The Best Slow Release Fertilizers For Houseplants (2022)

With so many fertilizers in the market today, it can be really confusing to know which you are supposed to use. Slow-release fertilizers are often chosen over-controlled or other types of commercial fertilizer and this is because they are more versatile and provide your garden with a more predictable result.

It is okay to wonder if slow-release fertilizers can give your plants the complete nutrition it needs. The answer is yes and you just have to find the right one. Slow-release fertilizers are not just ideal for many plants but they are also less likely to leech.

The type of fertilizer you choose often depends on your soil and what you are growing. However, the slow-release fertilizer can be used on all types of plants, annuals, perennials turf grasses, shrubs, and trees as well.

Slow-release fertilizer and controlled fertilizer are often used interchangeably but keep in mind that this two are very different. Slow-release fertilizers as the name imply release fertilizers slowly while controlled-release fertilizers are longer.

The Best Slow Release Fertilizers For Houseplants

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It is also important to understand how plant nutrition before feeding them fertilizer. Using a slow-grow-release fertilizer for your plants allows you to supply plants with nutrients for a specified period of time without the need for specialized equipment needed to apply water-soluble fertilizer.

The quality of the slow-release fertilizer you are choosing is very important, so to help you make the right choice, this article contains a list of the best slow-release fertilizers to buy and factors to consider.

What Is Slow Release Fertilizer?

Slow-release fertilizers are the types of fertilizers that release slow, small and steady nutrients over an extended period of time.

With so many different types of fertilizers out, understanding how each one works can be confusing. This is because different plants and soils have different nutrient needs and slow-release fertilizers are formulated to provide these nutrients slowly or over time.

Slow-release fertilizer can also be regarded as a fertilizer coated in plastic resin or sulfur-based polymers which get broken down slowly from water, sunlight, or soil microbes. This type of fertilizer provides steady fertilizer which in a way provides your plants with a sustainable and continuous supply of nutrients for months even in uncertain weather conditions.

Benefits Of Slow Release Fertilizers

To fully understand why gardeners recommend slow-release fertilizer for your plants then you to know about some of its benefits. The endless choice of fertilizers you can find is baffling but here are some of the benefits of using slow-release fertilizers for your plants.

  • Reduction of burning risk, slow-release fertilizer eliminates the risk of fertilizer burn while it also stays on the soil longer.
  • Continous supply of nutrients for up to 4 months
  • It promotes a good root system
  • It saves time, labour and energy
  • Low salt concentration and toxicity
  • There is less leeching into ground and surface
  • It helps sustain grass growth
  • Good for established lawns.

Slow Release Fertilizers (The Best Options to Buy)

Slow-release fertilizers are formulated to provide your plants with fertilizers throughout their growing seasons. The gradual release of nutrients sure makes this fertilizer much preferable to sudden release types of fertilizers. To keep your plants supplied with nutrients, slow-release fertilizers are considered the best option.

Hence we have compiled a list of some of the best options to buy.

1. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N All Purpose Plant Food- Best Overall

Miracle-Gro 3002010 Shake 'N Feed All Purpose Continuous Release Plant, 8 lb, Brown/A

What We Like About This Slow Release Fertilizer:

  • Provides plants with instant nutrient
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Nourishes the soil
  • Can be applied anytime of the day
  • Can be used in ground and containers.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The granule formula might not be to everyone’s taste.

MiracleGro is a popular brand that is known for producing quality planting essentials. This slow-release fertilizer is formulated to provide your plants with the essential nutrients needed to grow. It can help feed and nourish all types of plants and it also contains vital micronutrients that help your plants to grow stronger and more vibrant. One of the key features of this fertilizer is that it can feed your plants for up to 6 months which means you don’t have to regularly feed your plants.

This formula works for all types of plants including fruits and vegetables. It is a slow-release fertilizer and if applied properly and as directed, it is guaranteed not to burn your plants. You don’t also have to mix anything with it.

Another interesting feature that makes it worth investing in is that it contains natural ingredients. It can help nourish and feed your plants for a long time which is great if you have a busy schedule. You don’t also have to worry about any form of pollution to the environment.

Convincing Review: Saved my dying mini roses! After an accidental overwatering (oops) my three girls were nearly decimated. Almost all the leaves turned yellow and fell off. I honestly thought they were beyond hope but this fertilizer really helped bring them back. Lots of new leaf growth within just a few weeks. I imagine if you used it on some healthy roses you’d get some lovely blooms too. pirateslovejazz Via Amazon.

2. Schultz Slow-Release Bloom Fertilizer- Best For Perrennials

Schultz 018065 Spf48270 Slow-Release Bloom Fertilizer 3.5 Lbs

What We Like About This Slow Release Fertilizer:

  • It is easy to use
  • No mixing is required
  • Long-lasting formula
  • Great for all types of plants
  • Slow-release nutrients.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Poor customer service.

This type of slow-release fertilizer is an instant bloom food that is very similar to Micro-Food slow-release fertilizer. This product is one of the best slow-release fertilizers in the market and it is great for flowers and other perennials. It is quite easy to use and many reviews claim it is the best summer fertilizer to use.

It also has a lower potential on the environment. It contains a good amount of phosphorus which is essential for flowering and fruit formation.

Schultz Slow-Release fertilizer requires no mixing and how long it lasts tends to depend on the soil microbial activity which is driven by moisture and temperature. You also don’t have to worry about it burning your plants as long as it is used as directed.

This slow-release fertilizer is also an all-purpose fertilizer and due to its phosphate content, it is great for growing flowers. You don’t need to consistently feed your plants either and it can be used in pots, containers, and hanging baskets.

Convincing Review: Schultz Bloom is the summer wonder fertilizer. All my blooming plants in the garden are so happy. I was not paid for this review. I do not work for any company affiliate. I’m just a happy gardener. I use Osmocote 14-14-14 for the basics and Schultz Bloom for blooming plants. It is great. CA native Via Amazon.

3. Osmocote Smart Release Plant Food- Best For Small Garden Areas

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor, 8 lbs

What We Like About This Slow Release Fertilizer:

  • Works for all varieties of plants
  • Feeds plants up to 6 months
  • Contains essential nutrients
  • Easy to use
  • No plant burn when used as directed.

What We Don’t Like:

  • It is not biodegradable.

Oscomote Smart Release Fertilizer is formulated with 11 essential nutrients that provide all varieties of plants essential nutrients needed to grow. This formula is easy to use and it has a slow controlled-release fertilizer that can easily feed your plants for up to 6 months. As long as this is used as directed, you do not have to worry about plant burn and you simply just sprinkle them onto our soil and have it watered regularly.

This product consists of nutrient granule which is coated with semi-permeable resin. This is a great choice of fertilizer to start with if you are new to the world of fertilizers. Although the empty shells are not biodegradable and will be left in the soil after nutrients are released but it’s considered a slow-release fertilizer worth investing in.

Convincing Review: This type of slow-release fertilizer is a rare thing… It actually works and slowly releases the fertilizer to the plants for many months continuously… Put it once and don’t have to worry for many months… The plants happily grow rapidly! Would highly recommend this for serious gardeners! David Via Amazon.

4. Slow Release Indoor Plant Food- Best For Indoor Plants

Slow Release Indoor Plant Food

What We Like About This Slow Release Fertilizer:

  • Easy to use
  • Safe for large and small indoor plants
  • Contains essential plant nutrients
  • Promotes healthy plant growth.

What We Don’t Like About It:

  • None that we can find.

A slow-release fertilizer is not just for outdoor plants but it can also help your indoor plants thrive. This fertilizer is easy and safe to use fertilizer for your indoor plants. It is formulated to provide all types of indoor plants with essential nutrients needed for them to grow.

This slow-release fertilizer only needs to be applied once every 4 months which means you do not have to worry about it for a while after the first application.

Your indoor plants are unlikely to give you signals when they need to be fed, so you will have to take this decision for them. Using this slow-release fertilizer as scheduled keeps you from overfeeding your plants and it is also ideal for heavy feeders as well.

Convincing Review: Came as described! I don’t know much about plant food but it’s exactly as pictured. I have only 3 little potted plants so this is going to last me forever. I fed my jasmine plant and it’s happy so it must like it. Steven Via Etsy.

5. Miracle Gro Soluble Plant Food- Best For Vegetables

Miracle-Gro 1001193 3001192 Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food, 10 lb, Green

What We Like About This Slow Release Fertilizer:

  • Great for all plant types including fruits and vegetables
  • Soluble formula
  • Fortified with nutrients and vitamins
  • Fast results.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not everyone likes the liquid fomula due to it being slighly more messy.

Every slow-release fertilizer has its reason for standing out and this fertilizer, it is that it allows you to feed your plants at a regular rate even in cold weather season. This formula contains vital nutrients needed for your plants to grow. It can be easily used in a watering can which enables you to tend to your plants in the autumn and beginning of spring as well.

Miracle-Gro Soluble Plant Food is considered safe for all plants varieties and as long as it is used as directed, it won’t burn your plants. It is also fortified with nitrogen and other essential vitamins and minerals.

For best results, they recommend feeding your plants every 7 to 14 days.

Convincing Review: I love Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food!!! Years ago I worked in an office and there was a Poinsettia plant that had seen better days. My coworker was going to throw it out but I told her to let me try to revive it so I used Miracle-Gro as I used on my house plants. I took a gallon of the Miracle-Gro and water (mixed according to the directions) to work and nursed the plant along. It was like a Miracle (Gro) when right around Christmas the Poinsettia plant I cared for displayed the bright red leaves!!! The other people in the office had told me the plant would die so you can imagine their faces when they saw the results of me using Miracle-Gro!!! Doug W Via Amazon.

6. Scotts Evergreen, Flowering Tree & Shrub- Best Budget

Scotts 1009101 Evergreen Flowering Tree & Shrub Food 3 Lbs

What We Like About This Slow Release Fertilizer:

  • Encourages plant growth
  • Affordable
  • Eas to use
  • Supplies nutrients to root
  • Doesn’t make a mess.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not for all plant types.

This is another easy-to-use fertilizer for your flowering plants, tree, and shrub. This product encourages the growth of your plants and all you have to do is simply spread it by hand or a mechanical spreader over the surface of the soil or around your tree and shrub. This is considered to be inexpensive for the quality it offers.

It is also a great choice of slow-release fertilizer if you need to encourage evergreen plants such as magnolia, hydrangeas, and acid-loving trees and shrubs like camellias as well.

The formula is not just easy to use but also safe for your plants. For best results, it recommends applying every two months during the growing season. It comes with instructions that are easy to follow as well.

Convincing Review: We have the best bushes in the neighbourhood! Since our township does not allow fencing from the back of the house to the front, a neighbor and I both placed some new growth surrounding our property. They started the same size, however, since using this product a year and a half ago, ours are over 1 to 2 feet higher and more robust looking than the other property owner. Sam Whitman Via Amazon.

7. Schultz All Purpose Slow Release Fertilizer- Best For All Plants

Schultz 018061 Spf48640 All Purpose Slow-Release Plant Food, 3.5 Lbs

What We Like About This Slow Release Fertilizer:

  • Easy to use
  • For all plants
  • Contains micronutrient
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Inexpensive.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Too much can burn plants.

Schultz’s all-purpose fertilizer is another brand of slow-release fertilizer that helps keep your plants nourished and healthy. This fertilizer is great for flowers and other perennials, it is also great for growing delicious tomatoes and vegetables. This slow-release fertilizer is also very easy to use. Mixing is not required on the part of this fertilizer and it also consists of essential nutrients that help plants grow faster.

This formula provides nutrients and food for your plants. This slow-release fertilizer is regarded as one of the best on the list of slow-release fertilizers. It needs to be used carefully and as directed to prevent it from burning your plants.

Convincing Review: I’ve used this for a couple of growing seasons and my vegetables do really well with it. Books Via Amazon

8. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food- Runner Up

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Azalea, Camellia, Rhododendron Plant Food, 1.5 lb

What We Like About This Slow Release Fertilizer:

  • Might help restore wilted and damaged plants back to health
  • Works miracles for Azaleas plants
  • Easy to use
  • Rich in essential nutrients
  • Noticeable results in foliage and flowers.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not available in any size bigger than i Kilogramme.

This product might be just what you need for restoring the health of your dying plants. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble fertilizer is ideal for acid-loving plants such as Azalea, Camellia, and Rhododendron.

This formula is a special plant food that is meant for not just acid-loving plants but lime-hating plants as well and keep in mind that it should not be used for plants that prefer a neutral pH. This is a continuous release plant fertilizer and it can help get your worn-out plants back on track.

Miracle-Gro plant food won’t harm plants or burn foliage as long as it is used as directed. Different dosage is required different on the maturity of the plant though hence this is best used by professional gardeners. It is rich in iron and other essential nutrients your plants need to thrive.

Convincing Review: My blueberries really love this stuff and they do well when I use it on them. I notice a big difference and my plants tell me when they need more by the looks of them. This will really make your evergreens a lush dark green too. It has a way of making everything bloom with a nice pop. Amulek Via Amazon.

Tips For Choosing The Right Fertilizer

There are a few important things you might want to keep in mind before shopping for any brand of fertilizers. The brand of fertilizer you choose is just as important as the type of fertilizer you are buying.

A good fertilizer is also not meant to just keep your plants from dying but there are also some essential nutrients you need to make sure your plants will be getting. Choosing the best fertilizer can be confusing but to make these easy, here are simple tips that are sure to help you make the right choice.

1. Macronutrient

Before choosing a fertilizer, make a soil analysis to show micronutrient deficiency which enables you to choose a fertilizer that can meet the soil nutrient needs. If a fertilizer contains any of the common nutrients then it will be listed on the label after NPK. The common nutrients to look out for include: manganese, zinc, calcium, sulfur, boron, copper, and iron.

2. Types

Another thing to know is that there are different types of fertilizers. The common types are the slow release and organic fertilizers, liquid fertilizers, and the granule fertilizer which sub-types are slow-fast release fertilizer. Choose your type of fertilizer depending on your soil requirement as they are all plant food but with different advantages.


When should I apply slow-release fertilizer?

Slow-release fertilizer works slowly hence it can be applied every six to eight weeks. These fertilizers work for months so one application might be enough for a growing season. How often you apply also depends on your watering schedule. Apply slow-release fertilizer as directed.

Can I put slow-release fertilizer on top of the soil?

It is important not to have slow-release fertilizer directly on top of plants but it can be sprinkled on the soil and around the roots of your flowers and perennials.

Can you over-fertilize with slow-release fertilizer?

Yes, you can definitely over-fertilize with slow-release fertilizer and this is likely to burn your plants. It is easy to add too much slow-release fertilizer to the soil if you don’t see results soon and this can lead to plant burn.

Does slow-release fertilizer need water?

Slow-release fertilizer doesn’t really need to be watered but watering helps speed up The best process of releasing the nutrients. This fertilizer is less likely to leech.

Should I fertilize in the morning or evening?

The best time to fertilize is in the morning or early in the evening. Fertilizing in the morning allows you to take advantage of the cool temperature and the plants absorb the liquid fast at that time of the day.

How long does slow-release fertilizer take to work?

To get the effect of slow-release in your garden, it takes three to ten days. It is gradually broken down to improve your plants hence it requires being patient.

Can slow-release fertilizer burn lawn?

Applying too much slow-release fertilizer is sure to burn it. Too much fertilizer can cause the nitrogen and salt levels in the soil to rise which can damage the soil. To get rid of excess fertilizer on your lawn, simply soak the affected areas with water for about a week to flush out the salt.

Final Thoughts

One of the advantages of using slow-release fertilizer is that it is available for all types of plants and you just need to find one that suits your plant’s needs. To also meet the nutrient requirement of your soil, slow-release fertilizer s often recommended. It is easy to apply, however, ensure to follow the instruction on the label.

Furthermore, with slow-release fertilizer, nutrients are released more uniformly across your lawn slowly and steadily thereby proving a paced growth for your plants.

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