The Difference Between Plant Food and Fertilizer

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Like humans, plants request definite nutrients successful bid to survive. So if you person a plant, and it doesn’t precisely look similar it’s thriving, you whitethorn determine to springiness it a small nutritional boost. But does it request works food, oregon fertilizer? And what’s the quality betwixt the two? Here’s what to know.

The quality betwixt works nutrient and fertilizer

Although the presumption are often utilized interchangeably, works nutrient and fertilizer are not the aforesaid thing. The biggest quality is that works nutrient is made by the plants themselves, portion fertilizer is simply a synthetic oregon earthy substance that is added to a plant’s soil. Here are a fewer much specifics:

Plant food

The easiest mode to retrieve the quality betwixt works nutrient and fertilizer is that only plants tin marque works food: It’s not thing that tin beryllium purchased (no substance what merchandise labels say). To nutrient the elemental sweetener they usage arsenic food, plants person water, c dioxide, and sunlight during photosynthesis, and sorb nutrients successful the ungraded done their roots.

When a works isn’t capable to get the nutrients it needs done its soil, it whitethorn payment from the summation of immoderate fertilizer oregon compost to marque up for the nutritional deficits.


The nutrient contented successful ungraded depends connected a assortment of factors, including its texture (loam, loamy sand, silt loam), integrated substance content, and pH. Testing your ungraded is the champion mode to figure retired which nutrients are contiguous successful capable amounts, and which you whitethorn privation to adhd to the ungraded utilizing fertilizer.

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Commercial fertilizer comes successful formulations with antithetic ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—the nutrients works request successful the largest amounts. This Lifehacker article from May 2021 decodes the letters and numbers connected fertilizer bags, and explains however to prime the benignant that would astir benefits your plants.

Additionally, this leafage from the University of Minnesota Extension provides further details connected the antithetic types of fertilizer, and erstwhile to usage them.

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