Gardening Tips

What are fertilizers and their types

What are fertilizers and their types

When talking about fertilizers, one often automatically imagines large farms and heavy machinery rolling over them and spraying chemicals left and right. However, today it is very common to use fertilizers also in gardens or houseplants, and even in organic or urban gardens.

In this EcologíaVerde article we are going to see what are fertilizers and their main typesas well as the best way to make our own homemade fertilizer.

what are fertilizers

fertilizersalso called fertilizers, are substances that, as their name suggests, are used to give fertility to the soilthat is, to make it more suitable for the plants grow or develop in it, as well as they can contribute more directly to the plant, if they are spread right in the area of ​​its roots and not just in the surrounding soil.

In a large area of ​​natural vegetation, such as a jungle or a forest, the soil constantly receives the contribution of organic material which breaks down and gives nutrients, with which new plants can grow strong. On the other hand, in a pot or a garden this does not happen, so many plants need to receive those nutrients that their soil no longer receives in any other way. This is where fertilizers come into play, which provide that complement that your plants will greatly appreciate.

What are fertilizers and their types - What are fertilizers

types of fertilizers

There are many types of fertilizersalthough the main distinction when using them in home gardening is between organic and inorganic fertilizers.

  • inorganic fertilizers are produced synthetically. They are mineral fertilizers that are usually rich in materials such as iron and potassium.
  • organic fertilizers they are made from products or waste of animal or vegetable origin. Some very common are manure or bird droppings, guano.
What are fertilizers and their types - Types of fertilizers

How to make homemade fertilizer for plants

You have a lot of options at your disposal when it comes to make your own homemade fertilizer. The vast majority of homemade fertilizers are of the organic type, since they are made with waste that everyone has at home and thus, in addition to recycling and saving, they allow you to improve the health of your plants. These are some of the most used organic fertilizers and its simple forms of elaboration:

Ground coffee or coffee grounds

Coffee is a substance rich in nitrogen, potassium and magnesium, all of which are important substances for plants. To make the fertilizer you just have to let the coffee grounds or ground beans rest on a sheet of newspaper until they dry completely. Once dried, you can sprinkle it directly on the soil around your plants once a month.

Here we tell you more about the ways to use coffee grounds in the garden.

fireplace ashes

If you have a fireplace at home, you have an excellent organic fertilizer at your disposal. Wood ashes are rich in phosphorus, so when diluted in irrigation water, they will help plants produce flowers and sweeter fruits, as well as combat pests. This fertilizer also increases the alkalinity of the soil, so you should be careful if you have plants that require acid soils.


Compost is one of the most balanced and safest fertilizers to use, since all types of plants appreciate its application, which also favors the resistance of plants to pests and attacks by revitalizing soil microorganisms.

To make compost, store your plant-based waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps, pruning clippings, grass or newspaper in a container or in a hole in the garden. The ideal way to obtain a balanced compost is to put a base of dry waste under another layer of green waste and cover it with some soil. This operation can be repeated as more waste is produced, thus forming several layers. It is important to remove and aerate the compost once a week, and slightly moisten it if you live in very dry climates, but always without flooding.

As a final detail, your compost should smell like wet soil. If you notice unpleasant or intense odors, it may be because some animal waste has leaked in or because there is excess moisture.

Learn here the advantages of composting.

epsom salts

These salts can work as a mineral fertilizer if a tablespoon is dissolved in 4 liters of water, thanks to their rich contribution in magnesium and sulfate. They are especially beneficial on houseplants, roses, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers.

Banana peels

Bananas are a fruit known for their potassium content, which is why plants can also benefit from a fertilizer made from their peels. To make the fertilizer, cut the husks into small pieces and boil them for about 15 minutes in water. Then let it cool, filter the mixture, and you have your banana peel fertilizer.

What are fertilizers and their types - How to make homemade fertilizers for plants

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