When you have a home garden with some crops, the question of when and how it is best to fertilize always arises. Fertilizer is a compound that helps the growth of plants to improve their development and quality. One of the most widely used fertilizers is liquid fertilizer. However, many people do not know how to apply liquid fertilizer to plantsin what proportion it is necessary to do it and which one is the best for it.
Therefore, we are going to dedicate this article to telling you how to apply liquid fertilizer to plants and everything you need to know to do it correctly.
Which liquid fertilizer to choose
According to the National Association of Fertilizer Manufacturers (ANFFE), liquid fertilizers should be selected based on the physical and chemical properties of the soil and its nutritional needs. This means that it must contain the best nutrients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K), as well as Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Copper or Sulfur. All fertilizers must guarantee an optimal NPK ratio.
If you are looking for an all-purpose fertilizer for your ornamental, indoor or terrace plants, try an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. Depending on the type of plant, there are also more specific products, such as liquid fertilizers for rose bushes or geraniums.
how to cast fertilizer liquid to plants
In general terms, there are three types of fertilization: root application, foliar application and fertigation. Root application consists of applying a liquid fertilizer to the base of the plant. Depending on the product, it can be used directly or diluted with water. In this method you have to be careful with the amount used so as not to damage the roots.
Foliar feeding refers to fertilizing the leaves of a plant. Not only is it a unique formula, but it is also recommended as a complement to the previous one to speed up the absorption of nutrients.
Finally, fertigation refers to the addition of fertilizers to irrigation water. This approach is unique because it optimizes water by using it to provide the nutrients plants need.
How much fertilizer to use
So we come to the million dollar question: How much fertilizer is right? To answer this question, three factors must be considered: type of soil, type of crop and its physiological stage. For garden plants, the use of fertilizers should be quite low. Otherwise, you risk suffocating them. In fact, it is more convenient to use lower doses more frequently.
It’s okay if you don’t know the correct dosage, as many fertilizers include very precise instructions to guide you. Its dosing cap allows you to calculate with great precision the amount you need before diluting with water.
Types of fertilizers
We can be sure that there are two types of fertilizers: simple fertilizers and multinutrient fertilizers. The simple ones are those that contain a main nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium). These types of fertilizers are often used in the agricultural field or on a large scale, since one must know the crop and the type of plant well in order to find the perfect balance of the nutrients used. In simple fertilizer we find:
- Nitrogenated: As their name indicates, they are in charge of supplying nitrogen to the plants. This nutrient is responsible for stimulating plant growth, making them greener and more abundant. Some of these are urea, ammonia, and ammonium nitrate, among others. Urea is the fertilizer with the highest nitrogen content (46%) and is also very cheap. Ammonium sulfate provides 21 percent nitrogen, while calcium ammonium nitrate has just over 27 percent nitrogen.
- Phosphorated: They are responsible for providing phosphorus to the plants. This micronutrient is involved in flowering, fruit production and root development. Phosphate fertilizers can be simple superphosphate (16% to 20% phosphorus) and triple superphosphate (46%).
- potassium: This nutrient is responsible for protecting the plant from extreme temperatures, as well as increasing the fertility of the substrate and is responsible for the transport of nutrients in the plant. An example of these fertilizers is potassium chloride, which contains 60% potassium.
They are fertilizers that combine several key nutrients. They are also known as NPK or NP fertilizers, depending on the type of nutrients they contain. This is the type of fertilizer that we usually buy for home plant treatments because they provide a balance of nutrients to the plants and are very easy to use. Learning how to choose this fertilizer is important because it will allow you to get the right fertilizer for each plant.
To choose a fertilizer, you must read the label. You will find 3 numbers in the format xxx. These figures will represent the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively. Namely, In a 10 kg bag of 20-15-30 fertilizer you will have 2 kg of nitrogen, 1,5 kg of phosphorus and 3 kg of potassium. The rest of the ingredients will correspond to the inert elements that act as fertilizer carriers.
Manufacturers often include instructions on the label for the fertilizer to use and the plants that take up that ratio well; however, you can check the ideal fertilizer ratio for that particular plant species in our plant guide. As a general rule, You can look for a fertilizer that contains twice as much phosphorous as nitrogen and potassium, such as 15-30-15 or 12-24-12.
Knowing this can even help you save money because you can choose the perfect option even if you don’t have the brand. I mean, sometimes manufacturers charge more for products with nice labels, but that’s exactly the same with simpler looking products. If you can’t get the ratio right for your plant type, here’s a trick: read the label of your specialty fertilizer and write down the numbers you will use to find your general purpose fertilizer. For example, a particular orchid fertilizer has an NPK ratio of 30-10-10, so you can look for any fertilizer with these ratios for your orchids, even if it doesn’t specify it on the label.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about how to apply liquid fertilizer to plants and its characteristics.