Soil and sunshine work together to make plants grow, and a healthy dose of fertiliser can make a world of difference. To help your plants flourish, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about how to use fertiliser in your garden.
In nature, leaf litter, animal manure and other goodies that fall on the soil continually break down to replenish soil nutrients and keep plants growing. In a garden where plants are often competing for nutrients and natural replenishments are sparse, gardeners need to add fertiliser to the garden soil or potting mix so their plants keep growing.
Whether you add organic matter or fertiliser to your soil, you provide your plants with three basic building blocks. These are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, often referred to by their chemical symbols of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) and K (potassium or potash).
Packaged fertilisers list the amounts of NPK each product contains, often showing it in a ratio format, called the NPK ratio.The way plants use nutrients is quite complex and varies from plant to plant. Some need lots of one nutrient but little of another, while others need a balanced amount of each.
Understanding which nutrient does what gives you a rough guide to selecting the right fertiliser for your plants and garden.