Plant Fertilizer vs Plant Food: What is the Difference?

plant food

Plants need the proper nutrients to grow to their full potential. Because of that, fertilizers and plant food are used to improve plant growth.

There is a lot of confusion in the marketplace because the terms “plant food” and “plant fertilizer” are often used interchangeably. But, they are not the same thing.

Even they are not the same, these nutritional elements are essential for plants to survive and make progress. 

This blog will examine the differences between plant fertilizer and plant food.

Plant Food: What is it?

Plant food is a substance meant to be consumed by plants to provide them with nutrients. It comes in many different forms, including water, soil, and fertilizer. 

Plants need food to grow, providing them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy. 

How plant food works depend on the type of plant food being used. Some forms of plant food, like water and soil, are absorbed by the plant’s roots. 

No matter how it’s delivered, plant food provides plants with essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Plant Fertilizer: What is it?

Plant Fertilizer is any substance or material added to soil to encourage plant development. 

There are many different fertilizer types on the market, but the majority of them comprise Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). 

The N-P-K ratio is printed on the box of most fertilizers sold in stores or online.

Other nutrients are found in fertilizers, such as Magnesium (Mg) and Sulfur (S), but they are not as crucial for plant growth as N, P, and K. 

Three types of plant fertilizers can keep lawns green and increase crop production in agricultural fields worldwide. 

Organic Fertilizers, Mineral Fertilizers, and Industrial Fertilizers are the three types.

Organic fertilizers, such as manure and compost, are made from animal feces and decomposed plant or animal materials.

Mineral fertilizers (such as phosphate or potash) are mined from the ground and crushed or chemically processed before applying.

Chemical processes, such as those that produce ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate, and urea, make industrial fertilizers.

On the other hand, organic and mineral fertilizers have long been employed in agriculture to increase crop yields.

Plant Fertilizer vs. Plant Food: What is the Difference?

For instance, plant food refers to the essential chemical ingredients plants require and use. 

When these elements are delivered to the environment around the plant, the term fertilizer is employed.

Plants make their food from sunlight, water, energy, and carbon dioxide. 

The food (sugars and carbs) is mixed with plant nutrients to create protein, vitamins, enzymes, and other critical ingredients for plant growth.

On the other hand, fertilizers are compounds that contain plant components or nutrients. 

They’re usually mixed into water or soil, although some can also be sprayed on leaves.

To make it easier to understand, here’s the explanation that is more comprehensive to understand regarding their difference.

Plant Food is naturally occurring while fertilizer is commercially available!

Plants are self-sufficient in terms of nutrition. They require your assistance in the form of water and sunlight to begin the process, but the procedure is entirely natural. 

Remember, it’s all about photosynthesis! 

To get your houseplant to make plant food, you don’t need to use any chemicals or foreign items. When it’s time, it’ll do it. 

If that doesn’t happen, something is likely wrong with your plant.

Fertilization is not a natural occurrence. Yes, natural fertilizer is available, but plants do not nourish themselves. It’s something you owe it to them to do.

Plant Fertilizer vs. Plant Food: What is better?

Plants would feed themselves by absorbing nutrients from the soil. However, it requires to fertilize in the absence of nutrients.

Fertilizer provides your plant’s nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, but they quickly deplete these components, particularly nitrogen. 

That is why fertilizer is required to restore these components. 

Plants can thrive without all of the necessary elements, but they will not be as healthy as possible if they have all they need.

Furthermore, plants grow vigorous and healthy when they receive enough nutrients, sunlight, and water to survive. 

However, whether you work with a freshly dug garden bed or fresh potting soil, your soil may contain the nutrients your plants require.

As a result, if you want your plants to develop well, you should use fertilizer.


Plant food and plant fertilizer are both essential to the growth of plants. However, they are not the same thing. 

Plant food is a mix of essential nutrients necessary for plant growth. Plant fertilizer is a concentrated nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium source that helps promote vigorous plant growth.

It is essential to know the difference between them to understand the right one for your plants.

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