1) How to choose fertilizers?
There are many types of fertilizers. Here are some quick tips to help you decide:
Organic/Non-Organic = Organic fertilizers will release its contents more slowly than non-organic ones. If you need a consistent feeding for your plants, go for organic ones. However there are non-organic ones that are engineered to "slow-release".
N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) = You may be confused by the numbers on the containers but they are actually quite easy to understand. 10-10-10 or 20-10-5 etc represent the weight/ratio of the elements in the fertilizer. The rest of the fertilizer is made up of inert fillers and trace elements.
Nitrogen = Good for growth and greening of leaves. Remember that it is the green part of the leaf that produce food (sugars) for the plant not fertilizers.
Phosphorus = Storage of energy (sugars) for long term growth and sustenance.
Potassium = Regulating water between plant cells. Will help in fruiting.
Liquid/Non-liquid = Usually powder fertilizers are cheaper than liquid ones as they are not as diluted as liquid ones. Liquid fertilizers are easier to apply than non-liquid ones.
Myth Note: Fertilizers are NOT food for plants. They are just main components that help growth and sustenance. The food which plants need is sugars created from the green part of the leaves with water, light and carbon dioxide.
If you are still not sure about which weight/ratio of fertilizer elements to choose, just choose the one with all same numbers like 15-15-15.
2) I want more flowers!
Flowering is a very energy intensive process for a plant. One of the most important component needed for flowering is light. Providing enough light will help the plant create energy (sugars) from the green part of the leaf which will help flowering. Note that most plants do not naturally flower all year round. By introducing flowering hormones you can get more flowers but may drain the plant of energy for long term growth so be aware of over-flowering.
3) Let there be Light!
The most important element needed for plants is light. A plant can do well with more light than with less. If your plants are indoors, you can get light either from the windows or from your white florescent lights. Note that more light does not mean more heat. Putting your plant under intense sunlight may cause sunburn. Even cactus can be burnt.
You can place the plant as close to the florescent light as possible. Using your hands and moving away from the light source, when you feel there is no heat from the light that would be the most ideal position for your plant. Set your light to switch on for about 12 hrs and off to rest the plant (depending on your plant and yes your plants need to sleep :) ).
4) Plant loves WALNUTS
Plant acronym to remember:
W = Water (right amount of water varies from plant to plant, when in doubt just rinse and dry)
A = Air (Clean fresh air helps)
L = Light (More light than less light is better)
NU = Nutrients (Remember N-P-K)
T = Temperature (Not too hot)
S = Soil (There are many soil types to choose from. Note: Once you have chosen hydroponics for your plant do not switch back to soil)