NPK Fertilizer: Know How to Use It Properly and the Elements

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NPK fertilizer is quite familiar and known to many, especially ornamental plant lovers. It is the most widely used type of compound fertilizer and contains several types of macro and micro nutrients. 

NPK stands for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). The three nutrients help plant growth. Nitrogen helps vegetative growth, especially leaves. Phosphorus helps the growth of plant roots and shoots, while Potassium helps flowering and fertilization. 

There are several types of NPK fertilizer that can be found in the market. What are they? 

  1. NPK Pelangi 16-16-16

NPK Pelangi fertilizer is a compound fertilizer that has many varieties based on the demand and needs of plants. It is one of the NPK compound fertilizer products from Pupuk Kaltim. NPK Pelangi 16-16-16 is prioritized for the horticultural crop segment, but can also be applied to all types of plants. 

  1. NPK Phonska 15-15-15

NPK Phonska fertilizer is one of the fertilizers subsidized by the government so the price is much cheaper and affordable. It does not sell freely and is distributed privately. It is only sold to farmers who have joined registered farmer groups. 

NPK Phonska 15-15-15 fertilizer contains 15 percent nitrogen, 15 percent phosphorus, 15 percent potassium and 10 percent sulphur. It has the shape of pink or brick-red granules and a size of 1-4 millimeters which is hygroscopic or easily soluble. Therefore, it is easily absorbed by plant roots. 

  1. NPK Phonska Plus 15-15-15

Despite having a similar name, NPK Phonska Plus fertilizer is different from NPK fertilizer. NPK Phonska Plus is in the shape of white granules that can dissolve easily in water. 

  1. NPK 30-6-8

This type of fertilizer is one of the NPK compound fertilizer products from Pupuk Kujang with nutrient composition of 30 percent nitrogen, 6 percent phosphorus and 8 percent potassium. 

  1. NPK Mutiara 16-16-16 

The fertilizer has the shape of faded blue granules usually packaged in plastics. NPK Mutiara contains 5 nutrients, namely 16 percent nitrogen, 16 percent P2O5 or phosphorus, 16 percent K2O or potassium, 0.5 percent MgO or magnesium and 6 percent CaO or calcium. 

Many ornamental plant collectors may have used the NPK Mutiara 16-16-16 fertilizer. It is known to have a great use for fast plant growth. 

  1. NPK Pak Tani 16-16-16 

Known as a high-quality product from Russia, NPK Pak Tani 16-16-16 is useful for increasing shoot growth, greening leaves, and increasing crop yields. This fertilizer contains 16 percent nitrogen from 6.4 percent nitrate nitrogen and 9.6 percent ammonium nitrogen. 

It also contains 16 percent phosphorus, 16 percent potassium oxide, 5 percent calcium oxide and 1 percent magnesium oxide. The fertilizer is quite often found in the market. 

Then, how do we use NPK fertilizer? Is it sowed or dissolved? The use of NPK fertilizer can be done in two ways, by sowing or planting it into the soil and using a kocor system (dissolving the NPK fertilizer granules with water first, then the solution is poured into the planting medium). Of these two, which one is better? 

It is important to understand that NPK fertilizer has a solid form so that when dissolved in air it will ease the process of root absorption. The optimal absorption will make plants grow better. Additionally, fertilization with the kocor system can be done anytime and does not have to wait for the season. 

However, contrary to the sowing system, it is more effective to be made during the rainy season because it helps dissolve the fertilizer or it can be sprinkled with water for the dissolving process. In terms of the application, unlike the method of sowing which will spread everywhere, the application of fertilizer with the kocor system is easier and will focus more on the plants. 

Another advantage of the kocor system, the distribution is more efficient and even compared to the sowing system. Besides that, with the application of the kocor system, all plant roots can get fertilizer evenly. Therefore, plants can absorb more fertilizer. In this case, we can conclude that the kocor system is better than the application of the sowing system. 

How to Dissolve NPK Fertilizer Properly

NPK fertilizer is a fertilizer that is widely used to support plant fertility. One of the NPK fertilizers that is often used is NPK Pelangi 16-16-16 produced by PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (Pupuk Kaltim).

This fertilizer is known for its balanced nutrient composition of 16 percent nitrogen, 16 percent phosphorus and 16 percent potassium. However, some people still feel confused about the appropriate dose of NPK Pelangi 16-16-16 fertilizer by dissolving it.  

First, dilute one tablespoon of NPK Pelangi 16-16-16 into 3 liters of water. It is the right amount to dissolve or dilute the NPK Pelangi 16-16-16 fertilizer. However, if you have a lot of plants and the use of 3 liters of NPK 16-16-16 fertilizer solution is not enough, then you can double the measure.  It means 2 tablespoons of NPK Pelangi 16-16-16 fertilizer can be dissolved with 6 liters of water, 3 tablespoons of fertilizer with 9 liters of water, and so on. 

The application of the dissolved NPK Pelangi 16-16-16 fertilizer must be done once a week, in contrast to the direct application of fertilizer which must be given with an interlude of once in every 2 weeks. 

Suitable Plants for NPK Fertilizers

Almost all types of plants need fertilizers. But the types of fertilizer for these plants can be different. NPK fertilizer, for example, is very suitable for various types of ornamental plants. 

Most ornamental plants need nitrogen which plays an important role in the formation of leaf chlorophyll, shoot growth, so that the leaves can grow healthy and beautiful. Nitrogen also stimulates vegetative growth, produces green pigment, or chlorophyll which makes plants greener. With a sufficient supply of nitrogen, plant growth will be firm. 

Plants that focus on roots and stems need phosphorus because it plays a role in the formation of healthy roots, so that plant vigor becomes firm, and can support plants well. 

As for ornamental flowers, potassium plays an important role in determining the length of the flower panicles on orchids, the number of roses, the number of petals, the thickness and the color contrast.