What is NPK Fertilizer? We Explain Its Importance for Your Plants

Posted On:


Author: Adrián Medina Alarcón

You've probably said this many times:

“Oh, if my plants could talk, imagine the things they would tell me!”

But deep down, you know they don't need to talk because you understand them just by looking at them.

For example, through their appearance, our plants tell us if they are vigorous and well-nourished... or, on the contrary, if they need some essential nutrients.

And in the second case, many times what happens is that they lack their essential food:

NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium).

Do you know why these 3 minerals are so important for your plants?

If not, don't worry, because in this article we will explain it to you.

Let's get started.

[NPK] Why Your Plants Need Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium

Plants, like animals, need many nutrients to live.

And among them, the most important are the so-called macronutrients:

  • Nitrogen.
  • Phosphorus.
  • Potassium.

We provide these macronutrients to our plants through fertilizer, and they are crucial for their development.

Let's look at them one by one and explain what role they play in the development of our companions.

Nitrogen "N"

Nitrogen is involved in:

  • The formation of part of the plant proteins.
  • The synthesis of chlorophyll.
  • The composition of certain vitamins and essential sugars for plants.
  • The absorption of nutrients.
  • The stimulation of plant growth.
  • Cell multiplication.
  • The longevity of the plant's growth phases.

In general, soils tend to have a deficiency of this mineral. Moreover, even if the soil has a lot of nitrogen, it is not always easy for our plants to assimilate it.

That's why it's important to offer it to our plants through fertilizer.

A lack of nitrogen produces the following symptoms in plants:

  • Yellowing of the older leaves.
  • Not very leafy.
  • Not very vigorous.

And with an excess of nitrogen:

  • The leaves will show excessive growth at the expense of the fruits and roots.
  • Flowering and seed formation will be delayed.

Phosphorus "P"

After nitrogen, it is the second most demanded macronutrient by plants.

Phosphorus is involved in:

  • The development of roots at the beginning of planting.
  • The setting and development of fruits.
  • Various biochemical processes in plant cells.
  • Greater plant resistance when the weather is adverse.
  • Increased water use efficiency.
  • Increased resistance in some plants to diseases.

A lack of phosphorus produces the following symptoms in plants:

  • Older leaves show a pale green color with brown or dry edges.
  • Low flowering.
  • Poor root system.

And an excess of phosphorus:

  • Will cause the plants to have greater root development and show little development in the leaves.

Potassium "K"

Potassium is involved in:

  • The respiration process.
  • The chlorophyll synthesis process.
  • The photosynthesis process.
  • The formation of flowers and fruits.
  • The formation of larger and sweeter grains and fruits.
  • Better root development.
  • Better utilization of nitrogen.
  • Greater resistance to drought and frost.

A lack of potassium in plants will produce:

  • Greater fragility in the stems.
  • Necrosis on the edges of the leaves.
  • Chlorosis in the interveinal spaces of the leaves.
  • Stunted or not very turgid plants.
  • Greater probability of their roots being attacked by pathogens.
  • Higher chances of their fruits being attacked by fungi and bacteria.

On the other hand, an excess of potassium:

  • Will affect the absorption of other nutrients.
  • Will cause the plants to turn brown.

Did you know the importance of these 3 macronutrients?

Now you know why it is so common to see the initials NPK on the fertilizer bags you buy at your usual store.

And above all, we hope this guide helps you better understand your plants and know when they lack one macronutrient or another.

Remember that if you have any other questions, you can contact us. At Viveros González, we are specialists in plant care, and we will be happy to help you keep yours healthy and happy.

You just have to click here to talk to us.