This paper reviews various types of fertilizers which have found a place in horticultural practice. The rather different crops and environments which apply in horticultural practice have led to evolution of some rather different and more specialized fertilizers than in agriculture. Whilst in the past organics have formed a basis for safe and convenient horticultural fertilizers, the increased price and lesser availability have combined with improved technology and horticultural practice to lead to other approaches. Cost has been and still is an important consideration, increases in cost having to be weighed against the advantages of simpler and more convenient application or improved cropping.
One approach has been to design slow release fertilizers made by industrial processes. A number of different techniques have been tried and some of these materials are now used regularly in horticulture. An alternative approach has been to use the regularly applied irrigation or sprays as carriers for fertilizers. This technique is usually cheaper than using slow release fertilizers but is not universally applicable.
Some other specialized fertilizers described use a peat base. These present certain advantages especially for lawn application, being safe and easily applied. Chelates and frits also have a place in horticultural practice.