Most Common Fertilizers

Plants need nutrients to grow and thrive. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are among the most common nutrients that most plants require. Choosing fertilizers that are rich in these three nutrients and applying them in your soil mixture will encourage plants to vigorously grow, produce more flowers or bear more fruits.

Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizers

Nitrogen helps a plant use carbohydrates to gain energy. It also controls the plant's form and internal function in order to make protein. Examples of common fertilizers used that have nitrogen contents are-- anhydrous ammonia, urea, nitrogen solution (UAN) and ammonium nitrate. Anhydrous ammonia is a compressed gas fertilizer that has 82-0-0 nutrient content. Applying with the use of a high-pressured instrument at least 4 to 6 inches deep in the soil provides best results. Urea is a granular fertilizer with a nutrient content of 46-0-0 while nitrogen solution has 28-0-0. Nitrogen solution consists of 50 percent urea and 50 percent ammonium nitrate. Lastly, ammonium nitrate has 34-0-0 nutrient content and comes in granular form. Avoid combining ammonium nitrate with urea to avoid turning into slush and becoming volatile. Urea, nitrogen solution and ammonium nitrate show best results when applied before or after seeding.

Phosphorous-Rich Fertilizers

Phosphorous is important in the photosynthesis of plants by helping plants respire, transfer and store energy. Phosphorous can also help plants use water more efficiently. Monoammonium phosphate, diammonium phosphate, ammonium polyphosphate solution, phosphoric acid and triple super phosphate are fertilizers that contain phosphorous. Monoammonium phosphate (MAP) is solid and granular in form. MAP is the most commonly used high analysis dry phosphorous fertilizer; it does not absorb moisture in storage and does not breakdown during handling. MAP comes in 11-52-0, 12-51-0 and 10-50-0 concentrations. Diammonium phosphate (DAP) is more potent and toxic than MAP. DAP is solid, granular and has 18-46-0 nutrient content. Ammonium polyphosphate solution (APP) is a liquid phosphorous fertilizer and has a 10-34-0 nutrient content. Similarly, phosphoric acid is another liquid phosphorous fertilizer; it has 0-54-0 nutrient content and highly acidic. Phosphoric acid's corrosive nature makes it dangerous to handle; therefore, requires special instruments during application. Taking proper precautions will prevent skin burns. Triple super phosphate is solid, granular and has 0-45-0 nutrient content. Triple super phosphate has lesser phosphorous content compared to phosphorous fertilizers with ammonium.

Potassium-Rich Fertilizers

Potassium plays an important role in the plant's metabolism by controlling water and chemicals inside the plants and then turning them into energy. Potassium can help plants absorb water through their pores. Potassium chloride is the most common potassium fertilizer. It comes in crystalline form, which is hygroscopic (attracts moisture from the atmosphere) and soluble. With a concentration of 0-0-60 and 0-0-62, potassium chloride can mix with other fertilizers. The chloride reduces the onset of plant diseases.

Keywords: fertilizers, nitrogen, NPK, potassium, phosphorous

About this Author

Josie Borlongan is a full-time IT Manager and a writer. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from Saint Louis University, Philippines. Borlongan is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and a Cisco Certified Network Associate.