Do you ever think how the plants get nutrients? All living things surely need nutrients to support their growth and life cycle. Naturally plants can obtain nutrients from the soil and air. They can absorb the nutrients on their own. But still, plant fertilizer is needed to boost their growth.
Even though plants can obtain nutrition on their own, it is still not enough. That is why we need to provide additional nutrition for plants, especially the ones functioning as food sources or any commercial plants. So, plant nutrition is really important to boost their growth.
What is Plant Fertilizer?
Plant nutrition includes chemical compounds and elements that plants require to enhance their metabolism, external supply and growth. The essential elements of plant nutrition come from the air and soil.
The elements from the air are oxygen, hydro, and carbon. While the elements from soil include nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, iron, chlorin, zinc, manganese, copper, nickel, boron and molybdenum.
So, fertilizer refers to synthetic or natural materials to supply plants nutrients. Usually farmers apply fertilizers on the soil or directly to the plant tissue. Both natural and synthetic fertilizers are available in markets.
Considering the basic nutrients that plants require are not always available in soil, it leads farmers or gardeners to get plant fertilizer. It will be troublesome if the soil where your plants grow doesn’t have enough nutrients. Fertilizers appear as the best solution to provide nutrients.
Basically, plants require two types of nutrition which include micronutrients and macronutrients. Most fertilizers contain macronutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. These are the prominent substances that plants must have.
This material has an essential role to move water, carbohydrates and nutrients from one part to other parts of the plants. It helps to boost hardiness and immunity toward pests or insects. In addition, potassium also supports early growth of the plants.
N or nitrogen is one of important materials that plants require in their early growth stages. Nitrogen is materials that get dissolved in water easily. When it rains, nitrogen is definitely easy to wash away. It causes some soil to lack nitrogen. No worries, you still get nitrogen from fertilizers.
Phosphorus is the material that stimulates the growth of roots. It also helps to transport nutrients among roots, leaves, and flowers. This important substance doesn’t always exist in soil. Microbial activity, pH soil and temperature affect the existence of phosphorus.
Aside from macronutrients, plants also require micronutrients to support the plant’s growth. However, the amount plants require is not as much as the macronutrients. Thus, fertilizers also contain a small amount of rock minerals as micronutrients.
Examples of micronutrients in fertilizers are iron, boron, magnesium, sulfur, calcium. You can see that the percentage of these micronutrients is not as high as the macronutrients. An indoor or outdoor plant fertilizer displays the detailed nutrients and percentage in their package.
Types of Best Plant Fertilizer
Generally, fertilizers come into two types, organic and inorganic fertilizers. Both fertilizers have the same function, so you can pick which fertilizer that your plants like to consume.
1. Plant Fertilizer Organic
This fertilizer originates from plants or animals. The materials in big molecules contain carbon. Fertilizer industry commonly makes organic fertilizers out of blood meal, seaweed, fish meal, ash, compost, bone meal, and manure.
The soil organisms demolish the big molecules into tiny parts so the plants can easily absorb them. Normally the gardeners put organic fertilizer on the soil and let the roots absorb the nutrients in this fertilizer.
2. Inorganic Fertilizer
Inorganic or synthetic fertilizer come from natural chemicals or plant materials. These synthetic fertilizers consist of sulphate of potash, phosphate, superphosphate, and sulphate of ammonia. Ideally synthetic fertilizers work faster than organic fertilizers.
How Do We Apply Best Fertilizer for Plants and Flowers
All plants require different amounts of nutrients. The frequency and season to fertilize the plants can affect the plants growth as well. Make sure you always read the instructions before you apply the best fertilizer for plants and flowers.
When you want to plant perennials, it is essential to mix organic fertilizers into the planting hole. It enables the roots of the baby plants to absorb the nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, etc. These nutrients will stimulate the growth plants in their early stages.
The ideal time to apply plant fertilizer organic toward perennials plants is once a year, in the beginning of spring to be exact. This kind of fertilizer works best for perennial plants, berries, rhubarb and asparagus.
2. Shrubs and Trees
Either synthetic or organic fertilizer is more effective when you plant the shrubs or trees. Before putting the plants into the hole, you should fertilize the soil using those fertilizers in advance. Hence the plant’s roots can access the nutrients immediately.
But if the soil where you plant shrubs and trees is quite fertile, you don’t need to apply fertilizers. Plants only require fertilizers when the soil lacks nutrients. Fundamentally the fertilizers act as a backup if there is no nutrient source for the plants.
3. Flower Bulbs
The flower bulbs such as hyacinth and tulips that bloom annually don’t need fertilizer. However, flower bulbs like alliums and daffodils might require fertilizer. You can fertilize them before and after blooming.
You better fertilize the summer bulbs such as gladiolas, dahlias, and lilies when the first time you plant them. Those flowers, dahlias in particular tend to consume fertilizers with low nitrogen a lot. So, you can apply the fertilizers every month.
4. Container Plants
If you grow plants in containers, you have to add indoor plant fertilizer. Because the soil in containers doesn’t have as many sources of nutrients as the soil in the garden. This is the reason why you need to apply fertilizers in container plants.
The ideal frequency to fertilize the annual plants in the container is every week. In order to get the best result, you may give the water-soluble fertilizer to the annual plants every week. A controlled release fertilizer could be an option so you can refresh it every 2 months.
In gardening, you should treat the plants properly. If you expect them to produce fruits or bloom adorable flowers, you must pay heed to their nutrients. The plant fertilizer is the best choice to stimulate the plant’s growth.