Uses of Inorganic Fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizer is another name for chemical fertilizer. Inorganic fertilizers are made from synthetic, artificial sources. Inorganic fertilizers are formulated for rapid use by plants and, as such, can cause damage to plants and the environment if too much is applied. There are many uses for inorganic fertilizer. These fertilizers are safe if used according to packaging instructions. Chemical fertilizers are measured in N-P-K numbers, which stand for percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.


Although lawns can grow without fertilizer, you can grow thicker, greener grass using inorganic fertilizers. Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for green growth, making it very important for lawns. The University of Illinois recommends 18-6-12 fertilizer for lawns. Most lawns do best with 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Therefore, at about 18 percent nitrogen, you should apply 5 pounds of 18-6-12 fertilizer per 1,000 feet of lawn. Recommended ratios for N-P-K percentages are 3:1:2 or 4:1:2 for lawns. Adjust the quantity of fertilizer based on the actual nitrogen levels in your fertilizer.


Plants grow larger and more flowers if fertilized. Inorganic fertilizers can be a good choice for flowers. Because flowering plants grow green leaves at the expense of flowers, high nitrogen fertilizer can have negative effects on flower growth. For flowers, use 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 fertilizer. The phosphorous and potassium will help flowers grow, yet the lower amount of nitrogen will not trigger excessive green growth.


Vegetables can grow more prolifically if fertilized. Inorganic fertilizers can give your vegetables a quick shot of nutrients to help them grow. Different vegetables have different fertilizer requirements. If you are growing green vegetables, including things like beans and peas, broccoli, lettuce or any plant where the edible portion is green, you should use a higher nitrogen fertilizer with those plants. However, if you are growing tomatoes, eggplants, squash or cucumbers, vegetables where the edible portion of the plants are the result of things that grow from flowers, you should use a lower nitrogen fertilizer. Like with flowers, using a high nitrogen fertilizer with these types of vegetables can result in lower flowering rates and, therefore, fewer vegetables.

Keywords: chemical fertilizers, inorganic fertilizers, plant fertilization

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.