Plants, like humans, need certain nutrients to grow strong. Healthy, balanced soil contains all of the nutrients a plant needs, but it can lose them over time—which is where plant foods and fertilizers come in.
Complete fertilizers often contain the three essential plant nutrients—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—as well as a number of beneficial micronutrients that can assist with photosynthesis. Plant foods, on the other hand, usually contain only a few of them. (Think of them as a targeted supplement for your greenery.)
And eco-friendly plant parents, listen up: It’s possible to make your own plant food using common kitchen ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. These natural, homemade plant foods tend to be safer than store-bought synthetic fertilizers, which are very concentrated and can harm plants if applied too liberally. They’re also cheaper than store-bought organic fertilizers, made from things like seaweed and animal manure, which tend to be quite pricey.