Gardeners often apply fertilizer to the soil to improve soil quality for plant health. Inorganic fertilizers contain a blend of essential nutrients to induce healthy foliage and flowers in landscape plants. When applied after a soil analysis, inorganic fertilizers boost vegetable yields as well as increasing flower production. Manufacturers produce inorganic fertilizers with three main components. Plant needs fluctuate, and, as a result, the composition of inorganic fertilizer blends varies to address a variety of uses for landscape plants.
The front of every fertilizer container features three numbers separated by hyphens (0-0-0) to define the breakdown of inorganic materials. This number refers to the percentage of this inorganic fertilizer in the package. The first component is nitrogen (N). Plants require nitrogen in larger amounts since this material assists plant growth. Nitrogen promotes seed and fruit production. It also serves as an integral component of the photosynthesis process in which plants convert sunlight to energy. Nitrogen moves easily through soil layers and often requires frequent replacement due to this mobility. Plants exhibit yellow leaf edges when insufficient nitrogen exists in the soil.
The second number on the fertilizer bag refers to phosphorus (P). This inorganic fertilizer component helps plants form oils, starches and sugars for use in photosynthesis. This chemical also assists the plant in converting sunlight to chemical energy within the plant. Phosphorus helps plants mature properly with grow-inducement properties. Lack of phosphorus stresses the plant and inhibits full growth. This chemical stimulates seedling root production and growth. Phosphorus binds readily with soil particles and remains active in the soil base for a long period of time, according to the University of Minnesota.
The third number shown on the front of the fertilizer bag refers to the potassium (K) content in the product. Plants use higher volumes of potassium that phosphorus. Like nitrogen and phosphorus, potassium also participates in the conversion process of sunlight to energy. Potassium boosts the plant's energy levels and helps reduce incidences of disease. Potassium stimulates fruit production and lies in the uppermost layers of the soil. Potassium normally occurs in soil without the addition of further supplements from fertilizers. However, manufacturers typically include potassium to supplement the natural occurrences through soil minerals and organic matter in the soil. Plant showing potassium deficiency exhibit spotted leaf tips and margins. Stems may be weak, and the plant is particularly susceptible to drought, according to the University of Minnesota.