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What Is Plant Food Made Of?

By Lee Weal
Healthy plants need the right amount of care and feeding.
tropical plants image by Diane Stamatelatos from Fotolia.com

Commercial plant food is made from a combination of three key ingredients: nitrogen, phosphate and potash. The amounts and ratios of each ingredient varies depending on the type of plant or flower to be fed.


Nitrogen promotes leaf growth and lushness. Phosphorus aids in producing strong roots and increasing fruit development. Potash is made from potassium which enhances the color of flowers and helps to increase size and strength. Commercial plant food is available in several formulas labeled with the percentage of each of these ingredients.

Finding the Right Mix

Do some research to find out which formula is best for your plants and read plant food labels before purchasing. A careful schedule should be followed as feeding a plant too often can be as detrimental as feeding it too little.

Making Your Own

Some gardeners prefer the eco-friendly alternative to commercial plant food: making their own from compost or a mixture of epsom salts, saltpeter, ammonia and baking powder.


About the Author


Lee Weal began writing and editing online content as a corporate intranet administrator in 2000 and was also the publisher and editor of a monthly employee newsletter. Her articles specialize in children's issues and home improvement.