As every gardener knows, plants need to be provided with light and water if they’re going to grow. Getting even those two elements just right can sometimes be tricky enough, making sure you don’t provide too much or too little of either. But then you have to consider your plant’s nutritional needs. They leach nutrients from the soil but the chemicals in your typical gardening soil are seldom enough to make your plant thrive. You’ll likely need to supplement their nutrition with an added fertilizer. Learn about choosing the best soils and indoor fertilizers for your plants and try one of these top fertilizers to give your plants the nutrient boost they need.
What’s in Fertilizer?
When choosing the best fertilizer for your plants, you first need to understand what the components are that make up the fertilizer. The most important elements are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, the main macronutrients. You’ll also see secondary macronutrients, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, in your various fertilizer choices. There are a variety of micronutrients that may be present in very small amounts, such as copper, iron, manganese. Some plants need very specific nutrients in order to thrive, while others just need a good combination of the basics from a high quality all purpose fertilizer.
What is NPK?
On many bags and bottles of fertilizer you’ll see three numbers in the format of 00-00-00. These numbers refer to the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium that can be found in the fertilizer. Each number refers to the percent of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium that can be found respectively within each bag or bottle of fertilizer. A fertilizer classified as 20-10-20 will contain 20% nitrogen, 10% phosphorous, and 20% potassium.
However, knowing how much of each element is present can’t help you find the perfect fertilizer if you don’t know what each element does. Nitrogen, a major component of chlorophyll, can stimulate leaf and stem growth. Phosphorus will help your plants convert nutrients into usable building blocks, helping with root growth and flowering. Potassium is required for protein synthesis and controls the opening and closing of stomata, regulating the CO2 uptake. Plants may need different amounts of one element depending on what stage of their growth cycle they’re in and whether they consist mostly of leafy green foliage or beautiful flowering buds.
Jack’s Classic All Purpose Fertilizer
Jack’s Classic All Purpose Fertilizer is a great all purpose fertilizer that can be used for indoor and outdoor plants, including tees, shrubs, vegetables, flowers, and bulbs. This fertilizer formula encourages fast growth and leaf expansion.
Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster
Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster is a flower encouraging formula designed for flowering plants, fruit trees, hanging baskets, and berry bushes. It is designed to stimulate fruiting and flowering as well as providing the right nutrients for the strongest roots and greenest foliage.
Maxsea Plant Food
Maxsea Plant Food is an all purpose fertilizer that can be used year round on your plants. The seaweed granules in this plant food contain over 60 elements that will help your plants to produce dark green foliage, beautiful blooms, and plentiful crops of fruit and vegetables. You’ll find all of the primary and secondary macronutrients as well as all the micronutrients needed for your plants to thrive.
Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow & Liquid Bloom
The Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow & Liquid Bloom two pack comes with everything you need to give your plants the right nutrients during both their vegetative growing stages and their flowering bloom stages. This fertilizer combo allows you adjust the nutrients you provide to suit each grow cycle perfectly.
General Hydroponics Combo Pack
The General Hydroponics Combo Pack includes a bottle of FloraGro, FloraBloom, & FloraMicro liquid fertilizer. These fertilizers contain a complete complement of all primary macronutrients, secondary macronutrients, and micronutrients that are needed for maximum yield and high quality crops. You can adjust your mixtures using these three different formula to achieve just the right mix for your plants.
Fox Farm Combo Pack
The Fox Farm Combo Pack comes with Open Sesame, Cha Ching, and Beastie Bloomz. These three different fertilizer formulas will encourage early flowering, late flowering, and large blossoms. Great for both container and hydroponic gardening, use these different formulas to get the most beautiful blooms and the longest flowering time possible.
Fox Farm Bush Doctor Boomerang
The Fox Farm Bush Doctor Boomerang fertilizer is a microbial-based formula designed specifically to repair damaged roots. This fertilizer can be used at times when your plants have undergone excessive stress and need to bounce back quickly in order to both survive and thrive.
Miracle-Gro Quick Start Solution
Miracle-Gro Quick Start Solution is a planting and transplanting fertilizer that is customized to help plants adapt to their new homes. Transplanting can be stressful for your plants but this formula is meant to prevent transplant shock while giving your plants all the nutrients they need to take root and grow happily in their new homes.
Miracle-Gro Orchid Food
Orchids tend to have different needs than most other flowering plants and that includes their fertilizer needs as well. Miracle-Gro Orchid Food is perfect for orchids, African violets, and all acid-loving plants, encouraging rich leaf colors, strong roots, and vibrant blooms.
Earth Pods Cactus & Succulent Formula
Earth Pods are easy to use fertilizer capsules that can be simply pushed directly into your plant’s soil or opened up and spread over the soil or substrate. The Earth Pods Cactus & Succulent Formula is ideal for cacti and succulents, stimulating strong root and stem growth and providing all the nutrients required for the most vibrant colors.
All of these fertilizers are excellent choices but it’s important to know the specific needs of your plants before choosing one. An all purpose fertilizer might be all you need, or you may need something that’s tailored to a specific species. Regardless of the fertilizer you choose always read the label and follow the directions carefully. If your fertilizer doesn’t specify how much to give to potted plants, start out with about a ¼ of what is suggested for outdoor plants.
Be careful to give your plants only as much fertilizer as they require because over fertilizing can create a buildup of salts that may harm beneficial microorganisms. These excess salts can also cause fertilizer burn, resulting in a yellow or brown discoloration of the leaves and damage to the roots due to too much moisture being drawn out of the plant. Choose a high quality fertilizer, use only as much as required, and your plants will show their gratitude by producing luscious foliage and full, gorgeous blooms.