Fertilizer is critical for the success of nursery pots gardens, whether grown indoors or outdoors. The most basic way to fertilize potted plants is to make a nutrient solution and pour it over the soil mix. The fertilizer is quickly absorbed by the roots and replenishes the soil’s deficiencies. Even if your potting mix is perfect at first, it will quickly become depleted of nutrients due to constant use by plants and leaching out by watering. The faster a plant grows, the more fertilizer and water it needs. As a result, as the amount of water applied increases, so does leaching and nutrient loss.

Once you’ve decided on a fertilizer (make sure it’s organic! ), you’ll need to apply it every two weeks to grow nursery pots. This assumes you’re growing in a high-quality, compost-rich potting mix that will aid in nutrient retention. Having said that, some gardeners prefer to fertilize every other time they water with a weak nutrient solution. If this is your preference, use about one-fifth of the amount specified on the label.

When fertilizing potted plants, use organic fertilizer blends (derived from many nutrient sources). Organic fertilizers are just as effective as chemical fertilizers, do not burn, and provide all of the essential macronutrients (N-P-K) as well as a variety of minerals, micronutrients, amino acids, and vitamins. It’s also important to know when to fertilize. Plant nutrient requirements differ depending on the growth stage. To get the most out of annual bedding plants, for example, start them with a high-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage growth and leaf development, then switch to a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous solution to promote blooming.

On the front of every fertilizer bag or bottle are three numbers. The numbers are always in the same order and represent the N-P-K, or nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, percentage by weight in the fertilizer. Each of these is required for proper plant development and growth. For example, the numbers 5-5-5 may appear on a bag of all-purpose organic fertilizer. The first number is nitrogen (N), which promotes lush, green growth and overall plant health. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer is ideal for growing leafy vegetables in nursery pots, such as lettuce and Swiss chard. Natural sources of this nutrient include blood meal, feather meal, and liquid fish emulsion.

The second number represents phosphorous (P), which is required for the development of healthy roots as well as the development of fruit and flowers. Plants that bloom, such as tomatoes, peppers, and most ornamentals, benefit from phosphorus-rich nutrient solutions, especially when they are ready to set buds. Organic phosphorus fertilizers include bone meal, seabird guano, and a variety of liquid blends.

The third number is potassium (K), which is required for stem growth and overall plant vigor. Potassium is primarily applied to root crops like carrots, beets, and potatoes, but it is also applied to young trees in the fall to promote strong roots during the winter months. Sul-Po-mag (potash magnesia sulfate), palm bunch ash, and a variety of other organic potassium sources

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