Have you ever looked at a bag or bottle of fertilizer and wondered what the three numbers on the front stand for? These numbers are your nutrient values and they are very important when picking a fertilizer. The three the numbers such as 5-5-5 represent the N-P-K values contained in the fertilizer. Here we’ll give you a brief overview of your macro and micro nutrients and what they do.


Nitrogen (N) – Needed for rich dense leaf growth.
Phosphorus (P) – Needed for root growth as well as flower and fruit production.
Potassium (K) – Balancing nutrient that helps the entire plant system function correctly.
Calcium – Helps your plant absorb other nutrients, major constituent of cell wall structure and cell division.
Magnesium – Constituent of chlorophyll.
Sulphur – Part of many amino acids and vitamins and essential for chloroplast function and growth.

N-P-K are your main three macro nutrients in addition to calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. These nutrients are essential and need to be well balanced in your garden for optimum production.  Depending on what you want to grow, you may need to adjust your N-P-K ratio. For example, if you are growing leafy greens and want to boost production you will want to add a fertilizer that has a higher concentration of nitrogen (N) so your fertilizer will have a bigger first number. If you are growing flowers you are going to need more phosphorus (P). It is best to have your soil tested before selecting your nutrients so you know what your soil is deficient in first. This way, you can add more of what your soil and plants need and less of what it does not.


IRON – Necessary for photosynthesis.
COPPER – Necessary for photosynthesis.
ZINC – Plays and essential role in DNA transcription.
MOLYBDENUM – Involved in Nitrogen metabolism.
MANGANESE – Chloroplast production.
COBALT – Benificial to some plants for nitrogen fixation.
NICKEL – Helps rid plat of toxins.
CHLORINE – Needed for osmosis and ionic balance, also needed for photosynthesis.
ALUMINUM – Helps makes soil more acidic.
SILICON – Strengthens cell walls.

Next time you buy fertilizer you can consider what your plant soil and ultimately what your plant needs. You can also consider whether to buy chemical or organic nutrients, where you nutrients are derived from and even if they were harvested or manufactured responsibly. All of these these choices are important for a happy gardening experience but most of all, your garden needs you! Nothing can replace T-L-C, tender love and care!  😉
Happy gardening!