Learn How to Make Your Own Fertilizer

7 Homemade Fertilizer Recipes

Learn how to make your own fertilizer, so you can keep your garden and houseplants green without spending a bunch of green. Here are seven homemade fertilizer recipes for you to put to the test. They're made from ingredients you probably already have on hand, including some things you may be in the habit of throwing away.

  • 01 of 07

    Epsom Salt Fertilizer

    Epsom Salt
    Epsom Salt. Diane Macdonald/iStock/Getty Images Plus

    Use in Place of:

    Houseplant food
    Vegetable fertilizer
    Rose plant food

    What You Need:

    • 1 Tablespoon Epsom salt
    • 1 gallon water
    • A watering can

    What You Do:

    1. Dissolve the Epsom salt in water.
    2. Use the solution to water your plants.
    3. Repeat once a month to maintain efficacy.

    Why This Works:

    Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate – both vital plant nutrients. Some magnesium-loving plants to try it on: houseplants, roses, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.

  • 02 of 07

    Coffee Ground Fertilizer

    Used Coffee Grounds
    Used Coffee Grounds. TheRachelKay/iStock/Getty Images Plus

    Use in Place of:

    Rose plant food
    Soil acidifiers

    What You Need:

    • Used coffee grounds
    • A cookie sheet
    • Newspaper

    What You Do:

    1. Line a cookie sheet with newspaper.
    2. Then, spread your used coffee grounds out on the sheet, and allow them to dry completely.
    3. Sprinkle the grounds around the base of your acid-loving plants. Azaleas, roses, rhododendrons and blueberries are just some of the plants that will benefit from this treatment.

    Note: Be careful not to over do it with the grounds. Even acid-loving plants can get too much acid.

    Why This Works:

    Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium – all important plant nutrients. They're also naturally acidic, so they can help you boost the acidity of the soil.

    Tip: Starbucks gives away big bags of grounds for free.

  • 03 of 07

    Egg Shell Fertilizer

    Carton of Egg Shells
    Carton of Egg Shells. Tali Aiona/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Use in Place of:

    Garden lime

    What You Need:

    • Egg shells
    • A blender

    What You Do:

    1. Save your eggs shells, and allow them to air dry.
    2. Then, place the dried shells in a blender, and pulse until they're powdery-fine.
    3. Sprinkle the shells around the plants in your garden.

    Why This Works:

    Eggs shells are made up almost entirely of calcium carbonate – the main ingredient in agricultural lime.

  • 04 of 07

    Vinegar Fertilizer

    vinegar.jpg
    Vinegar. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

    Use in Place of:

    Houseplant fertilizer
    Rose plant food
    Soil acidifiers

    What You Need:

    • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
    • 1 gallon water
    • A watering can

    What You Do:

    1. Combine the white vinegar and water.
    2. Use the solution to water your plants.
    3. Repeat every three months.

    Why This Works:

    The acetic acid in vinegar works to increase the acidity of the soil – just the thing for acid-loving plants. Just don't use straight vinegar to fertilize your plants. Undiluted vinegar is an herbicide.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Fish Tank Water Fertilizer

    Boy Feeding Fish in Fish Bowl
    Boy Feeding Fish in Fish Bowl. Blend Images - KidStock/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    Use in Place of:

    Any fertilizer

    What You Need:

    • Used fish tank water

    What You Do:

    1. Save the dirty water from your fish tank.
    2. Then, use it to water your plants.

    Why This Works:

    Used fish tank water is full of nitrogen and other nutrients that plants need to thrive.

  • 06 of 07

    Fireplace Ash Fertilizer

    Man Cleaning Ash Out of Fireplace
    Man Cleaning Ash Out of Fireplace. glebchik/iStock/Getty Images Plus

    Use in Place of:

    Garden fertilizer
    Garden lime

    What You Need:

    • Fireplace ash

    What You Do:

    1. Sprinkle cool (never hot) fireplace ash over your garden beds, and work it into the soil.

    Note: Fireplace ash should not be used if your soil is alkaline. It also shouldn't be used around acid-loving plants, unless you're trying to turn hydrangeas pink.

    Why This Works:

    Fireplace ash is rich in potassium and calcium carbonate.If your soil is too acidic, it'll help to balance out the pH, so your plants are better able to absorb the nutrients that are present in the soil.

  • 07 of 07

    Compost

    Compost Bucket
    Compost Bucket. Jenny Dettrick/Moment/Getty Images

    Use in Place of:

    Any fertilizer

    What You Need:

    • Kitchen and garden scraps

    What You Do:

    ​1. Save your fruit and vegetable scraps, newspapers, grass clippings and other compostable materials, and use them to start a compost bin or pile.

    2. Add a bit of water from time to time, and turn your pile to speed up the composting process.

    3. When everything has broken down into a dark, rich soil, spread it in your garden, and enjoy the results.

    Why This Works:

    Compost is loaded with nutrients and microorganisms that are good for your garden.

    See Also: How to Make a Compost Bin from a Trash Can