What are the most common fertilizer ingredients?

Potassium, which is usually included in fertilizers.

Fertilizers come as an ingredient or a combination of ingredient mixtures designed to feed plants an adequate amount of nutrients. The general ingredients consist of synthetic materials as well as natural resources. Common fertilizer ingredients include non-organic sources of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Nutrients can also be derived from natural soil and plant matter. Chemical and natural fertilizer ingredients offer some similarities as well as differences.

Grass cuttings are a form of natural fertilizer.

While some fertilizers contain one type of active ingredient for specific plants, most others come in combinations of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Dry, liquid and controlled-release fertilizers often include percentages on the label. For example, a bag of 5-10-15 inorganic fertilizer might contain five percent nitrogen, 10 percent potassium, and 15 percent phosphorus. These chemical ingredients are derived from the air as well as mineral substances manufactured to apply nutrients to plants. Some of these substances include salts of potassium, lime, ammonium sulfate, phosphate rock, calcium and magnesium.

Most manufactured fertilizers are a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Organic fertilizer ingredients require time to break down and form the nutrients needed to feed plants. In this case, the natural sources of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus come from the soil and also from the leaves and grass clippings. Other organic ingredients include fish emulsions made from fish oil by-products and ground animal bone meal, used as a natural source of phosphorus. Sources such as bird and chicken waste provide positive microorganisms for plants, while green sand and coconut fiber loosen and improve the soil. Greensand, which consists of olive sandstone, comes from mineral deposits found in the ocean; Coconut fiber comes from coconut husks.

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Whether inorganic or organic, basic ingredients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium serve different purposes when applied regularly to plants. Nitrogen enhances leaf, stem and grass growth, and phosphorus strengthens plant roots. Potassium protects the flower, stem, grass and other plant parts from disease and drought.

Ingredients in chemical and natural fertilizers serve the same function of providing the basic elements of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other minerals. All of these ingredients encourage plant growth, increase soil quality, and produce bountiful plants or crops. Fertilizer application generally varies depending on the type of plant and the growing season.

The main differences between inorganic and organic ingredients appear to lie in effectiveness as well as long-term use. Chemical ingredients in fertilizers provide the nutrients readily available to plants, while natural ingredients tend to form more slowly. Organic fertilizer ingredients boost soil health by holding nutrients and moisture together, while extensive use of inorganic fertilizers depletes soil quality and creates toxins over time.

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