What Do Fertilizer Numbers Mean? - Knowledgebase Question

Tullahoma, TN
Question by hjxhdkjrjfch
May 1, 2000
What does 15-30-15 mean on the box?


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Answer from NGA
May 1, 2000

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The 3 numbers on a fertilizer container refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorous), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorous helps strengthen stems and produce flowers, and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you're applying fertilizer to fruiting (e.g., tomatoes) or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous, such as Miracle-Gro's Plant Food at 15-30-15.

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