When we get a plant, we want it to grow as healthy as possible. We get the best soil, a pot with water drainage and we place it where it can get a good daily amount of natural light. Then we go to the store to look for fertilizer, and that’s where the big challenge starts. How do we choose the best fertilizer for our plant?
Once at the store, we will first notice that most fertilizers show a series of numbers on the label. These three numbers correspond to a specific type of nutrient. The first one is Nitrogen (N), the second is Phosphorus (P), and the third one is Potassium (K) = (N-P-K). A fertilizer that contains 5-10-10 means it has 5 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus (phosphate), and 10 percent potassium (potash).
Depending on the plant species/variety, and what you are trying to achieve with the fertilizer, the numbers will vary. For example, if you want the plant to produce greener and larger leaves, or better roots, your fertilizer will be high in Nitrogen. But if you want it to bloom, produce fruit and get stronger roots it will be higher in Phosphorus. For stronger stems and faster general growth then Potassium will be the nutrient of choice.
Luckily, most of our indoor houseplants are tropical, and these can benefit from a well-balanced formula like 10-10-10. That number means that it is a complete and evenly balanced fertilizer. A well-balanced fertilizer is an easy solution as it works for most plants, even if they are not tropical. So, when in doubt, just use a well-balanced formula during spring and early summer.