What Is the Difference Between Liquid and Solid Plant Food?

As a beginner grower, you may not know that there is more than one type of way to feed your plants. Regardless of if you are feeding your houseplants, lawn, grass, or just maintaining the outdoor garden, then knowing the best ways and time to apply fertilizers will result in the best growth, plant health and fruit and vegetable production. In this blog, we break down the difference between liquid and solid fertilizers, explain organic fertilizers, the best products to use on your lawn and garden and our top tips.

Detailed shot of the Upgrade granulated texture.
Detailed shot of the Upgrade granulated texture.

The differences between liquid and solid plant fertilizers

Liquid fertilizers come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from organic to mineral. Most of us will have grown plants before and applied a nutrient solution enriched with liquid fertilizer to soil, coco coir or rockwool. Organic liquid nutrients will be washed over the roots and then into the substrate, where they will be quickly used by the microbes and the soil food web. When growing plants using organic methods is important to know that the nutrients provided by them will slowly break down, decompose, and become available for the plants to use when necessary. Beneficial bacteria, fungi, probiotic bacteria, and microorganisms present in the soil will accelerate this process.

 

On the other hand, hydroponic nutrients are quite different from organic nutrient fertilizers. They are designed for nurturing a sterile growing medium such as coco coir, rockwool or expanded clay balls. These fall more on the mineral side and are carefully formulated to provide all the nutrients a plant needs. They tend to be more concentrated and have a precise and defined amount of nutrients, so nutrition is more precise, and crop yields are higher.
These types of fertilisers can be found in both solid and liquid versions, each with their own benefits.


When is the best time to apply liquid fertilizer?

Plants – Liquid fertilizers can be applied to plants as soon as the plant has established root system. Add the recommended amount to your watering weekly or every two weeks depending on your plant needs. Check B’cuzz Soil A&B for mineral nutrition, and ATA Growth-C in the more organic side of things.
Lawn – Lawns can be treated with liquid fertilizers during the milder seasons. This will help to retrieve greener grass and cover bold patches.
Garden area – We recommend providing liquid fertilization to the garden soil regularly, and even fine tune the nutrition when the flowering and fruiting phase kicks in.

Nurturing the vegetable garden is the path to get bountiful harvest.
Nurturing the vegetable garden is the path to get bountiful harvest.

Atami’s 5 top tips for growing plants in soil


Top tip #1 – Check the quality of your tap water

Water has its own properties. Each water differs in composition, concentrations of elements, etc. And this will affect the nutrition of your plants, leading to deficiencies or excesses. Therefore, our first tip, before you start using fertilisers, is to know the quality of your water. Once you know what kind of water you have, choosing fertiliser will be much easier.


Top tip #2 – Top dress frequently

Top dressing your plant pots, lawn, and garden will make sure that there are always nutrients being released. The soil food web will break down the organic matter and convert it into a rich source of ready-to-use carbon and nutrients.


Top tip #3 – Take care of the soil life

Using products like Worm Delight or Upgrade is a great way to inoculate your growing medium whilst providing a fine balance of micro and macro nutrients. The healthier the soil is, the healthier the plants are, so you can expect better outcomes!

When should solid plant food nutrients be applied?

Plants – Top dressing plants every 10–14 days with soil, compost, or Worm Delight. NRG Upgrade is the best way to proceed. Just consider that Upgrade will nurture your plants for 75 to 100 days!
Lawn – Top dressing your lawn and grass will keep the microbes, bacteria, and soil food web thriving. Do it regularly during the spring and summer.
Garden area – You cannot go wrong by scattering NRG Upgrade to all corners of your garden! It’s almost impossible over-fertilize your plants with it and will nurture your plants and the beneficial micro-organisms of your soil.

 

The benefits of liquid nutrients

Liquid fertilizers are the most popular choice for growers. That is because not only can the strength of the nutrient solution be determined beforehand, but the plants will also use the nutrients within a short space of time. Organic liquid fertilizers will act as a tonic for the soil food web, providing considerable amounts of carbon as a source of food for the beneficial microorganisms and soil food web present. You will also find that there are many liquid fertilizers for each stage of a plant’s life cycle, ranging from roots, the growth stage and flowering period.

 

The benefit of solid food and dry granular

Those who prefer to use only water and their growing medium will experience a simple and rewarding way to grow their plants by using slow release fertilisers. Using only plain water and allowing Mother Nature to do the rest is the best way to maintain a healthy and fertile outdoor garden, is often the most practical and economical. Also, you take care of your soil, being eco-friendlier and more sustainable.

What Is the Difference Between Liquid and Solid Plant Food? Atami products

Atami’s 5 top tips for growing plants in soil


Top tip #1 – Check the quality of your tap water

Water has its own properties. Each water differs in composition, concentrations of elements, etc. And this will affect the nutrition of your plants, leading to deficiencies or excesses. Therefore, our first tip, before you start using fertilisers, is to know the quality of your water. Once you know what kind of water you have, choosing fertiliser will be much easier.


Top tip #2 – Top dress frequently

Top dressing your plant pots, lawn, and garden will make sure that there are always nutrients being released. The soil food web will break down the organic matter and convert it into a rich source of ready-to-use carbon and nutrients.


Top tip #3 – Take care of the soil life

Using products like Worm Delight or Upgrade is a great way to inoculate your growing medium whilst providing a fine balance of micro and macro nutrients. The healthier the soil is, the healthier the plants are, so you can expect better outcomes!

Top tip #4 – Molasses as a liquid fertilizer

Molasses-based products, such as Flavor, are an excellent source of sugar and carbohydrates. If diluted in water and applied to the soil, they will nourish the micro-organisms in the soil very effectively. Plants will also grow in optimum health, and flowering plants will produce larger fruits and vegetables with more flavour and aroma.

ATA NRG Flavor family

Top tip #5 – Keep a crop rotation

Each plant has different nutritional needs, and keeping the same crop for a long time can wear out the soil. This is why we always advise you to mix and match! This has several benefits as discussed in our article on companion planting that you can check understanding this concept better. But in addition, it allows the soil not to deplete its nutrients quickly and improves the ecosystem below the surface as well!

 

Our conclusion

Choosing between liquid or solid fertilizers depends on your preferences, not on whether one type is better than the other. Top dressing with granular fertilizers works great for vegetable gardens and lawn. When it comes to growing plants in hydroponics, working with liquid hydroponic specific fertilizers is best. Good luck learning which method works best for you and your plants!

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