What Is the Best Fertilizer For Tomatoes?

Most garden soil contains some of the nutrients your tomato plants require, but adding fertilizer will be crucial in encouraging their growth and fruiting. Choose an all-around balanced product that provides nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium at each growth stage for best results.

Consider purchasing granular fertilizers that offer quick- or slow-release formulas; blood and bone meal can provide both nitrogen and phosphorous to help your garden flourish.


Tomato plants require nitrogen throughout their growing season to promote healthy plant growth, stimulate flowering and fruiting cycles, strengthen roots and help produce larger and more nutritious fruit. Too much nitrogen can lead to excessive foliage growth that reduces fruit yield – therefore, fertilization should take place only at certain times of year.

An accurate soil test is the key to understanding whether or not your planting area contains adequate nitrogen levels, or whether additional fertilizer needs to be added. If a soil test shows deficient levels, liquid tomato fertilizer should be applied either at time of transplanting or shortly thereafter to quickly absorb into both soil and leaves; liquid fertilizers must first be diluted prior to use as they could cause burns or damages on roots and leaves of tomato plants if used directly from their original form.

Once tomato plants have established an ample root system and are just two weeks away from blooming, add a fertilizer with high levels of phosphorous to boost fruit production. Wood ash, bone meal or compost that has been worked into their planting bed all provide this key nutrient source.

Tomato plants can benefit from being fed organic fertilizers like cottonseed meal for optimal growth. This slow-release fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium for optimum plant nutrition – safer alternatives than chemically produced fertilizers as they don’t contain additives which could harm plants or soil.


Tomato plants require phosphorous for healthy, vigorous growth and plentiful fruit production. It stimulates cell division while aiding water absorption during dry spells. Furthermore, high levels of phosphorous help protect tomatoes against blossom-end rot. You can easily add this essential nutrient to the soil by mixing compost, bone meal or kelp meal into it; using organic materials guarantees that nutrients remain available to plants for uptake. Organic gardeners can even mix their own combination to further increase overall crop health and quality.

Commercial fertilizers made for tomatoes typically feature an NPK ratio of 20 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorous and 10 percent potassium. You can purchase these products from most garden centers or online retailers and they come in different forms such as granular, liquid or water-soluble formulations to accommodate your planting needs, weather conditions or user convenience.

At the time of transplanting and early bloom, tomatoes benefit most from receiving a phosphorous-rich formulation as this provides optimal conditions for their early development and may not require nitrogen supplementation at this stage of growth. Only once your tomato plant is well-established and producing fruit should additional nitrogen be introduced into its nutrition plan.

Home-made or natural fertilizers typically provide adequate amounts of phosphorous. Wood ash, bone meal and kelp meal make an excellent combination for this nutrient, while adding coconut shells or powdered eggshells into the mix also encourage beneficial microorganisms to flourish in your garden. Gardeners can purchase fertilizer spikes at local garden stores or online retailers that release time-released nutrients over the course of growing season – perfect for tomato plants!


Tomato plants need high levels of potassium for abundant flowering and fruit production. Potassium regulates photosynthesis, helps absorb nitrogen from fertilizers more easily, and contributes to fruit ripening. Tomato plants also require magnesium, iron, calcium, boron and zinc in order to thrive.

Organic materials provide the optimal environment for plants to absorb essential nutrients for healthy growth. Beneficial microbes flourishing in the soil can then digest and release these nutrients for absorption by the plants – popular choices being animal manures such as cow, horse or sheep-goat manure from non-industrial farms – encouraging beneficial microbes to flourish and feed off of each other in turn.

Cottonseed meal provides a healthy dose of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous; making it an ideal natural fertilizer to use from stage two forward as its nutrients gradually release over time. Wood ash also offers plenty of potassium and phosphorous – but can increase soil pH too high for optimal plant growth; an alternative approach would be adding one cup of kelp meal which will boost soil levels of these essential elements.

Commercially manufactured fertilizers often offer specific ratios of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium macronutrients in their formula – for instance 10-10-10 will give an indication of this product’s percentages of these essential elements.

Water-soluble fertilizers are ideal for tomato plants as they can be easily applied directly to their soil environment. Simply mix granules or powders with water before pouring over your plants. A diluted liquid fertilizer may also be sprayed onto them directly via spray bottle or sprinkler can.


Tomato plants require the perfect balance of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK on fertilizer labels) in order to grow healthy and produce an abundant crop. Therefore, selecting an optimal fertilizer will be key in providing them with all of their necessary nourishment.

Organic and synthetic fertilizers both work well when applied to tomatoes, though organic varieties offer greater environmental safety due to being slower-release and less concentrated than synthetic ones. Made up of natural components like blood meal, kelp or compost, organic fertilizers also play an integral part in maintaining optimal soil pH levels – something vitally important for their success.

Chemical manufactured fertilizers are designed to supply your tomato plants with specific nutrients they require at various stages of growth, as outlined on their fertilizer labels as the NPK ratio (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium). Look for fertilizers with balanced NPK ratios of 20-10-10 or 10-5-10 when starting seeds or feeding matured plants that have just set fruit; when blooming begins switch to lower-nitrogen 5-15-5 products or products high in phosphorous such as bone meal for blooming tomato plants.

Liquid tomato fertilizer can be applied directly onto the soil around your plants or mixed with water to create a spray. When applying liquid tomato fertilizer, make sure it’s evenly applied without getting onto leaves or stems, especially during regular watering when tomatoes can absorb its nutrients quickly. Granular fertilizers require more effort as you must work it into the soil first before watering can take effect.


Tomatoes need many micro and macro nutrients in order to grow properly, with nitrogen being especially essential in terms of supporting strong stems and leaves for vigorous growth, while phosphorous facilitates flowering and fruit production. Potassium helps regulate photosynthesis to produce robust fruits while magnesium, iron, boron zinc copper are additional necessary elements. Therefore, taking a soil test will give an accurate reading on any deficiencies in your garden soil as well as finding appropriate natural or commercial fertilizers for tomatoes.

Tomato plants need specific ratios of primary nutrients at various points throughout their growing season. Commercial fertilizers usually feature an NPK number series to indicate how much nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium each product contains; for instance a typical 10-10-10 fertilizer contains 20 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorous and 10 percent potassium respectively. Homemade tomato fertilizers made from animal manure, wood ash or compost may offer a more natural alternative than store-bought options.

Organic tomato fertilizers can be purchased both locally and online. Common ingredients found in such fertilizers include fish bone meal, feather meal, kelp meal, soft rock phosphate mined potassium sulfate and humic acid; while certain brands also incorporate mycorrhizae or beneficial soil microbes.

When planting tomatoes, opt for an organic fertilizer with an optimal ratio of three parts nitrogen, four parts phosphorous and six parts potassium. An Espoma Organic Tomato-Tone product provides slow-release nitrogen (from fish bone meal), feather meal phosphorous and potassium from kelp meal as ingredients; you could also consider homemade recipes using natural components like cottonseed meal (which releases both nitrogen and phosphorous simultaneously over four months); coffee grounds as a low nitrogen source or blood meal which provides high amounts in its initial stages of development!

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