What Do All Those Fertilizer Numbers Mean?

The three numbers you see on fertilizers indicate the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrients in the blend. All plants have different needs, but one thing’s for sure: fertilizers make a huge difference!

There are 17 essential nutrients for plant life, but these three are needed the most because plants use larger amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Each nutrient provides a different benefit to plants.

First, nitrogen is the key to the rich green color and leafy growth in lawns and other plants. Too little nitrogen can result in pale lawns and foliage, while too much nitrogen can diminish blooms on flowering plants. Next, phosphorus is essential for strong roots, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Lastly, potassium boosts growth overall and helps keep plants healthy and balanced.

How to Choose

Since higher quantities of nitrogen are needed for a lush, green turf, you’ll notice that lawn fertilizers have a higher number in front.

More phosphorus and potassium is necessary for abundant fruit and vegetables. Additionally, flowering bulbs and plants depend on a higher phosphorus count. So you’ll notice higher numbers in the middle and end for fertilizers geared for those plants.

Alternatively, there are fertilizer blends that offer a balanced combination of the three nutrients for overall garden application.

Don’t Be Fooled

Although some fertilizers list a specific plant or use on the bag or container, pay attention to the nutrient blend. Yes, azalea food is amazing for azaleas. But, guess what? It also works wonders for so many other plants!

Furthermore, since hibiscus food is so high in potassium, it’s also perfect for most other tropical plants.

Better Understanding, Better Success

By learning what the different fertilizer numbers mean, you can experience better success in your gardening endeavors. Stay tuned for educational programs coming soon to Warren’s that will help you start a feeding schedule so your lawn and garden can reach its full potential.

In the meantime, to learn more, call 281-354-6111 or visit the Garden Center.