Fertilizer basics - Just what do those numbers on the bag mean?
Pick up a box or bag of fertilizer and you'll notice three numbers. Like, 10-10-10 or 15-30-15. Those numbers represent the ratio of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K) that are in that bag or box of fertilizer. So, in a bag of 10-10-10 you have an even ratio of 10% Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorous, and 10% Potassium. Are you scratching your head thinking that doesn't add up to 100%? The rest of the bag can consist of micro nutrients which are also great for the plants and some fillers.
How do you know which ratio to choose? Get to know each element and what it does for your plants and that will help you determine which fertilizer is right for you.
- Nitrogen is essential for plant growth. It promotes new growth of leaves and stems.
- Phosphorous promotes healthy root growth and stimulates flowering.
- Potassium is important for the plants overall health.
When you first plant annuals, trees, shrubs or perennials we recommend that you add E.B Stone Sure Start in the soil. The ratio of NPK in Sure Start is 4-6-2. This ratio gives overall nutrition with a concentration of Potassium so that your new plants can build a strong root system.
An all-purpose plant food would contain a balanced ratio like 10-10-10 or E.B. Stone's All-Purpose Plant Food which is 5-5-5. Fertilizers that promote flowering tend to have higher numbers like Grow More Super Bloomer which has a ratio of 15-30-15.
Fertilizers come in granular or powdered forms, liquids and slow-reased pellets. Liquids and granular forms feed instantly. Slow-release fertilizers are coated and will release a small amount of the fertlizer each time it is watered.
What should you fertilize now in early Summer?
Fertilize blooming shrubs and flowering plants with a water-soluble fertilizer like Grow More Super Bloomer to promote bigger blooms.
Fertilize houseplants monthly with Bonide Liquid Houseplant Food.
Fertilize summer vegetables with E.B Stone Tomato & Vegetable food.
Fertilize container gardens with a slow release fertilizer for continued feeding.
**If you have more questions about fertilizing, or want to know the best fertilizer for a specific type of plant, stop by and talk to one of our certified plant professionals! We're here to help take the guesswork out of gardening!