Have you been busily at work in your garden and learning a lot about nature, soil, plant growth and permaculture? Gardening is exciting and with so many beautiful things to grow at our fingertips, not only does it teach patience, but gardening is one of nature’s most incredible healers of anxiety and stress. If you are new to gardening, you are probably wondering why plants need fertiliser. Simply put, fertiliser is plant food, and just as humans need protein, carbohydrates and fats in order to survive, plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in order to survive. Yes, just like us, plants also have three basic food groups and mineral requirements. As the elements that make up fertiliser, with each playing a fundamental role in plant nutrition, here’s how fertiliser benefits plants:
- Nitrogen Boosts Plant Growth – renowned as a growth booster, fertilisers are rich in nitrogen that is necessary for plant growth. Considered to be the most important nutrient, nitrogen is essential in the formation of protein, which is important for the development of plant cells. Boosting plant growth, shoot development and healthy flower bud development, nitrogen is essential in making sure plants are healthy as they develop and nutritious to eat after they have been harvested.
- Potassium Enhances Resistance to Disease and Pests – the key to enhancing resistance to disease and pests, as well as ensuring all the physiological processes in a plant function normally. Potassium helps strengthen plants’ abilities to resist disease and the elements, and plays an important role in increasing crop yields and quality. Strengthening the root systems and stalks of plants, enabling them to hold more water and become more resistant to drought conditions, fertilisers high in potassium will improve plant longevity and seed and fruit quality.
- Phosphorous Encourages Photosynthesis – linked to a plant’s ability to use and store energy, phosphorous plays a number of important roles in the physical development of a plant. It is mainly responsible for speeding up plant maturity, but when combined with nitrogen, it facilitates in the process of photosynthesis. It is also a crucial component in the formation of nucleic acids, which help form the plant’s DNA; without phosphorous, veins and leaves will turn purple and wilt or die.
- Restores and Conditions Soil – plants need a wide range of elements to grow, and fertilisers provide them all. But in addition to feeding plants, fertilisers also replenish the soil. There is nothing more beautiful than healthy soil with lots of organic matter, teeming with worms and beneficial microorganisms. But the reality is soil does not always look this way, especially after using it year after again. Each time you take out from your soil, you must be put back. Yes, soil breaks down over time and if you want to restore its natural chemical composition, you need to feed it fertiliser.
If you support greener living and are trying to achieve a stylish, low maintenance and eco-friendly outdoor space that attracts birds, butterflies and bees, then make sure you choose organic fertilizers only. Yes, believe it not, plants, bees, butterflies and birds are much happier and healthier on a wholesome, plant-based natural diet, too. To learn more about fertiliser, how to tell what type of organic fertiliser you need, chat to the plant specialists at Windy Willows in Johannesburg.