Fertilizing Whether it's patio pots with flowers or a garden bed filled with shrubs and perennials, nutrients are an essential part of growing lush, healthy plants. Feed Me! There is an overwhelming amount of choices when it comes to fertilizers. Though plant foods come from many organic or man-made sources, in the end the plant will be happy if it just gets fed something. It's a personal choice if you want to go organic or synthetic. Organics will offer a slow, steady feed that lasts longer, while synthetic choices provide a more rapid form of nutrients. Decode the Numbers There are three key elements in plant fertilizers, and you will always see these represented on the product label. N Nitrogen - First Number: 30 - 10 - 10 Encourages foliage growth on all plants. This is a good choice for trees, shrubs, evergreens. Be careful using a high nitrogen fertilizer on flowering and fruiting plants, it can produce more leaves than fruit or flowers.