One of the most important steps of plant care—fertilization—is usually surrounded by a flare of mystery and myriads of questions. Feeding a plant is like feeding a dog or a cat; you can either go for mainstream products available in your local Walmart and not think too much into it, or you can set on a mission to find the best fertilizer out there that will suit your plant’s particular needs. Read this insight to become an expert in fertilization!
What are the types of fertilizers?
Bone meal, cow manure, eggshells, fish emulsion, and other natural organic materials are great at building your soil’s nutrient system slowly but surely. They contribute microorganisms that improve the quality of the soil over time, making it better at storing water and nutrients. What is great about organic fertilizers is that they are eco-friendly, accessible, and can be easily made at home. What is also good is that they don’t dissolve with irrigation, like some synthetic fertilizers.
Contrary to organic fertilizers, synthetic ones don’t supply the soil with nutrients for long. After some time, the soil will decompose the microorganisms it got from the fertilization, and the structure of the growing medium won’t change at all. However, synthetic fertilizers show results quicker, and they’re more affordable than organic fertilizers. You should always carefully follow the package instructions because overfeeding or improper application can lead to fertilizer burn.
Different forms of fertilizers
- Liquid fertilizers are applied to the soil with a hose or a watering pot. They quickly release their nutrients, improving your plant’s condition in a few days. The downside is that they require regular re-application.
- Quick-release granular fertilizers are used for gardens and lawns. They take a bit longer to decompose, as they’re made of solid water-soluble granules. They supply the soil with nutrients for about 3 to 4 weeks. They take a week to show the first improvement results, but they don’t need to be reapplied as frequently as liquid fertilizers. Usually, the granules are worked into the topsoil and then watered.
- Slow- and controlled-release granular fertilizers are spread on the topsoil, then covered with a layer of soil or compost. You’ll see your plant’s steady improvement in two weeks after application. These fertilizers will release nutrients into the soil for 2 to 9 months. The slow and controlled release minimizes the chances of your plant getting burnt from overfertilization.
- Complete fertilizer usually consists of three primary nutrients— nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This kind of fertilizer helps improve the soil by eliminating its deficiencies. Nitrogen encourages healthy leaf growth, phosphorus promotes root development, and potassium allows a quicker recovery from pest infestations and diseases.
And if you’re wondering when is the right time to use fertilizers, consult the Plantum app. Each plant description has a fertilizing section with specific instructions for every plant.