Fertilizer Numbers: What they Mean

Apr 17, 2014

You see them on every plant food and lawn food package, but what do they mean? It’s not always necessary to know these days, as the packaging often tells you what you need to know. If the fertilizer or food is called tomato food, then most of us aren’t worried about what the 3-4-6 on the package means. I just want my tomatoes to grow!

But here’s the explanation in case you’re delving deeper into the plant growth world.

Let’s look at 3-4-4 which describes Espoma’s Garden-tone for vegetables.

gardentonelabel-300x172 Fertilizer Numbers: What they Mean

The first number indicates Nitrogen (N). Nitrogen promotes foliage and leaves. This gives a plant a nice healthy green color.

The second number indicates Phosphorus (P).Phosphorus promotes root , flower and small shoot growth.

The third number indicates Potassium (K) – Potassium promotes hardiness and general health, making the plant more disease resistant.

The number itself is the % of the nutrient.