Plants need good nutrition too …. it’s all about the N:P:K

Print Friendly

Do you grow flowers, fruit, vegetables or potted plants? Well, at some point they need more than just water to help promote growth and produce.

Compost has nutrients enough for the initial growing season, but after that, they will all benefit from some plant feed. Crops and flowering plants growing in garden soil will need feeding through the summer, while they produce a harvest. Whilst there is a cost associated with plant food, most people who grow their own fruit and veg are doing it as a lifestyle benefit and not necessarily as a cost saving devise. If you totted up the number of hours you spend from planting the seeds, pricking out the seedlings and then weeding, and all this prior to harvesting, the true cost of growing your own would probably not balance out. And then there is the fact that many fruit and vegetables crop at the same time, so much of this produce is given away to friends and neighbours, which is linked to the lifestyle value.

There are three special ingredients in plant food, and given in the correct proportion, add invaluable nutrients to the plants.

First ingredient is nitrogen, abbreviated to N. Nitrogen helps create lush green leafy growth, so if you grow vegetables like lettuce and broccoli, foliage shrubs, or bedding plants such as hosta, look for this as the main ingredient. However, don’t be too heavy handed! Too much nitrogen, and your plants will grow lovely leaves instead of fruit, or flowers – which might not be the result you were hoping for.

Second up, is phosphate, or P. Plants need it to help develop healthy roots and immune system. Think of a building – without solid foundations, even the most beautiful and elegant construction will fall down.

Third comes K, for potassium, usually called potash. Potassium promotes fruiting and flowering – so it’s essential for tomatoes, hanging baskets, gooseberry bushes, etc.

If you buy specialised tomato food you’ll see phosphate as the number one ingredient. Did you know that tomato food isn’t just for tomatoes? It works for all your fruit, vegetables and flowers. For foliage shrubs and the like, all-purpose plant food has enough phosphate. You can tell which kind of food you have by the “N:P:K ratio” : three numbers, usually on the back label, which are always in that order. The biggest number indicates the kind of food it is. If you buy all-purpose plant food, you’ll notice that the N:P:K ratio is more equal. The similar nutrient levels will help your plants develop healthy roots, leaves and flowers.

This all sounds fairly straight forward, until you go into the garden centre and are faced with shelves filled with endless brands of plant food! For more information on the NPK ratio and more expert advice on what to look out for check out Love the Garden for general garden fats, but if you want to know more about the N:P:K ratio do so by clicking on the picture below and all will be revealed.




Are there any particular plant feeds that you would recommend?

The following two tabs change content below.
Hello ... I am the Creative Director and Website Editor for Silversurfers and manage all the social media too. I hope you find the features and articles we have shared with you of interest and relevance. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us ... I hope you enjoy Silversurfers and all that we offer ...

Latest posts by Silversurfers Editor (see all)

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password
1st Jul 2012
Thanks for voting!
I have used Tomerite for years. I was advised on visiting Chelsea and Hampton Court that it can be used generally for most plants and vegetables, and in my experience it has been fantastic with really great results.

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!

More Lifestyle

10 clever uses for binder clips Two Metal Paper Binder Clips
If you have binder clips in your office gathering dust, put them to good use – today we’re...
Embrace Hygge this winter Cosy and soft winter background
The Danish art of cosiness has landed on British shores - but what exactly is "Hygge", and how do...
10 clever uses for window spray Cleaning Cleaner Window Housework Women Dusting Glass
Whether you know it as Windolene, Windex or just window spray, the multipurpose blue cleaner...
10 Clever Uses for Lemons Glass Of Lemon Juice With Lemons
Bright, zesty and fragrant, lemons are one of the most popular citrus fruits - but if you just use...
10 clever uses for silica gel bags silica gel balls lay in package white paper
Next time you find a sachet of silica gel in a handbag or in a box of new shoes, don't throw it...
Set your New Year's Resolutions in September Happy winners reaching life goal - success people at summit. Bus
Our school days might be long behind us, but there's still something to be said about the fresh...
Planning your first tattoo Close Up Of Woman Sitting In Chair Having Tattoo
You're never too old to get a tattoo - Dame Judi Dench inked her first for her 81st birthday!  ...
Beat the heat without AC: tips to stay comfortable at night Cooling Summer Fan
While there's many wonderful things to love about summer, the restless nights aren't one of them ...
10 clever uses for Vaseline
If you think Vaseline is just a skincare product, think again - there's more to petroleum jelly...
Helping loved ones through grief Single Woman Alone Swinging On The Beach
At one time or another we will all experience the loss of a loved one; whether after a sudden...
Birdwatching tips for beginners ** Note: Shallow depth of field
Birdwatching is a great hobby and a fun pastime, giving you an excuse to get out and engage with...
Clever uses for baby wipes Baby Wipes
Convenient, cheap and versatile, baby wipes have a place in the home even long after the little...