Learn About Fertilizer NPK Value

Here at Clark M Long Biogold Original, we specialize in fertilizer for bonsai and other plants. Many people are unsure how to choose the best organic fertilizer when they go to their local garden store and see a wall of options in front of them. Thankfully, fertilizer doesn’t have to be confusing! Fertilizer should be your friend, not your foe. Keep reading to learn more about choosing the right fertilizer for your plants.

Understanding NPK Value

You always hear that fertilizer gives plants nutrients, but what are those nutrients? It all comes down to three elements that each serve a different purpose. They are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K – its symbol on the periodic table of elements).

When you pick up a bag of fertilizer, you will likely see something that says ‘NPK’ followed by three numbers. This is the percentage by weight of the three key nutrients. So, a fertilizer that has an NPK value of 10-10-10 will be 10% by weight of nitrogen, 10% by weight of phosphorus, and 10% by weight of potassium. The remaining 70% of product is a carrier material that will not affect your plant. And while it may seem like a 10-10-10 fertilizer is the same as a 5-5-5 or a 20-20-20, they are not. A 20-20-20 fertilizer has less of that carrier material we mentioned, meaning you might accidentally overfeed your plant and cause fertilizer burn.

Now that you understand the basics of what an NPK value is, let’s look at what each nutrient does for your plants:

  • Nitrogen: The role of nitrogen in plants is to help them develop beautiful green foliage.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus stimulates root growth, as well as encourages the growth of flowers and buds.
  • Potassium: Potassium is essential for the overall function and vigor of the plant, and helps provide resistance to disease.

Why The NPK Value Matters

In the wild, nitrogen in the soil is scarce, meaning that plants are biologically predisposed to absorb as much nitrogen as possible from their surroundings. While this may seem like no big deal, this can actually harm the plant — especially the root system. A plant only has so much energy to devote to growing its leaves, flowers, and roots. Therefore, if it is constantly trying to process all of the excess nitrogen, it might look like it is flourishing up top, but below the surface it could be struggling to grow strong roots, leading to the overall demise of the plant. For this reason, plants that have shallow roots and plenty of greens (like grass) might do well with a high concentration of nitrogen, whereas flowering plants or plants that need strong roots will need a more balanced feed.

How To Choose The Right Fertilizer

Fertilizers come in two main types: liquid and pellet. Here at Clark M Long Biogold Original, we offer both types of fertilizer from the Biogold brand. Choosing the right fertilizer will largely depend on your needs, but in general, our fertilizers work well in gardens, with potted plants, and especially with bonsai. We’ve listed the NPK values for the Biogold fertilizers we sell below:

Biogold Original: N-5.5, P-6.5, K-3.5

Super Biogold: N-5, P-8, K-5

Biogold Classic Motohi: N-2, P-8, K-4

If you need an organic flower fertilizer, use the Super Biogold fertilizer because of its higher concentration of phosphorus. If you are working with non-flowering plants or bonsai, try the Biogold Original organic fertilizer, which is expertly balanced to help bonsai grow beautiful foliage and a strong root system. For repotting time, mix the Biogold Classic Motohi into your potting soil. The high concentration of phosphorus will feed the root system to encourage root healing after the transfer.

Our fertilizers come standard in solid form but can be diluted in water to be used as a liquid. Just make sure to follow instructions here and from the manufacturer when dissolving your fertilizer.

Pellet Fertilizer: Pellet fertilizers, also called granular fertilizers, are slow-release and sit on top of the soil. They release a steady stream of nutrients and you rarely have to worry about over-feeding your plants and will only need to apply more fertilizer every couple months (per the instructions on your specific fertilizer). However, if your plant is in drastic need of help, the nutrients may not release quickly enough to save it.

Liquid Fertilizer: Liquid fertilizers are usually sold in concentrated forms that you mix with water before adding to your plant. Liquid fertilizers act quickly to deliver nutrients to plants, but also only last a week or two and will need to be replenished often. Additionally, if you do not follow the instructions, you can risk over-feeding your plants and end up killing them.

When To Fertilize

Your fertilizing schedule will depend on the type of plant, the type of fertilizer, and the time of year. As an example, the Biogold Original organic fertilizer will release nutrients for 45-55 continuous days, at which point you can re-apply. For bonsai, you will need to apply fertilizer more often during the growing season, and less often during the dormant seasons (late fall and winter). Pay attention to your tree and look for signs of changing health, and adjust your feeding schedule accordingly.

Choose The Right Organic Fertilizer For Your Plants

Biogold Original is a 100 percent organic fertilizer, meaning it is safe for everything from your bonsai to vegetables in your garden. While Biogold Original is specifically formulated for bonsai, because of the well-balanced formula, it can help a number of plants and flowers thrive. Try our bonsai fertilizer for yourself today!