There are many different types of fertilizers, and there are many manufacturers and distributors of fertilizers as well. People also have preferences for which fertilizer to use, and reasons are usually either out of extensive research, hearsay from friends or acquaintances, habits, or from the lack of other alternatives. However, it must be noted that fertilizers are similar in one aspect: they contain a specific formulation, which is usually noted in the packaging of the product.
There are usually fertilizers numbers indicated in the packaging, and these indicate the formulation of the fertilizer itself. These fertilizer numbers usually indicate the percentage of the three essential nutrients that plants need to grow, and these are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These three minerals are usually labeled in order. For instance if the label says 15-25-10, it means that the fertilizer is composed of 15% nitrogen, 25% phosphorus, and 10% potassium. Each plant has a different nutrient requirement, and it is important to take note of certain combinations of fertilizer numbers that would benefit plants the most.
Nitrogen is the most abundant element on earth, and it is found almost everywhere. This nutrient is beneficial for plants, as it enables them to grow at a much faster rate because nitrogen increases the plant’s ability to create chlorophyll. Plants that receive adequate amounts of nitrogen appear healthier, and have a darker, and more vibrant color. Phosphorus is another element, which plants need, and it is not as abundant as nitrogen in the environment. If nitrogen helps the leaves of plants develop a richer color, phosphorus aids in the growth and development of plants by stimulating the development of the roots, and increases the plant’s fertility by improving the plant’s ability to produce flowers and increases the size of flowering blooms. Hence, this nutrient is highly essential for flowering plants, as well as plants that produce fruit. Finally, potassium is another of the three major nutrients that plants require for growth and development. It improves the immune system of the plant, and makes it more resistant to certain plant diseases that may come about, as well as improve the plant’s ability to tolerate weather changes. And like nitrogen, it has a role in the plant’s photosynthetic activities, which would enable the plants to grow quicker, and sustain that development throughout its lifespan.
It must be noted as well that although these three nutrients, appearing as fertilizer numbers, are the major nutrients that the plants need, these three are not the only nutrients that plants require for growth and development. Other elements include sulfur, magnesium, calcium, boron, chlorine, copper, and many more elements. These do not appear as fertilizer numbers, but are essential for plants nonetheless. And although plants need all these nutrients, fertilizers are only supplementary. A plant that is provided enough sunlight, watered enough, and placed in a soil that is ideal for its growth may develop equally or even more than a plant that is provided with fertilizer. Fertilizers do not ensure growth and development of plants, but rather they increase the likelihood of it.