Last Updated on March 25, 2022 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 composition 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 is getting to the roots. Again, it is 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, and are considered essential nutrients necessary for healthy and faster growth of plants.
There are several ways to increase the quantity of these micronutrients and hence, give your plants the kind of super diet 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. A digital soil tester is 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 food and 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?
Choosing between organic and inorganic fertilizers, depends on a number of factors, ranging from plant varieties to environmental impact.
Both types of plant food will provide the necessary nutrients to plants and help to boost plant growth, 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.
Granular or Liquid Fertilizers
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 provide you with two feeding options instead of just the one offered by granular fertilizers. You can either water them in or spray liquid fertilizers directly onto your plants.
Spraying With Liquid Fertilizer
The latter method above, is known as “foliar feeding” and if you notice slow plant growth, this is the quickest way to provide enough nourishment and ensure your plants grow quickly.
Foliar feeding, using foliar spray made up with liquid fertilizer, 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 fertilizer kinds is that they can be applied more than once, and if need be, mixed or diluted for specific growing purposes.
Of course, you could take the completely natural homemade approach to organic fertilizer. 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.
Another homemade fertilizer that you can make, which also greatly boosts healthy foliage and stimulates plant growth, is a mixture of baking soda, epsom salts and household ammonia.
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.
The temperature surrounding a plant may affect its growing in several ways. The most obvious one is high temperatures affecting photosynthesis. The warmer the temperature, the faster this process can take place, resulting in a rapid plant growth.
When the temperature, however, reaches extremely hot, the process of photosynthesis starts to suffer from an imbalance. This, however, varies from plant to plant. If you plant tomatoes, for example, you should know that they do not tolerate a temperature of more than 96 degrees Fahrenheit.
The effects of temperature and plant growth vary and go hand in hand with other factors that play a role in plant growth. These factors include moisture, sunlight, drainage and soil structure.
Correct watering of plants plays a big role in its growth. If any particular plant starts to adapt to slower growth, you might want to check whether you are watering it correctly and with the correct type of water.
There are 2 things that can go wrong with regard to watering your plants. These are, over watering and of course underwatering.
Let us explore these scenarios further.
If your plants receive too much water, may it be in a vegetable garden, a flower bed or plain potted plant, you risk your plants developing root rot.
Rotting roots can be detrimental to plants as it prohibits the transport of oxygen from the soil through the plant.
Unhealthy roots cause stunted growth.
If your plants receive too little water, all of the vital nutrients that it needs are unable to be absorbed and the plant becomes nutrient deficient, causing a slower growth.
With the wrong water ratio and damaged roots, a plant cannot go about growing healthy. So be sure to practice proper watering and adapt the correct water schedule for your growing plants.
As a rule of thumb in gardening, check your soil for moisture levels, by simply dipping a finger half way into the soil. The feeling of moist soil tells you that it has enough water, if, however, the soil feels dry to the touch, you should provide your plant with more water.
Other signs of plant dehydration are if you notice the soil is retracting from the sides of the pot or if the pot weighs less than normal.
Carbon dioxide — which is the element that makes carbonated water bubbly — is considered to be a plant fertilizer as it contains a bunch of macronutrients such as potassium, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, sodium, phosphorus and sulfur, which a plant requires for good growth.
As a lover of plants, you would know that CO2 is also necessary for photosynthesis to take place and together with the sun, the plant produces sugars.
Carbonated water is therefore considered to be beneficial to plant growth.
It is said to not only boost the growth of plants, making them grow faster and larger, but also enhance the green color of their foliage and aid in increased drought resistance.
Fish Tank Water/Aquarium Water
Using water from a fish tank has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the growth of various plants, especially in vegetable plants.
The nitrogen, which is found in the form of nitrates, in aquarium water acts like a fertilizer and helps the plant to produce green leafy branches.
Instead of throwing this water down the drain, reuse it to provide plants with nutritious material to speed up its growth.
Calcium is a vital mineral needed for proper and healthy plant growth. If the soil is calcium deficient, your plant’s growth will easily be stunted.
Common causes of a lack of calcium in soil include the wrong pH level in the root zone, a nutrient imbalance in the plant food used and overhydration or underhydration.
Adding lime to your growing media will help avoid deficiency in calcium.
Like outdoor plants, popular houseplants and indoor plants, like many Philodendrons and Calatheas, need access to the perfect environment to thrive. This means making sure the plant indoors 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 flowering plants indoors.
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 (be aware of weed seeds when making use of these), tree leaves, coffee grounds, eggshells, compost tea, and banana peels, to name but a few.
Every experienced gardener will know that mulching is of great benefit to plant growth and health and you may have heard of mulching together with coffee grounds to boost plant growth. This is not a bad idea, but it should not be done with fresh grounds alone.
Mix the ground coffee with natural organic matter found on a compost pile, such as tea leaves — from green tea for example — other food scraps and the odd grass clipping before using it as mulch.
Another option is to lightly rake it into the topsoil to avoid clumping. Be aware that this may result in quite acidic soil, so we advise that you use this method only for your acid loving plants.
If you find that your soil has become too acidic, simply add some wood ash which is a great neutralizer for overly acidic soil.
Coffee grounds can also be used as a slow release fertilizer. Turns out that it contains a good light balance of micronutrients as well as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.
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 CO2.
Not being exposed to the ideal quantities of light and shade will also cause slow growth in plants.
By planting your plants and letting them grow in the correct environmental conditions, half of the job is already done. Make sure you have the correct soil and then prepare the soil properly to make it a good living space for your plants roots.
Provide them with the right amount of light, water, and temperature, and you will be well on your way to having beautiful specimens.
To ensure that extra boost of growth, add the fertilizer of your choice, making sure that it is just the right light balance of nutrients. Use it according to the directions on the package and your plant will be growing happily.
Speeding up plant growth doesn’t have to feel like an exercise in chemistry. With a little knowledge of how to grow plants faster, bigger and rapid growth becomes a matter of routine.
Now, you can sit back, watch your plants grow, and enjoy the splendors of the plant kingdom in all its natural glory!