What does N P K stand for? & How does fertilizer work? In this video, HTG Supply’s Dr. Myers showcases the various types of plant nutrients you can use on your indoor/outdoor garden(s). The Doc covers the meaning behind N-P-K (the three numbers written an all fertilizers). You’ll want a high Nitrogen fertilizer (N) number if you’re looking for vegetative growth; great for lettuce, spinach, and herbs. You’ll want a high Phosphorus fertilizer (P) number if you’re looking to substantiate your roots and/or bud and flower growth; great for fruit-bearing plants, or for root growth, especially in young plants. Potassium (K) is key to maintaining a healthy plant for the duration of its lifecycle and is incorporated into many base plant nutrients that also contain Nitrogen and Phosphorus.

Htg Info Center Ask The Doc Fertilizer 101 Thumbnail


There are a lot of different fertilizers out there and this video is going to be a basic video where I’m going to explain what the numbers on the fertilizer mean which fertilizer to use when you’re growing vegetatively versus flowering and I’ll talk a little bit about liquid fertilizers versus powder or dry fertilizers if you’ve been growing for a while please look for my more advanced videos on specific nutrients like nitrogen or phosphorus or beneficial soil organisms but let’s talk about basic fertilizer. Every fertilizer has it has three numbers on it the first number is always the amount of nitrogen the second number is the amount of phosphorus and the third number is the amount or percentage of potassium every plant on earth needs a large amount of nitrogen phosphorus and potassium that’s why three numbers on every fertilizer always stand for nitrogen phosphorus potassium. Now I said I was gonna make this video for beginners or people who didn’t know what fertilizer to use or start with and so if you’re not sure you can always use a general all-purpose fertilizer what that means is all three numbers are going to be the same that’ll work great for every stage of plant growth. Now if you want to really maximize your growth or improve the way you’re growing.

Now then keep watching and I’ll talk about the benefits of having more nitrogen verses of fertilizer with more phosphorous as I said every fertilizer has three numbers and the first number is the amount or percentage of nitrogen it’s not so much the numbers that are important but it’s the ratio so for example if the first number is bigger like if this fertilizer here and sometimes it’s rather small but again every fertilizer will have three numbers on it and this one is six one two when the first number is higher. That is going to promote vegetative or leafy growth so if you’re growing plants like herbs or spinach or lettuce you should always use a fertilizer that has the first number that the highest because nitrogen will promote leafy growth now phosphorus is always the second number and when the highest number is phosphorus that’s going to do two things that’s going to encourage root growth and it’s going to encourage flowering and fruit production so what I would recommend is a very first time you water your plants when they’re very small give them a fertilizer that is a higher middle number that’s going to encourage root growth. Now when your plants are small you want to give them maybe half or a third of what’s recommended because smaller plants don’t need as much nutrients but the first time you fertilize your plants give them a number of fertilizer that has a high middle number that’ll encourage root growth and then when your plants begin to flower or fruit you want to switch from a high nitrogen which encourage the plants to get big and green and leafy and switch to a high phosphorus this will promote good flowering so you want to start off with a high phosphorus fertilizer for one or two waterings then switch to a high nitrogen fertilizer to get your plants growing green and leafy and then when your plants flower or produce fruit you want to switch back to a high first for phosphorus fertilizer. Now this third number here is the amount of potassium potassium doesn’t have any special function in plants like making it green and leafy or promoting flowering it is very important though for overall plant health so every fertilizer you use should have a number here sometimes you’ll see zeros for these don’t use fertilizers that have a zero for potassium it’s very hard to overdo it with potassium again don’t overdo it but all plants will need this and all phases of growing so first number nitrogen promotes green leafy growth the second number of phosphorus promotes root growth or fruiting and flowering and the third one potassium is important for overall plant health let’s talk about the difference between powder and liquid fertilizers we’ve talked about what the different numbers mean when to use them another question you might have is should I use a liquid fertilizer for sure to use a powder fertilizer and that is personal preference. Now the liquid fertilizers you’re gonna add these to the water when you water your plant so follow the directions you’ll have to get like a gallon jug and you’ll add a specific amount of fertilizer to that jug some powdered fertilizers also you can add them directly to the water so you’re gonna again again get a watering jug and add say a tablespoon or teaspoon of that fertilizer to that jug some fertilizers like BAC mono for example you can add that directly to the soil so when you’re mixing up the soil before you put your plant and you’re gonna mix some back 100 or bird guano in with that so always follow the directions and it’s really a personal preference whether you prefer liquid or powder try a couple different fertilizers see which one works best for you in your growing environment just always read the directions and add the right amount of fertilizer to the water or add the right amount of fertilizer to the soil in your pop again too much of anything is too much do not add more fertilizer thinking you’re going to make your plants grow better fertilizer when you add too much it becomes toxic and you will kill your plants so they will grow worse follow the directions and everything should work out fine feel free to send me an email at [email protected]. Good growing

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