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6 Types Of Fertilizers For Garden Plants

Plants and flowers enliven the atmosphere at any time of the year. The wide variety of species allows us to combine multiple colors, shapes and textures, as well as play with the layout of our garden . In this way, we manage to find an ideal place for relaxation, being in contact with nature and enjoying some time with the family. But to achieve this, we must nourish our plants correctly, to optimize their development and flowering, which is why today we will talk about fertilizers and their benefits.

However, to preserve their splendor it is essential to provide them with some basic care. And among them is the regular application of fertilizer. This product will ensure that your stems do not lose strength, that your leaves do not turn yellow and that they continue to flower.

If we are beginners or simply want to know more about plant fertilizers, this time we will talk about what they are, what they are for and what options are on the market.

What is a plant fertilizer?

Fertilizers are substances rich in nutrients, whose function is to promote the optimal growth and development of plants and crops. In general, they are made with macro and micronutrients, which help regulate the absorption of CO₂ and water, stimulate leaf production, keep foliage green, form new roots and even fight diseases.

Types of fertilizers

Although all plant fertilizers fulfill the same function, they can be distinguished by their composition or by their mode of application (presentation), which can affect the response time of the nutrients and, therefore, the impact they will have. about our garden.

1. Chemical fertilizer

These fertilizers are characterized by being produced through the reaction of an acid and an alkali – substances with alkaline properties. In turn, they incorporate essential macronutrients for the earth, which are nitrogen (N), potassium (P) and phosphorus (K), coming from organic, inorganic and synthetic matter. Some fertilizers include these ingredients separately, accompanied only by sulfur and other micronutrients.

If you have a garden at home, it is best to use types of fertilizers that incorporate both macro and micronutrients, since the latter enrich the crops with nutrients. For the rest, NPK fertilizers that include nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus are effective so that our plants and flowers in general grow stronger.

Since not all species have the same nutritional requirements, there are fertilizers with different concentrations. In this sense, we can find products with an NPK value of, for example, 15 -5- 10, which translates to 15% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus and 10% potassium.

In addition, there are some specific for flowers and others for the foliage of all types of plants. So we must carefully verify what needs our garden has to acquire the most appropriate product.

2. Organic fertilizer

They are those fertilizers that are made only with substances of mineral, vegetable, animal or mixed origin , and in which the participation of man is little or none. An example would be the mixture of manure with plant residues. Its advantage over other products is that it returns organic matter to the soil, which is generally lost with the extraction of crops or when transplanting, and which, without a doubt, needs to be replaced.

Likewise, this type of plant fertilizer improves the porosity, water retention and permeability of the soil, and promotes the assimilation of mineral nutrients.

In this variant of fertilizer we find worm castings , which offers more calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It is a composting method that uses worms to consume and convert organic waste into a powerful fertilizer, and promote microbial life.

3. Inorganic fertilizer

This is where substances from rocks and minerals come in. Among them are ammonia nitrate, ammonium sulfate, sodium nitrate, superphosphate and potassium chloride. This type of fertilizers have the quality of enriching the soil with minerals and providing the plants with plenty of food quickly, although they do not generally improve the physical conditions of the land.

Ammonium nitrate and sulfate are considered essential in the creation of quality fertilizers, as they provide a good level of nitrogen and ammonium to give freshness and firmness to the leaves and stems, especially in extreme climates, by nourishing them from the roots.

4. Slow or fast absorption

Just as types of fertilizers can be classified according to their composition, we can also identify them by their absorption capacity. Those with slow absorption release nutrients little by little, over several months. They tend to have a higher price, but the effect lasts longer.

As for quick release, these are characterized by making nutrients available to plants immediately. However, for this reason, the fertilizer runs out faster and must be applied constantly. It must be considered that by making so many applications there is a risk of burning the garden, so it must be considered only in specific cases.

The latter are generally called “water soluble”, while the others are identified as “controlled action” or “insoluble”. Most are focused for use on grass , although they are also available for other foliage.

5. Solid fertilizers

Among chemical, organic and inorganic fertilizers we find various solid presentations. Such as the following:

  • Powder: extremely fine particles that can be applied directly to the substrate or diluted in water. It is a rarely used presentation, but useful in the cultivation of our orchard or garden.
  • Granules: they are larger particles that make dispersion on the ground more practical and comfortable, allowing for a more uniform application, both manually and with a machine.
  • Pills: they already come with the appropriate portion of nutrients. It dissolves little by little into the soil, offering the garden an adequate long-term contribution. There are them for leafy and flowering plants.
  • Canes: They also slowly dilute into the soil, making them perfect for various crops and flowers. The fertilizer comes concentrated, has a crystalline appearance and is shaped like a stake to be inserted into the soil.

6. Liquid fertilizers

Liquid fertilizers are considered higher yielding and can be applied diluted in water or directly. Furthermore, it has an immediate effect because the garden absorbs it upon first contact, giving greater vigor to the roots and an increase in vegetative development. Among the alternatives are the following:

  • Suspensions : it is a mixture of solid particles, which dissolve in liquid.
  • Solutions: all nutrients are dissolved in liquid homogeneously.

It should be noted that a spray bottle is necessary to spread it, and it can be applied directly to planters and pots. In addition, we will be watering and fertilizing the plants at the same time, making it very practical for use at home.

General recommendations for fertilizer application

  • Consider applying fertilizer in late winter and mid-spring. In the first application, it will return to the soil the structure necessary for plant growth (which it may have lost during frost), while in the second, it provides the necessary nutrients to the plant to stimulate its flowering or growth.
  • It must also be applied to those plants that we see without color, weak or that are not growing optimally, as this means that they are not receiving adequate nutrients.
  • Liquid fertilizers are convenient when we have just transplanted, since their rapid absorption makes the plant stronger, while it adapts and grows in its new substrate.
  • You should always read fertilizer labels and follow their instructions for use, since the exact amount to use is mentioned there, especially if it is specific for a single species.
  • It is preferable to apply it in the morning or before dark, and always water before fertilizing. Otherwise, the water could wash away the product and prevent the necessary amount from reaching the plant.
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