When discussing fertilizers and fertilizer compounds, N-P-P is actually a misnomer. The letters stand for minerals. N represents the percentage of elemental Nitrogen. The first P represents the percentage of elemental Phosphorus. The second P represents the percentage of elemental Potassium.
However, the correct representation of potassium is with the letter K, taken from its symbol on the periodic table of elements. While it is easy to see how N-P-P may seem more natural to someone who is new to fertilizer compounds, it is always easier to learn the correct terms and apply them to your interests. This will prevent miscommunication when ordering a fertilizer blend or discussing which blend you currently use.
Elements in a Fertilizer Compound
The correct blending of a fertilizer compound is important to avoid altering the soil and damaging plants. Nitrogen and potassium fertilizers balance one another and provide a healthy compound fertilizer pH. Slight adjustments to increase nitrogen will yield a more acidic fertilizer for soil that is too base. An increase in the potassium fertilizer will yield a more base fertilizer for soil that has become too acidic. When soil is rated with a pH level between five and seven, it is ideal for most plants and crops to grow and produce optimally.