Plants have specific nutrients needs for healthy growth and development, most of which are taken up from the soil by the plants roots. These nutrients are the building blocks for plant tissues. Overtime, watering leaches nutrients from soil and fertilizer is needed to replace them. This process happens especially fast in potted plants.

There are a couple of numbers and terms to know about fertilizers. Fertilizer bags display three numbers on the front. These numbers represent the percentage by weight of the N-P-K or Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium contained in the fertilizer. These are the main nutrients plants need for healthy growth and development. Nitrogen promotes lush, green growth and overall plant health. Fertilizers with high nitrogen content are great for leafy vegetables grown in containers. Phosphorus promotes health root development and is necessary for the growth of flowers and fruits. Blooming plants, such as tomatoes, peppers and most ornamentals benefit from solutions rich in phosphorus. Potassium is necessary for stem growth and overall plant vigor. Potassium rich fertilizers are particularly useful for root crops such as carrots, beets and potatoes as well as young trees.