Chemist Solutions: Easy Homemade Plant Food Recipe (2024)

Chemist Solutions: Easy Homemade Plant Food Recipe (1)

Today I am going to show you an Easy homemade plant food that is SO affordable AND it’s actually effective. I will even tell you why it is.

The coolest thing about being a chemist would be the experimenting and research of chemicals. Chemicals are truly in everything. Food, beauty products, cleaning products, and especially gardening products like fertilizers.

If you read this blog often, you know Chemistry Cachet is all about making your life easier, healthier, and more affordable all through understanding chemicals.

Today, I want to share with you a really cheap option for feeding your plants. My easy homemade plant food was made for less than $4.00 and that was for all the supplies. Per batch, it is actually just pennies to make!

Head over to my instagram to see behind the scenes.

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Store bought plant food, like Miracle Grow, is great. It is very effective and just easy to buy, but the truth is, these products are massed produced. This means they have numerous chemicals that are unnecessary for your plants. They are really just fillers.

On the other hand, store bought Organic plant foods can get pricey. Especially for the good brands.

You can definitely get away with not feeding your plants any fertilizer, but potted plants this time of year can start looking pretty bad. This heat and lack of rain really suck the nutrients out of the soil, and potted plants don’t have a way to replenish that.

This post I shared about how I grow big huge roses talked a little about some organic options I love like egg shells and coffee grounds. These deliver great nutrients like calcium and nitrogen.

Using all types of these organic methods is still a great option, but they aren’t very potent and they can take a while to break down I the soil. That is the type of method I like for plants that are in flower beds.

Readers have asked, “How do I make my own homemade plant food that is potent like miracle grow?”

The trick for potted plants is an easy, fast acting nutrient dense food that acts like miracle grow!

Easy homemade plant food is the perfect option for any patio gardener. And like I said, it was a total of $4.00 for all these products and you will only use a very tiny amount of each one. So, this means you can get hundreds of batches out of this!

Find our great slow release plant organic plant food in Chemistry Hacks for Home and Outdoor.

  • 1.5 tbsp magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt – MgSO4)
  • 1.5 tsp sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda – NaHCO3)
  • 0.25 – 0.5 tsp Ammonium Hydroxide (Ammonia – NH4OH)***
  • 1 gallon of water (H20)

In a water container, add all the ingredients. Top with one gallon of water and stir. I water about 5 or 6 big plants with this. You don’t want to add this entire amount to one plant. A little goes a long way!

***Many have asked why such a small amount of ammonia and why the variance in the amount. Ammonia can be potent, so a little tiny bit goes a long way. With hot summer temperatures, I usually go with the 0.25 tsp of ammonia. I don’t want to give the potted plant too much that may risk burning leaves. This is very unlikely to happen however. You can use up to 0.5 tsp of ammonia and the solution will be just fine. It will be a little stronger, but equally as safe for plants.

Let’s check out why this solution even works.

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Even though this solution only has a few small ingredients, there is a reason behind why we use it! These ingredients mimic things found in store-bought flower fertilizer, but on a safer scale.

Let’s look further.


The biggest part of this homemade flower food is the ammonia, also known as Ammonium Hydroxide. This is a household ammonia meaning it is a solution of ammonia in water. It isn’t pure ammonia (which you can’t find in a grocery store). It is strong, but much safer than most fertilizers. It is also cheap! This is responsible for the nitrogen source which feeds blooms!

Epsom Salt

Magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt) is very beneficial for blooms. This adds sulfur to the soil which potted plants usually don’t get much, Magnesium also promotes healthy blooms.

Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate helps discourage mildew from forming in potted plants. I have tried this solution without using it, but I really like how healthy it keeps my potted flowers. It also helps discourage insects.

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After using this solution, my potted plants are more vivid, bright, and healthier.

The plant below was a hibiscus that I brought into the garage over the winter. During the winter, it went dormant almost like it was dead. In the spring, I trimmed it back and started taking care of it with my easy hibiscus tips.

Chemist Solutions: Easy Homemade Plant Food Recipe (5)

I started feeding it with some of this homemade plant food every few weeks since it is in a huge container. The plant started growing faster and is really dark green now! And it finally has some buds on it too. There hasn’t been any buds on it since last year!

Update: Here is another photos of this same plant after two applications of this plant food. I applied it once, then again about 3 weeks later. It has really enhanced the blooms and dark green color. I also added in phosphorous, see note below for this important tip.

Chemist Solutions: Easy Homemade Plant Food Recipe (6)

What About the Phosphorous?

+I definitely want to point out that this easy homemade plant food is missing a chemical, phosphorus. Phosphorus is found in most store bought solutions and helps with root growth. It is harder to get in a household item compared to sulfur, nitrogen, and magnesium.

+ Phosphorus is going to be more important depending on your soil and especially in flower beds. From my personal experience, my potted plants do okay without since the potting soil I use typically contains it.

+To make this homemade solution even more amazing, you can buy these organic phosphorus rocks to add into the mix. Just a small amount.

+ For added calcium, just use crushed egg shells (read what I do in this post). Although I used to use them for my roses, I now add it to all potted plants especially after a long dry summer. It is the perfect addition of calcium for potted plants.

To Get Really Accurate:

You can also take it one step further and get your flower bed soil tested. When I took horticulture, we did some soil testing and discovered the area we lived in was not phosphorus deficient, so it wasn’t needed as much.

Again, this is just extra steps if you really want to get crazy. I have tested this out and it works good without the phosphorus on potted plants. It also works wonders on Boston Ferns. In fact, I have

I really love how chemistry and gardening go hand in hand. If you want to keep up with chemist tips on gardening, baking, and healthy living, please follow me below 🙂


Do you have a solution for homemade weed killer?

I do! Visit my homemade weed killer post here and it also works for ants!

Is this homemade plant food for succulents?

No, this is not good for succulents.

What about the phosphorous?

Please read above for the phosphorus rock option.

What about calcium?

I also mention what I do for calcium.

Isn’t ammonia bad for plants?

Ammonia is what gives this nitrogen. Ammonia is also found in many organic options like manure, etc. In diluted small does, it will not harm plants. You may notice this is a very small amount of ammonia. I have found that it is just the right amount needed for potted plants.

Is there a homemade plant food without ammonia?

To mimic store-bought miracle grow, you must have ammonia. It is the only way to get the nitrogen source like this. If you can’t get ammonia or can’t use it, I recommend going for an organic option like the one in our eBook or this one ingredient plant food.

Should I water the leaves or the soil?

We have tested out both. Both work well, BUT in the summer, in extremely hot temperatures (like in Texas) it is best to not put directly on the leaves so it doesn’t burn. Many fertilizers can burn the leaves of the plant if used to much or in hot sun, so this is a good practice for other ones.

Can this work for vegetables?

I would test it. This is definitely made for flowering plants, but I have had a few readers use on vegetables with luck. Please always test first.

How Often Do I apply Homemade Plant Food?

Once a month for potted plants. At the most! Do not use this entire solution on one potted plant. Treat it like you would a store bought solution, so it will feed many plants.

Do you a dry plant food option?

YES!! I have developed one and finally completed it, it will be in my upcoming book. Stay tuned for details!

What if I live in an area without ammonia?

Many of our readers live in different countries where ammonia is not available. Unfortunately this is the biggest reason this solution works. Instead, try our free potted plant food idea or check out our eBook.

DISCLAIMER: I am a chemist and have studied horticulture in college. This is a simple feeding solution that can benefit plants that lack certain nutrients. It is not a complete plant food as mentioned above, but is great for potted plants and new gardeners. ALWAYS TEST YOUR PLANTS FIRST!!

For Organic Slow Release Plant Food Check out Our Ebook Below!

Chemist Solutions: Easy Homemade Plant Food Recipe (7)

Chemist Solutions: Easy Homemade Plant Food Recipe (9)

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Chemist Solutions: Easy Homemade Plant Food Recipe (2024)


How to make homemade Miracle Gro? ›

  1. Fill a large container with 1 gallon of water.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and stir until it dissolves completely.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt and stir until it dissolves completely.
  4. Add 1/2 teaspoon of household ammonia and go until it is well mixed.
  5. Your homemade Miracle Grow is now ready to use.
Mar 5, 2023

Is Epsom salt baking soda and ammonia good for plants? ›

Note: The ammonia is comprised of nitrogen (something plants love), while the baking soda helps prevent mildew and other fungus from growing. Epsom salt is loaded with magnesium sulfate, which will help your plants grow nice and strong.

What is a substitute for Miracle Grow plant food? ›

A good soil management program would start with an organic fertilizer, such as Neptune's Harvest Fish Emulsion or Fish-Seaweed Blend. These products are complete fertilizers.

What are the 3 ingredients in plant food? ›

Most fertilizers contain three main nutrients: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Each of these fertilizer ingredients provide your lawn with specific benefits that will help your lawn flourish.

How do you make good fertilizer at home? ›

To make compost, take all your scraps (like eggshells, fruit peels, and coffee grounds) and put them into a pile with leaves, sticks, and other organic debris. Overtime, the microbes will break the pile down and turn it into fine fertilizer, which you can mix into your soil.

How do you make Epsom salt plant food? ›

Adding Epsom salt is a simple way to increase the health of their blooms, and is something that you can include easily as a part of a normal routine. For potted plants, simply dissolve two tablespoons of Epsom salt per gallon of water, and substitute this solution for normal watering once a month.

How do you make homemade fertilizer with baking soda? ›

Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon clear ammonia and 1 teaspoon Epsom salt in a gallon of water. Mix well and give each plant about a quart of the solution. This solution will work as a fertilizer, the plants that are looking dull, and growing slowly will perk up, rejuvenate their growth and become lush green.

What plants don't like Epsom salt? ›

Beans and leafy vegetables. Coniferous trees. Tropical palms don't like Epsom salt, either. Insect-eating plants such as Pitcher plants, sundews and Venus flytraps are other plants that do not like Epsom salt.

Is baking soda and peroxide good for plants? ›

Benefits: Effective cleaning: The mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can effectively clean and disinfect plant pots, removing dirt, grime, and any harmful bacteria or fungi.

What does too much Epsom salt do to plants? ›

Adding Epsom salts to soil that already has sufficient magnesium can actually harm your soil and plants, such as by inhibiting calcium uptake. Spraying Epsom salt solutions on plant leaves can cause leaf scorch.

Is coffee grounds good for plants? ›

Coffee grounds contain several key nutrients needed by plants, including nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other trace minerals. These are all nutrients that plants need to grow. The grounds are particularly rich in nitrogen, making them a great addition to compost.

What 4 ingredients are needed for plants to make their own food? ›

Photosynthesis: It is the process by which plants utilize water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide with the help of chlorophyll to produce energy in the form of sugar and oxygen as a by-product. Plants are autotrophs, that is, they can use energy from the sunlight to produce their source of food.

What home remedy makes plants healthy? ›

6 Easy Home-Made DIY Fertilizers For Your Plants
  1. EGGSHELLS: Just like we humans enjoy eating eggs in our breakfast as they are a good source of calcium and potassium for our body, our plants could use them too. ...
  3. COFFEE: ...
  4. BANANA PEELS: ...
  5. VINEGAR: ...
  6. TEA:
Nov 8, 2018

What liquids help plants grow best? ›

A perfect balance is needed to grow the healthiest plants. Most home gardeners will use a mix of tap water and rainwater to keep their garden in optimum health.


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