What does a plant need to grow and thrive?
Just like humans plants need nutrients to thrive. The three main nutrients that the plants needs to survive are N(nitrogen) is needed to provide energy to allow for vegetative growth. Leafy plants need a lot but rooting plants do not. For fruiting plants, they need plenty in the beginning and less as they mature. P (phosphorus) encourages bloom and root growth. K (potassium) helps with to fight against diseases and aids in the photosynthesis process. These are the three macro nutrients that the plants will need to survive, this is the reason that they are advertised on the fertilizers in big letters. Yet, they are not the only ones. I am sure that we could live off of cake and candy for a little while, yet the body will eventually not be able to ward off illness. Plants are the same. They need additional nutrients to fruit and prosper. For example calcium (ca) helps with the cell wall structures which makes the plants strong. You can find Ca in eggshells or at least that is what I use. Magnesium (Mg) is needed to as part of chlorophyll which then aids in photosynthesis. We use garden Epsom salt. Sulfur (S) allows plants to generate vitamins and protein also helps in rooting. Gypsum is what is mostly used for sulfur. So you can see why these three macro nutrients are needed as well. Here is a list of micro nutrients that your plants will also need to prosper.
There are not always enough of these nutrients in the soil for a plant to grow healthy. So it is up to us the gardeners to do our homework and feed our plants. I know that it can be confusing with so many different types of nutrients out there. I also wish that there was a one fix for all plant. Yet each and every plant is different with different needs. So please read up on your plants and see what it is that will make them happy and strong.
One last thing that can be suggested is that you can have your soil tested to see if it is alkaline or acidic. This can also help you when you are picking up your new plants. Alkaline and acidic refer to the PH of your soil.