NPK fertiliser is primarily composed of three main elements: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), each of these being essential in plant nutrition. The agriculture industry relies heavily on the use of NPK fertilizer. There are numerous building blocks of life that plants need for healthy growth. Soils often lack these elements, either naturally, or as a result of over cultivation, and needs to have these building blocks put back into it. Among other benefits, Nitrogen helps plants grow quickly, while also increasing the production of seed and fruit, and bettering the quality of leaf and forage crops. Nitrogen is also a component of chlorophyll, the substance that gives plants their green color, and also aids in photosynthesis

Phosphorus, also a key player in the photosynthesis process, plays a vital role in a variety of the things needed by plants. Phosphorus supports the formation of oils, sugars, and starches. The transformation of solar energy into chemical energy is also aided by phosphorus, as well as is development of the plant, and the ability to withstand stress. Additionally, phosphorus encourages the growth of roots, and promotes blooming.

Potassium, the third essential nutrient plants demand, assists in photosynthesis, fruit quality, the building of protein, and the reduction of disease. When selecting a fertilizer – whether it’s for annuals, vegetable gardens, trees and shrubs, perennials or lawns – the first question to answer is, “What analysis do I need?” The analysis is actually the three large numbers you see on every fertilizer label – put there by law – such as 10-20-10 or 10-10-10 or 18-46-0. These numbers represent the percentage (by weight) of the three major nutrients required for healthy plant growth, always in the same order, Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (N-P-K). Each of these nutrients affects the plant growth differently and the formulation you select should depend on your specific gardening needs.

The first number is the percentage of Nitrogen in the bag. So a bag of 24-8-8 has 24 percent total nitrogen. Nitrogen provides plants with the ability to produce more chlorophyll, which in turn allows plants to grow quickly. With each additional nitrogen application, plants will grow taller and develop a darker green color.

The second number in the analysis is the percentage of phosphorous in the mix. For example, a bag of 24-8-8 would contain 8 percent phosphorous. Phosphorous aids in root development and increases flowering ability and bloom size.

The third number represents the percentage of potassium found in the product. A bag of 24-8-8 has 4 percent potassium in the mix. Potassium has many functions. It guards the plant against diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance. It also serves a role in improving root development and helps in the process of photosynthesis.

We can see that some of the percentages don’t equal 100 percent. That’s because there are other nutrients and filler products in fertilizer mixtures. This filler helps to apply the nutrients evenly over an area.