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Main Content

How to Make Nutrient Tea for Plants

Benjamin Kilbride, Editorial Assistant at The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Learn how to make a nutrient mix to supplement your late crops and house plants!

What Is Nutrient Tea?

Nutrient tea, also known as compost tea, is a natural liquid fertilizer full of beneficial microorganisms (microbes), such as fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and micro arthropods. Mix a little in a watering can to water indoor and outdoor plants for an extra boost.

The Benefits

A good overall plant health booster, nutrient tea helps to keep plants strong and resistant to pests and diseases. It also . . .

  •  improves soil health
  •  improves water retention in soil
  •  promotes root growth
  •  can be developed to target specific plant needs
  •  sprayed onto plant leaves to prevent potential disease

Overall, nutrient tea is an overall healthy addition to any plant, whether indoor or outdoor!

The Basic Recipe


1 large handful of compost

1 handful of garden soil

2 handfuls of straw

3 to 5 leaves from a healthy plant

1 cup fish hydrolysate (available at most garden centers)

1 cup seaweed extract


5-gallon bucket filled with water

fish tank aerator

compost tea brewing bag (available online or at your local plant nursery)

aquarium thermometer


Put the compost, garden soil, straw, and leaves into the compost tea bag. Tie the bag tightly and submerge it in the bucket of water. Add the fish hydrolysate and seaweed extract directly into the water. Place the aerator in the bucket, plug it in, and turn it on. Leave the tea to brew for about 36 hours, ensuring the temperature is between 68° and 72°F. Once brewed, dilute the nutrient tea with 3 parts tea to 1 part water in a watering can or spraying backpack. Apply to soil!

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