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What is NPK in Fertilizer?

Explore the vital components of NPK fertilizer, their roles in plant growth, and effective application methods for optimal crop yield and health.

Table of Contents

NPK fertilizer is a common one used in gardening and growing crops. It contains Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium primarily in different percentages depending upon the composition. Apart from the main three minerals, the NPK fertilizers also have organic matter and fillers that add to the soil structure. 

For instance, if the packaging says the composition is 10:8:6, the fertilizer contains 10% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus, and 6% potassium. The rest of the NPK fertilizer may have minor nutrients or soil fillers such as chlorine, iron, and calcium.

Role of Different Minerals in NPK Fertilizer

Different Minerals in NPK Fertilizer

Here is how NPK fertilizer helps plant growth and soil health. 


Nitrogen from NPK fertilizer helps the plant with chlorophyll production to ensure photosynthesis in the sun. This ensures the plant develops healthy stems, leaves, and buds. Overall, Nitrogen builds the greenery in lush bushes, grass, and leafy plants. 

Nitrogen comes in handy if the plant’s leaves have started going yellow or brown or new leaves aren’t growing well. This nitrogen deficiency can be handled by adding NPK fertilizer with high nitrogen content. 


Phosphorus is ideal for the development of roots and seeds and for maturing the plant. It also helps produce large juicy fruits in the growing season. This mineral is important for the growth of annual plants to grow well in one season for crops. 

For instance, plants with smaller roots, such as lettuce and cabbage, like more phosphorus in the soil. If you notice red or purple shades in the leaves of plants, it is an indicator of low phosphorus. Low potassium (K): Lower leaves that are dead at the edges or in spots or are wilting.


One way to determine potassium deficiency is by looking at the dead leaves around the plants or the spotty ones at the end. Wilting of leaves is also an indicator of potassium deficiency in the soil. Potassium is used for keeping the roots, fruits, leaves, and flowers of plants healthy. 

Moreover, potassium can help enhance the disease resistance of the plants and make them healthier in general. Plants that grow in cold weather may benefit from potassium. 

When and how to use NPK fertilizer?

use NPK fertilizer

You may conduct a soil test to learn about the soil deficiencies and use the fertilizer in the right ratio. Besides, looking at the plant’s health, leaf color, and blooming stage may help you tell about the deficiencies.

To use the NPK fertilizers, you will have to determine the plant type and growing stage. The area of the garden will also determine the amount of fertilizer. NPK fertilizer can be applied first when you sow the seeds into the soil. The seedlings will take the nutrients to develop and form a strong root and shoot system. 

To apply the NPK fertilizer to the trees, you may sprinkle around 2-4 feet in diameter or use the hole method to uniformly add the fertilizer. When planting vegetables from the nursery, add fertilizers to get a good crop yield. 

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