5-10-10 Fertilizer

5-10-10 Fertilizer What’s It Used For?

Before finding out more about the 5-10-10 fertilizer, it is important to first understand the basics. So, what is a fertilizer?

Fertilizer can be defined as either a natural or chemical material added into the soil to increase its fertility and help in plant growth. There are two types of fertilizers; organic and inorganic (synthetic) fertilizers.

Types of fertilizers

As mentioned earlier, there are two types of fertilizers; organic and inorganic (synthetic) fertilizers. 

Organic fertilizers

These types of fertilizers are primarily based on plant matter like manure, mulch, and compost. They normally occur naturally; they aren’t manufactured in chemical factories. They are also easier to apply and do not cause any harm to the environment.

Organic fertilizers have been found to work more slowly (in comparison to synthetic fertilizers) but over an extended duration. When compost is added to a plant or garden for the very first time, it’s going to take about two weeks for the results to be seen. Despite the long ‘waiting time’, the results are eye-opening and quite significant.

Some of the most common organic fertilizers include worm castings, grass clipping mulch, composted bull manure, and compost.

Synthetic/Inorganic fertilizers

These fertilizers are manufactured in chemical or fertilizer plants using chemical components. They are quite effective and are a great option for those looking for a quick nutrient boost in their soil.

Inorganic fertilizers need to be used carefully and as per the instructions provided on the label otherwise, it can destroy plants. Using too much is also dangerous; it is harmful to the environment. That said, synthetic fertilizers need to be used wisely.

Fertilizer nutrient ratios

When buying fertilizer, it is important to spend a bit of time going through the labels. It is important to know what the numbers indicated on the label represent. 

The three different numbers displayed on the labels of bottled or bagged fertilizer represent the fertilizer’s N-P-K ratio, for instance, 5-10-10. But what exactly do these numbers mean? What do they represent? These numbers simply represent the percentage (by weight) of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) as they exist in that package of fertilizer. 

Note that even though plants need other different nutrients to aid their proper growth, these three nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) are utilized in the largest quantities. Also, these numbers are only found in commercial fertilizers. Organic fertilizers aren’t labeled with nutrient ratios.

Below are a few examples of commercial fertilizers and their nutrient ratios:

  • Espoma GFE1056 Garden Food Fertilizer; 5-10-5
  • JR Peters Classic No 4 Blossom Booster; 10-30-20
  • Lilly Miller Morcrop Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer; 5-10-10

What is 5-10-10 fertilizer?

A 5-10-10 fertilizer is an example of a commercial fertilizer featuring 5 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorous, and 10 percent potassium. It is considered to be a complete fertilizer given that it is comprised of all 3 nutrients.

A complete fertilizer is one that contains all three nutrients (N, P, and K). An incomplete fertilizer, on the other hand, is one that does not contain all the three major nutrients needed for plant growth. Bone Meal is an example of an incomplete fertilizer with nutrient ratios of 4-12-0. It doesn’t contain any potassium.

The three nutrients each have different uses. Below are the uses of each nutrient:

Nitrogen (N)

This is the most important plant nutrient; plants absorb it more in comparison to other nutrients. Nitrogen is important for protein formation.

Nitrogen determines the growth, color, and health of your plants. It aids with plant growth above the soil surface. It does an incredible job of encouraging green and leafy foliage growth and offers the necessary ingredients needed in the production of a leafy green lawn. That said, lawn fertilizers often have a high first numeral, which means high nitrogen levels.


Phosphorous is quite effective at assisting with plant growth from below the soil surface, in form of strong and healthy roots. It is also responsible for the blooming of flowers as well as the production of fruits. Fertilizers intended for the production of flowers have high middle digits; high amounts of phosphorous.


Potassium is important for general plant health. This is primarily attributed to its ability to aid in the building of strong cells within the plant’s tissues. The outcome is that the plants can withstand certain stresses such as diseases, pests, cold, and heat.

How to use 5-10-10 fertilizer

5-10-10 fertilizers are ideal for healthy and strong plants; it is an incredible “all-round” fertilizer. It is especially beneficial to tomato plants.

If you, however, need more fruit, stem, or leaf size and productivity then go for a fertilizer with more nitrogen such as 10-10-10. Nitrogen assists plants to grow bigger and produce more fruit.

5-10-10 fertilizers can be applied just on top of the soil or mixed with the top two inches of the soil. It should be used when planting seeds or vegetables and then applied again every 4 to 6 weeks. The soil should then watered afterward.

Why use 5-10-10 fertilizers?

Plants obtain nutrients from the soil. These nutrients get depleted with time and this will negatively affect the plants if not addressed. Plants might not grow and/or turn yellow. In some cases, the plants even die. To avoid such, nutrients should be regularly added to the soil to the optimal health and growth of plants. Fertilizers do exactly that.

That’s where 5-10-10 fertilizers come in. Such fertilizers are best suited for vegetable gardens.

A good example of a 5-10-10 fertilizer is Lilly Miller Morcrop Tomato and Vegetable 5-10-10. 

Lilly Miller Morcrop Tomato and Vegetable 5-10-10 

It is quite easy to grow numerous, tasty tomatoes and vegetables, including carrots and hot peppers among others, with this fertilizer. Lilly Miller Morcrop Tomato and Vegetable fertilizer is a blend of traditional plant foods and natural ingredients that enrich the soil with nitrogen from five differing sources.

In addition, this fertilizer’s contents have been further enhanced with several essential minerals important for plant growth. It slowly but surely releases its nutrients into the soil, and this ensures the continuous growth of plants.

Using it is quite simple. When used in a vegetable garden, this fertilizer should be applied at planting time, which will be followed by re-application after every 4 to 6 weeks all through the plant’s growing season. One good thing about this Morcrop fertilizer is that it’s ready for use; it doesn’t need mixing with water.

After placing down the fertilizer, gently mix it into the soil’s surface. Once mixed, water both the soil and plants.

Pros and cons of commercial fertilizers

A major advantage of commercial fertilizers over organic fertilizers is that the former is reliable and predictable.  The formulations are mixed with great accuracy and one can purchase different blends based on their plants’ needs.

Commercial fertilizers have a well-balanced distribution of the three primary essential nutrients required for the optimum growth of plants; nitrogen phosphorous and potassium. In addition, most formulations also feature other important elements such as copper, iron, and sulfur.

Commercial fertilizers allow you to know the specific nutrients that you are providing your plants instead of just guessing as is the case with organic fertilizers.

Nonetheless, commercial fertilizers also have their shortcomings. First off, they tend to be more expensive in comparison to organic fertilizers. They might also contain various ingredients that might be toxic to the respiratory system or skin.

Another major disadvantage is that they need to be accurately measured and mixed. If too much is used, you could end up killing your plants. Also, chemical fertilizers could accumulate in the soil, resulting in long-term imbalances in the soil’s fertility and pH. 


Before you begin adding fertilizer, first ensure that it is required. Conducting a simple soil test easily lets you know the status of your soil with regard to its nutrient composition. After establishing the soil’s nutrient content, you can then proceed to purchase the suitable fertilizer based on the obtained results of the soil test.

Commercial fertilizers have made it possible to know exactly how much nutrients you are providing to the soil. Indicated on their labels are nutrient ratios that are specific to that package of fertilizer. Your fertilizer choice should be based on the nutrient requirement of your soil. 

The use of commercial fertilizers, nonetheless, demand a lot of care. They need to be used as the provided instructions. An even though they are a bit, they are certainly a worthy purchase.