Adequate nutrients are the key to ensuring healthy plant growth. But soil does not provide quality nutrients for plant growth. By fertilizing your plants, you can replenish them with essential nutrients. There are many types of fertilizers, and you need to choose the right one for your soil type or you could damage it.

And, you also need to understand how to use fertilizers, which is important for both the soil and the plants. This article gives you an overview of fertilizer types and tips on how to use them.

Fertilizer ingredients

Fertilizers used in home garden landscapes are mostly a mixture of multiple elements. Such fertilizers can provide a wide range of nutrients to plants.

Major Nutrients

Nitrogen. Nitrogen helps plants make the proteins they need to produce new tissue. However, too much nitrogen can hinder plant growth and cause plants to not absorb enough other elements.

Phosphorus. Phosphorus stimulates plant root growth and boosts vigor, which is helpful for germination and flowering. Typically, plants need soil with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 to fully absorb phosphorus.



Potassium. Potassium helps plants make carbohydrates and helps regulate metabolic activity.

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the main nutrients in fertilizers. The remaining three major nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. 


Plants require certain small amounts of other nutrients, including seven nutrient elements such as iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and boron.

Types of Fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizers or synthetic fertilizers contain nutrients that can be immediately absorbed by plants and are made by chemical methods. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers as well as compound fertilizers are inorganic fertilizers. If you want to improve your plants quickly, inorganic fertilizers are the best choice. For better absorption of nutrients in fertilizers, choose fertilizers with slow-release or controlled-release forms.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers, commonly known as farmyard manure or natural fertilizers, are mainly derived from animal and plant sources such as livestock manure, agricultural waste, sludge, and other plant and animal products. Common organic fertilizers include manure and compost. Gardeners can make their organic fertilizer, which saves money and is environmentally friendly, and can reuse the waste generated from gardening.

Organic fertilizers are rich in many organic acids and nutrient-rich elements and are highly effective and provide a wide range of nutrients. Organic fertilizers promote microbial reproduction and change the physical and chemical properties of the soil.

Fertilizer forms

Dry fertilizer

There are many ways to use dry fertilizers. You can spread dry fertilizer on your backyard ground before planting your plants. The fertilizer should be spread 2-3 inches to the side of the plant or 1-2 inches below. Small amounts or low concentrations of fertilizer are more beneficial to plant growth. High concentrations of fertilizer can burn plants or even cause them to die.

Granular fertilizer

Granular fertilizers are easy to use and do not need to be used as often as water-soluble fertilizers. Excessive use of granular fertilizers can "burn" leaves and stems. It is recommended that granular fertilizers be spread by hand and scraped into the soil.

Granular fertilizer(Granular fertilizer)

Liquid fertilizer

Liquid fertilizers promote rapid plant growth because the nutrients in the fertilizer can be absorbed quickly. However, liquid fertilizers are quickly washed away from the soil, so gardeners need to spray liquid fertilizers frequently. Hose-end sprayers and spray cans are two ideal tools.

How to use the fertilizer?

Fertilizing greenhouse plants

In an outdoor garden, gardeners can easily fertilize plants using compost, mulch, and manure. In the home greenhouse, however, the situation is different and you need to develop a more comprehensive fertilization plan.

Liquid fertilizers are considered to be the most suitable fertilizer for greenhouse plants. Your greenhouse plants may not be able to get nutrients directly from the soil, so to supplement your plants, you need to use liquid fertilizers to deliver nutrients to your plants immediately.

fertilize a tree

(fertilize a tree)

There is no easy way to determine which fertilizer is best for a particular plant. You should know the fertility requirements of your plants at different stages of the year, for example, the main nutrients needed for lemons are nitrogen and phosphorus.

Using lawn fertilizer for your backyard

Fertilizing your lawn is an important part of lawn care. Lawn fertilizers provide essential nutrients to the soil and help reduce and control weeds.

For the healthiest, most beautiful lawn, you need to fertilize your lawn at the right time. Cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses should be fertilized at different times.

Cool-season grasses grow most vigorously in the fall when temperatures range from 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You should use a winter fertilizer in the fall to provide nutrients and protect your lawn. Most winter fertilizer rates are 25% N, 3% phosphate, and 10% potash. Potash will protect your lawn during the winter and reduce the effects of cold weather. In early spring you should use a moderate application of slow or quick-release fertilizer.

fertilize lawn

(fertilize lawn)

If it is warm-season grass, you should fertilize it in the spring when the lawn turns green. Warm -season grasses grow in late spring and early summer. Slow or fast-release fertilizers should be spread on the lawn before summer arrives. You can apply the fertilizer again after the summer has passed. 

Preparing fertilizer for garden beds

Flower beds are your best companion for gardening. If you are preparing your plants for a new season, you can start your fill. You will need good-quality soil, compost, and some mild fertilizer for your garden bed. Organic fertilizers are the best choice for your garden bed planting, such as slow-release organic fertilizers.

Dry fertilizer is suitable for your garden bed gardening, you just need to sprinkle it evenly on the surface of the soil. Determine the amount of fertilizer you will use before applying it. Do not overuse fertilizer, it is not good for your soil or plants. If you are not sure, use a small amount of fertilizer first.

chicken manure fertilizer

(chicken manure fertilizer)

After applying fertilizer, water the soil to allow the fertilizer to penetrate and replenish the soil with nutrients.

Too many nutrients can "burn" your vegetables, fruits, or other plants, and your plants don't need too much nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium.

You can use fertilizer along with compost and worms to provide essential nutrients and minerals to the soil. 


The right fertilizer is important for plant growth. In addition, you need to know how to use fertilizer scientifically. And, you also need to pay attention to where your plants are growing, which may affect the way you apply fertilizer. We hope you will find the best fertilizer for your plants and wish you a good harvest.