How to Fertilize Arrowhead Plants?
Even so, if fertilizing is done incorrectly, it can have a detrimental effect on the plant’s development. This especially if you over-fertilize.
It’s important that if you do fertilize arrowhead plants, you do so in a way to promote healthy growth and without causing fertilizer burn.
In what follows, I will make recommendations on the type of fertilizers to use and describe the fertilizing routine I have been successfully using to grow arrowhead plants.
Do You Fertilize Arrowhead Plants?
Yes, I do fertilize arrowhead plants. But here’s the deal – I’m not rigid in my routine. That’s because these plants aren’t heavy feeders.
They don’t grow as fast and they’re happy to stay on an infrequent fertilizing schedule.
The risk with plants that are low feeders is to overfertilize them. Beyond applying fertilizer infrequently, you will also need to manage the strength of the fertilizer, so that it’s not too strong for your arrowhead plant.
Can you skip fertilizing arrowhead plants altogether? I’d argue that you can, but only if the potting mix already contains fertilizer or if you’ve just recently repotted your arrowhead.
The potting mix can easily become depleted of nutrients over time, even if there’s an optimal amount of organic matter in the mix.
Fertilizing helps replenish the nutrients that were washed away through watering and nourish your arrowhead plant.
But it’s absolutely essential to pay attention to frequency and strength to prevent root burn and mineral build-up.
How Often to Fertilize Arrowhead Plants?
My rule is to fertilize monthly. But then again I use a liquid fertilizer that I dilute to half-strength or a quarter-strength – depending on how my plant is growing – and apply that only once a month.
I fertilize only during the growing season.
If you’re using slow-release fertilizer such as those available in granular form, you will not need monthly applications.
Those are either applied every 3 months or once at the beginning of the growing season.
I prefer liquid fertilizers because it’s just easier for me to measure it and dilute it at the strength I want, depending on my assessment of how the plant is developing.
I always start juvenile arrowhead plants on a very weak fertilizer and adjust the strength over time to see how the plant reacts.
But I never use full-strength fertilizer because I’ve found it does more damage than good.
Types of Fertilizers for Arrowhead Plants
I briefly mentioned how you can use either liquid fertilizers or granular ones, but there are also several home-made or DIY fertilizers you may consider for your arrowhead plants.
Here’s an overview of the various types of fertilizers and how they can benefit your arrowhead plant:
Although organic fertilizers are available both in liquid and granular form, you may not need to reach for commercially available options. Instead, you can turn to your kitchen pantry for different home-made fertilizer options.
Here are several ordinary things that you can use as a DIY fertilizer:
Compost is probably the best DIY fertilizer for most houseplants, not only arrowheads. If you have a compost pile, simply keep adding organic waste materials to it.
Compost can be added to the potting mix of arrowhead plants to improve soil structure, drainage, moisture retention and provide beneficial nutrients to your arrowhead plant.
– Aquarium Water
If you have a fish tank, you also have a source of natural fertilizer that you can use for your arrowhead plant.
Aquarium water accumulates ammonia, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which make great fertilizer for houseplants.
And since you already need to replace your aquarium water periodically, why not make good use of it as a fertilizer?
– Banana Peels
You can throw banana peels on your compost pile or dry banana peels in the sun or over, then use a food processor to turn them into powder, which you can add to the potting mix of arrowhead plants.
You can use raw banana peels as well by cutting them into small chunks or using a food processor to make a banana skin puree you can add to the potting mix.
The downside of using raw banana peels as a fertilizer is the smell and that pests may take a bigger interest in your plants.
Eggshells are another good source of fertilizer for houseplants. Take dry, cleaned eggshells and use a mortar and pestle to crush them into a powder that you can sprinkle into the potting mix.
– Coffee Grounds
Using coffee grounds as plant fertilizer is another way in which you can repurpose things you might otherwise throw away.
I advise you to first compost coffee grounds to avoid issues related to unwanted smells, pesky pests, and even fungal problems.
Composted coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to the potting mix of your arrowhead plant. In its composted form, coffee grounds help with soil structure and drainage.
While these DIY fertilizers can help your arrowhead plants, it’s important to remember that they’re not a complete nutritional solution.
Neither eggshells on their own, nor banana peels contain all the nutrients your arrowhead plant needs.
Commercially available fertilizers are more complex in that they’re formulated to meet all the nutritional needs of your houseplants.
Another category of fertilizers that your arrowheads can benefit from are what we refer to as synthetic fertilizers.
These come in different formulations for different types of plants. These fertilizers are available in liquid, granular or slow-release formulations.
Here’s a quick overview of each:
– Liquid Fertilizer
In a lot of ways, I prefer liquid fertilizers over any other types. My chief reason for this is that dosage is just so much easier with liquid fertilizers.
Granted, you’ll need to apply these more often than slow-release fertilizers. Liquid fertilizers have the advantage of being widely available, affordable, and easy to use.
You can find liquid fertilizers that are general-purpose, you can choose special fertilizers for foliage plants or the ones formulated for aroid plants.
Liquid fertilizers that are labeled as organic are formulated with naturally sourced organics such as bonemeal, seaweed, worm castings, etc.
– Granular Fertilizer
Granular fertilizers are usually worked into the potting mix or they can be sprinkled on the surface of the potting mix.
They’re not as instantly absorbable as liquid fertilizers nor do they last as long as slow-release fertilizers. They’re sort of in-between a liquid fertilizer and a slow-release one.
With granular fertilizers, I find that dosage is a bit more difficult and hence not ideal for small pots.
– Slow-Release Fertilizer
Slow-release fertilizers or time-release fertilizers are similar to granular fertilizers. The difference is that slow-release fertilizer granules have a hard coating that will slowly break down over time, releasing small doses of the fertilizer at any one time.
You can use these fertilizers by working them into the potting mix at the beginning of the growing season or if you’re repotting an arrowhead plant.
They can last an entire season or 2-3 months. Some may even last longer.
The advantage of slow-release fertilizers is that you can get away with a single application at the beginning of spring and forget all about fertilizing until the next spring comes along.
Both granular and slow-release fertilizers can also be organic, when they contain manure, compost or bonemeal.
Some organic granular fertilizers also contain a mix of beneficial microorganisms and fungi that can protect against diseases and insects.
When to Fertilize Arrowhead Plants?
The best time to fertilize arrowhead plants is at the beginning of the growing season, which kicks off in spring.
In spring, temperatures rise, light levels change, and arrowhead plants come out of their winter dormancy.
Arrowhead plants grow only during spring-summer, so that’s when they need the most resources that will help the plant put out new growths and sustain their development.
As summer comes to an end, temperature levels drop, and days become shorter, the arrowhead plant’s metabolism also slows, and the plant prepares to enter its dormancy period. This period will last all throughout winter until spring.
There’s no need to fertilize arrowhead plants during autumn and winter, only during spring and summer.
If you haven’t been fertilizing your arrowhead plants at all or you’ve been using an extremely weak solution, you may want to consider starting the plant on a fertilizing schedule or slightly increasing the dosage.
But only if you notice the following symptoms:
- Stunted growth
- Small-growing leaves
- Leaves that lack vibrancy
- Yellow discoloration of the leaves
If there’s nothing else to account for these changes (e.g. overwatering, lack of light, inadequate temperatures, pest problems, etc.), your plant may need fertilizing.
How to Fertilize Arrowhead Plants?
Start fertilizing your arrowhead plant in spring. Apply the fertilizer on a monthly schedule only during spring and summer.
If you’re using a liquid fertilizer for houseplants, make sure to dilute it into a weaker solution and apply it to previously moistened soil. Don’t use fertilizer on dry soil because there’s an increased risk of root burn.
Use granular fertilizers as directed on the label, making sure you’re not placing any right next to the roots of the plant or at the base of the stems.
If you’re repotting an arrowhead plant, you can add a bit of compost to the mix or any of the home-made fertilizers I discussed above.
Avoid Over Fertilizing Your Arrowhead Plant
Arrowhead plants aren’t heavy feeders, which means you can’t be generous or overzealous with the fertilizer or you’ll risk over fertilizing.
Over-fertilizing can result from:
- Using fertilizer more often than it’s recommended (e.g., using it weekly or biweekly, instead of monthly)
- Using undiluted fertilizer or a full-strength fertilizer without following dosage recommendations
- Using fertilizer on dry soil
- Using excessive amounts of slow-release or granular fertilizer
When an arrowhead plant is over-fertilized, it will exhibit the following signs:
- Loss of foliage
- Yellowing and wilting leaves
- Fertilizer crust on the surface of the soil
- Browning leaf margins and tips
- Root burn (limp and browning roots)
- Slow growth or no growth
If you suspect you’ve overfertilized your arrowhead plant, you should try to flush the soil with water to wash away as much of the excess fertilizer as possible.
Alternatively, replacing the potting mix with a fresh batch and refraining from fertilizing the plant can also help to counter the effects of over fertilization. If the roots are damaged, snip away at the damaged parts.
Don’t fertilize the plant until you can see new growth emerging. This can take a couple of months and sometimes even as long as 6 months.
Can You Use Epsom Salt on Arrowhead Plant?
I wouldn’t recommend using Epsom salt on arrowhead plants, unless you’ve determined that your arrowhead plant has a magnesium deficiency.
Epsom salt can be beneficial to arrowhead plants with a magnesium deficiency. When magnesium is lacking in plants, you’ll notice a yellowing of the leaves, which is caused by a lack of chlorophyll.
Magnesium is an essential component of the chlorophyll molecule. If it’s absent, the arrowhead plant’s leaves become discolored.
Leaf discoloration can be caused by other things like excess sun exposure or overwatering. It’s important to exclude these as a potential cause before making the assessment that a magnesium deficiency is at the heart of the problem.
If there is indeed a magnesium deficiency, Epsom salt can help remedy the situation. You can use one tablespoon of Epsom salt to one gallon of water. Water your arrowhead plant once a month with this mixture.
Arrowheads don’t need to be fertilized often. Fertilizing the plant once a month with a weak solution can make a whole lot of difference.
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer or any aroid plant fertilizer. Slow-release or granular fertilizers are also useful.
If you’re worried about over fertilizing, start your arrowhead plant on a very diluted and weak solution. In this case, less is more.
Fertilize only in spring and summer. Skip fertilizing during autumn and winter months. The plant is dormant during this time and you should not disturb it.