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Choosing the Best Plant Fertilizer for Your Colorful Yard

by Shannon Lee, All About Lawns Columnist

Choosing the best plant fertilizer isn't a matter of choosing something that looks good on the shelf. It isn't a matter of how expensive a fertilizer is, either--some of the less expensive varieties might work just as well, and numerous gardeners can tell you that good compost, created in their backyard for free, gives their plants the perfect boost.

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Plant Fertilizer for a Colorful Backyard

How should you go about choosing the best plant fertilizer?

All plants need certain nutrients to grow. The basic three elements are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Most general fertilizers contain all three. When you see a label with three numbers, such as 10-10-10, that indicates the percentage of each of the three basic nutrients in the bag or bottle.

Other nutrients required by your plants are:

  • Magnesium
  • Carbon
  • Sulfur
  • Calcium
  • Oxygen
  • Hydrogen

Micronutrients are also necessary for excellent plant growth. These include:

  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Molybdenum
  • Manganese
  • Boron
  • Iron

The best all-around plant fertilizer has all of these nutrients. Look for fertilizers that offer at least 16 nutrients on the label, which covers the most basic ones. Anything extra is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

Turn to Fertilizer Experts

If your plants are not thriving, contact a lawn care expert and ask for further help on how to handle your flower beds and container gardens. Sometimes plants have a deficiency in a certain nutrient or mineral that broad spectrum fertilizers can't overcome. In that case, a professional can help you decide what is needed to turn your backyard into a rainbow of color!

About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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