Garden fertilizer 10 10 10

If you’re unsure of your specific garden fertilizer needs, generally you’ll not go wrong applying 10-10-10 fertilizer an “all-purpose complete fertilizer” or balanced fertilizer for plants.

This complete fertilizer is a popular and common form of fertilizer on the market.

Knowing when to apply 10-10-10 fertilizer depends on the types and ages of plants you grow.

For example, if you have well-established plants such as Knockout roses, strawberries, and asparagus an early slow release spring feeding will greatly benefit them.

While green leafy plants and vegetables will benefit from a burst of nitrogen and the other nutrients when feeding a month after planting.


How To Use Grandular 10 10 10 Fertilizer

Before placing anything including fertilizer in the garden, always read the instructions on the fertilizer label.

In addition, always brush up on the requirements of your particular plant varieties and their fertilizer needs.

If you’re unsure ask your local garden supplier any questions for requirements in your area.

Once you know the fertilizer requirements and what to expect, get a soil test of the pH levels.

This will indicate what your soil lacks and what additional needs such as organic matter the soil could use to improve plant growth.

Some garden centers carry home soil test kits to use for this process. However, you can always bring a sample to your local agriculture agency or farm supply store for a testing.

What is 10-10-10 fertilizer good for? everything is this garden

Here’s A Simple Home Test You Can Try Using Vinegar and Baking Soda

Before buying a pH testing kit from a store, watch this video full of helpful information by using vinegar and baking soda.

Now that you know the needs, you’ll need to refine your math skills from high school. This area of fertilization makes many people uncomfortable.

How much 10-10-10 fertilizer per square foot?

The application rates needed are calculated by measuring the square foot area and multiplying the pounds per unit.

Of course, you can always estimate what you need, but doing so adds a mild risk of burning your plants.

The video below explains how to calculate the number of bags or pounds of lawn fertilizer you’ll need for the yard, landscape and garden.

Once all this calculation is done it’s time to head to the store and buy your fertilizer 101010. Depending on how much you need the best buy and value comes in purchasing larger 50 lbs bags which cost less per pound.

Also, buying a slow-release fertilizer will feed plants continuously throughout the season.

Apply fertilizer by hand, dilution application, or broadcast application.

Many homeowners find that applying the fertilize by hand or with an inexpensive broadcast applicator will typically deliver the easiest process.

For individual plants, cultivate the area at the base of the plant. This allows the fertilizer easier access to the plant’s roots.

Some gardeners add a granular triple 10 fertilizer product their compost pile to help break down organic matter and speed up the composting process.

Cautions Regarding 10-10-10 Fertilizer

Many of the chemicals which make up fertilizers are highly corrosive and can damage your lawn equipment. Always clean all of your fertilizer spreader equipment thoroughly after applying fertilizer.

Reduce the 10-10-10 fertilizer application rate on younger plants as they are much more fragile and can easily burn through the use of fertilizer.

To protect young plants, dilute fertilizer into a bucket of water and use the liquid water-soluble fertilizer solution to feed the plants.

Not only does it protect the plants from over-fertilization, it allows for easier absorption.

Calculate how much fertilizer you need and watch for approaching inclement weather patterns. Too much fertilizer and rain can lead to serious runoff situation.

applying a 10-10-10 fertilizer for trees, nitrogen phosphorus potash

Not only does this waste money, but it can lead to hazardous environmental pollution. For more information on safely fertilizing with regard to local wildlife, talk to your local environmental agency.

When using fertilizers always wear protective gloves, googles, and breathing masks.

Once you complete the fertilizer application always make sure to wash all clothing and shower as soon as possible.

Fertilizer does include some dangerous chemicals. In fact, it can be volatile and explosive under certain conditions. Always store with the utmost of care.

Using the balanced n-p-k ratio of 10-10-10 fertilizer will help to beautify your lawn and garden. However, it is important to use it correctly for the best results and to stay safe.

Hopefully, this information will allow you to use 10 10 10 liquid fertilizer & others like a professional during the growing season.

Fertilizing Guidelines

University of Massachusetts Soil Testing Laboratory

Plants produce their own energy using air, water and sunlight, but require fertile soil or growth media to provide essential nutrients. Healthy, well-fed plants are better able to withstand environmental stress, diseases and insect pressure and compete with weeds. For a small investment, routine soil analysis can establish your soil’s fertility level and determine if any corrective measures are required. Soil testing is the most effective tool available for determining lime and fertilizer needs to produce healthy plants and protect the environment. Soil testing removes the guesswork and prevents the risk of over or under liming and fertilizing. The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory provides affordable analytical testing and research-based recommendations to support sustainable management decisions. See: UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory for more information soil testing.

The information below is a guideline for fertilizing plants in home gardens, lawns and landscapes.

How to Determine How Much Fertilizer to Use Based on Soil Test Recommendations

The numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) which are the nutrients needed in largest amounts by plants. Fertilizer is not a cure-all for plant problems and must be used as one of the tools for improving growth and health of the plant.

Fertilizer recommendations for home gardens may be given in pounds of N, P205 and K20 per 100 sq. feet. To determine how much fertilizer to use, divide the lbs. of the specific fertilizer material recommended in the soil test result by the percent of that same material in the fertilizer being used. When using percentages in calculations, convert the number to its decimal form.

For example: The soil test recommends .25 lb of nitrogen per 100 sq. ft. and you plan to use a 10-10-10 fertilizer, then this is how to figure how much fertilizer to use to supply 0.25 lb. of nitrogen.

Natural Fertilizers: Rotted manures and compost are excellent soil conditioners and should be incorporated into the soil each year. However, to provide a balanced fertilizer, they must be used in combination with other materials. The following recipe could be used to provide a balanced fertilizer in place of a commercial type fertilizer and is equivalent to 40 to 50 pounds of 5-10-10. Apply each year per 1000 square feet of garden prior to planting:

If large quantities of compost or manure are difficult to obtain, try using a combination of organic and synthetic fertilizers.

Vegetables and Flowers

Prior to planting: Broadcast 20 pounds of 5-10-5, 5-10-10 or 10 pounds 10-10-10 per 1000 square feet. Lime can be applied at the same time. Rake into the top few inches of soil.

Sidedress: During the growing season apply up to 20 pounds of 5-10-10 or 5-10-5 per 1000 square feet or band 8 ounces for every 10 feet of row or use half as much 10-10-10.

Flowering Bulbs

Prior to planting: Broadcast 2 pounds 5-10-10 or 1 pound 10-10-10 per 100 square feet.

Sidedress: As plants flower, apply 2 pounds 5-10-10 or 1 pound 10-10-10 and 2 pounds of bonemeal per 100 square feet.

Perennial Flowers

Early spring and again in early June: Broadcast 2 pounds 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 or 1 pound 10-10- 10 per 100 square feet.


Early spring: Broadcast 2 pounds 5-10-5 pr 5-10-10 or 1 pound 10-10-10 per 100 square feet. When the foliage is dry, use a broom to shake off any fertilizer adhering to the leaves to prevent burning the foliage.

Small Fruits


Prior to planting: Two to five bushels aged manure or compost and 2 pounds 10-10-10 or equivalent per 100 square feet.

After planting: One to two pounds 10-10-10-10 per 100 square feet 4-6 weeks after planting and again in late August.

Fruiting Year: Do not apply fertilizer in the spring of the fruiting year as it results in large, soft berries.

After renovation: Four pounds 10-10-10 per 100 square feet over the rows when plants are dry.


Prior to planting: Two to five bushels aged manure or compost per 100 square feet.

After planting: Commercial fertilizers are generally not necessary the year vines have been planted. If newly planted vines are growing poorly, 4-6 ounces 5-10-10 may be applied.

Bearing vines: Each year, double the rate listed above until plants reach maturity. Three to four pounds of 5-10-10 (or equivalent) per vine, per year is recommended for mature vines.


Prior to planting: One pound 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 or one-half pound 10-10-10 per 100 square feet.

Following years: Six to eight pounds 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 or three to four pounds 10-10-10 per 25 feet of row. Hand broadcast between rows as early as possible in spring.


Four weeks after planting: One-half to one ounce 10-10-10 or equivalent in a band around the base of the plant.

Following years: Increase rate of fertilizer by one to two ounces. (10-10-10) per year until mature. Mature blueberry bushes (7 years or older) require one-half pound of 10-10-10 per year applied in April. In addition (beginning 3 years after plants are set) apply ammonium sulfate at the following rates:

Years After Plants Are Set Oz. Ammonium Sulfate Per Plant
3 1.5
4 2
5 3
6 3.5
7+ 4

Tree Fruits

The amounts suggested below apply to young trees. Ten to fifteen pounds of 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 or five to eight pounds of 10-10-10 is sufficient for mature apple, plum, cherry and pear trees. Mature peach trees should not require more than fifteen to twenty pounds of 5-10-15 or 5-10-10 or seven to ten pounds of 10-10-10.

Pounds of Fertilizer/Year of Tree Age

Type of Tree 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 10-10-10
Apple, Plum, Cherry 1 1/2
Pear 1/2 1/4
Peach 2 1

Do not fertilize at time of planting. After growth starts the year of planting, scatter fertilizer within 1 foot of trunk. After the first year, fertilize trees annually sometime between mid April and early May. Fertilizer should be applied in a band extending from the tip of the branches to within three or four feet of the trunk of large trees.

Where mulches of hay or law clippings are used, the amount of fertilizer may be decreased after the mulch starts to decay. Where sawdust is used for mulch, the amount of fertilizer will probably need to be doubled because soil bacteria rob nitrogen from plants to break down the sawdust.

Trees are susceptible to boron deficiency which causes premature ripening of fruit and localized spots in the flesh of the fruit. Application of boron once every three years will prevent the occurrence of this deficiency in apple and pear trees. The rate of application per tree will vary with tree age and size. Apply one-quarter pound of borax (11.1 percent actual boron) or its equivalent under young trees. Be sure to note the percent of actual boron in the fertilizer being used to supply this element because applying an excessive amount of boron can cause tree injury. Boron fertilizers vary from approximately 11 to 21 percent actual boron. Apply the borax at the same time and the same way as other fertilizers used under fruit trees. Fruit trees mulched with lawn clippings and/or hay probably will not require any fertilizer except boron.

CAUTIONS: Do not apply more than the suggested amounts of borax since too much boron is toxic to trees. Do not fertilize fruit trees in the fall because it may cause winter injury.

Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Newly Planted Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Do not fertilize at time of planting. Instead, plant trees and shrubs in soil containing plenty of organic matter. After growing in this soil for two or three years, they may be included in a fertilizer program.

Types of Fertilizers

High nitrogen fertilizers such as 18-6-12 or 24-6-12 are best although garden fertilizers such as 10-10-10 will do as a substitute. Compost, well-rotted manures and cotton-seed meal are also good materials to use. The important point is to use a complete fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Because trees are not fertilized frequently, it is recommended that one-half to two-thirds of the nitrogen be in an organic or other slow release form.

When to Fertilize and How Often

Fertilize in early spring or late fall (October) after top growth has ceased. Generally it is safe to fertilize every 2 or 3 years.


Needle-type Evergreens: One pound 10-10-10 or equivalent per inch of trunk diameter (at 4 feet above ground). If the tree is over 6 inches in diameter, use 2 pounds per inch.

Non-Evergreen: Two pounds 10-10-10 or equivalent per inch of trunk diameter (at 4 feet over ground). If tree is over 6 inches in diameter, use 4 pounds per inch.

Flowering trees: One-half pound 10-10-10 per inch of trunk diameter (at 4 feet above ground).

Methods of Application

Surface Application: Recommended for trees with a 4-inch or less trunk diameter (at 4 feet above ground) or to trees where there are no other plants, including grass, growing under the tree. Where appropriate, spread recommended fertilizer uniformly on the surface under the branches. If grass or other plants are growing under the tree, it may be necessary to apply the fertilizer in 2 or 3 applications with thorough watering after each application.

Drill Hill Application: It is generally thought that larger shade trees require more fertilizer than surface applications can provide. Rates recommended for larger trees would stimulate excessive growth of ground covers and lawns and, if fertilization rates become high enough, toxic effects to groundcovers could occur. Also, University of Massachusetts research indicates that phosphate does not move downward in soil. Therefore, sub-surface placement of fertilizer using drill hole application is recommended. Use an auger, crowbar, or soil sampling tube to drill holes into the soil over tree roots. Holes should be 1-1 ½ inches in diameter, 12-18 inches deep and spaced about 2 feet apart arranged in concentric circles beginning 1 foot from the trunk and extending at least a foot or two beyond the spread of the branches. Distribute fertilizer uniformly among the holes using a funnel. Then fill the holes with topsoil or a soil amendment such as peat moss or perlite.


Fertilizers should be broadcast on the soil surface over the roots and watered in, between mid April and mid May.

Individual Specimen Shrubs: One-half to one pound 10-10-10 or equivalent per plant.

Groups of Shrubs: Two to four pounds 10-10-10 or equivalent per 100 square feet.

Hedges: Four pounds 10-10-10 or equivalent per 100 linear feet; one-half of the amount along each side of the hedge.

Broadleaf Evergreens: Two to four pounds 10-10-10 per 100 square feet. The amount may be split into two applications, one in early spring and the second after flowering. Organic fertilizers such as cottonseed meal, which contains nitrogen in the organic form, is satisfactory for fertilizing acid loving broadleaf evergreens. Apply organic fertilizers at a rate of 4-5 pounds per 100 square feet.

Ratio of fertilizer (N-P-K)

How plants respond when fertilized depends largely on the ratio between the three elements (N-P-K). To obtain the ratio, divide all three numbers on the label by the smallest number.


  • 20-20-20 fertilizer has a 1-1-1 ratio
  • 15-30-15 fertilizer has a 1-2-1 ratio
  • 10-5-5 fertilizer has a 2-1-1 ratio

When choosing fertilizer, it is very important to check its ratio. For instance, to encourage plants to root, you need to choose a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorous than in nitrogen or potassium, i.e. one with a 1-2-1 ratio.

The following are the main fertilizer ratios used by gardeners:

  • Rooting: 1-2-1
  • Flowering and fruiting: 1-1-2, 1-2-2, 2-1-2
  • All-purpose: 1-1-1
  • Leafy growth: 2-1-1, 3-1-1

N.B.: Although natural fertilizers often have different ratios from these ones, they are no less effective.

Caution! A fertilizer containing 30% of a given element is not necessarily better than one with only 8%. You also have to consider how long the nutrients will last in the soil. Let’s look at an example:

Fertilizer containing 30% quick-release nitrogen VS Fertilizer containing 8% slow-release nitrogen
The nitrogen contained in this fertilizer is released quickly. The plant absorbs the amount of nitrogen it needs, but the rest is not used. There is a high risk of leaching and burning the roots. VS The plant absorbs small amounts of nitrogen as the fertilizer gradually breaks down. Since little is lost through leaching, most of the fertilizer can be used. There is little risk of burning the roots.

As a rule, it is better to use slow-release fertilizer. Quick-release fertilizers are used mainly to address specific problems (to pep up a weak plant, correct a deficiency, etc.) or to quickly increase yields (to encourage annuals to bloom profusely, for instance). Be careful not to overuse these fertilizers.

A Crash Course in Fertilizers: NPK Ratios, Synthetic vs. Organic, and More

Chiot’s Run Feed your lawn organic fertilizer.

Learn the basics of fertilizers, and you’ll help your garden grow as never before!

Sunset – September 3, 2004 | Updated January 15, 2020

Fertilizer sections at nurseries, garden centers, and supply stores dazzle the gardener. The shelves are piled with boxes and bottles, the floors covered with bags stacked high. Labels identify the package contents as “rose food” or “vegetable food,” “lawn fertilizer” or “general-purpose fertilizer.” In some stores, you’ll find bins filled with bone meal, blood meal, or hoof-and-horn meal ― all labeled “natural fertilizer.” Choosing the right products to keep your plants healthy can often be a bit confusing.

Understanding N-P-K

Regardless of its type, any fertilizer you buy will come with information about the nutrients it contains. Prominently featured will be the N-P-K ratio, the percentage the product contains by volume of nitrogen (chemical symbol N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A 16-16-16 fertilizer, for example, contains 16% nitrogen, 16% phosphorus, and 16% potassium. A 25-4-2 formulation contains 25% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 2% potassium.

All fertilizers contain at least one of these components; if any is missing, the ratio will show a zero for that nutrient (a 12-0-0 fertilizer contains nitrogen but no phosphorus or potassium, for instance). Boxed, bagged, and bottled products display the N-P-K ratio on the label. For fertilizers sold in bulk from self-serve bins, the ratio is noted on the bin; for future reference, be sure to write the information on the bags you fill and bring home.

Complete and Incomplete Fertilizers

A fertilizer containing all three major nutrients is called a complete fertilizer; a product that supplies only one or two of them is an incomplete fertilizer. Using a complete fertilizer for every garden purpose seems sensible, but in fact it isn’t always the best choice. If the soil contains sufficient phosphorus and potassium and is deficient only in nitrogen (as is often the case), you can save money by using an incomplete fertilizer that provides nitrogen alone (ammonium sulfate, for example). In some instances, complete fertilizers can even harm a plant. Exotic, bright-blossomed proteas, for example, will not tolerate excess phosphorus: they “glut” themselves on it and then die.

The inexpensive soil test kits sold at garden centers can give you a rough idea of the nutrients available in various parts of your garden; for a more detailed evaluation, you may want to pay for a professional analysis. By revealing which nutrients may be lacking, such tests can help you choose an appropriate fertilizer.

General and Special-Purpose Fertilizers

The various products labeled “general-purpose fertilizers” contain either equal amounts of each major nutrient (N-P-K ratio 12-12-12, for example) or a slightly higher percentage of nitrogen than of phosphorus and potassium (such as a 12-8-6 product). Such fertilizers are intended to meet most plants’ general requirements throughout the growing season.

Special-purpose fertilizers, on the other hand, are formulated for specific needs. They’re aimed at the gardener who wants a particular combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for certain plants or garden situations. These fertilizers are of three general types.

One type, used during the period of active growth, contains largely nitrogen. Such products, with N-P-K ratios such as 16-6-4, are often used in spring, when you want to encourage lush growth or green up your lawn.

Another type is meant to stimulate root growth, stem vigor, and flower and fruit production. Fertilizers of this sort contain little nitrogen and higher levels of phosphorus and potassium; the N-P-K ratio may be 3-20-20, for example. These products are applied at different times and in different ways, depending on what you want to achieve. When you prepare a new planting area, for instance, you’ll work a dry granular fertilizer of this sort deeply into the soil, putting the phosphorus and potassium where roots can absorb them. The nutrients help strengthen the new plants’ developing stems and encourage the growth of a dense network of roots.

To promote flower production and increase the yields of fruit or vegetable crops, you apply the same sort of fertilizer to established plants after they’ve completed their first flush of growth. You can use either dry granules, scratching them lightly into the soil, or apply a liquid formula with a watering can or a hose-end applicator.

A third group of fertilizers is designed for use on specific plants. These feature the N-P-K ratios determined to elicit the best performance from the particular plant, as well as other elements proven valuable to that plant. Such fertilizers are named according to the plant they’re intended to nourish. Especially useful are formulas for citrus trees and acid-loving plants such as camellia and rhododendron.

Recently, other such plant-specific fertilizers have appeared on nursery shelves, each claiming to be the best choice for a certain plant or group of plants; you may see several sorts of “tomato food” or “flower fertilizer,” for example. The jury is still out on the benefit of many of these products, and you will often do just as well to use a general-purpose type. The main distinction is often the price: the “special” formulas are usually costlier than general-purpose kinds.

Synthetic and Organic Fertilizers

Some fertilizers are manufactured in the laboratory, while others are derived from natural sources. Each has certain advantages.

Synthetic fertilizers

These products are derived from the chemical sources listed on the product label. They’re faster acting than organic kinds and provide nutrients to plants quickly, making them a good choice for aiding plants in severe distress from nutrient deficiencies. Synthetic fertilizers are sold both as dry granules to be applied to the soil and as dry or liquid concentrates to be diluted in water before application. In dry form, they’re usually less expensive than their organic counterparts. In some of the dry granular types (those known as controlled-release fertilizers), the fertilizer granules are coated with a permeable substance; with each watering, a bit of fertilizer diffuses through the coating and into the soil. Depending on the particular product, the nutrient release may last anywhere from 3 to 8 months.

Some synthetic products are packaged for special purposes; you’ll find spikes and tabs for container plants, for example.

Note that synthetic fertilizers usually do not contain any of the secondary or micronutrients ― but in most cases, these nutrients are already present in the soil. If a test indicates that some are missing, look for a fertilizer that provides them.

Organic fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are derived from the remains of living organisms; blood meal, bone meal, cottonseed meal, and fish emulsion are just a few of the many available types. Organic fertilizers release their nutrients slowly: rather than dissolving in water, they’re broken down by bacteria in the soil, providing nutrients as they decompose. Because these fertilizers act slowly, it’s almost impossible to kill lawns or plants by applying too much (overdosing with synthetics, in contrast, can have potentially fatal results). Some manufacturers combine a variety of organic products in one package, then offer them for general-purpose or specialized use.

Two commonly used soil amendments ― compost and manure ― have some nutritive value and can be used as part of an organic fertilizing program. The N-P-K ratio of compost varies from 1.5-.5-1 to 3.5-1-2. Chicken manure’s N-P-K ratio ranges from 3-2.5-1.5 to 6-4-3; that of steer manure is usually a little less than 1-1-1.

Fertilizers containing seaweed are gaining favor with many gardeners. Besides providing nutrients in a form immediately available to plants, seaweed contains mannitol, a compound that enhances absorption of nutrients already in the soil, and various hormones that stimulate plant growth. And the carbohydrates in seaweed break down rapidly, nourishing soil-dwelling bacteria that fix nitrogen and make it available to plant roots.

Mixed with water and sprayed directly on foliage, seaweed-containing fertilizers can have dramatic effects in a matter of days. Plants green up and begin to produce new growth, and those that are weak stemmed and straggly straighten up and become stronger.

Keep Reading:
  • Garden Basics
  • Home & Garden

Making Sense Of Fertilizer Labels & NPK Numbers

When looking at the various commercial fertilizers on the shelf in any home & garden center, you’ll notice they have three digits on their labels (something like 20-15-5). Unless you can properly interpret those numbers, how can you know which one is the best to use?

Here’s how to demystify them:

  • The first number (N) represents the percentage of Nitrogen content in the product.
  • The second number (P) represents the percentage of Phosphorus compound present.
  • The third number (K) represents the percentage of Potassium compound present.

Why the letters N-P-K? Although the letters are not typically found on the label, these are the chemical symbols for each and generally referred to by gardeners.

You may come across recommendations to use a specific “ratio” (rather than percentage) of nutrients and the NPK numbers still apply. For example, a balanced fertilizer of 5-5-5 (5% for each of the 3 nutrients) is also considered a ratio of 1-1-1 (equal parts). If the NPK was 15-5-5, the percentages would be 15%, 5%, 5% and the ratio would be 3-1-1.

What’s the difference between a 10-10-10 and a 5-5-5, aren’t they both a ratio of 1-1-1? Yes but the 10-10-10 is stronger (since the fertilizer contains a higher amount of each nutrient) so you wouldn’t need to use as much of it as a 5-5-5.

If the numbers represent percentages, why don’t they total 100%? Because these three nutrients aren’t the only ingredients, there are fillers and other minerals present as well. Filler content (such as sand) is used to dilute the strength of the fertilizer (otherwise burned plants will be the result).

Which plant benefits from what:

Leafy: (such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage) appreciates a boost of nitrogen (N). Encourages foliage growth and green color.

Fruiting: (such as tomatoes, melons, squash) appreciates a boost of phosphorus (P). Believed to also promote root and bloom growth.

Aside from purchasing commercial fertilizers, there are also plant and animal matter you can use instead, here’s a sample:

  • Nitrogen: blood meal, cotton seed meal, fish meal, soy bean meal, grass clippings
  • Phosphorus: bone meal (steamed), rock phosphate
  • Potassium: kelp meal, wood ash, granite dust, greensand
  • Legumes: (such as beans, peas) will put nitrogen back into the soil.

When to use what? Nitrogen (N) content is beneficial at the start of the growing season, Phosphorus (P) is beneficial once the plant begins fruiting or blossoming and Potassium (K) is good to use in the Fall to help plants get ready for winter.

That’s a lot of letters, numbers, percentages and ratios to wade through, hope this made sense and you’ll be confident the next time you pick up a bag of fertilizer! 🙂

12 BEST Garden Fertilizers

Are you interested in fertilizing your garden, but don’t know what the BEST Garden Fertilizers are for your specific plant?

Are you interested in learning more about the different types of fertilizer and how to use them?

Table of Contents

After hours and hours of research, I have created the article, 12 BEST Garden Fertilizers for ALL Plants.

The list below is broken down by fertilizers for your fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

And scroll down to the bottom of this article to find answers to the 4 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Garden Fertilizers!

Fruit Fertilizer (#1-3)

1. Jobe’s Organic Fruit Fertilizer

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This is a fast-acting, organic fertilizer. It is one of the best granular fertilizers for new and established fruit plants.

In addition, it is certified by the USDA. It was also made with a proprietary mix that breaks down material faster.

This is one of the best garden fertilizers to improve soil condition and help your plants become disease and drought-resistant.

It should be also noted that is it a 3-5-5 fertilizer mix that is made to pour easy.

2. Miracle-Gro Fruit Spikes

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When looking at the best garden fertilizers this is a great choice.

It is incredibly easy to use. You only need to apply it once in the spring and once in the fall. It is also made with all-natural ingredients.

And it promotes more fruit and lush foliage growth. Not only this, but these spikes are perfect for helping promote root growth.

It should also be noted that it is a 10-15-15 mix.

3. Espoma Organic Fertilizer

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Another great option when you are looking at best garden fertilizers is the Espoma Organic Citrus Tone.

This company uses all-natural and organic ingredients that help the development of new and established trees.

In addition, it provides a continuous and complete balanced feeding for your plants.

It should also be noted that this is a 5-2-6 mix.

Vegetable Fertilizer (#4-6)

4. Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food

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If you are looking for an all-around great option for vegetable gardening then I recommend the Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food.

This fertilizer instantly feeds providing bigger, better fruit. You can apply it every two weeks with a garden feeder. The best part is that this is not just for vegetables.

This is by far one of the best garden fertilizers out there.

It should be noted that this is a 24-8-16 mix.

5. Miracle-Gro Shake n Feed

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This is one of the best garden fertilizers for providing continuous micronutrients to help plants grow strong and produce more.

It contains natural ingredients and lasts up to 3 months! In addition, it contains calcium to help make your plants extra strong.

The best part is that it can be used for in-ground and pots!

This fertilizer is a 8-2-12 mix.

6. Osmocote Flower & Vegetable Plant Food

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This is a great fertilizer that promotes vigorous growth and root development.

It is a must-have for anyone who wants to grow vegetables and perennials. In addition, this fertilizer lasts up for 4 months!

This is a 15-9-12 soil mix.

Herb Fertilizer (#7-9)

7. Earth Pods Fertilizer

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This is one of the few capsule-based fertilizers on the market and on this list.

This is perfect if you don’t want to measure, don’t want a mess, or have a small garden.

In addition, this is a great fertilizer to boost root and herb growth. Also, it is eco-friendly and will naturally dissolve into your soil!

This is a 2-2-4 fertilizer mix.

8. Dr. Earth Organic Fertilizer

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Do you want a purely organic herb fertilizer?

This is the one for you! It has ingredients like fish bone meal, feather meal, kelp meal, etc.

This is great for established plants and also for transplanted plants. You will get more abundant crops when using this.

Best of all is that it will increase your plants’ drought and disease resistance.

This is a 4-6-3 fertilizer mix.

9. Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes

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If you are want to use fertilizer spikes then this is the product for you.

These spikes are perfect for indoor house plants and herbs. It feeds all foliage and lasts up to 2 months.

In addition, it provides continuous release and contains macronutrients and micronutrients.

This is a 10-15-15 fertilizer mix.

Flower Fertilizer (#10-12)

10. Osmocote Plus Plant Food

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If you are looking for an all-around great flower fertilizer then you have found it.

This fertilizer is the best formula and contains 11 essential nutrients. In addition, it works for all plant varieties.

This is incredibly easy to use and feeds up to 6 months. In addition, Osmocote guarantees these burns too.

This is a 15-9-12 fertilizer mix.

11. Bayer Advanced Flower Care

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This is a great fertilizer for flowers and numerous rose bushes. It can literally treat up to 32 rose bushes.

This is a 3 systemic products in one. It controls insects, diseases, and fertilizers all at once. It is recommended to apply it every 6 weeks.

This is a 9-14-9 fertilizer mix.

12. Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster Flower Food

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This is an unbelievable flower food for all blooming plants. It instantly feeds. And it is recommended that you feed every 2 weeks.

What I love about this is that it helps you prevent overfeeding and burning as long as you follow the instructions.

This is a 10-52-10 fertilizer mix.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. How Do I Apply Garden Fertilizer?

Fertilizing your garden is not as easy as pouring it from the bag onto your plants.

There are actually 4 techniques that can be used to most effectively help your plants grow.

1) Broadcast Before Planting

There are several very simple tasks involved in this technique.

  • First, you will need to apply the fertilizer to the soil.
  • Next, you will need to till the fertilizer into your soil.
  • After this is completed, you will want to plant and then water.
  • Typically, you would then apply fertilizer to your plants every 4 to 6 weeks after.

2) Row Application

The second technique to applying fertilizer to your garden is called row application.

  • This again happens before you plant your garden. You will apply the fertilizer in a strip to the side of the row before planting.
  • After you plant your garden you can integrate the fertilized soil into your plants.

3) Start Solution

  • This type of fertilizer application made be the easiest. Very simple you dig your hole and apply the fertilizer.
  • After you have applied your fertilizer you will want to transplant your plants into the hole.

4) Growing Plants Application

The final technique for fertilizing your garden is for growing plants.

  • Very simply, apply the fertilizer just to the side of your plants and then water. It’s that simple.

*My only suggestion with fertilization is to never directly apply it on the plant or in the center of the plant. This could “burn” the plant and even kill it!

If you prefer watching videos to learn how to apply garden fertilizer then I recommend the below tutorial:

#2. What are the Different Types of Garden Fertilizer?

A) Granular

Granular fertilizer is a dry fertilizer that can be applied with a spreader.

One of the benefits of this type of fertilizer is that you can see the actual fertilizer. You can also see where you have applied it and where it needs to be applied.

This type of fertilizer can be slow-release or quick-release.

Slow-Release fertilizer releases nutrients steadily over an extended period of time. This means you only have to fertilize once or twice a year.

Quick-Release delivers nitrogen immediately.

Because of this, you will need to fertilize frequently. Make sure you read the instructions of the fertilizer to have a better understanding of how to do this.

B) Liquid

Another type of fertilizer for your garden is liquid fertilizer.

Liquid fertilizer needs to be diluted before it can be applied. It can be applied using a canister, hose, or a watering can.

It is easy to apply and is quickly absorbed.

One of the disadvantages of this type of fertilizer is that it can wash away from the rain.

So make sure to apply this when no rain is in the forecast.

C) Spikes

The final type of fertilizer that can be applied to your garden is spikes.

Spikes are fertilizer in the shape of sticks. This is a slow-release fertilizer meaning it will be released over time.

It is applied directly to the ground and is incredibly easy to use.

This is perfect for beginning gardeners.

#3. What Should I Consider When Buying Garden Fertilizer?

Below, are 5 Tips I recommend before purchasing fertilizer.

Tip 1 – Get your soil tested!

Before you purchase the BEST Garden Fertilizer you must first understand what nutrients your garden currently lacks.

For this, you will want to conduct two tests.

You will first need to conduct a soil test. For this, I recommend purchasing a home soil test.

Luster Lear Rapitest

View Price on Amazon

Next, I recommend continuously testing your soil. For this, I recommend a pH Meter.

Sonkir Soil pH Meter

View Price on Amazon

Tip 2 – Fertilize with the right nutrients!

When analyzing your soil test there are numerous nutrients your plants may need.

Below, is a list of the nutrients plants need for strong growth.

  • Carbon – This is found in the air and is essential for plant growth
  • Hydrogen – This is found in water and again is needed for plants to grow strong
  • Oxygen – This is found in water and air. This is a key component that all other nutrients will use to help plants grow.
  • Nitrogen – This is the most lacking nutrient in garden soil. This is the one nutrient that can help plants grow the fastest
  • Phosphorous– This nutrient helps stimulate root growth
  • Potassium – This nutrient helps plants become more disease and drought-resistant
  • Magnesium – This helps plants better process sunlight
  • Sulfur – This nutrient provides plants with protein. This is the building block of life
  • Other nutrients that are needed for plant growth are boron, copper, iron, zinc, chlorine, and manganese.

Related Article: Ultimate Composting Guide: What to Compost

Tip 3 – Buy the right type of fertilizer

Having an understanding of what nutrients are and how they can help your plants is important. But once you identify a deficiency it is important to decide what NPK mix you need.

NPK mix includes three nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassion.

  • Typically, a fertilizer will have three digits, such as 1-1-1.
  • The first digit represents nitrogen.
  • The second digit represents phosphorous.
  • The third digit represents potassium.

Please, see the list below to identify what typical fertilizer mix is right for you:

  • 1-1-1 All-purpose fertilizer
  • 1-2-1 Promotes root system strength
  • 1-2-2 Promotes fruit growth and flowering
  • 3-1-1 Promotes leafy growth

Tip 4 – Decide on Organic or Synthetic

My next tip for deciding on the Best Gardening Fertilizer is simple:

Buy either organic or synthetic fertilizer.

Synthetic fertilizer releases nutrients quickly and should be applied in the spring.

  • This type of fertilizer comes in liquid, granular, or spikes.

Organic fertilizer releases nutrients slowly and should be applied in the fall. It typically is not concentrated meaning that the odds of killing plants are much less.

Below, are my three favorite organic fertilizers.

Jobe’s Organic All Purpose Fertilizer

Neptune’s Organic Fertilizer

Plant Magic Plant Food

Tip 5 – Learn the best time to fertilize!

While a soil test is a great way to determine what nutrients are lacking, there are other things to beware of.

  • You can tell if there is a fertilizer deficiency if your plants have yellow or small leaves.
  • In addition, there is a deficiency if there is poor flowering or no fruit growth.
  • Finally, there is a deficiency if the plant is small.
  • You can tell if there is too much fertilizer if you have all yellow leaves. In addition, there is too much fertilizer if there is poor quality fruit.

#4. Why Fertilize Your Garden?

If you are one of the 50% of gardeners that do not fertilize, you may be asking why you should start now?

You should use one of the best garden fertilizers on this list because EVERY plant NEEDS it.

Fertilizer is a great gardening tool and a simple way to nourish your gardens.

In addition, your current land or store-bought soil may not have the correct nutrients for your plants.

Finally, common potting soil that you use to start seeds typically does not have the correct nutrients for growing plants.


As I have talked about above, there is an art and science to fertilizing.

While it is not hard, it does take time to understand how to most effectively use it for different plants.

As a reminder…

  1. Every plant needs fertilizer. Make sure you read the instructions and apply as needed.
  2. Most soil does not have all the correct nutrients for your plants. This is why fertilizer is essential.
  3. There are three types of fertilizer; Granular, Liquid, and Spikes. Each one meets the different needs of a gardener and you may have to use all three.
  4. I recommend getting your soil tested, deciding to use organic or synthetic, and what type of NPK mix you need.
  5. There are four types of ways to apply fertilizer: Broadcast before planting, row application, start solution, and growing plant application. You may have to use a mix of these four for best results.
  6. Generally, you cannot purchase one fertilizer for all plants. I recommended sticking with the best garden fertilizers listed above for your fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

What’s Next?

If you like this article then I highly recommend reading:

Best Raised Garden Beds for ALL Plants

Best Rain Barrels for ALL Gardeners

101 Gardening Tips that ACTUALLY Work

The begreen green and flowering plant concentrate is a biological plant-strengthening agent in liquid form and is ideally suited for use on all green and flowering plants. In addition to the complementary nutrient supply by trace elements, the medium gives the plants a rich green and powerful flower colors.

With begreen green and flowering plants, dreary garden areas or balconies can be transformed into true wellness oases. Often it happens that the plants suffer enormously from stress factors and look pitiful. Particularly drought and changing weather can add to the plants strongly. In order to strengthen the immune system and to supplement the optimal nutrition, the green and flowering plant concentrate with plant-important trace elements and nutrients is available for all gardeners. In addition to the main nutrients, trace elements are an essential component of the complete nutrition of plants. They make an enormous contribution to the health and growth of green or flowering domestic and gardeners. Optimal plants are characterized by strong growth, magnificent colors and low susceptibility to pests or diseases. The application can take place in the open air or in a bucket position. In addition, the casting or spraying process can be selected as desired. Thanks to natural extracts from biologically cultivated plants, the product is approved for organic farming and organic farming.

The concentrate is available in a handy bottle with a 1 liter filling volume. The application of the concentrate is possible all year round with each irrigation process. The dream of every gardener of magnificent colors and rich green with the begreen green and flowering planting reality.

Organic fertilizer for all plants


It’s that time of year again so don’t leave your hungry plants waiting. Now is the perfect time to fertilise and help encourage that beautiful Spring growth!
Adding fertiliser to your garden helps keep your plants in optimum health and ensures your blooms, colour and fragrance are the best they can be. Choosing the right type of fertiliser and adding the right amount depends on your soil and the plants you’re growing. ANL have answered all your key questions when it comes to understanding what fertiliser is best to use in your garden.


Feeding your plants is similar to feeding yourself: you have to give it the right amount of nutrients. When it comes to fertilising, more does not mean better. It is possible to overfeed and damage or even kill your plants. Before applying any fertiliser, it’s a good idea to know what nutrients that your plant needs. There are specific fertilisers for different types of plants such as citrus, roses, fruit and vegetables, natives, azaleas and camellias. By using the correct fertiliser it will help your plants to healthier more vibrant and longer lasting flowers, leaves, fruits and vegetables.

Slow Release Fertiliser

With the warmer weather well on its way, now is a great time to be using a slow release fertiliser on the garden such as our Troforte Controlled Release range.It is by far the easiest method to feed your plants and not only will it give them all the nutrients they could ask for over a long period, it also acts as a soil conditioner with its mineral enriched and microbe coated prills to help with microbial activity and nutrient uptake. Troforte comes in various formulations to suit any garden, whether it be natives, fruit & citrus, acid lovers or just the all purpose, we’re confident you will see the results this fertiliser boasts!

Organic Fertiliser

Many organic fertilisers contribute organic matter to your soil, improving its structure, feeding soil microbes, helping to fight fungal and bacterial diseases, and contributing micronutrients. Most organic fertilisers supply a slow but steady food for plants.
Types or organic fertiliser:
-Marine by-products such as fish emulsions
Suitable for most gardens, organic fertilisers are a great way to improve your soil and feed your plants. Try using our new range of Katek fertilisers to improve your plant growth and boost the organic content in your soils. Super Booster is specially blended to contain composted poultry manure as well as added humates and beneficial soil microbes. This fantastic product delivers slow release nutrients to your plants as well as improving nutrient holding capacity and stimulating beneficial fungi in your soil for great plant health. Super Growth is based on composted biologically active poultry manure and a special blend of other ingredients chosen to enhance plant growth, promote strong root and shoot development and improve fruiting and flowering. It is made to be suitable for the entire garden, lush lawns, vibrant flowers and an abundance of tasty fruits and vegetables.
Super Grass is designed to give both a quick release of nutrients and a slow release for continuous feeding of your lawn. It is in fact a blend of organic and synthetic fertiliser which will provide excellent results for your lawn and commercial applications. Suitable for use on all lawn types including buffalo hybrids.

Blood & Bone

An organic based fertiliser which is great for improving soil structure and providing your plants with a sustained release uptake of nutrients. It is well suited to most gardens and while more frequent application is required than that of a slow release fertiliser, it is a great method to keep your plants and soil healthy all year round. Also try new Katek blood and bone which is pelletised with composted poultry manure.


There are three prime chemical elements that are found in all mixed fertilisers:

  • Nitrogen which promotes healthy leaf growth by stimulating the production of chlorophyll (the main chemical involved in photosynthesis—how plants convert sunlight to food).
  • Phosphorus supports the vigorous development of roots and stems.
  • Potassium plays a key role in helping plants digest and manufacture their foods as well as promoting flower and fruit development.

Commercial fertilizers have three numbers that indicate the nutrient ratio called NPK. For example, 5-10-5, 4-12-0, and 12-12-12.
The first number shows the percentage of Nitrogen.
The second number represents the percentage of Phosphorus.
The third number indicates the percentage of Potassium.

PROS • Concentrated and acts fast
• Available in liquid, pellet, powder or granular form
• Less expensive
• Easier and quicker to apply to larger areas
• Ensures precise ratios of nutrients
• Provides a more complex blend of beneficial micro & macro nutrients
• Improves soil structure
• Supplies a slow, steady diet for plants
• Feeds soil microbes
• Helps fight fungal and bacterial diseases
• Can be inexpensive or free, if you create them
• Contributes micronutrients
CONS • Usually limited in the diversity of nutrients provided.
• May harm microorganisms in the soil which may hinder long-term plant growth
• Manufactured with non-renewable resources
• May not have any long term benefits
• Compost and manures are bulky. You may find them challenging to transport and store.
• Depending on where organic fertilisers are produced, their nutrients may be lower, so you may under or over fertilise your garden


There are two main types of fertilisers for home gardening: Granular and Soluble.


Granular fertilisers deliver food to your plants slowly over a long period of time while they break down with water. They are best for covering large areas and require one application every 4-6 months.

Soluble Fertiliser

There are a number of different options when it comes to soluble fertilisers and they act as a great way to give your plants an instant boost of nutrients. Be sure to choose a soluble fertiliser that is suitable for the garden you plan to fertilise as it can be easy to overdo it when using this method. While this can have a negative effect on your plants, don’t be scared of using them! Just be sure to always follow the application rates included with the chosen product.
Water-soluble fertiliser is a much faster acting solution however it must be applied frequently. It is great for feeding container plants and vegetables. Try using Katek Liquid Super Growth which is formulated to improve plant and soil health and boost plant and root growth. It is designed to feed through the plant leaves and roots giving a very quick result.
Knowing when to fertilise is as important as using the right fertiliser. Fertilising when the plant needs it is the most important thing. Apply fertiliser early Spring just before the plants start growing and again towards late Summer early Autumn to promote strong healthy growth before Winter.

  • Annuals: Annuals like to be fed an additional three to four times during the growing season with a high-potassium, water-soluble fertiliser. It’s a good idea to feed with a granular fertiliser in early spring after it rains.
  • Lawns, Trees and Shrubs: Lawns benefit from a granular application in spring and early Autumn.
  • Bulbs: Feed a teaspoon of bone meal for each bulb holes in late Autumn to promote strong bulbs and promote flowering for next year.

For any further advice or help, feel free to call one of our ANL stores or check out our Facebook page.


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