The 3 numbers on a fertilizer package represent the percentage (by weight) of the 3 major nutrients required for healthy plant growth. These are always in sequence from left to right. For example 16-10-10 – this fertilizer contains 16% Nitrogren, 10% Phosphorus & 10% Potassium
Nitrogren stimulates vigorous leaf and stem growth as well as the deep green colour. It provides the plant with the ability to produce Chlorophyll, which in turn allows the plants to grow quickly. With each additional nitrogren application, the plants will grow taller and develop a deeper green colour. If you’re after a dark green lawn, use a lawn fertilizer that’s high in nitrogren, but then expect to mow more often!
Phosphorus helps in the development and growth of roots and increases flowering ability and bloom size. The fertlizer industry smartly markets high phosphorus fertilizer as “Bloom Booster”. High phosphorus fertlizer should be used when establishing your garden – sowing a new lawn or planting a new tree, shrub or perennial.
Finally Potassium is essential for many reasons. It guards the plant against diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance. It also serves a role in improving root development and photosynthesis – the production of the energy foods for the plant. You might consider using a high-potassium fertilizer before winter to help provide cold temperature protection or when insects or disease have caused damage to your plants.
Now, if you’re a left-brainer, you’ve probably realized the numbers don’t add up to 100%. That’s because there are other nutrients and filler products in fertilizer mixtures. This filler helps to apply the nutrients evenly over the area of use. So no need to double check the math.
There are so many different types of plant fertilizers out there; here are a few examples to get you started:
Container Food 14-14-14: Perfect for hanging baskets, planters and containers. It’s slow release formula gives balanced feeding for lush foliage and blooms.
All Purpose 20-20-20: Water soluable. A complete plant food with all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.
Growing Food 12-16-12: Organic based and easy to apply with delivered results. Great for all flowering plants and vegetables.
Bone Meal 2-13-0: A must have when transplanting. Completely organic fertilizer which releases nutrients slowly, ensuring vigorous growth.
Transplanter 5-15-5: Builds strong roots and reduces transplant shock. Use together with bone meal for spectacular results!
These are just a few of the examples of the fertilizer that we carry. The next time that you’re in selecting fertilizer don’t let the numbers on the package intimidate you. Just consider what your plants need and match those needs with the numbers. And of course we are always here to help!