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They represent the percentages of plant nutrients by weight. Just remember “up, down and all around.” The first number represents the nitrogen, the second represents the phosphorus and the last one represents the potassium. These numbers are always expressed in the same order.

  • What is the nitrogen needed for? It’s the up. It promotes plant growth and greening thus providing more foliage, color and density.
  • What does the phosphorous do? This is the “down” number. It stimulates cell building and root growth, and is particularly beneficial in helping seedlings, flowers and vegetables to develop.
  • What does the potassium do? It assists plants in forming starches and proteins thus promoting plant hardiness, disease resistance and a tolerance to drought and cold. It’s the “all-around” number.

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