All plants need nutrients to grow their very best. The soil that we use to put our plants in contains some nutrients, but usually, when you first plant your plant, you will want to add a bit of fertilizer aka: plant food, into the hole before you place your plant in.
This is true whether you are growing veggies or ornamental plants. Just like us, plants like to eat :) You can choose to use a synthetic (which means man made) fertilizer, or you can use organic fertlizers; you can also use a combination of both.
Also, there are granular fertilizers, which you usually add to the soil when you are first planting, and then there are liquid fertilizers, which you dissolve in water and spray onto the leaves and roots of the plants once they are established. Liquid fertilizers you can apply more often. Below, we will focus mainly on granular fertilizers for now.
These are the fertilizers that are sold under names like: Miracle Grow, Nutricote, and Osmocote.
Personally, I use mostly these fertilizers for a few reasons:
1. They last much longer than Organic
2. They are affordable
3.They may be man-made, but they are not harmful, like pesticides are.
Use what's called a Slow-Release fertilizer. This will release the nutrients to your plants over a certain amount of time, instead of all at once. Always follow instructions on the packages. You never want to over-fertilize as this can cause more harm than good to our environments!
Organic fertilizers are made from plants and animals. There are lots of organic fertilizers that you can choose from. Some come in bags sold as Bone Meal, or Blood Meal. Some have a mixture of Worm Poop and Chicken Manure. And some are made from Algae and Fish emulsion. I know they sound kind of gross lol, but they totally work.
Tip* If you want to use compost, it is best to add it to the soil when first preparing your garden for plant (mix it into the soil). Too much compost, placed directly on a plant. can actually burn it.
If using organic, you will need to apply food to your plants around every 3-4 weeks by mixing it into the surrounding soil. Always follow directions on the packaging.
This is just the very beginning of understanding fertilizing and plant nutrients. If you would like to learn more, you can visit these links below.