Last Updated on July 22, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Checking up on the soil, fertilizers, and environment can help your plant grow faster.
It can be frustrating to watch plants take their merry old time in growing into the fully-fledged specimens of beauty that they should be. But there’s no way of hurrying up old Father Time, or is there?
Well, time might move at its own pace, but there are ways to speed up the growth of plants and flowers, whether they be of the potted indoor variety or of the outdoor garden kind.
By following a few basic principles of nutrition, you too will know how to make plants grow faster.
When it comes to making plants grow quickly, the soil is probably the best place to start. After all, that’s where all the nutrients are stored. Good soil is all about balance. It should provide optimum levels of water, air, and nutrients.
A tell-tale sign that there might be a deficiency in this area, which in turn is stunting or slowing the growth of your plants, is soil that lacks consistency and clumps together. This generally means that your soil is low in organic nutrients.
The clumping could also mean that not enough water and air are getting to the roots. Again undesirable and detrimental to good healthy plant growth. Similarly, soil that is too rich in rocks might have trouble holding the water required for healthy plants.
How To Improve the Soil
Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the main soil nutrients found in the topsoil. They are also known as micronutrients for plants.
There are several ways to increase the quantity of these micronutrients and hence give your plants the kind of superdiet that will really boost their growth rate.
But before we can take a closer look at these methods, there’s a simple test we need to perform first.
A Soil Test
A soil test is a pretty essential precursor to any attempt at boosting the micronutrient content of your soil.
By knowing the NPK composition of your soil (N stands for nitrogen, P stands for phosphorus, and K stands for potassium), you will also know what kind of fertilizer to use. This is vital in getting just the right nutritional balance for your plants. Soil pH testers are widely available and fairly easy to use with a soil sample.
The single most effective way of speeding up the growth in plants is plant fertilizers.
Plant fertilizers vary in terms of their NPK composition. Generally speaking, nitrogen aids new green growth, phosphorus builds strong roots and flowers, and potassium ensures strong and healthy plant cells.
Depending on your soil test or obvious deficiencies, the NPK ratio helps you decide on the most suitable fertilizer composition for your plants.
Once you have the correct ratio, there are one or two other fertilizer decisions that need to be made before you arrive at the perfect formula for rapid plant growth.
Organic or Chemical?
Whether you plump for chemical or organic fertilizers depends on a number of factors, ranging from plant varieties to environmental impact.
Both types of fertilizer will provide the necessary nutrients to plants but in slightly different ways. Generally speaking, chemical fertilizers provide faster delivery, whereas organic fertilizers work at a more natural, sedate pace.
As the name suggests, organic fertilizers are natural. All nutrients are strictly of a plant or animal-based variety. Manure, compost, and leaves are all types of organic fertilizer.
On the other hand, inorganic fertilizer is predominantly synthetic, made from a mineral/chemical formula. A good, well-balanced chemical fertilizer contains high quantities of all three macronutrients—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—needed for optimal growth.
Liquid or Granular?
Granular fertilizers are designed to continue working over a period of months. Available in powder or pellet form, they slowly release nutrients with every watering.
Conversely, liquid fertilizers act faster, are more direct, and are also more versatile in their applications.
Liquid fertilizers give you two feeding options instead of just the one offered by granular fertilizers. You can either water them in or spray them directly onto your plants.
The latter method is known as “foliar feeding” and is the quickest way to provide enough nourishment and ensure your plants grow quickly. Foliar feeding will immediately deliver the nutrient or nutrients that a plant is lacking in, and afford instant relief to a malnourished plant.
Another benefit of liquid fertilizers over granular kinds is that they can be applied more than once, and if needs be, mixed or diluted for specific growing purposes.
Of course, you could take the completely natural homemade approach to fertilizers. Grass clippings, tree leaves, coffee grounds, banana peels, and even eggshells turned into compost, can provide the soil nutrients your plants are lacking.
This approach might lack some of the precision of NPK specific fertilizers, but through trial and error, you can produce the right formula to make plants grow faster.
Light and Shade
The environment and weather conditions your plant is kept in are also another major consideration not to be overlooked. Depending on the type of plant or flower, location and placement are vital factors in determining rapid growth.
All plants need sunlight for photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide or CO2 into energy. Some need a lot of sunlight in order to grow faster. Conversely, the shade-loving plant needs less sunlight in order to truly flourish.
Ideally, these factors should be considered before planting, as it can be detrimental to move a plant later on in its growth cycle when it has already started to spread its roots.
Like outdoor plants, popular houseplants, like many Philodendrons and Calatheas, need access to the perfect environment to thrive. This means making sure the plant has the correct balance of NPK nutrients in the soil, is not being over watered, and that temperature and humidity levels are just right.
To really speed things up, however, you might want to consider investing in indoor grow lights for your plants.
Light is usually measured in foot candles or ft-c for short. A plant that ideally needs direct sunlight will require something in the region of 1,500 ft-c if it’s going to grow at its optimum rate. That can be extremely difficult without using indoor grow lights.
Plants purchased at a garden center usually indicate whether they have low, medium, or high light level requirements. So simply measure the light levels in your home using a light meter or even a phone app, and set the indoor grow light accordingly.
Then relax and watch your baby grow.
What Liquid Fertilizer Will Make a Plant Grow Faster?
In theory, all liquid fertilizers will increase the growth rate of a plant. The key things to remember are finding the ideal NPK ratio to suit your plant’s needs.
What’s worth bearing in mind is that chemical fertilizers tend to work faster. Also, “foliar feeding” is possible with liquid fertilizers—it’s the fastest and most direct way to get nutrients to your plants.
What Can I Add to the Soil To Help My Plant Grow Faster?
Fertilizers will help your plants grow faster. The only question is, do you opt for organic or chemical? Liquid or granular? Each variety comes with its own benefits. However, if speed is of the essence, then it’s difficult to see past the liquid chemical variety.
If you wish to reduce the environmental impact, there are also many all-natural options available to you. These include manure, grass clippings, tree leaves, coffee grounds, eggshells, and banana peels, to name but a few.
How To Make House Plants Grow Faster?
Nutrients, temperature, humidity, and light are the key considerations when it comes to making houseplants grow faster.
Indoor grow lights are a great tool, as you can play around with them to optimize light levels for your plant(s) and thereby create the ideal conditions for speeding up growth.
What Causes Slow Plant Growth?
There can be a great many reasons for slow plant growth, from overwatering to a lack of nutrients. It’s a good idea to conduct a soil test to establish whether there are any nutrient deficiencies in the soil, by using a soil test kit. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the main nutrients needed for healthy growth. As is carbon dioxide.
Not being exposed to the ideal quantities of light and shade will also cause slow growth in plants.
Speeding up plant growth doesn’t have to feel like an exercise in chemistry. With a little knowledge of plant nutrition and the ideal conditions in which to keep your plants, rapid growth becomes a matter of routine.
Allowing you to sit back and enjoy the splendors of the plant kingdom in all its natural glory.