and it should be properly handled as it has a direct role for the growth and development of the plants. Sustainable growth and food production are directly dependent on the right selection of nutrients. In this article, the comprehensive guide is given about the nutrients, their types, need, role in plant growth and their selection for specific indoor growing.

Indoor plants can be grown in the soil or in the soilless media and the nutrition requirements for each medium should be adjusted properly. Based on the purpose of growing indoor plants, nutrients are divided into different categories. The nutrient needs of the plants growing in the hydroponic or soil media are not the same, but there is some variation. Even the type of nutrients for growing in the soil media and soilless media is different. So, a basic understanding of nutrient types and their requirement is greatly helpful to get quality yield without any compromise.

Selecting nutrients

Although nutrients are needed for all plants, their requirements are greatly dependent on the type of crop/plant, climatic conditions, growing season, specific variety, and soil conditions. Some nutrients are naturally present in the soil as the soil is made by weathering of rocks and minerals that cause the release of nutrients.

It may happen, that the nutrient residues from the previous growing season are still present in the soil. So, the direct application may lead to toxicity. Due to this reason, soil testing from local soil science laboratory or from agricultural extension services will be a good step to know about the nutrient needs for specific plants.

Base nutrients

Base nutrients are multi-purpose meals and provide essential elements for the indoor plants. Base nutrients are available in the multiple bottles or parts for the vegetative stage and the blooming stage. Base nutrients are also used as additives for correcting the deficiencies of certain elements. Plants need 16, essential nutrients for better growth and among these, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Cobalt and Molybdenum are most important.

Secondary nutrients

Proper nourishment of indoor plants with primary and secondary nutrients is essential to get good quality yield. These nutrients have an important role in cell division, chlorophyll production, photosynthesis, and plant growth. If these nutrients are applied in less or more amount than the optimum level, the plants may die.


Plants need many nutrients for their growth and development. Other than N, P, and K, micronutrients are also important. They are needed in small quantities but have a direct role in the cellular and metabolic processes of the plants. Although these nutrients are naturally present in most of the soils, their bioavailability to the plants is restricted due to various factors. So, these nutrients should be applied by the external sources.

The most important micronutrients are iron, zinc, cobalt, boron, copper, and molybdenum. By the provision of base nutrients, primary, secondary, and micronutrients, the nutritional deficiencies and the malnutrition issues in human beings can be greatly treated that directly helps to reduce the burden of diseases.

Organic nutrients for indoor growing

Organic nutrients are best for the indoor growing and do not cause any kind of contamination to the plants, food contents. Growers can also make a good quality compost at home, for fertilizing the indoor plants. Compost is an organic fertilizer and gives excellent results to boost up plant growth and yield. But they are slow-release, and results will be visible after some time.

Organic fertilizers greatly improve the soil quality by improving soil structure, water holding capacity, cation exchange capacity and anion exchange capacity of the soil. Organic nutrients are significantly important to produce organic food and improvement of soil and environmental quality in the indoor growing.

Synthetic fertilizers

These fertilizers are best to meet the plant needs in a short time and are available in the multiple packing and the bottles. On every packing, some numbers are written such as 8-5-3, and these numbers are standing for the percentages of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Soon after application, these nutrients are dissolved in the soil solution and are made readily bioavailable for the plant uptake.

Water-soluble fertilizers

Water-soluble fertilizers are the best ones for easy mixing and convenience as they are easily dissolved in the water. This solution can be mixed with the irrigation water, and even the application of fertilizers to all the plant parts is ensured. These fertilizers are available in a good range of formulas, and these formulations can be used according to the needs of the plants.

Bloom maximizers/ Flower boosters

These fertilizers are specialized to improve blooming, yield and density of flowers, and buds. They can be applied along with the base nutrients. Although these are expensive, they give excellent results by boosting the internal mechanism of plants. These nutrients cannot be applied throughout the season, but their application is only done at the blooming or flower initiation period.

Root stimulators

Root stimulators are greatly beneficial to improve the root growth and helps the better absorption of water and nutrients by the root. By the application of root stimulator nutrients, the chances of root diseases are significantly reduced, and healthy germination and growth are assured. These nutrients should be applied at the initial vegetative stages, but they can also be applied at the reproductive stages.


Sweeteners are important additives for manipulation or enhancing the taste of buds, fruits, and flowers. It is especially useful for indoor kitchen gardening and can only be used during the flowering phase.

Select nutrients according to the type and growth stage of plants

All plants do not need the same level of nutrients, their needs are different according to climatic conditions, plant type, variety, and growing stage. Plants at the early stages fewer nutrients, and only the recommended amount should be applied. The excessive application may cause direct burning, stunted and reduced growth. So, the nutrients should be applied in 3-4 stages after some time intervals.

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