If you are not fertilizing your plants, they are likely not to grow as well as you would like. Besides water and sunlight, plants need certain nutrients to flourish. So if you aren’t replenishing their supply occasionally, they may experience health issues.
Benefits of Fertilizing Plants
Just like humans, plants need certain essential nutrients to grow well and stay healthy. Of the six essential macronutrients, plants receive three from nature – carbon from air, oxygen from air and water and hydrogen from water.
However, plants need the other three essential macronutrients – phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, which are not naturally available abundantly to them.
- Nitrogen – Plants use nitrogen to make the essential proteins to create new tissues. Nitrogen is a water-soluble nutrient, which gets washed away by rain or used up by microbes and plants. That’s why most soils are always low in nitrogen. When they’re low on nitrogen, plants will begin to show signs like weak/short stems, undersized leaves or even yellowing/pale green leaves.
- Phosphorus – Phosphorus boosts root growth and enables plants to transfer energy between their leaves, roots and flowers. Signs of low phosphorus levels include purple or red leaves that are meant to be green or leaves with irregular/twisted shapes. Phosphorus may be present in the soil sometimes, but it’s out of reach to plants owing to microbial activity, soil temperature or the pH of the soil.
- Potassium – Potassium helps improve the overall strength of a plant. It enables a plant to generate carbohydrates and improves its resilience to disease. What’s more, it helps in regulating metabolic activities. Signs of low potassium include wilting leaves, spots on leaves or dead edges.
Furthermore, plants need calcium, sulfur and magnesium in small amounts for vitality, growth and good health. They also need seven micronutrients in tiny quantities, which include zinc, boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese and molybdenum.
In the absence of these essential nutrients, your plants will begin to have problems like smaller leaves, weak stems, poor color and fewer flowers. By adding fertilizer, you can ensure your plants grow properly and do not develop any health issues.
Choosing the Right Fertilizer
Once you identify what your plants are low on, simply add the right nutrients into the soil using fertilizer. When it comes to adding fertilizers to your soil, you can choose from a range of options including powders, granules, sprays and even liquids.
All fertilizers will offer what your plants needs, but be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure you are not overdoing in terms of frequency or quantity.