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Using Kelp Meal for Plants: Benefits & Directions for Use

Using Kelp Meal for Plants: Benefits & Directions for Use

Have you ever considered alternative ways to nourish your plants, whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner? Although chemical and organic fertilizers have their drawbacks, kelp meal could be a viable option to explore.

Is kelp powder good for plants? Kelp meal is an excellent fertilizer as it has an abundance of micronutrients, macronutrients, and amino acids, all of which are vital for plant health. Kelp also has natural alginate to bind the soil grains together, which works wonders in amending the soil texture.

So how would you go about using kelp meal for your general gardening purposes? Read on to find out all the nitty-gritty details about fertilizing your plants with kelp meal.

Kelp Meal for Plants

Kelp as fertilizer comes in two forms: kelp meal and kelp liquid. Kelp meal is often safer to use since it’s less concentrated than the liquid form.

This makes it an ideal fertilizer for most types of soil except severely depleted soil. 

What Is Kelp Meal Fertilizer?

Kelp meal is a plant fertilizer made from dried, ground kelp. It’s a sustainable fertilizer since kelp and seaweed grow naturally in the oceans.

The meal-like fertilizer can be used as a top dressing to amend the soil and improve its texture, but the main purpose of kelp meal in the garden is to fertilize plants. 

Kelp Meal vs. Liquid Kelp

Both kelp meal and liquid kelp are made from the same plant. However liquid meal is cold-processed, which makes it more concentrated than kelp meal.

If you use liquid kelp on your plants, you need to read the instructions carefully to avoid burning the roots or stressing the plant with a sudden growth spurt.

In general, kelp meal is safer to use as a fertilizer and top dressing.

What Is Kelp Good For?

If you can get past the unsavory taste, kelp is an excellent source of carotenoids and flavonoids. These two antioxidants help the body fight off cardiovascular diseases caused by free radicals.

The antioxidants bind with the free radicals in the blood and render them harmless. Kelp is also high in nutrients with low content of fat and calories making it a good dieting food.

Also, of course, it makes a great fertilizer for your garden.

Kelp Powder Benefits for Plants

Kelp powder has all the necessary nutrients that most plants need.

These include macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as well as amino acids and trace elements like iron, boron, manganese, and zinc.

Kelp powder binds the crumbs of the soil together to improve its texture and water retention, especially in sandy soil.

What Plants Benefit From Kelp?

In general, most plants will benefit from kelp. The natural ocean-growing kelp improves the taste of fruits and triggers healthy growth of the leaves, stems, and roots of the plant.

It’s safe to use with veggies, fruits, and flowering plants in your garden. 

Is Kelp Good for Houseplants?

Kelp is a good source of nutrients for houseplants. Whether your plants flower or not, adding kelp to the soil improves the plants’ ability to absorb nutrients.

If the soil is severely depleted, kelp will add the necessary nutrients and amino acids that help your houseplant grow and thrive.

Can Kelp Burn Plants?

The only form of kelp fertilizer that can actually burn plants is the liquid kelp. The cold-processed fertilizer extracts a lot of nutrients from the kelp making it highly concentrated.

You should read the instructions carefully when applying liquid kelp. Kelp meal is a lot milder and poses no risk of burning the plants.

Kelp Meal NPK

The ratio of macronutrients in kelp is 1-0-4. It has low amounts of nitrogen, no phosphorus, and a relatively high concentration of potassium.

The modest amounts of the macronutrients in kelp meal make it a safer option to fertilize your plants without the risk of burning them.

How Much Kelp Meal To Add to Soil 

A scoop and glass jar on its side with kelp powder spilling out.

To amend the soil and fertilize your plants with kelp meal, your first task is to select a high-quality kelp meal.

I highly recommend Espoma Organic Kelp Meal. The brand has a superb reputation, and the kelp is 100% organic.

You can add 1-2 tablespoons for every gallon of soil in containers.

For plants in the garden, mix 2.5 pounds of kelp meal for every 3 cubic feet of soil. Mix the kelp meal thoroughly before watering the plants.

Apply kelp meal once a month throughout the growing season.

Kelp Meal Tea

Kelp meal tea fertilizer can release its nutrients faster than kelp powder. You can also use it as a foliar spray.

To make kelp meal tea, add a quarter cup of kelp meal to one gallon of water. Stir vigorously, and let it sit for two to three days with occasional stirring.

To use as a foliar spray, strain the solid particles out of the liquid first. Otherwise, you can fertilize the plants with the tea as is.

How To Use Kelp Powder in the Garden

To apply kelp powder in the garden, spread it as a top dressing around the base of the plants and bushes making sure it doesn’t touch the stem of the plant. Water the plant immediately.

The nutrients in the kelp powder will be released into the soil to be absorbed by the roots. Apply kelp powder once a month during the growing season.

How To Make Kelp Fertilizer

If you want to make kelp fertilizer at home, place the kelp strands in the sun to dry. When it’s fully dry, grind it in a mortar to make kelp powder.

You can apply the powder around the base of the plants once a month before watering. Alternatively, you can make kelp meal tea fertilizer by soaking the kelp powder in water for 2-3 days. 

Related Questions: 

Is Kelp Good as a Foliar Spray?

Kelp as a foliar spray is a more efficient way of applying kelp fertilizer. The leaves absorb the nutrients of the kelp spray about eight to 20 times more than kelp in the soil.

If your plant is suffering from malnutrition, this is the fastest way to revive it.

Is Kelp Good for Flowers?

Since kelp doesn’t contain phosphorus, it doesn’t do much to boost the flowering of the plant.

However, kelp is rich in cytokinins, a growth hormone, that improves the plant’s ability to fight off diseases and have healthy foliage.

This can have an indirect impact on the number, size, and colors of the flowers the plant produces.


You can use kelp meal to fertilizer just about any plant in your garden as well as houseplants. It improves the taste of fruits, binds the soil crumbs, and promotes the overall health and growth of your plants.