Plant Fertilizers: Application and Types

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plant fertilizer(1)

Do you grow your own plants and vegetables for home or do you run a Plant farm and suddenly the productivity of your vegetables has decreased? Are you looking at different plant fertilizers in the market but are confused as to what type you should use.

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

There are a lot of fertilizers available in the market that will increase your plants’ productivity.

A good gardener knows the importance of good fertilizers. Which fertilizer best suits your specific plants, trees and shrubs help you maximize the productivity of your plants.

You can become an expert with this guide as you learn about the types and applications of fertilizers to maximize growth.

Let us first discuss fertilizers


These are chemical substances that supply important nutrients and minerals to increase the productivity of your plants.

To increase the yield of the crops, many farmers use them.  Moreover, they contain essential nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus that your plants need.

Therefore, they enhance the water retention capacity of the soil and also increase fertility.

There are two types of fertilizers:

  1. Inorganic fertilizers
  2. Organic fertilizers

Inorganic Fertilizers: These contain nutrient elements for the crops made by chemical means.

Organic fertilizers: These are natural fertilizers or organic matter obtained from plants and animals.  It enriches the soil with carbonic compounds that are essential for the growth of plants.

Advantages of Fertilizers

There are many advantages of fertilizers. For instance:

They release specific nutrients for the specific needs of your plants. They rapidly affect the growth of plants.

Fertilizers easily dissolve in the water and hence they easily absorb in the plants. It increases the yield of your plants and provides enough food to feed your plants.

Plants often need additional fertilizers to grow. Therefore, they get nutrients from the soil via the root system.

However, these provide nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other secondary elements that they need.

The soil’s productive capacity declines with every harvest, furthermore, replenishing the natural nutrients.

Types of Plant Fertilizers

There are two types of plant fertilizers:

Inorganic fertilizers and organic fertilizers. Learn more about our products here.

Inorganic Fertilizers

If you are looking to give your plants a quick boost of nutrients and minerals, then you can use inorganic fertilizers or synthetic fertilizers.

These are chemical-based fertilizers that improve the growth and yield of your plants. Depending on your plant’s needs and use, you can choose among different types of inorganic fertilizers.

The types of synthetic fertilizers are as follows:

Nitrogen Fertilizers: You can use this fertilizer to enhance the growth of your plants.

This is useful particularly in the middle stages of a plant’s lifespan when it needs extra nutrients to grow large and stem new leaves.

Phosphate Fertilizers: Your plants continuously need phosphate to grow. It helps to strengthen the root system and stems of the plants.

You can improve flowering, seeding, and fruiting with the help of this fertilizer.

plant fertilizer 1

In case your plants are deficient in phosphorus they will experience stunted growth.

Potassium Fertilizers: It helps your plants to grow deeper and stronger roots. It also helps to protect your plants from harm when they do not have other nutrients.

This nutrient is, therefore important for the process of photosynthesis and has the ability to slow down any disease that can affect your plants.

Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur Fertilizers: These are often termed secondary fertilizers and are essential plant nutrients.

You can use them in combination with the primary nutrients i.e. nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Forms of Inorganic Fertilizers

These come in different forms. These are liquid, powder, and granular forms. Liquid fertilizers are often used in diluted forms. Powdered fertilizers also need water to be productive.

However, granular fertilizers can be easily spread on the top of the soil. These soak in the soil over time when you water it.

Organic Fertilizers

Vegetable matter, animal matter, and mineral matter are derivatives of organic fertilizers. Commonly termed organic matter.

Furthermore, these are typically from a single ingredient and you can use them according to the needs of your plants.

These are not a quick fix as inorganic fertilizers. With these, you have to let water and micro-organisms break down the content of the fertilizer in order for your plants to get the nutrients.

They are of different types. Let us discuss them.

Plant-based Fertilizers: These break down quicker than other organic fertilizers and they generally offer more in the way of soil conditioning than other nutrients.

Materials such as alfalfa meal or compost helps to add drainage and moisture retention to poor soils.  Other plant-based fertilizers are:

  • Cottonseed meal
  • Molasses
  • Legume cover crops
  • Compost tea

plant fertilizer 2

Animal Based Fertilizers: These contain manure, bone, meal, or blood meal which adds a lot of nitrogen to the soil. Animal-based fertilizers are great for leafy plants and strong growth in the early weeks of development.

They contain:

  • Fish emulsion
  • Urea
  • Manure tea

Mineral Based Fertilizers: They add nutrients to the soil as well as raise or lower the pH level when required for healthy plant growth.

These are:

  • Calcium
  • Epsom salt (Magnesium and sulfur)

For more information visit our website.

Selecting Fertilizers based on Soil Test

To select the fertilizers either to use organic matter or synthetic fertilizers, farmers need to take a soil test. To select farmers need to consider the pounds of N-P-K recommendations in the test.

Find a fertilizer with the same ratio as indicated in the Soil test results and add N as indicated in the test.

Application of Plant Fertilizers

The different types of application of fertilizers are as follows:

Broadcasting: To uniformly spread the fertilizers on the plants this type is used. It is suitable if you have a dense stand of plants, the roots permeate the whole volume of the soil. You can, however, apply a large dose of fertilizers. It has two types:

Basal Application: You can carry out this application at sowing time to uniformly distribute the fertilizer over the entire field

Top Dressing: You can use it for closely sown crops like wheat and paddy to supply nitrogen to the plants.


Placement: The fertilizers are placed at a specific place with or without reference to the position of the seed. It is recommended to use a small number of fertilizers for the development of the root system.

There are two methods of placement application

Plough sole placement: The fertilizer is placed at the bottom of the plow furrow in a band during the process of the plow. It is, therefore, suitable for soil that is dry up to a few cm and soils that have heavy clay pans.

Deep Placement: It is the placement of ammoniacal nitrogenous fertilizers in paddy fields. This method, however, ensures better distribution of the fertilizer into the roots and prevents loss of nutrients by run-offs.

Other Application Techniques

Localized Placement: it is the application of the fertilizer into the soil close to the seeds to supply adequate amounts of nutrients to the growing plants.

Localized fertilizers are of further two types:

Drilling: in this method, you can drill the fertilizer and the seed in the same row but at different depths.

Side dressing: It refers to the spread of fertilizer in between the rows and around the plants.

Band Placement: If refers to the placement of fertilizers in bands. It is of further two types:


a. Hill Placement: you place the fertilizers close to the plants in bands on one or both sides of the plants. The length and depth vary with the nature of the crop.

b. Row Placement: It can be used when the sown plants are close to one another like sugarcane, potato maize, etc. you can apply the continuous bands on one or both sides of the row.

Pellet Placement: The placement of fertilizers in the form of pallets 2.5 to 5 cm deep between the rows of the paddy crops.

You can mix the fertilizer in the ratio of 1:10 with the soil and make pellets of convenient size to deposit in the mud.

Advantages of Placement of Fertilizers

The main advantages are as follows:

The fixation of nutrients is reduced when there is minimum contact between the soil and the fertilizer. They release nutrients that are important for the growth of plants and crops.

The weeds cannot use the fertilizer all over the fields. Moreover, the plants utilize the fertilizer a great amount.

Liquid Fertilizers Application

Following are the common application methods of liquid fertilizers:

Starter solutions: it helps in the rapid establishment and quick growth of seedlings.

Foliar Application: the fertilizer is sprayed on the plants which are absorbed rapidly by the leaves.

It is moreover, effective for the application of minor nutrients and some insecticides.


Fertigation: This method refers to the application with the help of irrigation water. The nutrients are thus carried with the water to the soil.

Injection into the soil: With or without applying pressure, you can inject liquid fertilizers.

Aerial Application: Using an airplane, you can spray the fertilizers on top of your plants especially in hilly areas, in forest land, in grassland or sugarcane fields, etc.

Importance of Plant Fertilizers

Many factors like loss of soil fertility, pests, and lack of nutrients result in a significant decrease in the yield of the plants. This is why it is important to use fertilizers.

These are important to the plants in the following ways:

They increase the tolerance of plants against pests. This, therefore, reduces the reliance on pesticides and insecticides thereby producing healthier crops.

In order to do that, the process of Fumigation is carried out.

Fertilizers improve the water holding capacity of the plants, trees, and shrubs and increase the root depth.

The potassium content strengthens the straws and stalks of the plants.


Plant fertilizers are a great source of nutrients and minerals for the development and growth of your plants. Therefore, you can use organic or inorganic types depending on the needs of your plants.

You can use these fertilizers individually or with secondary fertilizers as per your requirement. The amount of soil fertility decrease with every harvest, therefore, you need fertilizers for your plant’s growth and development.

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