What Are the Benefits of Plant Food?

Plants need nutrients in order to grow and thrive. In fact, many of the nutrients we get actually come from the plants we eat, so it makes sense that we feed our plants. Aside from adding necessary nutrients to the soil, fertilizer can also help protect the soil from problems like erosion and weathering. Plant food also helps create brighter colors, bigger blooms and more abundant fruit.

Ensures Adequate Nutrition and Soil Composition

Like people, plants must have nutrients to thrive. This is especially true of houseplants and potted plants who live in confined soil conditions. Once the plants use up the nutrients in the soil, they're gone unless more are added. The three main components in plant food are nitrogen, phosphoric acid and potassium, according to the Texas Master Gardener Program. These are usually fed in an equal ratio labeled as 20-20-20. Without these soil elements, plants don't grow as adequately as they otherwise would.

Promotes Growth, Flowering and Fruit Production

Malnourished plants save their energy for sustaining life and often don't flower or produce fruit. Those with fair soil conditions can produce fair to average foliage, flowers or fruit depending on the hardiness of the species. Adding plant food to the soil often results in a growth spurt and a general perking up of starved plants. Fertilized plants show reduced signs of damage and disease as well, according to the Lawn and Garden Learning Center.

Reduces Erosion

Plants are as important to the soil as the soil is to the plants. When large areas of soil lack essential nutrients, the soil can't sustain life. Without vigorous plant growth, rains and wind wash the soil away, and this erosion leaves the area completely barren. According to AGRO Services International, areas with poor soil dramatically reduce their risk of soil erosion when the soil is amended with plant food that contains the lacking nutrients. This allows new plants to take hold whose root systems actually anchor the soil in place. This can make a world of difference in rural areas where the population's livelihood depends on its crops, both for profit and food.

Keywords: plant food benefits, uses for fertilizer, feeding house plants

About this Author

Lillian Downey has an extensive and diverse background, including studies in English, social work, women's studies, non-profit management, political science and nursing. In addition to writing, she has worked as an intern sex-educator, clinic manager and mental health professional. She served as editor-in-chief of "Nexus Journal of Literature and Art" and an assistant fiction editor at the "Antioch Review."