Knox Gelatin Fertilizer for Houseplants

Updated on September 13, 2013

Houseplant Food Made With Unflavored Gelatin

Pick unflavored gelatin. The ingredients, such as dyes and artificial sweeteners, found in flavored and/or diet products may inhibit plant growth.
Pick unflavored gelatin. The ingredients, such as dyes and artificial sweeteners, found in flavored and/or diet products may inhibit plant growth. | Source

Hold the Knox, Please

Liquid fertilizer made from Knox unflavored gelatin (and other fertilizers that give plants a nitrogen boost) isn't appropriate for fruit-bearing plants like tomatoes.

Because nitrogen promotes growth, tomato plants fed with nitrogen-rich fertilizer are more likely to become tall and leafy rather than fruit filled.

And nitrogen-rich fertilizer applied to plants that are already fruiting may cause the fruits to crack.

Organic, nitrogen-rich fertilizer

Do your houseplants have yellowing, splotchy leaves? Are the seedlings you started indoors an unhealthily shade of pale green?

Chances are they're suffering from a nitrogen deficiency.

A solution of Knox unflavored gelatin and water is a good, inexpensive organic source of nitrogen that's been proven effective in promoting plant growth.

Why Do Houseplants ♥ Knox Gelatine?

As reported by Peter Tonge in The Christian Science Monitor, a two-year study conducted on 49 species of houseplants by Dr. H. W. Scheld of the University of Houston's Department of Biology found Knox gelatin to be an effective fertilizer for home gardeners if applied in diluted form once a month as part of regular watering.

Scheld's study gave Knox gelatin plant food the green thumbs up primarily for three reasons:

  1. Knox plant food does indeed promote healthy plant growth.
  2. It's an inexpensive source of nitrogen.
  3. And it's unlikely to result in excessive nitrogen build-up, which can harm plants.

Extracted from the collagen in the bones, skin and connective tissues of animals, Knox gelatin is an organic substance. Because it's organic, it breaks down more slowly in the soil than the inorganic nitrogen found in synthetic fertilizers. And that means you're less likely to overfeed your houseplants, potentially harming them.

How to Make Knox Gelatin Plant Food

Use one packet of Knox per one quart water.
Use one packet of Knox per one quart water. | Source

Do dissolve the gelatin completely before adding more water.

Don't allow the mixture to pool on the soil surface.

Do add more water if the mixture seems too thick.

Don't use flavored/diet gelatin, which may contain dyes & artificial sweeteners that inhibit plant growth.

Recipe for Knox Plant Food

Here are the directions for making gelatin fertilizer from Knox's website.

The recipe makes one quart of fertilizer suitable for most houseplants. Although Knox's site recommends cold water, if you have difficulty getting the gelatin to dissolve, you may want to soften and dissolve it in hot water, and then add enough cold water to make one quart.

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatin
  • 1 quart water, divided

Instructions

  1. Measure 1/4 C. water into a quart container.
  2. Sprinkle 1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin over water.
  3. Allow to soften for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add 1 C. water to gelatin mixture.
  5. Stir until gelatin is dissolved.
  6. Add additional water to make 1 quart.
  7. The fertlizer is ready to use. Use it once a month for watering houseplants.

Water

Pour 1/4 C. water into large pitcher (1 quart or more).
Pour 1/4 C. water into large pitcher (1 quart or more).

Plus gelatin

Sprinkle 1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin onto water & allow to soften 1-2 minutes.
Sprinkle 1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin onto water & allow to soften 1-2 minutes.

Plus more water &

Add 1 C. additional water.
Add 1 C. additional water.

A little elbow grease

Stir until the gelatin dissolves. (This will take several minutes.)
Stir until the gelatin dissolves. (This will take several minutes.)

Plus MORE water

Add additional water to make 1 quart.
Add additional water to make 1 quart.

Equals inexpensive plant food.

The fertilizer is ready to use.
The fertilizer is ready to use.
Source

About the Author

The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years.

She first began gardening alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm.

Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.



Questions & Answers

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      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 

        2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Jill, this was another interesting gardening hub on how to take care of house plants with that gelatin. It sounds intriguing. I might keep that in mind for next year's plants.

      • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

        Jill Spencer 

        2 years ago from United States

        Hi Reynold Jay, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      • Reynold Jay profile image

        Reynold Jay 

        2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

        Hi Dirt Farmer--What a great idea and you make it look esy too. Well done and my plants will be much better now.

      • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

        Thanks so much, Thelma! Knox gelatin fertilizer is an easy and inexpensive way to give your houseplants a nutritional boost. All the best, Jill

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        5 years ago from Germany

        This is a great informative hub. I will make this for my plants as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and pinned for later use. Thank you.

      • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

        Sounds good, Suzie! Appreciate it. I'll add a link to your air purifying hub here, too. It makes sense: Knox fertilizer = happier houseplants = cleaner air! (:

      • Suzie HQ profile image

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Jill,

        Love this idea, what a great tip! Linking this one to my air purifying hub also, if that is okay? Thanks again, for a useful idea we could all do! Votes, sharing and pinned!

      • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

        Interesting! Perhaps Knox has updated the directions. There's no need to use hot water. the gelatine dissolves in cold water and tap water just fine.

      • profile image

        Ex-IL Farmer 

        5 years ago

        I remember the actual recipe on a Knox packet as one packet dissolved in 1 QUART of HOT water. Stir until all dissolved. Then add 1 Quart of COLD water. Do not use until mixture is nearly air temperature to not injure the plants. Makes 2 quarts.

      • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

        @ Glimmer Twin Fan--I know! I always have packets of Knox left over from making pie filling. Why not put it to good use?

        You're welcome, Deb. Try sprinkling just a little bit on the seeds that you sow, too. But not too much.

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        I had no idea! Thanks for the great tip, Jill.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        This is fascinating. I had no idea one could use this as a fertilizer. That will save me a lot of money in the future. Thanks Jill!

      • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

        Hi ExpectGreatThings! To get the heart, go into a text box in edit mode. Click the symbol icon in the tool bar at the top of the box & select the one you want. I mostly use em dashes. Thanks for stopping by! --Jill

      • ExpectGreatThings profile image

        ExpectGreatThings 

        5 years ago from Illinois

        I have never heard of this and can't wait to try it! On an unrelated subject, how did you get the little heart in one of your capsules (Why do houseplants [heart] Knox gelatine)?

      • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

        Hi Eddy. Thanks!

        And Radcliff--I don't blame you. Why waste all that good cooking on houseplants when you can use a leftover pack of gelatin! Take it easy, Jill

      • Radcliff profile image

        Liz Davis 

        5 years ago from Hudson, FL

        This is interesting. It may sound weird, but I wonder if bone stock (homemade, of course) would do sort of the same thing. It contains a substantial amount of gelatin. This is probably a moot point because I don't think I'd be willing to share my bone stock with the plants. LOL Thanks, Jill. I will pick up some gelatin and give this a try.

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 

        5 years ago from Wales

        So interesting and thank you for sharing.I vote up and share.

        Eddy.

      • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

        Hi Lee. It's a good way to use those leftover packets of gelatin! Nice to hear from you. Hope your Florida garden in winter was a success.

      • chefsref profile image

        Lee Raynor 

        5 years ago from Citra Florida

        Hey Jill

        Interesting, I never heard of this before now.

      • carol7777 profile image

        carol stanley 

        5 years ago from Arizona

        What a unique idea. And an inexpensive way to take care of house plants. Does it work on silk plants??? Just kidding. Voting up, pinning and tweeting...

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