Fertilizer 101

Quick lesson on FERTILIZER: There is always 3 numbers listed (i.e. 10-10-10) they refer to Nitrogen – Phosphorus – Potash in that order.

Lawn fertilizers are high in nitrogen 40-5-8, for example, because grass needs a lot of nitrogen which helps keep it green aiding with photosynthesis.

Phosphorus aids the root system and flower set; this number is highest on Bloom Booster types of fertilizers.

Potash is the third number and is important for the overall vigor of the plant; it helps to keep it healthy and facilitates development of fruits and flowers.

Trace elements are also needed to round out a healthy diet for your plants; these can be a little trickier to find. However, Sabo’s has you covered here as well. We carry Jack’s Classic fertilizer which, was better known for years as Peters. When they changed the formula to include trace elements, Jack Peters felt the new formula was important enough to require a new name. Hence Peters became Jack’s. Sabo’s carries a wide selection of Jack’s fertilizers – from bloom boosters, to orchid food, to acid lovers and more.

Also important when talking about fertilizers is the soil pH. It’s a quick and easy test and critical if your plant is not doing well. If the pH is askew, your plants cannot absorb fertilizer – don’t waste your money. Do the test first – it’s cheap and easy.

Rhododendrons & evergreens like a pH around 4.5 to 6.0; roses are happy with 6.0 to 6.5. Google your specific plant requirements.

About Cathee Thomas

Cathee ThomasAs Garden Center Manager for Sabo's Woodside Nursery, Cathee brings decades of horticultural experience, including over 20 years at the Holden Arboretum. It was there that she developed a fascination with rare and unusual plants.