Whenever you check out a fertilizer product, that will have actually three numbers prominently listed on the package, typically on the front. These numbers are very important and also tell a great deal about what this fertilizer will do.

You are watching: 10-15-10 fertilizer

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and also Potassium (N,P,K) are what the numbers refer to. They room always detailed in this order. That is the portion within the package of every component.

Up, Down, and all Around

A common way of explicate the purpose behind each chemical is to think “up, down, and also all around.” using this simple phrase will help you remember that Nitrogen (N), the first chemical listed, helps v plant growth over ground. Nitrogen go a good job of promoting the green leafy growth of foliage, and also provides the crucial ingredients to develop lush environment-friendly lawns. Lawn fertilizers will generally have a high first number because that this purpose.

Phosphorus (P), the center number, is very effective at developing growth listed below ground, in the kind of healthy and balanced root systems. That is also the component most responsible because that flower blooms and also fruit production. You’ll an alert that fertilizers designed for flower production, or starter-type fertilizers for your lawn, have actually a high middle number.

Potassium (K), the critical number listed, is thought about important for all at once plant health. This is primarily as result of its ability to help build strong cells within the plant tissue. In turn, the tree withstand assorted stresses, such as heat, cold, pests, and diseases. For example, winterizer fertilizer will have actually a high ingredient of potassium.

For promoting good fruit or flower production, look for a center number that is greater than the first. Otherwise, her plants will be stimulated to placed out several nice eco-friendly foliage, most likely at the expense of fruit or flower production. Instead, you desire the energy and nutrition of the plant to go towards the desired result, flowers or fruit, so a greater middle number is a more appropriate choice.

To toughen up her plants or lawn for eco-friendly stresses, then you’ll want a fertilizer that promotes the critical number, and also middle number. A high first number in this case may no be appropriate, because you space not likely to it is in promoting brand-new lush foliage as soon as at the very same time putting plants or turf to bed because that the winter. Instead, your goal have to be to encourage cell framework and strong roots which proceed to flourish through winter.

Finally, anytime you apply fertilizers, don’t assume that much more is better. You have the right to burn plants by over fertilizing, and also damage the neighboring soil together well. Instead, opt because that the exercise of less is better. If your soil is rich in essential matter, that should have all the nutrition tree need. Thats my fertilization method of choice.

As an essential gardener, I focus on building soil wellness with organic matter and nearly 100% the the time, the is adequate to deliver results that even look an excellent on our nationwide television series.

Would you favor to learn an ext about fertilizer sources, release rates, differences in between natural and synthetic fertilizers, and also what I perform in my garden? Read more on fertilizer on my website, joegardener.com

AboutJoe Lamp"l

Joe Lamp"l is the Host and Executive Producer of the compensation winning PBS television series Growing A Greener World. Off camera, Joe dedicates his time to cultivating sustainability with his renowned books, blog, podcast series, and nationally syndicated newspaper columns. Follow Joe top top Twitter


Jim Feldmayer says

May 28, 2018 at 5:27 PM

Matt says

May 16, 2017 in ~ 4:44 PM

Stan says

February 4, 2017 at 8:39 PM

William says

October 14, 2016 at 12:53 PM


I inspected a tongue of grass and also some of them have actually lateral hashmarks in the middle; some on the tips – the varies.

Does this sound normal? prefer disease? like I’ve shed it up? I deserve to send picture if you’ll call me how.

Hope i don’t shed my investment; the wasn’t cheap.

Jade says

September 14, 2016 in ~ 7:38 PM

Hi Joe,

I am in southerly California – I have actually a 3 years old flowering peach tree, I used All objective fertilizer and it has actually a beautiful blooms for the first year without any fruit. The second year that blooms and also with part tiny fruits. This year it had actually lesser flowers yet a lot and larger fruits. What sort of fertilizer to use and is there anyway to do it much more blooms and also no fruits? – give thanks to you.

Hi ns was wondering if Jobe’s fertilizer spikes because that trees and also shrubs expire? I have 2 bags the say 10/13 on them. Does that typical they room expired? thanks for her help.

I accidentally used my 6-4-6 citrus fertilizer in my tomato plants. My tree are currently all environment-friendly plant and no fruit. Deserve to I turning back the soil pH, and will my plants eventually produce tomatoes again?

I’m around to dethatch my yard for the an initial time in probably 7 year (I’ve own it only 2) so mine St. Augustine have the right to breathe and grow. As soon as I acquire the thatch out would certainly it be ideal to fertilize and also water then and if for this reason which would you recommend?

Hi Joe, I just transplanted a large rosemary plant at the not correct time that year. Ns live in brand-new Orleans i beg your pardon is hot and also quite humid. My question is need to I usage a source stimulator and also which kind of fertiliser is best. Ns love this plant and I’m hoping it traction through.


I live in south Florida and have the thick crab grass(bahia) looking stuff. Soil is mainly sand. What deserve to i execute to make somewhat greener?


We placed down 7 pallets of St. Augustine in ours front yard nearly four mainly ago. The new sod has that lime green color now, which ns am not really fond of, and I was wondering as soon as I could put a fertilizer on it to help it rotate that beautiful dark green?

My backyard wasn’t re-sodded, for this reason it’s thick and dark green. I’m simply really anxious for the front garden to match my earlier yard. Would you recommend anything prefer Turfbuilder, Vigoro’s Supergreen, or Ironite?

Oh, and also I’ve to be watering the mess the end of this sod. This spring has actually been very hot right here in Florida.


Joe concerning the ideal granular fertilizer mix, I have actually a 2 year old ( in ground) Persimmon tree Fuju kind , it seems to it is in OK through foliage although part insect is eating them, however no sign of fruit bearing yet. Who at the farmers market imply I fertilizer through a mixture that 20/ 9/9 every three months.is this a an excellent method and what kind or brand would certainly you recommend?

I have actually a variety of old 16 8 8 fertilizer stakes (10-12 year old) the I have actually been crushing to usage in my yard. Lock were originally meant because that trees however I’m also darn old to dig them into the ground. Should I proceed this chore or remove them? and how would certainly I remove them?

No one ever before discusses the need for Calcium and also Magnesium in any sort of growing systems. The is always about NPK. Deserve to you administer a little knowledge around those necessary nutrients? I thrive vegetables, flowers and my lawn. How have the right to I use these aspects to increase flowering and also fruit production?

I read your page and really helpful however in my situation I have 2 year old grass through no so great soil. Would certainly you imply fertilizing with higher nitrogen and phosphorus see as few of my grass started to yellow also though ns water properly and also make certain I don’t miss out on watering. Weeds are also a little problem however I figured that was because of a little of grass dying and weed seed making there means through to have the ability to reach the soil and grow. I know my floor is not an excellent so ns would need something to probably improve the soil. If you have a reminder it would certainly be appreciated due to the fact that there’s nothing much better than having actually a pretty carpet lawn. And I know that maintain is key. Say thanks to you.

Hi Mauro. The an initial thing you must do is gain a floor test. Begin with this write-up from ours website however then go back and type “soil test” in our search bar. There are several good articles you need to see ~ above this. Here’s the link to start:https://www.aramuseum.org/soil-test-your-first-step-to-lawn-and-garden-success/

Here’s whereby you can link to find the county extension business in her area that will administer the floor test kit friend need. You have to do this! http://nifa.usda.gov/partners-and-extension-map?state=GA&type=Extension

Use the report lock send you once you’ve sent in her samples and follow the instructions.

And yes, the weeds you have are in huge part due to the fact that your lawn is not healthy enough. Acquire it looking great and the will get rid of a lot (but not all) of your weed problems.

Hi Joe, This to be a great article – simple, straight-forward and also easy to understand (while ns navigate inquiries I google that are coming up for me in my garden (and I’ve to be gardening for years! … top top a fight or miss basis! ha). I keep experimenting on a small scale of gardening now and also I’m finding the answers with your website. Most of what I’m needing to discover is right here so ns don’t have details questions because that you just yet. )

I appreciate the info you placed out there and I think it’s a “no-brainer” the you have to be the “go-to source” because that garden information. It’s evident you love what you’re doing and obvious girlfriend care about how it’s presented. Say thanks to you because that that!!

I”m top top your email list and continue to poll for your grant. I hope you acquire it! (The method I’m rooting for you sounds prefer this post is “planted” however it’s no – it’s sincere and simply comes from me – a reader. I’m certain others would agree that your work-related is appreciated. ) store up the great work!– Linda

Hi Phil. They occupational to carry out a fast fix come the lawn, choose Miracle-gro does because that plants. It’s biggest advantage if over there is one is that it’s a quick and also easy method to give a an increase to her lawn. But, it’s not my technique of choice. I favor to use a granular product (I use Milorganite), that feeds the lawn slower so everything isn’t take away up automatically by the roots is shed forever (as v liquid fertilizers).

Joe,It would definitely be worth stating that very tiny if any “P” is needed or supplied by lawn grass. Unused phosphorus regularly finds its means into ours waterway polluting our lakes and streams. Numerous lawn fertilizer manufactures now formulate their commodities without phosphorous (making the center number zero). If you look for out and use zero phosphorous lawn fertilizer when it is available in your cultivation area, you will certainly not only save money, yet protect ours water quality and also environment. I notice that Katherine (March 16 comment) called out this lawn fertilizers , but no point out of why it is critically important to use “zero middle number” fertilizer for lawns.

Hey Joe,

I’m in Iowa, have actually two young kids and also a dog. I have actually used Milorganite in the fall and spring because that the critical 2 years along with over seeding. I’m not seeing any kind of changes and also seeing an ext dandelions. A friend of mine had some that the same problems and went to the Scotts Max green that is 26-0-2. I recognize that the Nitrogen has helped his grass acquire green however I want a healthy, plush grass to go with the green. Do you introduce doing the High nitrogen with the 5-5-5?

Also is the high web traffic in the yard the reason the brand-new grass doesn’t grow? I have the right to see whereby the dog tracks yet in mine high shaded locations I gain nothing come grow and also its thin.

Any aid would be considerably appreciated. Thanks

A floor sample has actually been excellent by a technician from Trugreen follow them my soil need phosphorus 2 lbs / 1000 sq ft and potassium 1 lbs / 1000 sq ft. He told united state the lack of Phosphorus in the soil outcomes an poor growth an shade of the grass. I tried to buy this at local stores like Lowes and Home depot. Yet they cannot aid me. I tried to find it online, but additionally without any result. Carry out you have any idea wherein to to buy Phosphorus and Potassium ?

I’m make the efforts to win a sunflower farming contest here in Farmington Michigan and also was said by a farmer ar of mine that zero 20 zero is recommended so asking what must I use instead of itas I understand this is more for advertisement growers and I only have actually one plant. The Countess by the means is for quantity or height I’m obviously walking for best again Farmington Michigan suburb of Detroit is my locale any aid you can offer me I’ll give you an honorable as soon as I win the contest

Parts of my garden is yes, really green and also plush. However I have actually some spots whereby the grass simply wont grow. What deserve to I perform to get also growth and also greenness?

I started a new small landscaped lawn in the autumn of 2013. It came up beautifully and was green all winter long below in phibìc Carolina. But in the so late spring and also summer the parts that gained the most sun died. It started in brown patches and also finally it was 90% unable to do by the fall. I had actually the soil tested to view if it was diseased or deficient in some way. The lawn sloped very small which can have added to the brown patch. Ns researched it and also believe it to be a brown spot fungus that led to it come die. We were watering it in the evenings and also kept it around 5 customs long. I sowed brand-new seed last fall, 2014 and also it came earlier well again. This time ns have cut it to around 3 come 4 inches and also we room watering much less and also only in the morning (can’t assist the evening rains though!). Anyway, the is the end of May and I can already see brown spot starting. I have actually not offered it any fertilizer this spring. What have the right to I do? Will any fertilizer help? possibly one that is short in Nitrogen?

Hi Joe. Critical year we developed raised beds and also early on realized we over fertilized. Ns ran water v the beds yet the plants couldn’t it is in saved. Us did a home test the the soil this year and also everything experiment low. Can this it is in possible? could much the what we included last year have been removed? should we it is in leery the the check kit.? Thanks!

Hey, I have a lawn spewed through weeds growth. A girlfriend of mine informed me that a mixture with the fertilizer the 666. As soon as I went to my neighborhood garden shop to acquisition they didn’t have it. In reality they haven’t heard of it in mine area, which s NY. The friend provides the mixture in Florida, Is there a difference of make-up for mixtures for solving problems as because that different locations of the country? The floor in Florida is sand and the soil the I have in brand-new York sand. I average I realize that the locations are different so the link make-up the the soils will certainly be different, for this reason What I’m basically asking is carry out you think it would certainly be alright to usage the girlfriend mixture in new York?

where deserve to I find 10 – 10 – 10 – fertilizerI live in Des Moines IowaI went the end to D & K they carry out not bring it anymoreI choose using that fertilizer execute you have one more suggestion what type of fertilizer I can use?

Hi Joe,My regional nursery male has suggested a 15 15 10 to carry some nutrient deficient soil up due to the fact that the wild grasses space not flourishing green and healthy. Need to I be using 10 10 10 instead? this are just chemical fertilizers as I know it. Where is the the very least expensive place to purchase it and also what room some yes brands?

I’m having a difficulty in understanding plants with both up and down. Once you plant tomatoes for example; once you tree them, you are interested in acquiring the tree going. Do you stick through the nitrogen all the way through or is there a point when girlfriend bear under on the phosphorus to produce the fruit?? Thanks

am about to plant beans in a 1acre land,i currently have manure,i understand i need phosphorus fertilisers too,i dont understand the finest phosphorus fertiliser come use.

Hi Joe give thanks to you an extremely much this helps me a bunch, however I’m still having actually a small trouble because I mostly have actually Bonsai, Cactus, succulents and also one leafy plant ns belive is a corn palm? Help

I have actually mango trees here in Miami. What deserve to I put on them currently that blossoms space on them in December come produce more blossoms and fruit. One year mine Hayden created twice blossoms. What fertilizer formula is finest for them come bloom double a year? ns heard Potassium Nitrate is good? What perform you suggest? Thanks

Joe, I’m putting in a fall garden because that the an initial time and several sites cite the fertilizer have to be tilled right into the soil prior to the seeds and seedlings are planted. I didn’t do this. If ns fertilize with an all objective fertilizer currently that the seeds have sprouted, will certainly it be as reliable or will it pains the tender plants?


Hi Joe,

What type of fertilizer need to I usage for longan, wax jambu and also Chico sapote? also the amount and frequency the fertilizer applications.

Hi Joe!I stumbled across you net site and also have a concern for you! us live in main Texas and also have black color claylike soil. I’ve had actually soil check done and also the ph is really high. I’ve also had our fine water tested and also the ph on it is really high together well. If it it s okay on your car and also dries, the only means to obtain the dried cloudy residue off is with strong vinegar. I doubt that thirty plus year of making use of it on ours garden has actually put the ph in ~ this level. I posed the inquiry sat ask.com regarding how to lower the floor ph. Their referral is element sulfur. End the year I’ve used a number of trailer lots of mushroom compost, my very own compost and ‘all purpose’ fertilizer. Now to my question: need to I just be using of commercial fertilizer with only nitrogen in it, staying clear of the various other two chemicals?

question : ns live in SW Florida and also have three fairly large, fast growing mango tree that ns planted 4 years ago. A Glenn, a Valencia Pride and a Kent, i beg your pardon is my favorite mango, taste wise. Only sporatic, tiny harvests indigenous the Glenn and also Valencia proud till this year. Both tree exploded through 40 or so fruit each yet the Kent continues to be totally fruitless for the third year in a row, although the looks as healthy as the other two,..lots the brabches & leaves, just no fruit..A girlfriend told me ns should apply a 0 – 0 – 50 fertilizer to the Kent in the fall, the should bring it around to involvement in the fruit fest following summer. What perform you to speak ?

Hi Joe- ns live in CT and also I have been having actually an problem with brown spots on my lawn native dog urine. It only seems to occur after i fertilize. It would certainly seem v some research study that the point out are resulted in by high concentration of nitrogen in mine dog’s pee mixing through the nitrogen in the fertilizer. Execute you think it would be helpful finding a fertilizer that has actually a an extremely low N number? FYI- the lawn is Kentucky bluegrass. Thanks!

OK. So ns go come the store. And a see a 50 lb. Bag of granular 21-0-0. Definition that its just 21% nitrogen. So with those double 0’s, What is the remaining 79%? the can’t be that much micro-nutrients, (or rather it wouldn’t be micro!) for this reason after the 21, is the remainder inert/filler?

What is the ideal fertilizer for Doc young name Lima Beans? my garden is about 50′ x 50′ . Every year, previous to planting, i haul in steed manure. This manure is at least 1 year old prior to it is applied, so, it should be composted. I spread out out around 2″ of manure anywhere the garden and also till it in so every little thing is around 7-8 inch deep. Annually it seems we room eating lima beans way before anyone else in the area. My inquiry is if over there is a good fertilizer blend after the beans have leafed out to assist out the compost? many thanks Bill

I live close to a lake and also I’ve heard that I should put a fertilizer on mine lawn that has actually 0 for the second number. Is the true, and if so, why?

To: Joe Lamp’l— My concern is–I have unlimited summer Hydrangeas and would prefer the suitable time to prune them?

I would an extremely appreciative because that a prize on the pruning.

Kay, limitless Summer hydrangeas bloom top top “old wood” so prune them best after flowering as the blooms fade. To perform it right, take each branch and also cut it back by 1/3 or 1/2 to about 1/4 inch above a set of dormant sheet buds. If you’re pruning, go ahead and also cut ago to the ground any kind of obviously old, dead wood.

Um. Actually limitless Summer blooms on new growth, therefore the “endless” blooms thru summer.Traditional old fashioned hydrangeas should put on new growth this year, together that development will create next year’s blooms. Old fashioned hydrangeas need to be dead-headed ago to a bud (actually will certainly be two brand-new tips that thrive from that point), and also the same result is achieved when you cut yourself a big boquet for the house! The an ext growing tips, the much more opportunity for flowers; not every guideline will create one every year, yet those that don’t most likely will the following year. Psychic the dominion of Thumb: (old fashion hydrangeas) “Flowers show up on One Year Old Growth”– which really means, “at least one year old”… those non-blooming advice this year will most likely be your first flowers next year.

With countless Summer, cutting flower for your home an ext often, will obtain you extr blooms, rather choose cut-and-come-again Zinnias. Remember to fertilize at the start of the growing season, and also put something prefer True Blue approximately the plants to make blue and also purple blooms from pink and reddish ones. Mulch through acid compost (azalea/rhodo mix), to rise acidity because that blue blooms. The acidifying should be excellent in fall, so the is current the moment the plant thinks of do a flower, won’t work also if the flower is currently on its means (you can’t check out them yet).

Mind you, i live in California (I’m sorry!), for this reason consult local nursery if friend live in c-c-cold area. Martha Stewart website could have information on exactly how to winter over her hydrangeas. Worth noting: my DH hacked back a quite scraggly ES a pair years back (potted) and also that thing is right now a Bloomin’ Fool! (as they say) ns was sure it was a gonner!

Good luck!

I love your “Up, down and all around” summary of what those number represent and their respective influence is on plants; in mine case, it’s a tomato deal!


Hi,My soil is high in Nitrogen and an extremely low in phosphorus and potash per floor analysis. Ph is very an excellent at 7.1, what sort of fertizer I should use i m sorry is very low in nitrogen yet high in P&P


My soil sample gives my garden floor a ph of 5.9 with excessive phosphorus and also calcium. What kind of necessary fertilizer would certainly you recommend because that a vegtable garden?

I simply planted a plumaria tree in southern Calif native a 10 festival container. Beautiful plant around 7 feet tall. What is the finest fertilizer mix because that the transplant from the container. There is no foilage, however spring is here and also my various other plumarias are starting to develop foilage.


My floor sample says that I usage 8-4-8 however the keep doesn’t lug that. What must I usage in its place and also should i use more or much less of the substitute? many thanks.

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Joe, space the weights elemental (wts the N, P, K alone), or carry out they reflect amounts of the link of these facets used to comprise the fertilizer? Thanks.