NPK - A Simple Overview of What it Means
Posted by Scott Sharkey on Feb 16th 2023
So one of the most confusing mysteries about fertilizer and plant food is understanding what on earth NPK is? We are going to really keep this at a simple and easy to understand level, so here we go...
What does NPK stand for?
NPK stands for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). Wait what? How did they get K? Who knows, some brainy geeks just trying to mess with us simple folk.
Nitrogen (first number) makes for stronger stems and leaves. Strong stems and leaves produce food for the plant.
Phosphorous (second number) gives growth and produces flowers and also develops strong roots to pull in moisture and nutrients.
Potassium (third number) is a nutrient that gives to the overall function of the plant. Think of it like a multivitamin for the plant.
What do the numbers mean?
The numbers usually go something like this: 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 or in the case of our Beat Your Neighbor fertilizer 20-21-19. The numbers are simply the concentration of nutrients in the fertilizer. So a 20-20-20 has twice the concentration of nutrients per pound than a 10-10-10. Organic fertilizers tend to be very low, such as 5-3-3 or a worm castings tea may be only at best 1-1-1, so most organic fertilizers just don't pack much punch when it comes to nutrients.
If you want big blooming flowers then you will need some serious nutrients in the middle number, 20 or above. Our Beat Your Neighbor fertilizer provides the bloom boosting nutrients for big flowers, but is also well balanced for a healthy vegetable garden that produces fruit.
You can learn more about our fertilizer in this video here: