Fertilizer supplies plants with a concentrated source of nutrients that boosts plant growth and increases yields. It can be used at various stages of a plant’s growth cycle, as well as before and after the growing season. Fertilizer can also be used in a targeted way after identifying plant nutrient deficiencies i.e. leaf discolouration.
While there are various types of fertilizer, almost all contain a combination of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) – the three main macronutrients necessary for plant growth – as well as some combination of other trace elements. Depending on the growing conditions and needs of the plant, these macronutrients are present in the fertilizer in varying ratios. This is displayed on fertilizer packaging as the ‘NPK ratio’, referring to the relative concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. So, an NPK ratio of 20-10-10 would consist of 20 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus and 10 percent potassium.
These macronutrients perform different essential functions for healthy plant growth. Nitrogen primarily helps with vegetative growth, phosphorus with roots and shoots, and potassium with flowers and fruits. If you’re unsure which fertilizer is best suited for your needs, contact BAC’s knowledge centre for guidance.
Fertilizer by Type: Organic and Mineral
Fertilizer can be split into two main types: organic and mineral. Fertilizer that consists of waste plant and animal material, such as manure or composted vegetables, is organic as they are natural materials containing carbon. Mineral fertilizer (otherwise known as inorganic or artificial fertilizer) is made up of one or a combination of mined minerals and synthetic nutrients without carbon.
Each type has its own particular advantages and disadvantages. Mineral fertilizer is fast-acting but this comes at the expense of long-term soil health since it depletes the soil of its nutrients without replacing the organic material. Mineral fertilizers, if used to excess, can also damage the plant and soil.
Gardening with organic fertilizer, on the other hand, not only helps plants grow better but also increases the overall health of the soil. That’s because the nutrients present in the fertilizer are released into the soil slowly as the organic material is broken by micro-organisms. The plant absorbs what it needs through the roots and what remains encourages further bacterial and fungal activity. This ensures a steady supply of nutrients while also allowing the soil to aerate and retain water longer. So while organic fertilizer may be slower in the short-term, it ensures healthy soils for the future by adding more organic matter.
Fertilizer by BAC
Whether mineral or organic, BAC has a wide range of fertilizer products to meet different growing conditions and plant needs. All of BAC’s organic fertilizer products are derived from plants and certified ‘Vegan.’ BAC’s mineral fertilizer range uses the highest quality ingredients expertly formulated for particular needs to deliver the perfect balance of plant nutrients.
- Fertilizer helps boost plant growth by supplying a concentrated source of essential macronutrients.
- Mineral fertilizer offers strong and targeted nutrient concentrations that are absorbed quickly by the plant, but overuse can adversely affect the soil and the plant itself.
- Organic fertilizer releases nutrients more slowly but builds long-term soil health by adding more organic matter.
You might wonder how to apply fertilizer to plants. Read the article to learn more about the application of fertilizer.