Wellcome to NPK Simplified.

Short Explanation

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N = Nitrogen

Nitrogen is the first major element responsible for the growth
of plants above ground. With a good supply, plants grow
sturdily and mature rapidly, with rich, dark green foliage.

(N) is primary to plant growth. Plants convert nitrogen to make
proteins essential to new cell growth. Nitrogen is mainly
responsible for leaf and stem growth as well as overall size
and vigor.

Nitrogen moves easily to active young buds, shoots and leaves
and slower to older leaves. Deficiency signs show first in older
leaves. They turn a pale yellow and may die. New growth becomes
weak and spindly.

An abundance of nitrogen will cause soft, weak growth and even
delay flower and fruit production if it is allowed to accumulate.

If you want big caudex, this is the nutrients,
It keep growing and have no or less flower.


P = Phosphorus

The second major element in plant nutrition, phosphorus is
essential for healthy growth, strong roots, fand greater
resistance to disease.

(P) is necessary for photosynthesis and works as a catalyst for
energy transfer within the plant. Phosphorus helps build strong
roots and is vital for flower and seed production. Highest levels
of phosphorus are used during germination, seedling growth
and flowering.

Deficiencies will show in older leaves first. Leaves turn deep
green on a uniformly smaller, stunted plant. Leaves show brown
or purple spots.




K = Potassium (Potash)

The third major plant nutrient, potassium oxide is essential
for the development of strong plants. It helps plants to resist
diseases, protects them from the cold and protects during
dry weather by preventing excessive water loss.

(K) activates the manufacture and movement of sugars and
starches, as well as growth by cell division. Potassium increases
chlorophyll in foliage and helps regulate stomata openings so
plants make better use of light and air. Potassium encourages
strong root growth, water uptake and triggers enzymes that fight

Potassium is necessary during all stages of growth. It is
especially important in the development of fruit.

Deficiency signs of potassium are: plants are the tallest and appear
healthy. Older leaves mottle and yellow between veins, followed
by whole leaves that turn dark yellow and die. Flower drop are
common problems associated with potassium deficiency.
Potassium is usually locked out by high salinity.


It's important not to just grab a bag with high numbers on it and start spreading it on or around your plants, lawn or garden. Your soil might already be plentiful of phosphorous or potassium!

If you add more of something than your soil actually needs, not only is it wasteful but it can also harm your plants by having too much of any one of these nutrients.    Always test your water & soil first! "More is not better!"

Multipurpose electronic, soil & water testers allows you to monitor the conditions of the  soil pH, soil moisture, water pH & ppm, light intensity, and total combined nitrogen and phosphorus and potash levels (NPK). Using these tools will significantly help pinpoint what you need to know to prepare for gardening success, and what you need to improve on.

Numbers: Yes, it's a numbers game. Are you happy with your garden! Could it get better?

High quality fertilizers.

It’s important to use a high quality fertilizer, organic natural source fertilizer work great with the right balance of these nutrients and help set the best stage for healthy plants to flourish.

When you read a package, for example 6-8-6. This means that there is 6% nitrogen, 8% phosphates, 6% potassium. You’ll notice that this doesn’t add up to 100%, the rest are fillers. What fillers are in there? It varies from company to company and from one product to another.

How to read NPK ratios.


1 - How to identify the lowest number in the NPK listing.
Example: NPK listing of 18-6-12 has 6 percent phosphorus as the lowest number.

2 - Divide each of the other two "remaining" numbers by the lowest number to find the ratio. For example, 18 divided by 6 is 3, and 12 divided by 6 is 2.

3 - Place the resulting numbers back into the NPK list.
Example: "18-6-12" simplifies to "3-1-2." NPK fertilizers with ratings of 6-2-4 and 30-10-20 also have a 3-1-2 ratio.

More about elements.

When you are ready to learn a bit more about elements, there are actually six macronutrients and seven micronutrients that are required for complete plant health. It is important not to get confused or too hung up on all the elements, if you just go out and buy a good quality fertilizer from a reputable company and follow known "proven" directions for that product, the plant will do the rest.

Important note: When following fertilizer instructions always take into consideration additives you will be using as some additives can increase / change / alter your ppm calculations.

Nitrogen (N)

Phosphorus (P)

Potassium (K)

Calcium (Ca)

Magnesium (Mg)

Sulfur (S)

There are seven micronutrients, needed in lesser amounts:

Boron (B)

Chlorine (Cl)

Copper (Cu)

Iron (Fe)

Manganese (Mn)

Molybdenum (Mo)

Zinc (Zn)