How To Choose Your Fertilizers

The well-being of your plants depends on a good fertilizer. Do not be under the impression that soil and water are enough. Many plants need to be boosted with fertilizers in the spring season.

Choosing the right fertilizer among so many different types available can be tricky, especially if you are a beginner and you don’t understand all the technical terms.

There are three major elements that can boost your plants – nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. I recently posted an interesting article – Things to consider when buying fertilizer in which I explained why your plants will be needing these three nutrients.

Types of fertilizers
You will find four different types of fertilizers on the shelves at your local store.

1. Organic
2. Synthetic
3. Granular
4. Liquid


Organic fertilizer – nitrogen sustain release (fair price)
Organic fertilizer is derived from the decay of animal matter like the cow or poultry manure or vegetable matter (like the compost in your backyard). The finished product is like soil and it is a completely natural solution that tends to break down slowly when releasing nitrogen. It is great for improving the texture and density of your plants, and it is a great way to amend the composition of your soil if earlier it was poor in nutrition for your plants.

Synthetic fertilizer – nitrogen quick release (fair price)
Synthetic fertilizer is chemically manufactured. It is an engineered fertilizer specially made for the immediate release of nutrients by rapidly penetrating the soil. The disadvantage of this type of fertilizer is that the results don’t last long enough. Moreover, it is easily washed away during the rain, so you would have to reapply again. Note that if you happen to apply this fertilizer in excess, you risk burning your plants.

Granular type – ease of use (fair price)
This is the most popular variety of fertilizers. You typically buy it in bagged form. You can basically apply them with your hands. You should note however that there are two types of granular fertilizers – slow-release and fast-release. Slow-release provides 2-6 months (based on water and heat). As for fast-release, the fertilizer may last around 2 weeks (works better for cold weather) and it cost less than the slow-release. It is important to use the right because of the risk of burning the roots of the plants. Watering on a regular basis will allow the nutrients to break down in the soil.

Liquid fertilizer (a little bit more expensive)
This type of fertilizer comes in concentrated liquid form. Not all nutrients are generally available in the N-P-K ratio of fertilizers available on the market.

N-P-K stands for Nitrogen-Potassium-Phosphorous on which I wrote an interesting article on Things to consider when buying fertilizer.

Liquid fertilizer contains nutrients readily available to bolster soil microorganisms and improve the soil structure. Read the notice well as the concentrated liquid should be mixed with water before application. It is easy to use but works only in the short term. It boosts the plant by making nutrients available immediately to roots and leaves.

Finally, depending on your plants’ requirement, you can try any of these different types of fertilizers at different time intervals and see to which type your plants respond really well. Note that you should be cautious in the amount of fertilizer you are using. Read the notice and follow the instructions well.

I hope this post will help you to choose your fertilizer. Good luck with your plants!

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