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ABCs of Fertilizer

It's all in the ingredients! This article tells you everything you need to know about fertilizing your plants.


It's all in the ingredients! This article tells you everything you need to know about fertilizing your plants.

Fertilizing Your Plants-As Easy as N-P-K!
There's no need to get nervous about fertilizing your plants. The benefits are dramatic, as shown by our before and after photos below, and there's no special trick involved to providing your plant with the nutrients they need to thrive.

What Do All Those Letters and Numbers Mean?
All fertilizers are labeled with three numbers. These numbers represent the ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potassium (K). In basic terms, nitrogen promotes foliage growth, phosphate encourages healthy root growth and flower production and potassium promotes the overall health of the plant by building disease resistance.

Which Fertilizer Do I Need?
For general needs, we recommend a fertilizer that has high amounts of nitrogen and low amounts of phosphate, such as Proven Winners-branded Water Soluable Fertilizer and Controlled Release Fertilizer (available at independent garden centers nationwide). You should look for a ratio of about 24:12:17, or something close to that, will work well for healthy plants and flowers. The three photos below show dramatic improvements in a plant given a 20:10:20 ratio fertilizer. Periodic feeding with iron will also help to prolong plant life and enhance performance.

I Bought Some Fertilizer-Now What?
Apply the fertilizer according to the method described on the package. In the case of fertilizers, more is not necessarily better, so be sure to measure accurately. We recommend applying a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every third watering when using a water soluble plant food.

See The Results For Yourself!
Apply fertilizer to one plant and just water the other. In just two weeks time, the fertilized plant will have brighter foliage and more vigorous growth. After two months, the very same plant is lush and vibrant!

The only big deal about fertilizing your plants and flowers is the amazing results you'll see in a few weeks time.
If you're not fertilizing your plants, grow your own before and after success story!

For more information about fertilizer, click here.

Look for Proven Winners-branded Water Soluable Fertilizer and Controlled Release Fertilizer - available in independent garden centers nationwide and online.

Plant before fertilization

Same plant,
about two weeks later,
following application of
20-10-20 fertilizer.

Same plant,
two months into bi-weekly
application of 20-10-20 fertilizer.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 04/10/2017 - 12:23pm

How much slow release fertilizer should be used when planting annuals in containers?
I plan on Us il ing fast release as well during the growing season, however I want to start my plants out on the right path.

Sarah Geoghegan's picture
Sarah Geoghegan Tue, 04/11/2017 - 6:43pm

If you are using Proven Winners brand Continuous Release, we recommend one application per season of about one to two tablespoons depending on the size of the container.
Hope this helps!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 02/13/2017 - 6:32pm

won't too much nitrogen promote too much leaf growth and not enough bloom production??

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 02/27/2017 - 10:50am

We recommend a fertilizer with a 2:1:2 or 2:1:1.5 ration as the best option for most plants.  It promoted good plant growth as well as strong blooming.  Look for fertilizers that have rations such as:  20:10:20 or 20:10:15 or 17:8:12.  The second number should be about half of the first.  The last number should fall somewhere between the first and the second.



Proven Winners

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 07/18/2015 - 6:23pm

This has helped me the most!

'N'. Up (leaf growth)
'P' Down (root growth)
'K' All Around


Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 07/10/2013 - 11:46am

Thanks for the very clear information helped get rid of the 'fear'. so helpful!

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