The three main nutrients provided by plant fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In fact, the concentrations of these three nutrients are printed on the front of each package as a series of three numbers, sometimes called the “NPK” numbers or the fertilizer grade.
Nitrogen is largely responsible for healthy leaf and stem growth. Nitrogen is also water soluble and can wash out of the soil rather quickly. An excess of nitrogen will cause a lot of foliage growth at the expense of flowers and fruit.
Phosphorus is very important for root growth and flower production. Flowering bulbs and root crops can always use some phosphorous such as bone meal.
Potassium is needed for overall plant health. It keeps the plants growing and aids their immune systems. Like nitrogen, potassium is also water soluble and needs to be replenished from time to time.
Deficiencies of these three minerals can be roughly diagnosed through leaf appearance. Nitrogen deficiencies lead to yellow and brown leaves; phosphorus deficiencies cause purple-veined and slow-growing leaves; potassium deficiencies lead to curled, distorted leaves.
In general, we recommend you feed your plants every two weeks with a balanced chemical fertilizer.
Right now at GreenWay, we have lots of fertilizers for your garden. We have tubs of Miracle-Gro Ultra Bloom 15-30-15, a water soluble fertilizer that’s great for your annuals.
Going on vacation? Try the slow release pellets. They’re great for hanging baskets and container plants. Just feed and forget!
We also carry a nice selection of bone meal and blood meal granular fertilizers!
And as always, if you have questions on fertilizing your gardens, just stop by and ask.