The fertilizer aisle is not many people's favorite place to be. It stinks, your head gets light and numbers in triplicate begin swimming before your eyes. Don't get faint! Get to know the top water soluble, natural and synthetic fertilizers at McLendon Hardware.
First thing to cover: Those numbers on the packaging. The three numbers are telling you how much “NPK” is in the fertilizer. N stands for nitrogen, P for phosphorous and K for potassium (potash). But those aren’t important to remember!
The thing to remember is this: “Up, down & all around.” "NPK" means, “Up, down & all around.” Nitrogen works up above the ground; it's in chlorophyll and increases green growth. Phosphorous gets down with roots (and flower buds) and helps with the transfer of energy. Potassium increases all around good health. It also helps build cell walls, making plants less susceptible to drought and heat stress.
Now, let’s get down to business and crack a few bags, pop a few bottles and get you up close and personal with the top performers from the ever-popular fertilizer aisle.
Miracle Gro All Purpose Plant Food
Check out that nitrogen number. That’s a huge difference between the other two. This is basically plant candy. Use it with annuals or other showy flowers that can afford to burn bright but then burn out.
Jack's Classic All Purpose 20-20-20
Why is plant food blue? It’s tinted so you can see where you’ve sprayed—nice for foliar feeding (dousing a plant so the leaves absorb nutrients), less convenient when it stains. That said, this is a great balanced fertilizer, meaning all three numbers are equal.
Alaska Fish Fertilizer
It doesn’t smell as bad as you think. It could smell better. Organic, water-soluble plant food that won’t burn and plants love? Stink up the joint, I say! The smell fades quickly, even indoors, and you’ll forget it completely come bloom-time. When in doubt, dilute.
Dr. Earth All Purpose Fertilizer
Here’s an example of a great, balanced fertilizer made for organic gardening. It’s my go-to for growing vegetables. You can top dress established plants or toss some in the hole when putting in new plants.
Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Fertilizer
The earth around Puget Sound is acidic. Take advantage of our sour soil and plant acid-loving blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons and maples. A little plant food will help you get abundant blooms.
G&B Starter Fertilizer
What makes a “starter” fertilizer different? It’s all about NPK. Starter fertilizers will generally have a high middle number. This ensures new plants get nutrients where they need it: down below, building strong roots.
Osmocote Flower & Vegetable Plant Food
My first recollection of “fertilizer” as a thing was the little balls littering the soil of my grandmother’s potted plants. Whether they’re an eyesore is up to you. Knowing they’re great for long-term feeding? Pure wisdom.
Jobe's Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes
The great thing about spikes is that, placed correctly, the plant does all the work for you. Put spikes directly beneath the “drip line” of your fruit trees and every rain shower will release more food.
Jobe's Rose Fertilizer Spikes
The other great thing about spikes is you place them once a year. For that reason, they’re great for established plants and long-time bloomers. Set it, forget it, then stop and smell the roses.