Would you like to know which fertilizer is most recommended for your plants according to the time of year in which you find yourself? And what do the letters NPK stand for and what do they have to do with gardening? If you have these and/or other questions related to today’s topic, fertilizers, the time has come for you to get your answers, explained in an entertaining way so that it is well understood.
And if in the end you have any questions hanging around your head, ask them in the Comments section.
- 1 What is compost?
- 2 types of subscription
- 3 Do all plants need fertilizer?
- 4 A little chemistry
- 5 When do I have to pay, and with what?
What is compost?
But before knowing when to pay, it is important to know what a subscription is. Compost could be synonymous with food . It is food for plants, and in fact it fulfills more or less the same function: keeping the plant alive so that it can perform its vital functions such as respiration, growth or flowering.
We can find fertilizer on the ground , since the dry leaves when they fall to the ground, decompose and leave the nutrients in it. Manure is also compost, and any organic material.
Types of subscription
Our plants, especially if they are in a pot, need to be paid periodically . Although we have used a new substrate, the nutrients that make it up are gradually absorbed by the roots, until a time comes when there is nothing left, and that is when we see that the plant no longer grows. The substrate has worn out, it has become old.
To delay this, the payment is very important. In the market we find several types:
- Organic : they are those that provide everything, naturally, but slowly. They improve the quality of the soil without harming the environment, in fact, the opposite happens: poor soil can become fertile soil thanks to the formation of humus. Examples: manure from herbivorous animals, compost, peat, eggshells…
- Liquids : they are the most used due to their effectiveness. But we must carefully follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, as an excess could damage our plant.
- Deficiency correctors : they are those specific to provide a type of mineral in the event that the plant needs it, that is, if for example we have a Japanese maple with chlorosis, in this case we will add iron to solve this problem. Examples are: citric acid, iron sulfate.
- Slow release : are those that are absorbed by the plant slowly. For example: osmocote.
Do all plants need fertilizer?
Yes, of course. But not everyone gets it the same way . Carnivorous plants, for example, not finding enough nutrients in the soil, evolved to the point of being able to digest insects and thus absorb nutrients from the aforementioned. That does not mean that we can pay them and that they can do without their “hunting”, no. The roots of carnivorous plants cannot absorb compost directly through their roots, and may actually die.
Sick or potentially sick plants should not be fertilized .
a bit of chemistry
Well, explained what fertilizer is and if plants need it, let’s now talk about chemistry . But do not be scared, we will not be very technical. We will explain what NPK means and how it affects plants.
NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium respectively) are elements of the periodic table. These three minerals are considered primary for plants, that is, both the deficiency and the excess of any of them could lead to the death of the plant .
- Nitrogen (N): stimulates the growth of the entire plant, including flowers and fruits. Its lack can cause weakness of the plant, chlorosis in old leaves, smaller fruits.
- Phosphorus (P): Helps in photosynthesis and distribute nutrients, stimulates growth. Its deficiency can cause weakness of the plant, slowing down of growth.
- Potassium (K): Helps in the growth of the plant, and in the transmission of energy. Its lack can cause slow or no growth, low resistance to pests, leaf drop.
When do you have to pay, and with what?
In fact , it can be fertilized all year round , but it is more advisable to do it from spring to autumn.
During the growing season, that is, from when the risk of frost passes until after summer, liquid fertilizers rich in nitrogen are highly recommended (for growth) and, in the event that it is a plant that is in bloom, It is also rich in potassium. These fertilizers will make your plants look strong and healthy, and they will be better prepared to withstand the cold.
But in autumn-winter, or in the case of horticultural plants (including fruit trees) , we will fertilize with slow-release fertilizers or, even better, with organic fertilizers.