Learn what N-P-K is and how to apply it to your garden plants on this quick garden minute podcast.




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Flowers in a field colored blue, yellow, and white to show fertilizer can help plants look bright and beautiful.

Fertilizer can help plants grow tall, be vigorous, have bright flowers, and promote healthy root growth, plus more.

Today’s Topic: 

What is N-P-K and Why You Should Care?

In this podcast, you’ll learn what N-P-K is for plant fertilizer and why it’s important to know for your plants health.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What N-P-K means.
  • What each nutrient is generally known for to help plant health and growth.
  • Resources and links for more information.


Some of the resources and products below may be affiliate links, meaning we might get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

What is N-P-K?

The ratio of numbers on a fertilizer bag or container represent the percentage of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) in that specific fertilizer. The percentage is the amount of one of these three nutrients in any quantity you apply to your garden plants. Note here that you should always follow the directions on the label so you don’t over fertilize your plants.

Each of these nutrient works in a plant in many different ways to keep plants healthy, but they are thought to have specific benefits, too, that you can see in your plants.

N-P-K Benefits Are:

  • Nitrogen is generally known to stimulate more leaves, stems, and help with chlorophyll production helping most plants turn more green in color.

  • Phosphorus is generally known to stimulate a plant to grow more roots and help with flower development.

  • Potassium is also generally known to help boost plants immune systems, be more tolerant of extreme temperatures, and help plants breath more efficiently through their leaves.


The order of the three number ratio for any fertilizer never changes to always represent nitrogen first, phosphorus second, and potassium third.

Examples of balanced fertilizers are 4-4-4 or 10-10-10.

You would want to use a balanced or close to balanced fertilizer to keep your plants overall health and vigor high with lots of flowers.



Examples of unbalanced fertilizers are 20-0-0 or 14-0-0 where having a higher nitrogen number with the phosphorus and potassium numbers very low or zero.

You would want to use an unbalanced fertilizer like these if you wanted to only green up your grass or specific plants needing to green up and grow more leaves or biomass.


And that’s why you should know what N-P-K means and how you can use it in your garden.


If you aren’t sure where to start learning about garden care, go to our Start Here page at spokengarden.com/start-here .


And, if you have questions about using fertilizer in your garden, we are here to help, so please email us.



Thanks for Listening!!!

That’s all for this podcast episode! You can find other beginning gardener topics on our podcast page by clicking here or go to SpokenGarden.com and click on the “Listen” tab. Also find us on your favorite podcast platform and smart speaker!

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If you want to know more about growing plants and flowers, check out our new book The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers: All the Know-how you need to plant and tend outdoor areas using eco-friendly methods. You can pre-order now so you get your copy on our release date of February 9th, 2021.

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Learn what N-P-K is and how to apply it to your garden plants on this quick garden minute podcast.