Knowing The Numbers

Annuals and Perennials

When mixing annuals in with perennials, you may have to provide supplemental fertilizer for the annuals in the bed. Although most daylilies benefit from a mid-summer feed, other perennials grow well with an application of fertilizer in the early spring. Annuals, however, often need a time-release product or several liquid feeds throughout the summer.

In this article, we’re going to look at the numbers. Not the daily lottery, but the numbers on a fertilizer package. There are three of them, and they are a little code that tells you if that particular product is right for your plants.

The numbers stand for the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the fertilizer. Plants need these nutrients in order to grow; they need others as well, but these are the “big three,” and they are always listed in the same order.

Nitrogen is the first number and nitrogen encourages leaf growth. Since the leaves fuel the plant, we want good leaf production in our lawns and gardens. But for many plants we’re not just after leaves…we also want flowers or fruit, so we look at the next two numbers.


Most fertilizer packages have the numbers prominently displayed on the front of the package. If the product also contains the minor nutrients, that is usually noted on the product’s face as well. Complete information can be found on the side or the back of the package.

The second number stands for the percentage of available phosphorous. Phosphate encourages root and flower production, so it makes sense that fertilizers made for blooming plants might have a higher middle number.

The third number stands for potassium, which is also called potash. This nutrient strengthens stem and leaf growth, and improves the overall health and disease resistance of plants.

Now what does all this mean to you, the gardener, as you stand staring at the fertilizer display? It depends on the plant you are fertilizing.

Lawn fertilizers have a high first number because we want our turf green and leafy to the max. When fertilizing evergreen plants, or indoor plants that don’t bloom, we look for even numbers straight across: 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. This is also a good formulation for summer annuals, because in many parts of the country they have such a short season that we want to pump them up just a bit. In the past, fertilizers with high middle numbers were recommended for flowering annuals, but that advice has recently changed. It turns out that many of the newer annuals are nitrogen hogs, and many fertilizer companies have adjusted their formulas so that the amount of nitrogen is slightly higher than the other nutrients.

When feeding perennials or flowering shrubs, you can also use a product with even numbers or one with a somewhat higher middle number…something like a 5-10-5.

So now you know the code: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. To give your plant what it needs, remember… it’s all in the numbers.

Don`t copy text!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
watch scute jav free JBJB-035 审美意识高的妹子服侍大叔,拥有纤细的F罩杯身材和性交美咲梓 1Pondo-092422_001 欢迎来到豪华水疗中心:Kanon Ibuki GS-451 不穿胸罩的派遣大姐 乳头T恤拍内裤 我是单身,房间太脏我做不到,所以我打电话给临时姐姐打扫我的房间。 - 然后一个兴奋的迷你裙年轻女人来了! - 没有胸罩透明乳头 T 恤和内裤镜头,它已经是一个角质极限...... FSDSS-465 从所有患者中提取和检查精子。 - 著名的T○kToker解决性问题! - Ichika 医生的 Peropero Clinic Ichika 医生 MADM-159 女牛仔位置的大量马鞍潮! - 用有计划的诱惑技术贬低邻居的隐藏肉食妻子 Yuka Waraku