8 Best Plant Food Reviews: The Formula to a Healthy, Abundant Harvest

Garden 14

Grow your own deliciously fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and vibrant flowers with a nutrient-rich plant food. Whether you are a newbie or a professional gardener or grow indoor or outdoor plants, a complete plant food mix that contains essential minerals and nutrients will create a healthy eco-system that will help your plants to survive and thrive.

The 8 Best Plant Foods

  • Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
  • Schultz All Purpose Plant Food Plus
  • Osmocote Plus Outdoor and Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food
  • Scotts All Purpose Flower and Vegetable Continuous Release Plant Food
  • Preen Garden Weed Preventer Plus Plant Food
  • Organic Plant Magic Instant Compost Tea Fertilizer Plant Food
  • Espoma GT4 Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant Food (Our Pick)
  • Jobe’s Organics All Purpose Granular Fertilizer with Biozome
  • Our Top Pick for the Best Plant Food

    Espoma GT4 4-Pound Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant FoodEspoma GT4 4-Pound Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant Food

    Our top pick for the best plant food is Espoma GT4 Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant Food.  For superior plant growth and deliciously tasting herbs and vegetables, the Espoma Garden-Tone plant food provides a complete and balanced nutrient-rich diet for your beloved plants. Once you apply the food and water to your plants, sit back and relax and watch your herbs and vegetables grow and thrive into a bountiful harvest that is ripe for the picking.

    Check the price on Amazon

    Create a Nutrient-rich Holistic Eco-system For Your Plants

    Planting and cultivating your own fruit, herbs, vegetables, flowers, and shrubs is an exciting and rewarding experience but getting your precious plants to consistently produce beautiful blooms and an abundant harvest can be challenging.

    Once you have planted your seeds and see the first delicate, green shoots appear out of the soil,  poor soil conditions, harsh weather, voracious insects and ravaging plant diseases or poor plant health can stop your plants from reaching their full potential.

    Although plants get their basic food nutrients, such as hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, from the soil, sun and rain, the soil they are planted in may not contain all the necessary minerals and micro-nutrients they need to grow into strong adult plants.

    Nutrient-rich plant food is the right formula to create the right soil environment for plants to develop strong and healthy roots systems, stems and foliage, which will ultimately result in a flourishing garden that you can be proud of.

    How to Choose the Right Plant Food

    Plant food or fertilizer contains 3 basic nutrients.

    Nitrogen stimulates the plant’s natural production of chlorophyll which promotes healthy green leaves and stems.

    Phosphorus helps the plant to develop strong roots, stems, blossoms, fruits, and vegetables.

    Potassium promotes overall plant health and helps to fight off diseases.

    These 3 power macronutrients are displayed on the plant food’s packing as a series of 3 numbers, like 12-4-8 which appears on the front of the Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Plant Food. These numbers refer to the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that is contained in the plant food.

    More intensive plant food formulas, like Organic Magic Compost Tea, Jobe’s Organic Fertilizer or Espoma’s Plant Food also contain a complex blend of macro and micronutrients that are highly beneficial for plants such as:

    Calcium that neutralizes harmful substances in the soil and creates a more balanced soil environment for your plants.

    Magnesium is used to gather sunlight and help plants and vegetables grow.

    Sulphur assists in the plant’s shape and development.

    How to Choose The Best Plant Food Types of Plant Food

    Plant food is distributed to your plants via 3 distribution methods: granules, a water-soluble powder, or a liquid.

    Granular Plant Food

    A quick and easy way of applying plant food is by using granular plant food. The granules are sprinkled or spread over the soil around the base of the plant and to activate the granules, you just water them with a garden hose or a watering can. Granular plant food also comes in two types; slow/continuous-release and water soluble.

    Slow/Continuous Release Granules

    Slow-release granules produce a long-lasting effect as once the granules are absorbed into the soil, the nutrients are continuously released over time, roughly 4 weeks to 6 months, which means you will not have to reapply the granules as often.

    Granular particles work slowly so it may take a while to see positive results. If your plants are suffering from deficiencies or heat stress, the granules may not deliver the nutrients fast enough. Also, granular plant food needs the right type of soil conditions to work effectively like a moist and warm environment and the pH of the soil can also reduce the granule’s effectiveness. If you prefer slow-release granules, it is a good idea to check the pH of the soil before you apply the granules.

    Water-soluble Plant Food

    Water-soluble plant food can be granules that are easily dissolved in water or a powder that you sprinkle on the soil and then use the garden hose. Once you have applied the powder to the soil, the plants can quickly absorb the life-sustaining nutrients through their roots, which means you should see results quickly, usually with 10 days.

    This type of plant food can be used as a quick pick me up for wilting plants, for both outdoor plants or indoor potted plants, and greenhouse plants, and it is especially useful for drip irrigation systems.

    The downside of this treatment is that it is a short-term feeding program and you will have to reapply the solution frequently, in about 2 weeks after the first application.

    Leaching can also be a problem with water-soluble plant food, especially in gardens that have sandy soil or those that receive a lot of rain. You also have to make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instruction as to the correct water to product ratio as you can burn the foliage of the plants.

    Liquid Plant Food

    Liquid plant food like water-soluble powders provides instant nutrients to your plants so you should see results quickly. You can apply liquid plant food by using a dropper applicator, spray bottle, garden sprayer or a watering can. A highly nutrient-rich plant food, liquid solutions are very concentrated, so you have to make sure that you dilute the food properly as it can make the plant sick especially seedlings or those specialty plants like orchids, African violets or Bonsai plants.

    Synthetic Versus Organic Plant Food

    Synthetic plant foods are specially engineered to enhance plant growth which means they will contain chemicals as well as natural ingredients.

    While there are benefits to using synthetic plant food, like a more effective feeding system, they can cause burning or leaching if they are not applied properly.

    There are also concerns about the possibility of the chemicals being passed to humans via vegetables and fruit but there is usually a low risk involved with these types of gardening products. Just make sure they are kept away from children and pets.

    Organic plant food has not been genetically engineered and will contain natural environmentally friendly ingredients. The downside of this type of plant food is that the plant growth might develop at a slower rate and the product may contain other ingredients like bone meal.

    Although a product may say it is organic, it may not be an officially “certified organic” product. It may contain 100% natural ingredients, but it is not certified organic unless it has been deemed organic by a government organization like OMRI. Some plant food manufacturers like Organic Plant Magic contain ingredients that are certified by OMRI but they do not have an official certification, but they are recognized by similar organizations like the Baystate Organic Certifiers, a Massachusetts Organic Certifier.

    Best Plant Food Reviews 1. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food

    Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant FoodMiracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food

    Grow healthy and flourishing plants with the Miracle-Gro All-purpose Plant Food.

    The 8-ounce Miracle-Gro plant food can be used on flowers, vegetables, roses, trees, shrubs, and houseplants. Once you apply the plant food, your plants will produce spectacular flowers, bigger vegetables, and lush foliage.

    Miracle-Gro has an incredible high concentrated formula that contains a 24-8-16 mix of 24% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus, and 16% potassium. The water-soluble granules provide instant nutrition to your plants as you apply it to the base of the plant and you should start to see rapid growth within 10 days.

    To apply the plant food, you can use a watering can or Miracle-Gro’s special Garden Feeder, and reapply every 2 weeks and it is guaranteed not to burn when it is applied as directed.

    The Miracle-Gro plant food mix is available in a 3lb, 5lbs or 10lb box, and a pack of 24 sticks, which is ideal for smaller potted plants.

    Pros

    • Excellent quality
    • Very good price
    • Economical
    • Concentrated formula
    • Provides instant nutrition
    • Can be applied with a Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder or watering can
    • For best results, use every 1 to 2 weeks
    • Provides very good coverage with a garden feeder
    • Grows bigger, more beautiful plants versus unfed plants
    • Feed every 1-2 weeks for optimal results
    • Easy to use
    • Suitable for all indoor or outdoor flowers, vegetables, trees, shrubs
    • Safe for all plants and guaranteed not to burn when used as directed

    Cons

    • Does not dissolve very well so you have to mix it well
    • Not ideal for large commercial gardens

    Check the price on Amazon

    2. Schultz All Purpose Plant Food Plus

    Schultz All Purpose 10 4-Ounce Plant Food PlusSchultz All Purpose 10 4-Ounce Plant Food Plus

    Whether you have indoor or outdoor plants, the Schultz Original All Purpose Liquid Plant Food Plus provides essential minerals like nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, along with other micronutrients that your plants need to grow and thrive.

    If your plant’s leaves are dropping, just add 7 drops of concentrated plant food liquid per 1 quart of water with the easy-to-measure dropper and Schultz’s well balanced 10-15-10 formula instantly provides vital life-giving minerals every time you water.

    The plant food is an excellent choice for transplanting, re-potting and rooting of all types of plants and to apply it, you can use a watering can or a non-clogging hose end sprayer.

    If you have specialized plants like orchids, African violets or bonsai plants, use less liquid, about 3 drops, otherwise, the concentrated formula will be too strong for them.

    The Schultz plant food liquid comes in a single 4-ounce bottle or in a 2 or 3-pack.

    Pros

    • Very effective
    • Affordable price
    • Very good value for money
    • Highly concentrated mix of micro-nutrients
    • Original all-purpose plant food
    • Well balanced 10-15-10 formula
    • Ideal for indoor and outdoor plants
    • Encourages new growth
    • Easy-to-measure dropper
    • Ideal for transplanting, repotting and rooting
    • Available in a single 4-ounce bottle or in a 2 or 3-pack

    Cons

    • Need to apply fewer drops for specialized plants like African violets or bonsai plants

    Check the price on Amazon

    3. Osmocote Plus Outdoor and Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food

    Osmocote Plus 2-Pound Outdoor and Indoor Smart-Release Plant FoodOsmocote Plus 2-Pound Outdoor and Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food

    Become a savvy gardener with the Osmocote Plus Smart-Release Plant food. An effective gardening solution, the Osmocote plant food contains slow-release granules that can be used for all types of plants indoors and outdoors regardless of their condition.

    Your flowers and shrubs will bloom and grow as the plant food contains a good mix of 15/9/12 nitrogen, phosphate and potash and 11 essential nutrients such as magnesium 1.3%, sulfur 6%, boron 0.02%, copper 0.05%, Iron 0.46%, manganese 0.06%, molybdenum 0.02%, and zinc 0.05%.

    Osmocote’s special Smart-Release plant food is highly effective as each granule is coated with a unique semi-permeable resin that allows water to penetrate the granule and dissolve the encapsulated nutrient at a slow rate. Your plants will get the food they need at the right time and the empty shell is left behind after the nutrients are released.

    You can apply the granules directly to the soil and then water them or add one scoopful of granules into 2 gallons of water in a watering can.

    A highly economical plant food, you only have to reapply the granules every 6 months.

    To keep your plants safe, Osmocote offers their famous no-burn pledge when you use the plant food as directed.

    The Osmocote plant food is available in a 1 or 2-pound bottle or an 8-pound pack.

    Pros

    • Great value for money
    • Very affordable price
    • Highly effective
    • Easy application
    • Can be applied directly to the soil or mix the granules in a watering can
    • Unique semi-permeable resin-coated slow-release granules
    • Formulated for all plant varieties, in all conditions
    • Just one application will feed plants up to 6 months
    • Can be used for indoor and outdoor potted plants
    • Contains a 15/9/12 mineral mix and 11 essential nutrients
    • No-burn pledge when you used as directed
    • Available in a 1 or 2-pound bottle or an 8-pound pack

    Cons

    • Not organic
    • Not ideal for orchids or specialty plants

    Check the price on Amazon

    4. Scotts All Purpose Flower and Vegetable Continuous Release Plant Food

    Scotts All Purpose Flower and Vegetable Continuous Release 3-pound Plant FoodScotts All Purpose Flower and Vegetable Continuous Release 3-pound Plant Food

    The Scotts All-purpose Flower and Vegetable Continuous Release Plant Food contains the necessary minerals and nutrients that deliver life-giving nourishment to your plants, which effectively encourage vigorous root growth, lush foliage, healthy vegetables and flourishing flowers.

    The well-balanced 10/10/10 plant food formula also contains 2% sulfur that helps to create stronger plants, and the continuous slow-release formula makes sure that plants receive their nutrition at the right time. You can just sit back and relax while your flowers bloom and vegetables are bountiful.

    The plant food is very easy to apply, just sprinkle the required amount of fertilizer beads directly to the soil around the base of the plant and let your watering, sun, and rain in conjunction with the fertilizer, work its magic. Scott’s all-purpose plant food beads will not burn your beloved plants if you use the food as directed and the plant food only has to be reapplied every 2 months and the 3-pound bag covers 150 square feet. You can even use it for fruit trees and bananas.

    Remember, a small amount goes a long way, and be especially careful when using the granules for smaller indoor plants as the plant food may be too potent for indoor plants and can burn their foliage.

    Pros

    • Great value for money
    • Very affordable price
    • Highly effective all-purpose plant food
    • Can be used for flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees and bananas
    • Encourages growth, lush foliage, and tasty vegetables
    • Promotes beautiful flowers and abundant harvests
    • Economical: a little bit goes a long way
    • Slow-release nitrogen for even, continuous feeding for up to 2 months
    • Well balanced 10/10/10 formula
    • 3-pound bag covers 150 square feet
    • Contains 2% sulfur
    • Will not burn your plants when used as directed
    • Easy to use

    Cons

    • No micro-nutrients

    Check the price on Amazon

    5. Preen Garden Weed Preventer Plus Plant Food

    Preen Garden Weed Preventer Plus Plant FoodPreen Garden Weed Preventer Plus Plant Food

    Feed your plants with the beneficial minerals they need for long life and stop those noxious weeds from destroying them with the Preen Garden Weed Preventer Plus Plant food.

    A highly versatile plant food, the Preen Garden Weed Preventer Plus Plant Food is safe to use around 200+ established flowers, veggies, trees & shrubs and its balanced plant food formula promotes abundant blooms and increased vegetable yields and strong root development, and prevents weeds up to 3 months. The weed preventer/plant food is easy to apply in 3 easy steps:

    Step 1. Remove existing weeds.

    Step 2. Sprinkle the granules with the convenient shaker-top applicator bottle

    Step 3. Water the soil

    The all-purpose granulated fertilizer contains a 9-12-9 mix of nitrogen, phosphate, and soluble potash, and 6.5% sulfur, which promotes beautiful blooms, strong foliage, and root growth while also helping to resist disease. Although this product will not kill existing weeds, it prevents new weeds from sprouting, which eliminates the need for time-consuming hand weeding and it lasts up to 12 weeks. It is highly effective at killing weeds like Annual Bluegrass, Cheatgrass, Common Chickweed, Florida Pusley, Henbit, Knotweed, Lambsquarters, Puncture Vine, and Sandbur, and provides excellent coverage for 900 square feet and rain will not wash it away.

    You can use Preen any time during the spring, summer, or fall and it can also be used on herbs, ground covers, ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees, and listed vegetables at least 2-3 inches tall, but is not to be used on flower or vegetable seeds.

    For effective weed control, apply Preen after spreading mulch on your flower and shrub beds.

    Preen contains a weed preventing active ingredient, Trifluralin, but the ingredient is bio-degradable.

    The Preen weed preventer/plant food comes in a 5.625lb and 7lb bottle, 13lb packet, and a 16lb bucket.

    Pros

    • Excellent value for money
    • Very good price
    • Highly efficient at preventing weeds
    • 2-in-1-product weed preventer and plant food
    • Contain a 9/12/9 nitrogen, phosphate, and potash mix
    • Contains 6.5% sulphur
    • Convenient shaker-top applicator cap
    • Safe to use around 200+ established flowers, veggies, trees and shrubs
    • Balanced fertilizer strengthens plants and promotes abundant blooms and increased yields
    • One application lasts up to 3 months
    • Can be used during the spring, summer, or fall
    • Ready to use
    • Eliminates the need for constant weeding
    • Ideal for a wide range of weeds
    • Rain will not wash the product out of the soil
    • Excellent coverage for 900 square feet
    • Comes in a 5.625lb and 7lb bottle, 13lb packet, and a 16lb bucket

    Cons

    • Not pet and livestock friendly
    • Does not kill weeds
    • Not to be used on flower or vegetable seeds
    • Not available for sale in CA
    • Heavy rain may shorten its effective period
    • Contains trifluralin

    Check the price on Amazon

    6. Organic Plant Magic Instant Compost Tea Fertilizer Plant Food

    Organic Plant Magic Instant Compost Tea Fertilizer Plant FoodOrganic Plant Magic Instant Compost Tea Fertilizer Plant Food

    Cultivating and keeping your plants looking fresh and fabulous can be challenging but with a little bit of fertilizing magic from the Organic Plant Magic Instant Compost Tea Ferlizier Plant Food, producing colorful blooms and a bountiful harvest is quick and easy.

    Plant Magic have created a fully organic all-purpose compost tea that is packed full of 55 trace minerals as well as including beneficial micro-organisms, which are essential elements for healthy soil and plants.

    The odorless tea contains no synthetic fertilizers and the only animal by-product that is used is bone ash. As well as being safe for your plants and the environment, the compost tea is kid and pet-friendly.

    Just one tablespoon of the instant water soluble tea to the soil or mixed into water will build nutritious soil for an optimal environment that will prevent pests, disease, and effects from drought. Your plants will be strong and produce fantastic flowers, foliage, and vegetables that are superior in color, taste, and vibrancy.

    The 5-pound bucket makes 320 gallons of plant food tea and covers up to 10,000 square feet of soil and can be applied with a sprayer, watering can, used in irrigation systems or pop some into your compost heap.

    Although the ingredients in the tea are certified by OMRI, Organic Plant Magic have not applied for official certification from OMRI but they are certified by Baystate Organic Certifiers, a Massachusetts Organic Certifier.

    Organic Plant Magic offer a money back guarantee on their excellent plant food tea concoction.

    Pros

    • Very good quality
    • Very effective
    • 100% organic ingredients
    • 55 trace minerals and beneficial micro-organisms
    • No harsh synthetic chemicals
    • Creates strong root growth and lush foliage
    • Produces strong and healthy plants that are superior in color, taste, and vibrancy
    • Ideal for flowers, fruit, veggies, trees, shrubs, plants in containers or houseplants
    • Kid, Pet, and Environmentally friendly
    • The 5-pound bucket makes 320 gallons or covers up to 10,000 square feet of soil
    • Can be applied directly to soil or mix with water during normal watering
    • Easy to use
    • All season application
    • Water soluble powder dissolves quickly
    • OMRI certified ingredients
    • Certified by Baystate Organic Certifiers, a Massachusetts Organic Certifier

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • No OMRI certification
    • Contains animal by-product bone ash

    Check the price on Amazon

    7. Espoma GT4 Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant Food

    Espoma GT4 4-Pound Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant FoodEspoma GT4 4-Pound Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant Food

    A superior plant food, the all-natural, organic Espoma Garden-Tone was originally developed for professional gardeners and it is an excellent choice for residential herb and vegetable gardens.

    Garden-Tone contains 15 different organic ingredients such as calcium and magnesium and a 3-4-4 mix of nitrogen, phosphate, and soluble potash. The secret to its plant growing success is Espoma’s unique Bio-tone®, which is a special blend of thousands of beneficial microbes that biologically enhance your natural plant’s DNA to ensure superior plant growth and delicious vegetables and herbs.

    The U.S.A. made plant food contains no sludge, hazardous or toxic ingredients and it is environmentally safe, so you will not have to worry about any toxins in the soil, and as it naturally low in salts, it will not burn your plants. The all-season slow release formula provides continuous feeding for better vegetables and herbs up to one month and it is ideal for seedlings and transplants and established plants.

    You can use the plant food for vegetables and tomatoes, out in the garden and for indoor potted plants but the mix has a strong odor so you will need to apply it in a ventilated area.

    Espoma has a wide range of Garden-Tone products that cater specially for different plant types, like roses or tomatoes, flowers or trees so you will be able to find the perfect plant food to cater for your gardening needs.

    Pros

    • High-quality
    • Specially formulated for herb and vegetable gardens
    • Superior plant growth
    • Produces bigger and more abundant harvests
    • Creates strong and vigorous plants
    • Ideal for organic gardening
    • Safe for people, pets, and the environment
    • Originally developed for professional gardeners
    • All natural ingredients
    • Complex blend of 100% natural & organic ingredients
    • Complete & balanced plant food
    • 3-4-4 fertilizer mix
    • Contains 15 different nutrients
    • Enhanced with Bio-tone® beneficial microbes
    • Long-lasting
    • Won’t burn or leach away
    • Slow release formula is ideal for seedlings and transplants
    • Can be used for outdoor and indoor plants
    • Naturally low in salts, so it won’t burn plants
    • All-season application

    Cons

    • Has a strong odor
    • Contains bone meal
    • Not certified organic

    Check the price on Amazon

    8. Jobe’s Organics All Purpose Granular Fertilizer with Biozome

    Jobes Organics All Purpose 4-Pound Granular Fertilizer with BiozomeJobes Organics All Purpose 4-Pound Granular Fertilizer with Biozome

    Whether you have a small garden or a large-scale garden, Jobe’s organic fertilizer is an excellent choice. It is biodegradable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly and will deliver long-term benefits without synthetic chemicals, thereby creating an overall healthy garden eco-system full of vibrant and flourishing plants.

    To restore, maintain, and enhance plant’s natural growth, Jobe’s fertilizer contains a unique blend of a balanced 4-4-4 mix of 4% nitrogen, second 4% phosphorus and 4% potassium, and the “Biozome,” which is a combination of healthy bacteria, Mycorrhizal fungi, and Archaea, which improves soil conditions, helps resist disease, the effects of insects and drought.

    Especially ideal for organic gardeners, Jobe’s plant fertilizer is OMRI listed for organic gardening by the USDA.

    You can use Jobe’s all-purpose organic fertilizer during the initial planting session and you should see fast results within 3 to 5 days and then reapply it every 4-8 weeks.

    Pros

    • High-quality
    • Very affordable price
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Fast effective results
    • Lasts up to 8 weeks
    • Organic granular fertilizer
    • Balanced fertilizer analysis 4-4-4
    • Contains Biozome healthy bacteria
    • No synthetic chemicals
    • Ideal for flowers, vegetables, shrubs, trees & houseplants
    • Economical: a little bit goes a long way
    • Promotes soil quality, root growth, and nutrient absorption
    • Helps plants to resist disease, insects, and drought
    • Safe to use around kids and pets
    • OMRI listed for organic gardening

    Cons

    • Very strong odor
    • Require some preparation and you need to mix well into the soil

    Check the price on Amazon

    Our Top Pick for the Best Plant Food

    Espoma GT4 4-Pound Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant FoodEspoma GT4 4-Pound Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant Food

    Our top pick for the best plant food is Espoma GT4 Garden-Tone 3-4-4 Plant Food.  For superior plant growth and deliciously tasting herbs and vegetables, the Espoma Garden-Tone plant food provides a complete and balanced nutrient-rich diet for your beloved plants. Once you apply the food and water to your plants, sit back and relax and watch your herbs and vegetables grow and thrive into a bountiful harvest that is ripe for the picking.

    Check the price on Amazon

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