What are fertilizers?

Fertilizers are food for plants: they provide nutrients for plants to grow and thrive.

A mineral plant nutrient is an element which is essential or beneficial for plant growth and development or for the quality attributes of the harvested product of a given plant species grown in its natural or cultivated environment

In addition to carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which they get from the atmosphere and water, plants need 14 essential nutrients for their growth and health, which fertilizers provide.

These are: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulphur (S), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl), nickel (Ni). Additional elements may be essential to a few plant species, e.g. sodium (Na) and cobalt (Co).

Learn more about plant nutrients in the infographic below:

19 Plant Nutrients for Improving and Protecting Plant Health

19 Plant Nutrients for Improving and Protecting Plant Health

Plants use minerals present in the soil and water in order to grow and flourish. Just like with humans, if they don't get enough of these nutrients it can seriously affect their health. Ensuring proper plant nutrition by using fertilizers (organic and mineral) to supplement the nutrients already available in the soil is essential for plant health.

View infographic

IFA Publications

Fertilizers and their Efficient Use Fertilizers and their Efficient Use
Nutrient Management Handbook Nutrient Management Handbook