What is 12-4-8 Fertilizer Good For? | The Ultimate Guide

You will love this in-depth guide if you want to know what is 12-4-8 fertilizer good for?

But first, I have a question for you.

Can you guess what this number shows? It refers to the N-P-K ratio.

In simple words, it shows the percentage of three elements:

  • Nitrogen (N): 12%
  • Phosphorus (P): 4%
  • Potassium (K): 8%

First of all, let me introduce these nutrients to you.

What Does “12-4-8” Mean?

As I mentioned earlier, it shows the ratios of three macronutrients.

Here’s why these are important for your plant.


This nutrient is extremely important for plant growth.

Here’s why.

what is 12-4-8 fertilizer good for

It is a source of energy for metabolic processes in plants.

Photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and respiration are some examples of metabolic reactions in plants.

Now, let me explain why Nitrogen is important for leaf growth.

It is used to make amino acids, proteins, nucleic acid and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Note that a plant cannot grow properly without amino acids.

Now you might be wondering, how does a plant obtain Nitrogen?

It obtains Nitrogen in form of nitrates. Remember that it is obtained when ammonia is added to the soil.

In this way, plants take up nitrogen in the form of NH₄⁺ and NO₃⁻ ions as well.

Summary: It nurtures your grass, and makes it greener, thicker and lusher.

Now, let me introduce Phosphorus to you.

Phosphorus (P):

We have 4% phosphorus in 12-4-8 fertilizer.

It is an important component of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). Let me explain.

This structure provides energy to the plants.

Plus, it is essential for proper growth and metabolism in plants. The major function of Phosphorus is that it supports the root and shoot system of plants.

It leads to fruit and flower development as well. Here’s how a plant obtains phosphorus.

Phosphorus is taken up in its primary forms. These are called orthophosphates, H2PO4 and HPO42-.

This happens due to diffusion (movement of substances from higher concentration to lower concentration).

Summary: This nutrient enhances the soil system. Plus, it is important for flower blooming and fruit production.


It boosts the healthy development of your plant. It also builds up plant cells.

You should know that Potassium allows the movement of carbohydrates, water and nutrients as well.

It activates the enzymes which make ATP, starch, and proteins. Enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up a reaction.

This is done by regulating the opening and closing of stomata. Now you might be wondering, how does a plant obtain Potassium?

It is taken up in form of Potassium ion (K+).

The best part is that it quickly dissolves in water. So it is obtained when the plant absorbs water from the soil.

With this, it is time to move on to our next topic.

What is 12-4-8 Fertilizer Good For?

Here’s how this fertilizer is good for your plants.

Overview: The 12-4-8 fertilizer prevents nitrogen deficiency in your plant. Plus, it improves your lawn colour and foliage. The application process is simple.

It improves root growth as well.

what is 12-4-8 fertilizer good for

Now, let’s talk about each of them in detail.

  • It improves your lawn colour and foliage.

Here’s what makes your grass green and vibrant.

There is a pigment in plants known as chlorophyll. This pigment reflects green light to your eyes.

Note that Nitrogen gives your grass a vibrant green colour as well. As I mentioned above, this fertilizer is a great source of Nitrogen.

Note that tree leaves or plants are called foliage.

  • It prevents Nitrogen deficiency in your plant.

Nitrogen deficiency can cause the following problems for your plant:

  1. Slow growth
  1. Pale yellowish-green plant
  1. Reduced tiller development

In simple words, less Nitrogen can cause wilting and less leaf growth. So, the 12-4-8 fertilizer fulfils the Nitorgen requirements of your soil.

Amazing, isn’t it?

  • If applied in early spring, Phosphorus improves root growth.

We have already discussed the uses of Phosphorus above. But, here are some ideas I want to discuss.

This helps plants to “revive from dormancy”, allowing the growth of new roots for the season.

Note that dormancy is a stage when physical activity, growth and development are temporarily stopped. In other words, seeds cannot germinate.

Sounds interesting, isn’t it?

  • A moderate amount of Potassium protects from high temperature and drought.

It also protects from frost and snow in winters. Here’s why.

We have already discussed that Potassium is related to the movement of nutrients, water and carbohydrates.

So this ability allows it to do so.

  • The application process is simple.

Whether you are using granular or liquid fertilizer, the process is simple.

Granular fertilizer:

This fertilizer is absorbed comparatively slower because plants break it down first. It comes in dry pelleted form.

This can work great for you because the nutrients are slowly released. So you do not have to re-apply it constantly.

Further reading:

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They are cheaper than liquid fertilizers when bought in bulk.

Talking about its application, you can spread it evenly with your hands. You can also use a drop spreader for lawns.

Liquid fertilizer:

As the name suggests, this is a liquid product. It is typically added to water before applying to plants.

It contains more nutrients than granular fertilizer.

12-4-8 fertilizer

The application process is as simple as watering your lawn. Note that this fertilizer has less salt content.

This is the reason they can be used as starter fertilizers.

Now, let’s talk about the application process in detail.

How and When to Apply 12-4-8 Fertilizer?

Before talking about this topic, remember that the application process can vary.

This is because of your soil and climate. But, here’s a general step-by-step guide.

  • Fertilizer application should take place in spring.

This all-purpose fertilizer will provide the essential nutrients to the soil. Note that it should not be added in winter when the plant is not growing.

Usually, you can find application details on the package. But here’s a general guide for you.

You need 8 lbs of 12-4-8 fertilizer to cover 1000 sq feet.

  • The application process for liquid and granular fertilizer will vary.

Here’s what you should know.

The liquid fertilizer can be a good starter fertilizer. It is first dissolved in the water. Then, it is sprayed on the leaves using sprayers to provide quick nutrients to the plants.

On the other hand, granular fertilizers release nutrients gradually.

How often to apply?

This depends totally on your lawn.

If you have a “healthy lawn” with a good root system, you can apply the fertilizer every month.

But if your lawn is deficient in nutrients, you should apply the fertilizer every two or three weeks.

If you want a detailed guide on this, you can read our in-depth article on fertilizing your lawn in Florida.

Can I Use 12-4-8 Fertilizer for Hydrangeas?

Quick answer: Hydrangeas are commonly found in gardens due to their lush foliage. And, this fertilizer can be used for them.

Here are some things you should know when fertilizing hydrangeas:

  • Apply fast-release fertilizer, in March, May and July.

As the name shows, it quickly releases Nitrogen and other nutrients to the turf.

  • Apply slow-release chemical once a year.
  • If your leaves appear yellow, apply liquid iron twice a year.

The question is when to fertilize it?

In general, the first application should take place between mid-to-late spring.

The further applications will depend on the fertilizer that you use. So always read the instructions on the package carefully.

If you apply too much fertilizer, it can burn your leaves. In the same way, higher nitrogen encourages longer stems but less flower growth.

Can I Use 12-4-8 Fertilizer For Dogwood Tree?

Quick answer: It can be a good all-purpose fertilizer.

12-4-8 fertilizer for dogwood trees

This means that it is helpful in the early stages and plays a good role in the development.

  • At the start, you can use the 4-3-3 fertilizer for the best development in a short period.

Later, you can switch to the 12-4-8 fertilizer to fulfil the nutrient requirements.

Note that this will depend on the condition of your soil.

The idea is that the plant will obtain macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium through this fertilizer.

  • The best time to fertilize the dogwood tree is in early spring.

At this stage, the tree has not grown flowers. The other application should take place in the summer.

Note that dogwood trees have to be fertilized regularly. Just make sure to read the instructions on the package carefully.

  • The fertilizer increases the blooming of the tree.

This is because the 12-4-8 fertilizer provides a good nutritional balance.

If I talk about application, 0.5 pounds of fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter should be added.

But, this can vary as well.

The application should (generally) take place in March and July. Note that it should be applied along the drip line of your tree.

Now, let’s talk about tomatoes:

Can I Use 12-4-8 Fertilizer For Tomatoes:

Growing tomatoes can be tricky.

But do not worry. Here’s everything you should know.

Usually, they need high phosphorus fertilizers such as 8-32-16 and 6-24-24. You have to be extremely careful when applying these.

This is because over-application can destroy your plant.

Over time, you can use fertilizers such as 3-4-6 and 12-4-8 to fulfil the nutrient requirements.

As you already know, the application rate of each fertilizer will be mentioned on the package.

If you are using a liquid fertilizer, add 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of water. In the granular form, 2 tablespoons for 1 gallon of water will work.

Is 12-4-8 Fertilizer Good For Vegetables and Grass?

Let’s talk about vegetables first.


  • This high Nitrogen content makes it an excellent choice for vegetables.

We have discussed the importance of nitrogen earlier as well.

The idea is that it is a good choice for some leafy and non-blooming plants.

  • Vegetables consume a lot of nutrients.

The idea is that vegetables obtain nutrients quickly from the soil. As you already know, this is a good all-purpose fertilizer.

This is the reason it is a good fit for vegetables. In other words, it provides lost nutrients to the plant.

Therefore, the plant grows in a better manner.

Is 12-4-8 Fertilizer Good For Vegetables

If I talk about its application, “healthy” soil should be fertilized every three to four weeks.

You should apply the fertilizer during the spring season. Over here, you should ensure that it is properly added to the soil.

Now, let’s talk about grass.


To be precise, it is a good fit for grass as the nutrients are in good proportion.

The high amount of Nitrogen will make your lawn grass greener and lusher.

If we talk about its application, it should be applied in the early spring, summer or fall.

By doing this, your grass will get more nitrogen and phosphorus. This will develop strong roots.

Note that 1-0-4 fertilizer can be ideal in mid-summer. At this stage, fertilizers with high nitrogen and phosphorus content should be avoided.

Simple, isn’t it?

Wrapping Up:

So, there you have it. Our topic “what is 12-4-8 fertilizer good for” has come to an end.

To recap, this fertilizer improves your lawn colour, prevents nitrogen deficiency and improves root growth.

We also discussed the application of this fertilizer. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Stay tuned for more.

What is 12-4-8 Fertilizer Good For? | The Ultimate Guide

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