Making Compost Tea for Flowering Plants

Compost tea is a nutritious fertilizer made by steeping compost in water. It provides a boost of beneficial microbes and nutrients that are essential for healthy plant growth and flowering. Making your compost tea at home is easy, cost-effective and can dramatically improve your plants’ health and yields.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about making the best compost tea recipes tailored specifically for flowering and fruiting plants.

Overview of Compost Tea

Compost tea is an organic plant tonic made by brewing compost in water for 12-48 hours. The steeping process extracts beneficial microbes, nutrients, and humic acids from the compost into the water, creating a probiotic fertilizer.

Compost tea provides living microorganisms that colonize plant roots and leaves. These beneficial bacteria and fungi protect plants from diseases and aid in nutrient absorption from the soil. The microbes also break down organic matter and release bound nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium into plant-available forms.

In addition to microbes, compost tea contains:

  • Soluble nutrients from compost like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium etc.
  • Humic and fulvic acids that boost nutrient uptake
  • Plant hormones like auxins and cytokinins that promote growth and flowering

Compost tea is a complete organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. It enhances overall plant health and vigor, boosts yields, and aids in fruit and flower production.

Benefits of Using Compost Tea on Flowering Plants

Using compost tea provides numerous benefits for flowering and fruiting plants:

  • Promotes flowering: The plant hormones in compost tea promote the transition from vegetative growth to the reproductive stage. This results in prolific flowering and fruit set.
  • Improves fruit flavor and aromas: Compost tea enhances terpenoid and flavonoid production during flowering and fruiting. This results in better aromas and flavors.
  • Increases essential oils: The diverse microbial life in compost tea boosts synthesis of terpenes and essential oils in flowers and aromatic plants. This amplifies their fragrance.
  • Boosts flower size and color: The balanced nutrition provided by compost tea enhances flower size, color and overall appearance.
  • Supplies phosphorus: Compost tea delivers phosphorus needed for prolific flowering and fruit production.
  • Deters pests and diseases: The beneficial fungi and bacteria colonize plant surfaces protecting them from infections. This results in healthier blooms and fruits.
  • Strengthens plants: Compost tea bolsters plant vigor, health, and immunity resulting in hardier plants that better withstand environmental stress.

Using actively aerated compost tea on flowering plants provides incredible benefits unmatched by synthetic fertilizers. It’s the ultimate organic booster for abundant blooms and bountiful harvests.

How to Make Compost Tea for Flowers

Making excellent compost tea for your flowering plants is easy. Follow this simple process:

1. Choose a Compost Source

The starting point is finding a good quality compost. Use a mature organic compost from your compost pile, worm bin, or buy ready-made compost. Avoid immature or low-quality composts.

Compost made from a diverse mix of materials (manures, yard debris, food scraps etc.) contains a wide diversity of microbes. Worm castings, also called vermicompost, are especially great for making compost tea!

2. Add Supplements (Optional)

You can add supplements like kelp meal, rock dusts, humic acids, bat guano etc. to enrich the diversity of nutrients and microbes. Some commonly used additives are:

  • Kelp meal – Provides over 60 trace minerals, amino acids, cytokinins etc. Boosts flowering.
  • Alfalfa meal – Supplies nitrogen, triaconatol and cytokinins to spur blooming.
  • Crushed eggshells – Adds calcium which improves cell wall development and fruit quality.
  • Rock dust – Provides silica, magnesium and trace minerals. Strengthens plant cells.
  • Humic acids – Increase nutrient availability. Stimulate beneficial microbes.
  • Bat/Seabird guano – Adds nitrogen, phosphorus and chitin which boosts microbial growth.

3. Fill Container & Add Water

Place the compost and any supplements into a 5-gallon bucket or an aerated compost tea brewer if available.

Fill the container with non-chlorinated water. Use rainwater or dechlorinated tap water. The compost should be 5-10% of the total volume.

4. Aerate & Brew

Use an aquarium pump and air stone to actively aerate the tea continuously for the entire brewing period. The aeration provides oxygen to the microbes and keeps them suspended in the water.

Brew the tea for 24-48 hours. Longer brewing extracts more microbes and nutrients up to a point. Avoid brewing for more than 3 days as it can turn anaerobic.

5. Strain & Apply

After brewing, strain the finished compost tea through a fine mesh to remove any solid particles. Compost fleece bags make straining easy.

Apply the strained compost tea immediately onto plants using a watering can, spray bottle or garden sprayer. Use it within a few hours for best results.

Tips for Making Compost Tea

  • Use only mature, earthy-smelling compost. Avoid compost with ammonia odors.
  • Grind supplements like bone, kelp and rock meals into powder before adding.
  • Keep the tea brewing vessel covered to prevent contamination.
  • Check and clean the air pump/stone occasionally to prevent clogs.
  • Sanitize the container & equipment before each use with hydrogen peroxide or grapefruit seed extract.

Compost Tea Recipes for Flowering Plants

Here are some simple compost tea recipes tailored for flowering and fruiting stages:

All-Purpose Flowering Tea

  • 5 gallons water
  • 2 cups worm castings
  • 1 cup compost
  • 2 tbsp kelp meal
  • 2 tbsp alfalfa meal
  • 2 tbsp rock dust

High Phosphorus Bloom Booster Tea

  • 5 gallons water
  • 2 cups worm castings
  • 1/2 cup bat guano
  • 1 tbsp 100% natural molasses

Fruity Flower Power Tea

  • 5 gallons water
  • 2 cups compost
  • 1 cup crushed eggshells
  • 2 tbsp seabird guano
  • 1 tbsp molasses

Microbe & Mineral Flower Tea

  • 5 gallons water
  • 2 cups vermicompost
  • 1/2 cup neem/karanja meal
  • 2 tbsp humic acid powder
  • 1 tbsp glacial rock dust

Aromatic Blossom Tea

  • 5 gallons water
  • 2 cups compost
  • 1/2 cup alfalfa meal
  • 1 tbsp kelp powder
  • 1 tsp Epsom salts

High Nitrogen Vegging Tea

  • 5 gallons water
  • 2 cups compost
  • 1 cup blood meal
  • 1/2 cup crushed molasses

The recipes can be adjusted according to specific plant needs. For example, add more phosphorus for fruiting plants and more nitrogen for leafy growth.

The basic mix of quality compost, worm castings and water is sufficient for most plants. Everything beyond that just enhances the diversity.

When and How Often to Use Compost Tea

Compost tea can be used:

  • As a regular fertilizer throughout the plant’s life. Use it every 1-2 weeks.
  • As a foliar spray to boost flowering and fruiting. Spray every 2 weeks during flowering season.
  • To transplant new seedlings and plants. Soak roots and water it in the planting holes.
  • To boost fruit and flower production during reproductive stage. Use it every 1-2 weeks during budding and flowering periods.
  • To rejuvenate and replenish soil life. Apply it 2-4 times a year.
  • As a pest and disease preventative spray. Use it every 2-4 weeks.

The microbe-rich tea nourishes soil life and strengthens plants at every stage of growth. It provides a balanced feast of nutrition and biocontrols unmatched by chemical fertilizers.

Using Compost Tea on Different Flowering Plants

Compost tea provides broad spectrum benefits across all flowering and fruiting plants. Here are some examples:


  • Compost tea encourages basal breaks resulting in more prolific flowering.
  • The fungal dominants protect roses against common diseases like black spot.
  • It aids in developing rich rose colors and enhanced fragrances.


  • Compost teas provide a natural flowering booster for cannabis plants.
  • It enhances terpene and resin production during budding and flowering stages.
  • The microbes suppress pathogens like botrytis, powdery mildew etc.


  • Compost tea bolsters the immune system of tomatoes, reducing disease pressure.
  • It provides balanced nutrition for extended flowering and fruiting periods.
  • The microbes and humic acids improve fruit flavor and quality.


  • Orchids thrive with regular compost tea feeding which mimics their natural tropical environments.
  • It stimulates prolific air root development and new growths.
  • The teas provide balanced, slow-release nutrition required for exotic orchids.


  • Compost tea enhances size, flavor and shelf life of berries by supplying balanced nutrition.
  • It increases essential oils and acids improving berry flavors.
  • The microbial life protects fruits against common rots and molds.

Regular compost tea applications provide a nutritional and immune boost to all flowering plants, resulting in vibrant blooms and bountiful harvests. The live microbes continue colonizing plant surfaces protecting them for weeks after each application.

Troubleshooting Common Compost Tea Problems

Making excellent quality compost tea does take some practice. Here are some common problems and solutions:

Tea smells rotten or rancid

  • Cause: anaerobic conditions due to lack of aeration
  • Fix: Use air pump for continuous aeration & don’t brew >3 days

Foam or scum on top

  • Cause: proteins and organic acids reacting
  • Fix: Skim off foam & improve aeration

Foul ammonia smell

  • Cause: immature compost containing excess nitrogen
  • Fix: Use only fully mature, earthy smelling compost

Cloudy tea

  • Cause: organic particles in suspension
  • Fix: Increase aeration and strain before applying

Low microbe diversity

  • Cause: poor quality compost or chlorinated water
  • Fix: Use worm castings, aerate actively & use non-chlorinated water

Plant damage after application

  • Cause: high salt levels from additives or anaerobic tea
  • Fix: Limit high N additives, improve aeration & brew <3 days

Tea smells great but plants decline

  • Cause: diseased compost or contaminated water
  • Fix: Sanitize equipment between uses & never use diseased plant materials

No observable benefits

  • Cause: tea too diluted, old compost, or short brew time
  • Fix: Increase compost ratio, use fresh active compost & brew >24 hrs

With some practice, you’ll be making wonderfully alive nutrient-dense compost tea for your plants!

Frequently Asked Questions About Compost Teas

1. What is the ideal water temperature for brewing compost tea?

70-75°F (21-24°C) is the optimal temperature range for brewing compost tea. Warmer temperatures above 90°F (32°C) limit microbial diversity. If needed, brew in a cooler spot or use frozen water bottles to regulate the temperature.

2. Is actively aerated or passive compost tea better?

Actively aerated tea is highly recommended as it brews a tea rich in beneficial aerobic bacteria and fungi. The continuous aeration provides oxygen to the microbes, keeping them alive and thriving during the brewing process.

3. How long can brewed compost tea last before use?

Use compost tea within 2 hours of brewing for best results. The aerobic microbes start dying off after a few hours. Refrigerate and use within 12 hours if needed. Do not store for more than 24 hours.

4. What is the ideal ratio of compost to water for brewing tea?

A ratio of around 1:10 to 1:20 (compost: water) works well. Use around 5-10% compost by volume. For a 5 gallon bucket, use 2 to 4 cups of compost mixed with non-chlorinated water. You can go up to a 1:5 ratio for a microbe-rich concentrate.

5. Can compost tea be made ahead and stored for later use?

No, compost tea should always be freshly brewed before each use. Storing compost tea kills off the beneficial microbes which provides most of the benefits. The nutrition also starts degrading if stored for long.


Compost tea is a fabulous organic elixir that boosts plant growth, flowering and fruiting like no other. It recycles nutrients, regenerates soil life, and nurtures plants naturally.

The biodiverse microbes in compost tea shield plants from diseases while supplying a balanced feast of nutrition. It’s an indispensable biofertilizer for flowering plants and gardens.

Making your own compost tea is rewarding and ensures you provide your plants a living probiotic boost not available in bagged products. With some simple ingredients and equipment, you can brew up an endless supply of quality compost tea for thriving, productive plants.