What Is a Good Plant Fertilizer?

Garden soil fertility is always changing. Growing plants use up nutrients in the soil. Additionally, tilling changes soil structure, and nutrients are also stripped away by natural elements such as wind and rain. You have two choices: feed plants by adding fertilizer to growing plants or amend your garden soil before planting. The best choice is actually to use both methods throughout the growing season to maintain healthy soil and, therefore, healthy plants.

  1. Elements in Healthy Soil

    • Use fertilizer with the right amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium your plants need.
      Use fertilizer with the right amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium your plants need.

      Garden soil needs three main elements: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to provide a fertile base for healthy plants. Nitrogen gives the plant leaf and stem growth the green color that means a plant is healthy. Phosphorus aids in seed germination, flowering, fruit and root growth. Potassium promotes bud and root growth and gives your vegetables and fruit flavor. The best fertilizers to use depend on what you plan to grow.

    Organic Fertilizers

    • Organic materials such as compost improve and fertilize your soil.
      Organic materials such as compost improve and fertilize your soil.

      Amend your soil to get it ready for planting by adding organic materials, such as compost, animal manures, seaweed, stray or hay. By adding the materials, you change the structure and make the soil healthier, therefore fertilizing it. Other organic fertilizers to use include fish meal, seawood meal, and blood, fish and bonemeal, which contain all the major ingredients.

    Inorganic Fertilizers

    • Inorganic fertilizers improve the acidity of soil.
      Inorganic fertilizers improve the acidity of soil.

      Most gardeners like to use a combination of organic and inorganic fertilizers. Inorganic fertilizers are usually added to improve the acidity of soil and increase a specific nutrient. Ammonium sulphate supplies nitrogen but makes the soil more acidic, which helps some plants thrive. Nitro-chalk supplies nitrogen to the soil without making increasing acidity. Potassium sulphate adds potassium, and superphosphate of lime supplies phosphorus.

    Balanced, Compound and Slow-Release Fertilizers

    • Use a slow-release fertilizer in houseplants to maintain nutrient levels.
      Use a slow-release fertilizer in houseplants to maintain nutrient levels.

      When you buy commercial fertilizer, you'll see numbers such as 8-10-5, which means it contains 8 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus and 5 percent potassium. Balanced fertilizers contain all of the main nutrients a plant needs. Compound fertilizers do not always contain all three major nutrients.Slow-release or controlled fertilizers contain the major nutrients in a form that is released slowly over a few weeks or months. These are usually in pellet or other solid form. Slow-release fertilizer works best for houseplants or outdoor plants in containers because it maintains nutrient levels.

Related Searches

References

  • "The Gardener's Handbook"; Peter McHoy; 2010
  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual"; Barbara Pleasant; 2005
  • "Handbook of Plant Nutrition"; Allen V. Barker and David J. Pilbeam; 2006

Resources

  • Photo Credit Ableimages/Lifesize/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

You May Also Like

Related Ads

View Blog Post

DIY Copper Pipe and Leather Wine Rack