Compost Tea Feeding Schedule: When To Feed Your Plants

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You need to tailor your compost tea formula and feeding schedule to best suit different varieties of plants, which I detail below.

Compost tea is full of nutrients and minerals that your indoor and outdoor plants are craving for. And with this optimized schedule, you’ll help them flourish!

Compost Tea Schedule Chart

To learn how to dilute and use compost tea for a wide variety of plants, follow the compost tea feeding schedule below to achieve optimal results!

Plant TypeDilution RatioFrequency
Vegetables1 part compost tea, 1 part waterOnce a week, or as much as every watering
Tomatoes8 cups/gallon (standard)
6 oz/gallon (worm tea)
1-3 times weekly (soil)
2-4 times monthly (foliar)
Flowering Plants2 parts compost tea, 1 part waterEvery 7-10 days
Lawns1:1 or full strength (poor soil)
1:3 (good soil)
Monthly
Trees and Shrubs6 cups per gallonLate winter/spring & monthly till late fall
Houseplants1 part compost tea, 2 parts water1-4 times a month (soil)
1-2 a month (foliar)

Additional Considerations

  • Always use dechlorinated water.
  • Avoid using tea with a foul smell or slimy appearance.
  • Dilute high-nitrogen compost tea more for safety.

How Often To Use Compost Tea

You can start watering with compost tea within a week after you transplant vegetables, flowers, shrubs, or other plants into their new location.

Giving new plants a watering or two with plain water first is always a good idea to help establish the roots before the compost tea boosts foliage growth.

Thinking about making your own? Learn how to make compost tea with these simple steps.

For Most Vegetables

Grow an outstanding vegetable crop this season by incorporating compost tea into your regular watering schedule.

  • Dilution Ratio: 1 part compost tea, 1 part water
  • Frequency: Once a week, or as much as every watering
  • Only use dechlorinated water
  • Only apply before 10am or after 6pm
  • Apply a full-strength mist to foliage to treat diseases or pests

Direct sun exposure will reduce the effectiveness of the live microbes in compost tea, especially if you apply it in a foliar spray. Apply the tea during morning or evening hours for best results.

For Tomatoes

Tomatoes do especially well with compost tea due to the plant being more susceptible to pest and disease infections.

watering feeding seedling tomatoes

Dilution:

For standard compost tea, start by diluting 8 cups in a gallon of water. Watch the reaction of your tomatoes and adjust the amount per gallon up for more robust growth, but never go less than one cup per gallon.

For compost tea from a vermicomposter with a high concentration of microbes and nutrients, use 6 ounces of worm tea per gallon of water.

Frequency: 1-3 times weekly on soil, 2-4 times monthly as a foliar spray

  • Moisten soil first with a spray of water for better compost tea penetration
  • Apply in early morning before 10am
  • Vermicomposting tea is bacteria-dominant and better for controlling diseases and pests
  • Apply additionally as a foliar spray during droughts or extreme temperatures

For Flowering Plants

For annual and perennial flower beds, a regular dosage of compost tea will increase blooms and thicken foliage growth.

  • Dilution: 2 parts compost tea to 1 part water
  • Frequency: Every 7-10 days
  • Pre-treat garden bed soil before new plantings
  • Only apply before 10am or after 6pm direct to the soil
  • Never use it as a foliar mist on open flowers or buds

Soaking the soil around flowering plants with compost tea is more effective for developing healthy stems, leaves, and more numerous flowers.

Never spray the foliage of any plants with fuzzy leaves, such as the African violet or rose campion.

For Your Lawn

Lawns love the boost of nutrients and minerals compost tea provides, yet covering a large yard can be time-consuming.

Dilution:

  • For poor soil: 1 part compost tea to 1 part water, or full strength
  • For good soil: 1 part compost tea to 3 parts water

Frequency: Monthly

  • Use a high-volume garden sprayer for efficient application
  • Apply before 8am or in the evenings once temperatures drop below 80°F
  • The goal is to spray about six gallons of diluted tea over 1,000 square feet of lawn.
  • Use a diaphragm pump sprayer. The pressure from stronger units can harm the live microbes.
  • Applying compost tea after a gentle rain improves absorption to the root zone.

For Trees And Shrubs

Don’t forget ornamental plants, like trees and shrubs, also appreciate the benefits of compost tea.

Dilution: 6 cups compost tea per gallon of water

Frequency: Apply in late winter/early spring before leaves form and again as buds are beginning to break. Apply monthly during the rest of the year until late fall, or the tree or shrub goes dormant.

  • Avoid using compost tea as a foliar spray on trees and shrubs
  • Apply before 9am direct to the soil
  • Soak the soil around the tree or shrub as wide as the branches reach
  • Boost compost tea feedings during the active growing season to 2x monthly

For Houseplants

Houseplants react positively to compost tea feedings over commercial fertilizing products.

Dilution: 1 part compost tea to 2 parts water

Frequency: 1-4 times a month to soil, 1-2 a month as a foliar spray

  • Increase dilution from 1 part compost tea to 4 parts water when using vermicomposter tea
  • Apply during the evening for plant pots sitting in direct sun
  • A light mist on foliage reduces pests and maintains plant humidity levels

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