Walk down any fertilizer aisle at the hardware store or local greenhouse and you can quickly become overwhelmed with all the options. There’s one food for roses, another for tulips. A dropper for hanging plants and a separate sprayer for vegetable beds. Guess what? You don’t need any of them.
You can actually make your own “Miracle Grow” that is literally the exact same product as the store shelves but it is a fraction of the cost and actually more effective because of the lack of preservatives and fillers.
The recipe I reference below was actually developed and perfected by a chemist, who posted the original recipe on Chemistry Cachet, where Alexis uses her chemistry knowledge to make everyday life easier.
Miracle Grow really is a great option for feeding potted plants. These beautiful garden additions need nutrients that they can’t get from the Earth, so they need nutrient dense food. The total cost of this recipe of about $4.00, which makes hundreds of uses. Are you ready for the good stuff?! Here it is:
Miracle Grow Replacement
1 gallon of water (H20)
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)
(The variance in Ammonia has to do with how hot your summer temperatures are, if you are in an extremely hot climate, you can use a little less ammonia to avoid burning the leaves by accident.)
Combine the Epsom salt, baking soda, and ammonia first, and then add them to one gallon of water.
So what is it about these magical ingredients that make it work so well? Let’s go through each one:
Ammonia – Ammonia contains nitrogen and hydrogen, which can be a powerful nutrient for plants when the nitrogen is converted to nitrate by natural bacteria. This can not be substituted.
Epsom Salt – This adds magnesium and sulfur to the plants, which is great for increasing the nutrients in the soil.
Baking Soda – The main purpose of this is to eliminate mildew on your plants and act as a fungicide.
A Note About Soil
Plant food is only half of the equation. Ensuring your plants have nutrient rich soil is equally important. Testing your soil is the best way to determine exactly what nutrients your soil does (and does not) have. Be sure to buy potting soil with phosphorus in it to be sure your plants get this essential element that helps with root growth. If you feel like you need more phosphorus, you can add organic phosphorus rocks to your potting mix. Add in a few crushed eggshells for more calcium and your plants will have the environment, soil, and food they need to thrive.