You give your plants plenty of sunlight and water, tending to their needs without overexposing them to the elements. You try with all your might, yet they still don’t seem to grow as well as you’d hope.
When it comes to many of the plants in your garden, providing them with the sun, soil, and a little water is not always enough to keep them happy and healthy. The nutrients in the earth also play a critical role in your flower’s success, especially when it comes to calcium.
Do plants need calcium?
Plants need several different nutrients, which they typically receive from the soil. If their new habitat lacks the sufficient number of resources they need to survive, then adding those deficient elements becomes a new task in your role as a gardener.
In particular, calcium is responsible for holding the cell walls intact, acting as a necessity for both form and function. This mineral affects the plant’s structure, allowing new growth to flourish in the appropriate sizes and strength.
The reliability of that structure also impacts how well the plant transports nutrients from the roots to other parts of the plant.
What types of plants benefit from calcium?
Since all plants value calcium in the soil one way or another, there really is no wrong species on which to bestow this precious gift. Specimens like fruits and vegetables, in particular, crave this mineral more than others, however.
They love to snack on the tasty tidbits calcium offers to flourish. Below are some of our garden favorites to get you started.
1. Hot Peppers
Growing veggies indoors is always a bit of a challenge, especially when it comes to members of the nightshade plants.
Many need plenty of sunlight and warmth to adequately develop, all of which are not readily available inside most homes.
However, it’s not impossible and quickly remedied by providing your hot peppers a little extra love and attention.
One way to account for the additional sun your plant isn’t receiving indoors is by placing them on a bright spot on a balcony during the day.
No balcony? Not a problem. A sunny window, a window box, or even a grow light compensates for any lack of luminous nutrients your plant may be missing.
2. Dwarf Lemon Trees
Since many lemon trees reach up to 20 feet in height, this option may seem like a peculiar species to house in your home.
However, smaller dwarf varieties of lemon trees also exist that stretch no further than 3-4 feet tall. This size is smaller than the average Christmas tree and on par in height for most indoor plants.
The size of the container you choose regulates the height and spread of the plant as well. Doing this confines it to a much smaller area without letting the roots get too far out of control.
Buying a small tree from a nursery is preferable to growing the plant from seed since it takes up to two years for the plant to produce fruit. Read more about What Houseplants Grow In Shallow Pots.
Spinach is the ultimate health food, providing a source of vitamins and minerals that promotes bone strength, prevents issues like cancer, and reduces stress.
When grown indoors, it’s even easier to reach across to your personal supply of spinach, pluck a few leaves off the plant, and add them to your delicious salad. A relatively easy vegetable to grow in general, it is the perfect species for beginners.
It’s much easier to grow your spinach from seed than you think and takes anywhere between five days to two weeks before it starts to break through the surface.
They’re also incredibly hardy and able to withstand temperatures between 40-80 degrees, which gives you a wide margin with which to work. Place it near a sunny window in your home and provide it with a little organic fertilizer to keep its leaves nice a fresh.
When watering, take care not to wet the foliage or to saturate the soil. Leaving it moist is the ideal ratio of water to the dirt.
4. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is spinach’s more attractive and slightly higher maintenance cousin, with vibrant red stalks that web through the bright green leaves.
It’s another sun-loving plant that requires plenty of time in the light to grow to optimum health. Anything under 6 hours of direct sunlight is not enough, so ensure its location gives it all the attention it rightly deserves.
Swiss chard also does well when grown from seed and has small shallow root systems that make it ideal for container planting.
Like spinach, what’s beneath the dirt is not what needs the most room. The leaves reach up to two feet in height and spread out to around 18 inches wide, so give your chard plenty of space to spread out.
If citrus isn’t your style, another type of small tree grown indoors is the apricot. This stone fruit is another species perfect for the indoors since its optimum temperature for growing is consistent with that of the average home.
Regularly pruning the tree is the best way to maintain its size while also ensuring it bears delicious fruits and gorgeous blooms each year.
One of the most important characteristics to look out for when purchasing your apricot tree is one that is self-pollinating.
Like most plants, a male and female species is the only way to produce fruit unless the specimen is genetically enhanced to pollinate itself. This way, you get to enjoy the many fruits of your labor that accompany a harvest that starts in June and lasts through August.
Fertilize your tree at least once a year to ensure the best yield of fruits every summer.
How much calcium do plants need?
The amount of calcium recommended for your plant varies according to the specific needs of the species. It also shifts based on the concentration of calcium already present within the soil, so this requires testing in most cases.
Unlike pH level tests that you conduct at home, gauging the quantities of calcium in your garden typically calls for a lab professional. However, add moderate amounts of calcium at first to see if this solves any nutrient issues with plants.
How to add calcium to Your house plants?
One way to add calcium to your plants is by diluting ingredients like yogurt or molasses in water. Limestone also adds calcium to the soil, but you run a higher risk of disrupting the pH balance.
Below is a simple recipe that’s easy to use and without damaging the integrity of the soil.
Calcium Booster Recipe for Plants
- 1 gallon of water
- 2 oz plain yogurt or molasses
Other elements that raise your plant’s calcium level are gypsum and foliar spray made with calcium chloride.
Both of these make a significant impact on amending soil conditions quickly without altering its acidity or alkalinity.
Another way to add calcium is to use coco coir for your houseplants.
Even though coconut coir does not have any inherent nutritional value, you can find traces of important minerals such as calcium, boron, copper, zinc, nitrogen, iron, magnesium, chlorine.
Do eggshells add calcium to soil?
Adding eggshells to your plant’s soil is a fantastic way to increase the calcium levels they intake. However, if you’re looking for a quick fix to your plants, using one of the other methods above is ideal. Eggshells work best as slow-release fertilization since they take a while to break down.
The best times of the year to add them are in early spring and fall when plants are in the prime of their growing cycles.
To prepare your eggshells for use, rinse them thoroughly, and then let them dry out. Afterward, crush them using a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have these tools at your disposal, using your hands or a spoon on a flat surface works just as well.
After finely grinding them into little shards, blend them into the soil rather than sprinkling them over the top for best results.
Which houseplants like eggshells?
Practically every plant benefit from an extra jolt of calcium in its soil. However, those veggies from the nightshade family and leafy greens place an even higher value on the substance more so than others.
Well-known members of the nightshade family include peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants, all of which heartily soak up eggshells as a delicious organic matter. The same goes for swiss chard, spinach, and other leafy vegetables.
Which soil is rich in calcium?
The soil with the richest concentration of calcium is any type that derives from limestone. There are approximately four different types, all of which possess a chalky texture. The pH level highly leans toward the acidic side, however, making it unsuitable for some plants.
As a result, limestone is generally an additive, rather than a type of soil for gardening. Among the main types of soils found in everyday planting, studies showed that clay loam soil possessed the highest calcium concentration, with clay retaining the position as the second-highest.
Plants with deficiencies in soil composition always need an extra boost. It’s one of the biggest reasons gardeners fail to maintain their plant’s health, no matter how much sunlight or water the species receives.
Introducing nutrients to your plant little by little and monitoring their improvement is one of the best ways to ensure they live a long and healthy life. Especially when it comes to calcium, a little goes a long way, and it never hurts to provide them with an extra boost of much-needed vitamins.