Choosing the Right Type of Fertilizer for Your Garden

May 15, 2024 | Fertilizer


Kurtz Bros Landscape Supply prides itself on top-notch landscaping and gardening items in Ohio. With over 70 years in the biz, we’re a go-to. Our focus on customer happiness and being eco-friendly makes us unique.

Selecting the best fertilizer for your garden is crucial. You need to match your plant’s needs with the right fertilizer. But, is organic fertilizer always better? Do synthetic options have a place too? What about soil updates and nutrients for plants? Let’s explore these topics together.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right type of fertilizer involves considering the specific needs of your plants and the different types of fertilizers available.
  • There are two main categories of fertilizers – organic and inorganic – each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Understanding the different nutrients needed by your plants, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, can help you choose the right fertilizer.
  • The timing and method of fertilizing depend on various factors, including the type of plant, soil type, pH levels, moisture, and temperature.
  • Soil health and amendments, such as compost, play a vital role in the success of fertilization.

Types of Fertilizer

When thinking about your garden’s needs, you have two fertilizer options – organic and inorganic. Each type has its own unique benefits. Let’s explore them.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers come from natural sources like plants or animals. They are eco-friendly and boost soil health. These fertilizers feed plants slowly, ensuring they get nutrients over time.

Using organic options offers many pluses. They amp up soil life and help with nutrient access and water holding. They also make the soil sturdier, which means less erosion and better water holding.

Some types of organic fertilizers are compost, manure, bone meal, and fish emulsion. They give plants a mix of vital nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, plus other needed elements.

Inorganic Fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizers are not from natural sources but are chemically made. They boost plant growth immediately but don’t help the soil long-term.

These fertilizers act fast but are not eco-friendly. Overusing them can harm water and local nature by causing too many nutrients to flow into them.

Still, inorganic fertilizers do help in some situations. They offer a direct way to give plants the exact nutrients they lack, promoting faster and better growth.

Common inorganic types are urea, ammonium nitrate, and potassium sulfate. They are designed to provide plants’ key needs, like nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).

Choosing the right fertilizer depends on what you’re trying to do and what your plants need. A mix of both can boost growth and protect the environment.

When and How to Fertilize

The best time and way to fertilize your plants depends on many things. Each plant has its own soil, pH levels, moisture, and temperature needs. To make sure your plants grow well, follow the right fertilizing steps for them.

Early spring is a great time to start fertilizing. Use slow-acting granular fertilizer for most plants then. This helps new growth and gives plants necessary nutrients. But always check what each plant needs specifically.

Plants vary in how much fertilizer they need. While some need little, trees, shrubs, roses, and annuals need more. Knowing what each plant in your garden requires is key to their health.

Also, think about the soil, pH, moisture, and temperature. These affect when and how often to feed your plants. Sandy soil may need more feeding than clay because it loses nutrients faster. And, adjusting pH levels helps plants use fertilizer better.

Water well before and after adding fertilizer. This prevents root burning and helps spread the nutrients to where they’re needed. Your plants get the growth boost they need without harm.

Success Tips

To successfully fertilize your plants, it’s vital to know the state of your soil. Make sure it needs the extra help.

Soil health is key for your plants to grow well. You can enhance your soil by adding compost. Compost makes the soil richer and helps it keep water better.

Group plants that need the same care together. This way, you can meet each group’s specific needs more easily. It helps with feeding, too.

Plants in the ground don’t need fertilizer often. But plants in pots do. Potted plants use up soil nutrients faster, so they might need more often feeding.

Avoid fertilizing when it’s very hot outside. High heat can stress plants, and fertilizer can make it worse. Wait for cooler weather to feed your plants.

These tips, like checking soil health and using compost, are crucial. They help ensure your garden is a great place for plants to flourish.


What are the different types of fertilizers?

There are two main categories of fertilizers. These are organic and inorganic. Organic fertilizers come from plants or animals. Inorganic fertilizers are created using chemicals.

What are the benefits of organic fertilizers?

Organic fertilizers are eco-friendly and boost soil health. They leave a positive effect over time.

How do inorganic fertilizers differ from organic fertilizers?

Inorganic fertilizers don’t help soil health. They are synthetic, made from chemicals.

What nutrients do different types of fertilizers provide?

Nitrogen fertilizers are good for leaf growth. Phosphorus ones help roots and stems. Potassium boosts overall plant health.

When should I fertilize my plants?

The best time to fertilize varies. It is influenced by plant type, soil, pH, and weather. When spring starts, most plants like slow-acting granular fertilizers.

How should I fertilize my plants?

To fertilize, consider plant and soil types. Always water plants well before and after. This helps prevent damaging the roots and ensures nutrients reach the plant well.

What are some general tips for successful fertilizing?

Check your soil’s health first. Use compost to better the soil. Group plants by their needs. And avoid fertilizing during hot periods.
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Expertly Reviewed By:
Matt Malone, Vice President Operations
Matt Malone
Matt is an accomplished business professional with over three decades of experience in the green industry. As a graduate of the University of Toledo with a Bachelors of Business Administration, he has put his extensive education and training to work in his nearly 15 years with Kurtz Bros., where he currently serves as Vice President of Operations.

Learn More About Matt

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