Should You Use a Slow Release Fertilizer?
Posted by Scott Sharkey on Feb 27th 2023
One of the questions we are often asked about in our greenhouses is on the use of a slow release fertilizer.
Slow release fertilizer (such as Osmocote) is a good idea and can be very beneficial for your plants and flowers IF you understand what it is and what it is not. Let's first take a look at what a slow release (or controlled release) fertilizer is.
Slow release fertilizers are typically a small pelleted ball that will release a tiny amount of fertilizer into the soil each time that it gets wet during watering. It will give a constant (though VERY minimal) amount of plant feed each time and can last for maybe a few months. It is essentially good and there is nothing wrong with using them as long as it is not thought of a replacement for feeding with actual plant food like our Beat Your Neighbor fertilizer.
Think of it this way...would you skip all your meals if you were taking a multi-vitamin? Of course not. You would still need the nourishment from eating your meals of food. Slow release fertilizer is kind of like that. It is great as a little supplement, but not to replace feeding (once a week for outdoor plants and once a month for indoor plants.)
Now when it comes to soil that has the slow release fertilizer right in it...again, generally a good idea. In fact when we plant up our hanging baskets in our greenhouses we mix in a hand full of Osmocote because it gives that little boost. BUT just because soil has some slow release fertilizer included in it does not mean that you no longer have to feed on a regular basis. It just doesn't work like that, and if you practice that approach you will be severely disappointed in your flowers because they just will not perform (because they aren't being fed sufficiently.)
You can find a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote here:
Watch our video below that goes into more depth on the use of slow release fertilizers: