Having your own garden helps develop a divine connection with nature. With the right information and care, you can grow all types of vegetables, fruits, and flowers in your indoor and outdoor garden.
Since your garden has so many varieties of plants, it can become difficult to choose which fertilizer is best for each one of them.
We know that plants access the nutrients from the soil, so fertilizers will help supply these nutrients and improve absorption.
In my opinion, the secret to a gorgeous garden is fertilizing at the right time and with the right quantity of fertilizer.
So I have carefully compiled this list of best fertilizers for your garden based on my vast gardening experience.
- 1 Best Fertilizers for Garden
- 1.1 Premium Gold All-Purpose Fertilizer by Dr. Earth – Best Overall Garden Fertilizer
- 1.2 Garden Food by Espoma – Best for Budget Garden Fertilizer
- 1.3 Espoma Organic Berry-Tone – Best Berry Fertilizer
- 1.4 Jobe’s Rose and Flower Granular Plant Food – Best Rose Fertilizer
- 1.5 Pure Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer by Wiggle Worm – Best Organic Garden Fertilizer
- 1.6 Cactus Plus Liquid Plant Food by Schultz – Best Cactus and Succulents Fertilizer
- 1.7 Bio-Tone Starter Plus by Espoma – Best Starter Garden Fertilizer
- 1.8 Water Soluble Plant Food for Vegetables and Herbs by Miracle-Gro – Best Herb Fertilizer
- 1.9 Jack’s Classic Water Soluble Plant Food – Best All-purpose Garden Fertilizer
- 2 Organic Fertilizer for Garden
- 3 Why Do Plants Need Fertilizers?
- 4 Fertilizing Plants in Your Garden
- 5 Four Common Fertilizing Methods for Gardens
- 6 Conclusion
Best Fertilizers for Garden
This all-purpose fertilizer is an ideal choice for vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs, bedding plants, potted plants, annuals, and perennials; hence it qualifies as the best overall garden fertilizer. It is a complete fertilizer with an NPK of 4-4-4.
Another reason for the popularity of this fertilizer is that if used correctly, you won’t have to use anything else for the plants in your garden.
The organic formula has probiotics in it, which helps the plants grow in size, number and adds life to your garden. A single 4 lb pack can provide continuous food for your veggies and plants for several months.
This organic granule fertilizer is created using soil microorganisms, scientific multi-minerals, ecto, and endo mycorrhizae. Your plants will have stable growth throughout the year, unlike some other fertilizers that cause growth spikes and stress the plant.
The special mycorrhizae will improve the performance and drought tolerance of each plant. The microbes also increase nutrient availability throughout the soil.
Your plants will receive other organic ingredients as well, such as fishbone meal, fish meal, seaweed extract, and worm castings for a natural growing environment.
For application, sprinkle and mix the granules directly on the soil for established plants or at first planting.
Pets like dogs are attracted to this fertilizer, so make sure you mix it well in the soil; otherwise, the dog will lick it.
- 100% natural and organic
- Easy to apply with long-lasting results
- Serves as a soil builder
- Consistent results with the quick release of nutrients
- Boosts the plant immunity against disease and fungus
- Attracts animals; therefore, mixing is important
- Has a stinky smell
- Lacks calcium and magnesium
If you are looking for an all-in-one solution for your garden that is economical, this fertilizer is the right choice. It is a balanced fertilizer with an NPK of 10-10-10 that is safe to use on all trees, shrubs, vegetables, and even flowers.
This garden food will help your plants absorb the nutrients faster for healthy and vigorous growth.
You do not have to worry about mixing this granule fertilizer. It should be spread near the base of the plant. This makes it easier to use but make sure you water the area well after fertilizing.
- The bag is resealable
- Easy to use
- The NPK ratio might not work for some plants
- Not water soluble
- Not organic
If you have got some strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries growing in your garden, you must get your hands on this fertilizer.
Espoma has a wide range of organic products for garden fertilizers, and this berry-tone is part of that range. The bio-tone formula has long-lasting results with an NPK of 4-3-4. The slow-release nature of the fertilizer ensures that your berries are thriving throughout the year.
Feed your plants twice a year (early and late spring) and skip feeding in harsh winter. Your plants will produce more flowers, berries and adjust faster after transplanting.
The only drawback is you wouldn’t be able to use it for indoor potted plants because of the strong smell (unless you can tolerate it for your beloved plants).
Mix the fertilizer with soil according to label instructions but make sure you do not leave any product on the plant because direct contact might burn the plant. If the soil is mulched, either remove the mulch or fertilize at a double rate above the mulch.
- Approved for organic gardening
- Bag is resealable
- Has a very strong scent disliked by most people
- Not water-soluble, so it cannot be used in hydroponics
This is one of the best organic fertilizers out there for rose and other flowering plants.
It is a fast-acting product that ensures you have plentiful blooms throughout the season. In no time, your rose bushes will be filled with blooms. The foliage growth will also improve.
It does not contain any harmful synthetics or chemicals that could burn or damage your flowering plants; hence it’s safe for organic gardening.
It is OMRI listed and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for organic gardening.
The Biozome microorganisms in this plant food help break down the nutrients faster to help your plant recover from damage or disease and grow stronger.
Biozome is also responsible for improving soil and disease resistance. This plant food helps your flowering plants develop drought resistance to withstand harsh weather and bloom better.
In addition to organic contents, this fertilizer also has a good blend of three major nutrients with NPK of 3-4-3.
The initial dose should be given at planting and later repeat application every 6 weeks. If you want to protect your beautiful roses, make sure you follow the application rates mentioned at the package.
This granular formula is mixed into the soil, and it lasts longer than the liquid formula. But you have to water the soil well.
- The resealable bag is designed for easy pouring
- Environment friendly
- Can be used safely around pets or children
- Helps you achieve healthy soil for plant growth
- Can be used for new plantings and established plants
- Less frequent application compared to liquid plant food
- Made with renewable and biodegradable ingredients
- The special microbes clean and repair the soil
- Has a stinky smell
This fertilizer might look like dirt but do not underestimate what it can do for your plants. It’s a must-have for your plants and soil.
Earthworm castings offer plenty of organic nutrients for your vegetables, flowers, and houseplants. Since it feeds the plant slowly, it will last longer compared to other organic fertilizers in the market.
This fertilizer is certified by OMRI for organic gardening of all houseplants, including vegetables and flowers.
It contains microorganisms and other beneficial bacteria that are essential for the long-term growth and health of the plants in your garden.
This fertilizer enhances the overall soil structure and aerates it for better root growth. As a result, your plants will grow faster.
It also prevents root rot and waterlogging by ensuring proper drainage. However, it never lets the required moisture escape from the soil because of excellent water retention capabilities.
Sprinkle a handful of the product around your plants and experience the natural growing environment. This fertile fertilizer comes in a water-soluble form to make sure all the nutrients are transferred to plants for best root growth.
Your plants might not need any extra food for several weeks or months. I’m using this for all the vegetables, and so far, they are showing exceptional results.
- Good for both indoor and outdoor plants
- OMRI listed
- No overpowering odor
- Improves aeration and soil structure
- Nontoxic and safe for organic gardening
- Provides drainage and better moisture retention
- Customers have complained about bug infestation after using it
Learn more about this product here.
If you have prickly Cacti or Succulents that need some feeding, this fertilizer will act as a magical pill for them.
This liquid fertilizer feeds your Cacti/Succulents via the roots. It comes with an easy to measure dropper. You have to dilute 7 drops of the plant food in 1 quarter of water or ¼ tsp. of fertilizer in 1 gallon of water.
For outdoor Cacti and Succulents, you have to mix 4 dropperfuls in 1 gallon of water. Use this fertilizer mixture to water your plants this way they will get the required plant food each time they are watered.
You can use it for any Cacti, Succulent, Jade, or Aloe Vera variety growing in your garden. The nutrient content for this plant food is 2-7-7.
It is suitable for both young and established plants, but young plants should be fed lightly to avoid root burns or overdose.
- Does not have an overpowering smell, so you can use it for both indoor and outdoor garden plants
- Great for plants while propagating
- Customers have complained about packaging and leaked bottles
Learn more about this product here.
This is the only starter fertilizer you will ever need in your garden for all the trees, shrubs, flowers, and even vegetables. With NPK of 4-3-3, it helps the new plantings absorb maximum nutrients and water from the soil.
Biotone is different from regular fertilizers because it dissolves faster in the soil.
This fertilizer should be used at the time of planting to reduce transplant loss. It helps the plant grow bigger roots and blooms. It has Endo and Ecto Mycorrhizae that increase the root mass and help the plant establish itself faster.
This natural and organic fertilizer is composed of enhancing microbes, and it has no harmful fillers or sludges.
In addition to thousands of microorganisms, this fertilizer also has beneficial humates that promote deep roots and improve the soil structure.
I have been using this fertilizer for several plants in my garden, and the majority of them grow stronger with deeper root systems. It certainly helps in dealing with environmental stress, which is important for young plants to survive.
I would recommend using this high-quality starter fertilizer for all the young plantings growing in small pots that will be later shifted to the soil in the ground or large nursery pots.
You can also add it to newly propagated plants or bulbs that have been recently divided.
For planting beds, thoroughly mix the fertilizer in the top 4-6 inches of the soil bed. For trees or shrubs, it should be added to the planting hole.
- 100% organic and natural
- Suitable for everything growing in your garden
- Enhances the absorption ability of new plantings
- Promotes bigger and better blooms on flowering plants
- Can be used as a top dressing
- Suitable for potted and in-ground plants
- It has a strong scent
This fertilizer instantly feeds all the herbs in your garden with natural ingredients to promote healthy herb gardening.
Mix the fertilizer in water (according to the instructions on the package). You can apply it using a watering can or the Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder.
Reapply every 1 or 2 weeks to best results. Make sure you soak the soil near the base of the plant in such a way that the area 2-3 times the width of the plant is fertilized.
For years I have struggled to find a perfect fertilizer for my homegrown herbs. No matter what product I used, I ended up burning my herbs.
But this fertilizer works like magic and never burns the herbs if I follow the instructions properly. It has also improved the taste of the herbs growing in my garden.
The NPK ratio is 18-18-21, so if you want to use it for seedlings, make sure you only wet the seedbed. Soaking the seedbed in the mixture might result in fertilizer burns.
- It can be used for other vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, squash, and carrots
- Not smelly
- Yellow or damaged herbs will start greening within one week
- Comes with a scoop for easy measurement
- Not for hydroponic gardening
- Some customers have complained that it was too strong for their potted plants
- The packaging is not user-friendly
This product is a perfect pick for any foliage, flowering, edible, perennial, bulb, or vegetables in your garden. You can even use it for herbs, Hibiscus, and Lilies.
The JR Peters is serving the horticulture industry since 1947 with nutrient-rich products. In my opinion, they produce the best quality water-soluble fertilizers in the fertilizer industry.
This all-purpose balanced fertilizer has macronutrients in the ratio of 20-20-20. It will feed all parts of plants, including flowers, roots, and leaves, for rapid expansion and blooming.
It should be used every 7 or 14 days in the growing season, depending on the plant variety. For outdoor plants, use 1 tablespoon in 1 gallon of water. For indoor plants, reduce the rate to ½ teaspoon in 1 gallon of water.
- Can be used for any plant variety growing indoor or outdoor
- Used by professional growers
- Comes with a measuring spoon
- No overpowering scent
- Not for hydroponic gardening
- Not organic
Learn more about this fertilizer here.
Organic Fertilizer for Garden
Organic fertilizers are becoming a popular choice for gardening because they are good for everyone: the soil, plants, and environment.
They provide rich nutrients that are natural and long-lasting. On the other hand, chemical fertilizers only feed your plants with a certain type and amount of nutrients, most of which are lost while watering.
Chemical fertilizers are also harmful to the soil and damage the bacteria or microbes in the soil. These fertilizers can also transfer harmful chemicals to edible plants. But organic fertilizers only enhance the growth and taste of edible plants in your garden.
Organic fertilizers have a positive impact on the environment and do not cause water pollution.
The soil microbes found in the organic fertilizers improve soil structure, aeration, drainage, and water retention. They can definitely provide a natural environment for optimum growth.
Most gardeners only focus on the fact that organic fertilizers have fewer nutrients. But the actual reason behind the popularity of these natural fertilizers is the rate at which they release nutrients.
For example, a synthetic fertilizer usually releases the nitrogen in about 3-6 weeks, but the organic fertilizer will take up to 15 weeks to fully release the nutrients. This means a steady supply for a longer period which is ideal for most houseplants.
Why Do Plants Need Fertilizers?
Just like humans, plants need food to survive through tough conditions, environmental stress, and diseases. Fertilizers also play a major role in making your plants look fuller, greener, and tasty.
Fertilizers are directly related to the soil because most of the essential nutrients are provided via the soil. All houseplants need a total of 17 nutrients for optimum and healthy growth.
Synthetic or organic fertilizers are generally used to provide the three basic macronutrients; nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The NPK ratio printed on the fertilizer bag/box indicates the percentage of these nutrients in the fertilizer.
Although these three macronutrients perform a variety of duties in the plant systems for basic understanding, know that nitrogen is needed for foliage growth and color.
Phosphorus helps the root system grow stronger, while potassium is essential for the overall growth of the plant above and below ground.
Fertilizing Plants in Your Garden
No matter how rich your garden or potting soil is, at some point, all the nutrients will be consumed, and your plants will struggle for food.
Therefore whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, you need to learn the basics of fertilizing.
- Nutrient requirements for each plant in your garden will vary. Therefore, do your homework before choosing the fertilizer. Some plants need more nitrogen while others need phosphorus, so giving the wrong nutrients can give negative results.
- Never fertilize your plants too early. Understanding the right timing for fertilizing each plant variety helps you achieve optimum results. Young plants or seedlings should be fertilized very carefully. Experts recommend dividing the dose by half to protect them from damage.
- Avoid fertilizing on a hot afternoon. The ideal time to fertilize any plant variety is early morning or late evening when the weather is cooler.
- The type of fertilizer being used will also impact the end results. Some gardeners prefer liquid fertilizers, while others are a fan of granular varieties. Each one has its own pros and cons, so choose wisely depending on the soil, plant variety, and climate.
- Fertilizers alone cannot help your garden thrive. Make sure you maintain the required light, water, and temperature for your plants. You should also focus on other gardening practices like mulching to create a natural environment for your plants.
- As an enthusiastic plant parent, you might think of showering your care for the plants by fertilizing them throughout the year. But plants do not need fertilizers in dormant months in winter, so avoid fertilizing during that time.
Four Common Fertilizing Methods for Gardens
This method is applicable for water-soluble fertilizers because you supply the fertilizer or plant food while watering the plants.
You can use a watering can or hose to water the base of the plant with the fertilizer mixture.
As the name suggests, you apply the fertilizer to the foliage. This method is beneficial if your plants need instant feeding because the nutrients are supplied directly.
Some gardeners suggest the foliar method is more effective compared to soil application.
Top –dress Application
In this method, you apply the granular fertilizer to the plants by hand. The granules are spread directly near the base of the plant or shrub.
This method is mostly used to cover large planting areas or garden beds. Most gardeners use this method to apply starter fertilizers for new plantings.
You can use the help of a spreader or hand rotary to spread the fertilizer granules throughout your garden.
There is a famous saying that no vegetables or fruits taste better than those grown in your own garden.
And a good fertilizer will help the edibles in your garden taste better. Even your garden flowers need a boost of fertilizer or plant food.
When choosing a fertilizer, study the ingredients carefully and make sure you choose the fertilizer with a combination of macro and micronutrients.
Gardeners often ignore the micronutrients that are equally important for healthy plant growth.
Choose the best fertilizer for the garden and start your gardening journey!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.