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The fertilizer is a fundamental element in the cultivation of potted plants, as it supplies all the mineral salts essential for the correct and luxuriant growth of plants; there are different types of fertilizer, both in terms of formulation and in terms of the time the fertilizer will remain available for the plant. Liquid fertilizers, to be dissolved in water, remain available for a few days, while those in granules or manure, can supply the soil with mineral salts that will be available to the plants for months. The fertilizer is supplied during the vegetative period of the plant, to guarantee the substances it needs in the soil; usually, during the autumn and winter months, it is not necessary to add fertilizer to the pots. The most common fertilizers are in liquid form, and should be mixed with the water of the waterings, about every 12-15 days; on the other hand, less common fertilizers are in granules and tablets, and have the advantage of dissolving a little each time we water, remaining active for about 4 months.
When we use a slow release granular fertilizer, we avoid excesses, generally a full soup spoon is enough for a 20 cm diameter pot; it should be spread well on the surface of the pot, in a thin layer, without creating piles of product. In the nursery we also choose the correct fertilizer for each plant; on the packages we can read the numbers, close to the acronym NPK, namely Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium; the numbers give the concentrations of the three elements mentioned above; where nitrogen is useful for foliage development, phosphorus for root development and potassium for flowers and fruits.