If your plants are looking tired and lacking vigour, consider the last time you fed them. Plants need an ongoing source of nutrients to sustain healthy growth, however it’s common for fertilising to be forgotten and plant health to suffer.
Fertilisers can be organic or inorganic in origin, and supply nutrients to plants. The three major nutrients in a complete plant food are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Nitrogen is extremely important for leaf growth; phosphorus promotes development of roots, flowers and seeds or fruit; and potassium is necessary for the growth of strong stems and movement of water in plants, in addition to promoting flowering and fruiting.
Most inorganic garden fertilisers combine these three major nutrients (NPK) with secondary nutrients and trace elements in a balanced form. Some fertilisers are higher in nitrogen while others contain a greater proportion of phosphorus or potassium, depending on the type of plants for which they are intended. For example a fertiliser such as Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food is boosted with additional flower-promoting potassium. Compared to Yates Lawn Fertiliser, which is rich in nitrogen to encourage lush green lawn growth.
Organic fertilisers include manures such as Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser and animal byproducts such as blood and bone. Organic fertilisers generally contain lower concentrations of the major nutrients than inorganic fertilisers, however release their nutrients slowly over time and have the added benefit of improving soil quality and structure. Organic based fertilisers, such as Yates Thrive Natural Citrus & Fruit Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food , contain a special combination of organic ingredients and fast acting inorganic nutrients, which improve soil health and feed plants.
Important fertilising tips
- Read the fertiliser pack directions carefully before applying and use the recommended amount.
- It’s best to apply fertiliser when the soil or potting mix is moist and the plant is not suffering from moisture stress. Water in well after applying fertilisers.
- Many Australian native plants are sensitive to fertilisers. Choose a fertiliser that is safe for feeding them, such as Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.
- For best results, use a fertiliser that has been specially designed to feed your particular plant.