There are mainly 2 broad categories of fertilizers in general. While the most natural occuring fertilizer can be found in general soil that we step on, created from decomposition of organic matters such as dead leaves, animals and insects(which explains why weeds can grow everywhere in this urban city), modern agri-technology have advance far enough to manufacture synthetic fertilizers based on the crop requirements the farmers grow. In this article, let's discuss mainly the types, it's availability, the pros and cons, mainly on the application towards foliage plants of course.
Organic fertilizers are derive through naturally means, via byproducts of waste, natural decomposition of organic matters and even fermentation and cultivation of beneficial bacterias. However, contrary to most, organic does not always mean good, at least not always in the context of foliages. Don't let the perceived meaning of this word mislead us =). In technical term, organic fertilizers are considered "slow release", meaning, the nutrients are made available overtime base on the rate of decompositions of organic matter. Though it is mostly safe from nutrient burns by overfeeding(not all), but "SLOW" ain't a word most foliage collectors would want their plant to be in terms of growth. Moreover, animal byproducts such as manures, and composts are so rich in micro-organism activities that it invites unwanted pests. Nobody would want fungus gnats and insects to be flying all over your plants indoor. Being a more economic choice, organic fertilizers are safe and easy to apply though, and it improve soil condition via microbial activities within. Importantly, they are a substainable resource, and is easily available at most local plant nurseries, in forms of liquid concentrates and pallets.
Also known as synthetic fertilizer, these are pretty much man made through a specific targeted requirement in order to address their plants' needs. Such products are available in quite a huge spectrum, but mainly generalized in forms of water soluble and insoluble product. Examples are liquid fertilizer, typically used for hydroponic setups, water soluble granules, slow/controlled released fertilizers like osmocote and nutricote. Generally at a higher cost compared to organic fertilizer(due to labor costs supposingly), they typically comes in the form of NPK ratio as a measure of the nutrient content. Most all purposes synthetic fertilizer, be it in any forms are equal ratio-ed mainly to address to the entire planting community, with the objective of applying it as a supplment from their base potting medium. The only mainstream targeted fertilizer most commonly found are for orchids so far, with the trend still actively in play up till now. They are double edged, cause nutrient burns if overfed, and typically cause nutrient deficiencies and/or nutrient antagonism if not properly applied. Yet on the other hand, readily made nutrients available directly for plants to absorb based on how it was manufactured and program to be. For example, liquid fertilizers comes in concentrated forms, to be diluted accordingly and implemented through watering regime or foliar feeding, either daily or on a periodic basis. General rule of thumb, the longer the span of period to water, the higher the concentration your liquid feed should be. Controlled release fertilizers works based on providing a steady release of nutrient towards the plant via a fixed length of time. For most, 3-4 months to 5-6 months. Given how long it may last, maybe they could be a more cost effective option in the long run? To achieve optimal growth in the shortest time possible through direct feeding as compared to allowing natural pace via organic means with a time vs growth factor in play. Give it a thinker?
With a wide array of fertilizers that is already in the market, it is surprising to know even on the global stage, there is just only a handful that manufactures to the needs of the aroid community. Maybe the trend have been too exponential for them to catch up, but indefinitely, we will see more of such tailor-made food feeds surfacing in months to come. Of course, if you are keen to know what is good, and why, feel free to read along here. At Ember and Leaf, we do recognize the importance of growth for our plants, and thus we dive into the unchartered, with one aim in mind; to provide the very best for our plants.