Fertilizer Numbers To Grow By: An Authentic Homeowner’s Guide

People and plants really aren’t so different. When you’re hungry, you go look for food. If you want to be healthy, you may spend more time checking out what type of food to purchase. You may find yourself scanning food labels looking for nutritional values.

However, did you know that there is a similar process for flower food, too? Fertilizer numbers, located right on the label, tell you a lot about what you’re putting into your garden.

What Are Fertilizer Numbers?

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand fertilizer labels, but you’ll want to consult your gardening professional before abruptly changing your flower food regimen. With that said, let’s dig in and take a deeper look at what it takes to make your garden grow.

You’ve probably noticed that every package of fertilizer has a series of three numbers on its label. If not, grab a fertilizer package and take a closer look next time you pass through a store’s garden center.

Fertilizer numbers will look something like this:

10 – 10 – 10

These numbers represent the nutritional value that the mixture provides for your plants. They tell you the amount of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash in the blend. These ingredients provide the primary nutrients that your plants need: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Fertilizer numbers are often referred to as the N-P-K ratio, which stands for the nutrients’ chemical compositions.

NPK Fertilizer Ratio Meaning

Every fertilizer package lists information to help consumers select the best product for their landscape needs. However, if that information isn’t listed the same way on each item, it would be difficult to know what any of it really means.

This is where the N-P-K ratio comes in. Each of the three numbers represents the percentage of the corresponding nutrient in the packaged blend. These blends are each engineered for a specific purpose or plant type.

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Choosing the Right Flower Food

Custom fertilization is the best way to ensure that your residential landscape design keeps looking beautiful all year long.

For Example: Consider Scotts Turf Builder product line. Within this line is the company’s Winter Guard Fall Lawn Food. You can tell by the name that this fertilizer is intended for grass rather than flowers and that it is a seasonal product. However, you can learn even more from its fertilizer numbers: 32-0-10. That means that the Fall Lawn Food contains 32 percent nitrogen, no phosphorus, and 10 percent potassium.

By comparison, Better-Gro Orchid Plus is a supplement for a particular type of plant. It’s fertilizer numbers are 20-14-13. Orchids have a reputation for being difficult to grow, but in reality they just require a different level of maintenance. They need a custom fertilization plan using a balanced fertilizer and a regular feeding schedule.

To put this into context, Orchid Plus is pretty well balanced, with percentage variances among nutrients in the single digits. In fact, the reason that the nitrogen percentage is higher than the other two is that the plants are often grown using bark as mulch. The bark decays due to bacteria that consume lots of nitrogen. That doesn’t leave much nitrogen in the soil for the plant, so using fertilizers with more of this nutrient can help to restore balance.

However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Be sure to have your soil tested where you intend to grow your plants. You need to know what is already in the ground before you can decide what to add into it.

When In Doubt, Call a Gardening Professional

Every plant-lover wants to have a beautiful garden or outdoor landscape. However, good intentions are nothing next to seasoned experience. That is especially true when it comes to South Florida gardening.

The climate in South Florida is much different when compared to other parts of the country. As such, your favorite plants may not grow here or may need a different level of care. Before you attempt to DIY your custom landscape design, consult the experts.

Willingham Landscape Designs is proud to provide landscape services in South Florida. They bring over two decades worth of experience to the table as they plan each gardening masterpiece.

Available services include design and installation with softscape elements as well as artistic hardscapes, custom fertilization and maintenance. Whether you need to overhaul your Boca Raton landscape or plant a residential flower bed in Delray Beach, FL, they’ve got you covered!

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