The best organic fertilizer is essential for apartment balcony gardens.
With the perfect mixture, all of your favorite plants can thrive and add life to your concrete surroundings.
Here are five of the most recommended organic fertilizers.
Best Organic Fertilizer Reviews
1. Jobe’s Organics Purpose Fertilizer
Jobe’s Organics Purpose Fertilizer is one of the more fast-acting formulas for plenty of plants.
Since it’s an all-purpose fertilizer, you’ll find that it’s useful for shrubs, vegetables, flowers, trees, and more.
It has plenty of great benefits that you’ll love for your balcony flower and vegetable garden.
The most impressive feature of this fertilizer is that it has a granular texture that allows it to work incredibly fast.
It’s also approved for organic gardening via the USDA, making it one of the best choices for vegetables and fruits.
You won’t have to worry about synthetic chemicals affecting the quality of your delicious and vibrant plants.
In the fertilizer’s formula, you’ll find the patented Jobe’s Biozome, which is a proprietary microorganism.
Biozome breaks down material so that the fertilizer becomes more potent and provides essential nutrients to plants.
By adding the fertilizer, you’ll notice a significant improvement in overall soil health and plant health.
Jobe’s Organics Purpose Fertilizer is fantastic for resisting disease with all of the nutrients it brings to the table.
It can also assist with preventing insect infestations and any adverse effects from droughts.
Using the resealable bag, you can create an assortment of planters for your apartment balcony without wasting any product.
When looking at the nutrients, this fertilizer has four percent nitrogen, phosphate, and soluble potash.
It also contains eight percent calcium, 0.5 percent magnesium, and just over one percent sulfur.
All of the nutrients are derived from processed poultry manure, feather meal, bone meal, and sulfate of potash.
What to Like About It
The first thing you’ll notice with this fertilizer is that it helps plants proliferate during their season.
It’s also a fantastic formula for indoor and outdoor plants, especially fruit trees and vegetables.
When used, your plants will show blooms that you’ve never seen before, even if they were previously sick and dying.
What Not to Like About It
Organic fertilizer poses a significant threat to pets, so ensure they don’t eat this product, or they’ll get ill.
Also, because it’s organic, Jobe’s Organics Purpose Fertilizer has a very pungent stench for a few hours after first use.
- Assists with faster growth
- A useful formula for indoor and outdoor plants
- Helps with fruiting and blooming
- Revives sick and dying plants
- Will make pets ill
- Has an unappealing smell
2. Dr. Earth Organic 5 Fertilizer
Dr. Earth Organic 5 Fertilizer is an excellent option for both indoor and outdoor vegetable gardens.
There’s plenty of nutrients in its formula to help vegetables thrive and become juicier and more flavorful.
In a single polybag, there’s more than enough nutrition to keep plants healthy for several months.
One of our favorite features of this organic fertilizer is that it’s entirely pet-safe.
There aren’t any traces of chicken manure, toxic ingredients, or synthetic chemicals to put animals at risk.
All of the ingredients are handcrafted from food-grade and human-grade sources.
In the soil, you’ll find plenty of carbohydrates, proteins, multi-minerals, and humic acids to promote healthier soil.
Your plants will have a significant amount of nutrition to assist during the growing season, especially when growing vegetables.
It’s also designated as an organic formula by many organizations, including:
- OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute)
- OIM (Organic Input Materials)
- CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers)
- NOP (National Organic Program)
One of the most exciting aspects of this fertilizer is that it’s made by environmentalists focused on sustaining plant health.
The 100% natural and organic ingredients work together to provide beneficial microbes in the soil. You’ll also have access to endo and ectomycorrhizae.
This formula contains four percent nitrogen, six percent phosphate, and three percent soluble potash as per the guaranteed analysis.
There’s also just under eight percent calcium derived from an assortment of natural sources.
The ingredients also include rock phosphate, kelp flour, kelp meal, fish meal, potassium sulfate, alfalfa meal, feather meal, and more.
What to Like About It
Dr. Earth Organic 5 Fertilizer is an excellent option for beginners because it’s a foolproof formula with plenty of instructions.
You can opt to use the fertilizer as is, or you can quickly turn it into compost tea.
It will slightly increase yields and effortlessly be mixed into growing mediums to boost plant health.
What Not to Like About It
Most of the nutrients in this formula are derived from fish, which gives it a very unappealing smell.
The fishiness is bound to attract critters, especially raccoons, which is something to consider.
However, if you live on a higher floor in an apartment, this isn’t much of a concern to consider.
- Foolproof formula
- Arrives with many instructions
- Can be turned into compost tea
- Slightly increases yields
- Easily mixed into growing mediums
- Can attract raccoons
- Has a substantial fishy smell
3. Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer
Using pure fertilizer is a fantastic way to boost the health and productivity of plants.
With Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer, you can improve your houseplants’ overall quality, including flowers, vegetables, and trees.
Interestingly, this formula is derived from pure earthworm castings.
Worm castings are exceptionally popular because they’re easy to use and add to plants.
With this product, you can create perfectly balanced soil by improving nutrition and nutrient absorption.
As an OMRI-certified product, you can guarantee it’s an organic solution for all of your plants.
The non-toxic formula is safe around children and pets, and our favorite feature is that it’s odor-free.
With an indoor/outdoor formulation, you can easily use it for your balcony plants. Also, because it’s all-purpose, it’s useful for anything, from flowers to vegetable gardens.
Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer can also help significantly with increasing yields.
As plants will absorb the trace elements and nutrients, their growth will boost significantly.
Also, it works to promote healthier soil by adding football-shaped particles to improve aeration.
What to Like About It
This long-lasting formula significantly improves the overall quality and fertility of plants.
It’s also a great addition to the starting mix to help boost soil and plant health quality.
With helpful bacteria and fungi, this product also assists with at-home vermicomposts.
What Not to Like About It
When using sand as a growing medium, these casings will dry up quickly and cause significant damage.
Also, there’s a higher likelihood of gnat infestations, which is something to consider.
- Long-lasting formula
- Significantly improves fertility
- Perfect for adding to starting mix
- Features helpful fungi and bacteria
- Easy for making vermicomposts
- Dries quickly in sand
- Will increase gnat infestations
4. Espoma VM8 Organic Vermiculite
Compaction is one of the most deadly things for plants, especially in balcony and rooftop gardens.
With the help of Espoma VM8 Organic Vermiculite, you can reduce compaction and allow plants to thrive.
There are plenty of unique features of this formula to help improve heavy soil.
When you add Espoma VM8 Organic Vermiculite to the soil, it helps prevent it from compacting tightly.
It’s an all-natural solution that loosens soil and allows plenty of aeration for improved plant health.
One of its most significant benefits is that it helps with root growth, which can significantly improve plant quality.
Another one of the features that we love is that this formula is designated for organic gardening.
It’s an incredible way to improve the soil quality for all of your favorite flowers so that they can grow effortlessly.
Also, it’s very easily mixed with existing soil to provide plants with more than enough space.
With properly aerated soil, plants have the opportunity to absorb more nutrients without feeling suffocated.
It also assists with watering, as you can ensure plants get the perfect amount of hydration without over-watering.
It’s available in a polybag, so the Espoma VM8 Organic Vermiculite is very easy to store.
What to Like About It
This vermiculite is a fantastic addition to gardens because it helps retain water for adequate growth.
It also assists with germination, as there’s plenty of aerated soil for starters.
With the Ziploc design of the bag, it’s easy to seal once used.
The Espoma VM8 Organic Vermiculite can also be used in areas where humidity is essential, as it holds it well.
The consistency of the vermiculite is also notable since it falls between fine and coarse.
What Not to Like About It
The most significant issue with this product is its packaging, which contains several holes for aeration.
During shipping, some of the product will spill into the box.
Also, it contains less vermiculite than expected, and some bags had a significantly dusty texture.
- Retains water well
- Allows for improved germination
- Ziploc bag design
- Good material consistency
- Holds humidity perfectly
- Slightly dusty
- Product leaks from packaging
- Smaller volume than expected
5. Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Plant Food
Miracle-Gro is one of the most renowned names in the gardening industry, and for good reason.
The Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Plant Food is a fantastic addition to all types of plants.
It’s recommended for flowers, herbs, and vegetables, thanks to the fact that it’s packed with essential organic nutrients.
Using this product is likely its most significant benefits.
Unlike others, it’s so easy to use. All you have to do is sprinkle it on top of your plants, and the nutrients will seep into the soil.
Fortunately, it’s useful for both container plants and planters, making it perfect for apartment gardens.
According to the manufacturer, significant signs of improvement will be experience within seven days.
With this, instead of relying on your plants to find nutrients on their own, you can ensure they’re adequately fed.
All of the formula ingredients are genuinely organic and will cover up to 165 square feet of gardens.
For beginners, the back of the packaging contains plenty of instructions for using in-ground or in containers.
Based on the pot’s size, you’ll know how much of the product to add to help avoid burning.
When used correctly, you’ll begin to see an improvement in vegetable yields, as well.
What to Like About It
The Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Plant Food will last an incredibly long time. You’ll find there’s plenty of product in one packaging.
It also ensures there’s ongoing nutrition for plants to take advantage of for improved health and growth.
The container’s convenient design is exceptional, as it makes the product easy to store and keep fresh.
What Not to Like About It
The most significant concern with this formula is that it can influence the taste of tomatoes, which is a bit concerning.
Also, it’s not to be dissolved in water, preventing the product from working correctly.
Similar to any fertilizer, it’s essential to follow the application instructions before use.
- Lasting nutrient breakdown
- Boosts plant growth and health
- Impeccable container design
- Plenty of product
- Can influence tomato flavor
- Not to be dissolved in water
When shopping for organic fertilizer, it is essential to find a product guaranteed to increase overall plant health.
Not only must you find an organic formula sourced from trusted ingredients, but one that’s also proven to work.
Let’s review some of the most important things to look for in a top-tier fertilizer.
1. Fertilizer Type
There are several different types of fertilizer that you might be interested in considering.
Each has its benefits depending on the plants you intend to grow.
Organic and Inorganic
Organic fertilizers are primarily made from manure and other animal and plant products.
They’re a great source of nutrients, and they help to provide long-lasting health to your plants.
Over time, your soil will experience significant improvements due to the slow-releasing nutrients.
Inorganic fertilizers, on the other hand, contain chemical components that ensure necessary nutrients are provided.
With an organic fertilizer, it’s challenging to know the number of nutrients derived from organic sources.
Inorganic products provide short-term growth using premeasured components.
Nitrogen is one of the essential compounds required for plant growth and is frequently included in fertilizers.
It’s most useful during the middle stages of plant growth, as it assists with growing stronger stems and new leaves.
Phosphate is an essential nutrient required to ensure plants grow continuously. It helps boost the root system as well as the stems of a plant.
Phosphate can be attributed to significant fruiting, better flowering, and more robust seeding.
Another component of most fertilizers is potassium, which is responsible for more robust root systems.
Potassium is also essential for protecting plants if they lack other essential nutrients.
During photosynthesis, this component helps to slow down the development of diseases hiding in your garden.
It’s easy to tell if your plants suffer from a potassium deficiency, as the leaves will turn yellow or brown.
If the deficiency is prolonged, the leaves will begin to die and won’t continue to regrow.
2. Element Percentage
Element percentage can vary from one type of fertilizer to the next. The values relate to the amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in the formula.
As earlier discussed, each nutrient has its array of benefits that they bring to your plants.
Determining the element percentage of a specific type of fertilizer can be achieved with this worksheet.
It’s possible to find blended fertilizers containing N, P, and K, while there are unblended forms.
Usually, the nutrients will be expressed in three sets of numbers, such as 10-10-10 or 16-0-0.
When shopping for fertilizers, the element percentage you need will depend on the grade of your soil.
Serious gardeners will have their soil tested, and the report will show which type of fertilizer grade is most recommended.
The majority of apartment gardens can benefit from fertilizer grades that include:
3. Additional Nutrient Supplements
In fertilizer, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are known as primary elements, which then produce secondary elements.
The secondary elements create microelements, also known as spore elements.
All of these components are necessary to ensure the longevity and health of your plants.
Sometimes, a type of fertilizer can be lacking in certain nutrients and will need to be supplemented.
If plants are experiencing a specific problem, such as poor water management, specific supplements are recommended.
You will likely have to consider finding supplements for secondary and spore elements for your plants.
- Calcium: Responsible for promoting healthier cell walls inside of plants
- Sulfur: Used in small portions and helps plants develop proteins and amino acids while managing water consumption
- Magnesium: Helps plants create green leaves as well as produce and store more energy
Micro Elements/Spore Elements
- Iron: Assists with creating leafy greens
- Manganese: Works with enzymes to stimulate healthy cell division while also managing the plant’s metabolism
- Zinc: Has shown significant improvements in protein building and promotes plants to grow larger while reducing light resistance
- Copper: With lacking copper, plants will have significant growth problems
- Borium: Helps to promote faster plant growth while improving cell wall stability
- Chlorine: Promotes healthier oxygen release during growth
- Molybdenum: Stimulates nitrogen compounds necessary for enzyme production
- Sodium: An essential component of plant growth
- Silicon: Helps to build more vigorous plants and boosts disease-resistance
Not all fertilizers are created equal, with some costing more than others.
Many factors come into play when determining cost, including ingredients and manufacturing.
Organic fertilizers can often be more expensive than inorganic compounds; however, they can be made-at-home.
Homemade fertilizer provides long-term assistance at a fraction of the cost of storebought products.
You can also cut costs by opting for lesser-known brands that use organic material, such as worm castings.
Organic Fertilizer FAQs
1. What are examples of organic fertilizers?
Organic fertilizers usually contain several components sourced from organic materials.
A few notable examples include:
- Worm castings
- Sulfate of potash
- Mine rock phosphate
2. What are the three major types of organic fertilizers?
Animal manure, kelp, and worm castings are three incredibly popular types of organic fertilizer.
Typically, cow or chicken manure is used as fertilizer because they are both rich in nutrients.
Cow manure can be composted before use to avoid burning and can be used for fruits and vegetables.
However, it’s essential to find manure from cows fed an organic diet; otherwise, you could put chemical antibiotic residue in your plants.
Chicken manure is another popular choice because it contains the highest potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen concentration.
There are plenty of other nutrients it contains, such as magnesium and calcium.
Often, chicken manure is available in pellets, or you can compost it yourself.
Kelp not only provides benefits to the human body but your plants, as well.
It contains an ample amount of potassium, though it lacks nitrogen and will require supplementation.
The long-term benefits of kelp are phenomenal and its largest selling point.
When added to gardens, kelp helps to stimulate soil development, which helps plants thrive.
You will also notice a significant uptick in your overall yield during the growing season.
Plants will have an increased tolerance to changing temperatures and direct sunlight.
Derived from earthworms, worm castings are a fantastic source of potassium, concentrated nitrates, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
They are organic fertilizers that help to protect the soil and plants from several diseases.
Another huge advantage is that they assist with moisture retention to increase your plant’s health and yield.
Worm castings can be used in several ways, though the most popular are dried or as worm tea.
3. Is organic fertilizer better than chemical?
Chemical fertilizers are undoubtedly the less expensive option, but they also provide short-term results.
Organic fertilizers are the more expensive choice but continue to give back to your garden over time.
Once plants have taken the nutrients they need from an organic fertilizer, it helps the soil thrive.
Also, it ensures your soil has a substantially better texture and composition for planting new plants.
However, it’s essential to monitor the nutrients in your organic fertilizer to ensure they’re meeting the appropriate thresholds.
4. Is organic fertilizer safe?
Organic fertilizers can be a safer alternative, especially for your plants, as they are a slow-release solution.
There will be far less buildup of damaging chemicals that can be toxic to all of the vegetation in your planters.
It’s also important to note that pets can be attracted to organic fertilizers, which can be harmful to their health.
As a pet parent, you must always ensure the fertilizers you choose are pet-safe.
5. What are the disadvantages of organic fertilizers?
As organic fertilizers don’t have synthetic ingredients to manage nutrients, they can be lower in nutrients than chemical options.
Using this type of product requires patience and maintenance, offering a long-term and slow solution to plant health.
It can also be challenging to make on your own, especially if you have to compost the material before using it.
It’s also likely that these products can take longer to show any improvement to your crops.
Organic fertilizers take longer to break down than inorganic, causing a deficiency in plants before a boost in health.
With patience, you’ll see significant improvements that you can reap the benefits from.
Our Final Recommendation
If you ask us, the best organic fertilizer is the Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Plant Food.
When used correctly, it will show a noteworthy improvement in your plants’ overall health and production.
Also, there’s plenty of product in a single bag to last an extended period.