NPK Fertilizer: What is it and How to use it Effectively

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‍With the onset of summers, you have probably also started worrying about your crops. It is time when various kinds of plants grow rapidly, and if not taken care of properly, can lead to a lot of problems. That’s why keeping an eye on the pH balance, nitrogen levels, and other such factors becomes essential. And that is where NPK fertilizers come into play. They are a type of natural fertilizer made from non-organic compounds with different proportions of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. These are known as macro nutrients because they are essential for plant growth in relatively large quantities compared to other elements like iron or sulphur which are classified as micrometrients.

What is NPK Fertilizer?

NPK fertilizers are blends of nutrients required by plants for growth. They can be in the form of liquid, granules or powders. These fertilizers have three major components – Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium – hence their name (NPK). This is why you will often come across the term 3-3-3, which refers to the proportion of these 3 components in the fertilizer. Some brands might even have different ratios of these nutrients, depending on the climate and the type of plant being grown.

How does NPK fertilizer work? (how to use NPK fertilizer in plant)

The nutrients present in the fertilizers are absorbed by the roots of the plant and used for growth and development. They also help in the growth of shoots, flowers and fruits as they are responsible for photosynthesis. The nitrogen in the fertilizer is responsible for the green colour of plants. It also increases the overall growth of the plant. Phosphorus is responsible for root development, flowering, and fruiting. Potassium helps in the overall growth of the plant by increasing water absorption and the rate of photosynthesis.

Difference between NPK and Organics fertilizers? (how to use NPK fertilizer in crop)

Although both types of fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the manner in which they are obtained is a little different. For example, in organic fertilizers, these nutrients are derived from natural sources like legumes, animal manures and unprocessed minerals. Organic fertilizers also involve a natural breakdown and release of nutrients from organic matter like compost and plant matter. Plants don’t usually require the same amount of NPK throughout the year. Instead, they need varying amounts of each element depending on the season. For example, nitrogen is essential for new growth in plants, so plants require more of it during spring. Organic fertilizers can be used throughout the year as they are broken down and released at a slower rate.

When to use NPK fertilizers?

Nitrogen – This is the nutrient that plants use the most. As a rule of thumb, you should apply nitrogen rich fertilizer when plants are grown in the fall and spring. Phosphorus – The best time to apply phosphorus is in the early spring and late summer. Potassium – This is best applied in early spring and late summer.

Side effects of using too much NPK Fertilizer!

Too much of anything is always harmful for the body. The same applies to fertilizers as well. If you use them in excess, you may end up with unhealthy plants, and even pose a danger to yourself, your family and pets. If you use too much nitrogen, you may end up with unhealthy plants. The excess nitrogen will encourage your plants to grow leaves at the cost of flowers. Excess nitrogen in the soil can also cause nutrient deficiencies in other plants. Excess phosphorus can cause plants to become too soft and spongy. It can also lead to root damage. Excessive potassium can lead to toxicity in plants. It can also affect the soil structure, making it hard for plants to grow properly.


NPK fertilizers are a great option for those who don’t have the time, space or resources to create their own fertilizer. They are also particularly useful for indoor gardens, where you don’t have full control over the quality of the soil. However, it’s also important to understand that no matter how good the quality of these fertilizers is, they will not be able to provide the same level of nutrition as a well-made compost. So, if you have the space, and the time, we would recommend that you use homemade compost over NPK fertilizers any day.

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