Everything you want to know about plant fertilizers

How and why are they used, and what are the best types? 

Houseplants not only need water and appropriate light, but their health also primarily affected by the nutrients present in the soil, so it is necessary to fertilize houseplants from time to time. To maintain its health and splendor. 

Plant fertilizers 

Fertilizers are simply nutrients for plants, which purchased from nurseries in the form of compressed pellets, granules, powders or liquids, and are usually used to improve plant growth and agricultural crops as well. 

Fertilizers comprised of concentrated plant nutrients, available in either chemical or organic form. They serve as essential sources of nourishment for plants, promoting their growth and development. Most of them contain key plant nutrients, which plants need in relatively large quantities. Some also contain elements that plants may only need in trace amounts.

Most fertilizers rely on three main plant nutrients: nitrogen N, potassium K, and phosphate P. 

The fertilizer product package must have an N: P: K ratio that indicates the proportions of nutrients in it. For example, a ratio of 20:20:20 indicates a balanced fertilizer but a ratio of 10:12:24 indicates a high potassium fertilizer.

Why do we use fertilizers?

Fertilizers are used to improve plant growth. The faster the plant grows, the more it benefits from the use of fertilizer. 

If you have healthy soil, it is not often necessary to use fertilizer, but using it nonetheless will make your plants healthier. 

Fertilizers are usually used when plants show signs of nutrient deficiency. Which include yellowing or discoloration of leaves.

It must be remembered that healthy soil and pH are as important as the use of fertilizers in preventing plant nutrient deficiencies. 

Choose the appropriate fertilizer

There are two main types of fertilizers: inorganic (man-made) and organic (plant or animal-derived). 

Inorganic Fertilizers: These are synthetic forms of plant nutrients or naturally extracted minerals. Inorganic fertilizers are usually more concentrated and more effective than organic fertilizers. Examples of inorganic fertilizers include: Growmore, Miracle-Gro, Phostrogen All Purpose Plant Food, ammonia sulfate, potash sulfate, superphosphate, and Tomorite concentrated tomato food.

Organic Fertilizers: Derived from plant or animal sources and contain plant nutrients in an organic form. Organic products tend to be slower to act. As larger organic molecules must be broken down by soil organisms before their nutrients can be released for plant use. Examples of organic fertilizers include seaweed, dried blood, fish blood and bones, poultry manure pellets, and liquid comfrey or nettle feed. Other widely available products include Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Concentrated Liquid Plant Food and Levington Tomorite Organic Concentrate.

Organic and inorganic fertilizers can found in the following types of products:

Compound Fertilizers: They contain a mix of different nutrients, and can be balanced (containing similar proportions of all major plant nutrients), or may provide some nutrients more than others. It may be organic or inorganic, or contain both.

Straight fertilizers: contain only one nutrient or contain one nutrient dominantly with very small percentages of other elements. They usually used to provide different nutrients at different times of the year or to compensate for the deficiency of certain nutrients in plants. It is usually inorganic.

Controlled fertilizers: They are always in the form of inorganic granules coated with a porous material such as sulfur or synthetic resin. Water enters the granules and fertilizer seeps into the surrounding soil. The warmer the soil, the faster the filtration; This type corresponds to plants that grow faster in warm weather. 

Slow-release fertilizers: These fertilizers break down slowly, usually under the influence of soil microorganisms to release their nutrients, and depend on soil temperature. It is usually organic.

How to use fertilizers

There are many ways to apply fertilizer, and the method you choose will depend largely on the product you are using. 

Here are some of the most common application methods: 

Top dressing: This is the application of fast-acting fertilizers to the soil surface around plants to stimulate growth. And usually performed in the spring at the beginning of the growing season. 

Be careful to avoid touching the leaves, as fertilizer can cause them to burn. Also be careful to avoid excessive use, which may cause damage to the roots and contamination of groundwater.

Basic dressing: It is the incorporation of fertilizers or compost into the soil before sowing or planting.

Irrigation: Liquid fertilizers, along with soluble powders and granules, can easily dissolved or diluted and applied to the roots of plants during the growing season. This technique provides an immediate boost to plant growth and is commonly used for feeding greenhouse crops and potted plants. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and prevent the fertilizer from coming into contact with the leaves to avoid potential damage. Discover the benefits of liquid fertilizers for optimal plant growth and nourishment. Boost your plants’ health with our range of soluble powders and granules for effortless application.

Foliar feeding: Applying a diluted solution of fertilizer to the leaves of plants. It is useful as an emergency treatment to correct nutrient deficiencies or to provide quick supplementary feeding. Liquid fertilizer absorption is greatest when leaf surfaces are soft. Especially on the undersides of leaves or on young leaves that have just grown. Foliar feeds should not placed in bright sunlight; Because the leaves may burn in this case.

Fertilizers available at home

Aside from the fertilizer you can buy from nurseries. It is also possible to use some foods as organic fertilizer for plants, including: 

Banana peel: It helps plants grow flowers and fruits when used as an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers due to its richness in potassium. 

Ground coffee: Plants need the nitrogen and minerals found in coffee grounds. Other natural elements that maintain plant growth, such as calcium, copper, and potassium, are also present in coffee. 

Eggshell: The soil around your plants will get a boost from the eggshell calcium formula. Which makes up approximately 98% of the eggshell.

Leftover vegetables: Instead of throwing them in the garbage after they wither. And to prevent attracting insects and causing a rotten smell, they can ground with a little water and then irrigated the plant with water rich in vitamins and nutrients.

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