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A Closer Look At Fertilisers

a closer look at fertilisers

In this post, we take a closer look at fertilisers. What’s in them, and how they help our plants.

Fertilisers are made up of numerous elements. The three main ones are called Macro-Nutrients, and are the main ones displayed on fertiliser packaging in the form of N-P-K. Along with these, there are also Micro-Nutrients. These are also vital for healthy plants and are usually found on the back of packaging.

First, lets look at the three Macro-Nutrients.


Nitrogen (N)

Nitrogen is one of the three macro nutrients found in fertilisers. Some fertilisers are nitrogen free, but the majority all contain nitrogen in varying amounts. It’s primary use is to green things up, providing lush green fresh foliage.

Potassium (P)

Another of the macro nutrients, Potassium is the second item listed in the main NPK labels found on fertilisers. It’s use is very important in general plant health. it helps with photosynthesis, water and nutrient transportation, protein and starch synthesis.

Phosphorus (K)

The last of the macro nutrients, Phosphorus is key for new tissue growth and development of cells allowing the proper development of roots and timely growth. This is the last nutrient found on fertiliser NPK labels.

Along with the main three macro nutrients, fertilisers also contain what are known as micro nutrients. Although not as prevalent as macro nutrients, these still play an important role in the growth and development of plants. We’ll take a look at some below.


Boron (B)

Boron is one of the most vital micro nutrients. It supports the structure and function of plant cell membranes.

Copper (Cu)

Linked to Vitamin A production copper activates enzymes and activates reactions in several processes. It helps ensure successful protein synthesis.

Iron (Fe)

Essential for crop growth and food production. Iron is a component of many enzymes associated with energy transfer, nitrogen reduction and fixation and lignin formation.

Manganese (Mn)

Playing a direct role in photosynthesis, this one is vital. It also accelerates germination and maturity while also increasing phosphorus and calcium availability.

Zinc (Zn)

Although only required in small amounts, this is required for high crop yields.

The above list could go on for ages. This is only to give you an idea that there are more to fertilisers than the main macro nutrients. Some other elements found in fertilisers include Magnesium, Calcium and Sulphur.

The other thing to consider when researching fertilisers, is what’s already in your soil. Some soils have higher compound contents than others. Testing kits are available such as Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Soil Test Kit which allows you to test PH, N, P and K. Alternatively, The RHS offer testing priced at £25 for members and £30 for non-members, RHS Soil Analysis

Hopefully this post has given a closer look at fertilisers. An insight to what’s in them, and their uses.

If you’d like any help picking suitable fertilisers for plants, or would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

And as always, Keep It Green!