Best Fertilizers For Corn: Ratings, Reviews, and Top Picks

Looking to fertilize your corn this growing season, but aren't sure which formula is the best fit for the job? While corn is hardy and fairly easy to grow, it's still important to properly fertilize your harvest to get it growing to its fullest potential. In this review, we analyze our favorite corn fertilizers by comparing ingredients, costs, and more!

Best Corn Fertilizers

Looking for the best corn fertilizer for this year’s crop? Corn grows best in climates where temperatures are 60-80 degrees F. Between 5.8 and 6.5 is the optimum pH of the soil to receive the right amount of nitrogen. And the best way to ensure you have the right amount of nitrogen, is to properly fertilize your soil after taking the soil’s pH with a testing kit.

One thing about corn is that it grows best in smaller gardens so that it will pollinate better. The soil should be warm and not subject to freezing temperatures. The best time to plant corn is in mid-spring, around April 5th to May 5th

There are three main nutrients that corn needs to become healthy and delicious. The NPK ratio stands for nitrogen, phosphorus (phosphate), and potassium or potash (K). After testing your soil, you will know what to replenish and what fertilizer to purchase. One more nutrient that fosters the health of corn is calcium. 

At a Glance: Top Corn Fertilizers

Top Pick

Dr. Earth Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer

Our Rating

Dr. Earth Organic Vegetable Fertilizer

Organic Pick

Jobes Organic Fertilizer

Our Rating

Jobe’s Organics Vegetable Fertilizer Spikes

Budget Pick

Miracle Gro Natures Care

Our Rating

Miracle-Gro Organic Nature’s Care

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Buyer’s Guide 

Young Vegetables Growing in a Field
There are a number of things to consider when choosing the best fertilizer for your corn crops.

Are you thinking about growing corn? Before you do, you should prepare your garden so you can get the tastiest, sweetest corn you have ever tasted. Before you decide to plant, spread compost over the area where you plan to bury the seeds in the fall months. The soil will have ample time to become fertile.  

Right before you add seeds to the soil, remove all weeds and anything else that may hinder the maturity of your corn. There needs to be enough room for several rows to grow without overcrowding.  

Compost provides essential nutrients, especially nitrogen, that nourish your plants while they grow. After laying the compost, add your fertilizer to it and gently mix it. It should be about four to six inches deep so that it will reach its roots.  

But what kind of fertilizer do you use? The wrong one can mean life or death for your crops. Plant food contains the right ingredients for different types of crops. Keep reading to learn about fertilizer and which one may be right for you.  

Corn Fertilizer Considerations  

Plants need more than just sun and water to grow. Like humans, plants need nutrients to help them grow into healthy crops. What nutrients your soil does not provide, fertilizer will. The perfect fertilizer seals the deal. But, how do you know what kind to use?  

To grow winning corn, there are some recommendations you may want to follow before shopping. One tip is to know how much corn you expect to grow or the yield potential, so you’ll know how much nutrient content you need.  

Type of Soil 

What type of soil do you have? It is crucial to know what nutrients already exist in your soil so you do not over-fertilize. Your soil should be fertile, meaning it needs the appropriate NPK-ratio to produce tasty corn. There are kits you can purchase to test the pH level of your soil. 

Corn must have moist soil that drains well. It does not grow well in clay. Adding compost incorporates appropriate levels of nutrients, which improve the health of plants. Make sure the soil stays moist while growing your corn. Soil that is too wet may clump and hurt your plants.  

Needed Nutrients

Corn requires calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow better. The ingredients work together to supply adequate nutrition. Here is a breakdown of what each nutrient does. 


Just like humans and animals need calcium to strengthen bones and teeth, plants need calcium to build healthy cell walls. It allows for better growth and prevents diseases from deficiency. 


Nitrogen is the most crucial nutrient for corn and the top consideration factor for growing it. It creates protein to build up cell tissue and promotes the healthy development of the stems and leaves. Too much nitrogen can damage the plant and reduce its quality.  

A deficient amount of nitrogen can slow the growth of plants, turn the leaves yellow, and cause them to look sick. If there are newer leaves, they may not wilt as quickly due to the leftover nitrogen from the older leaves. 

Phosphorus (phosphate) 

Phosphate aids in the transfer and absorption of nutrients through stored energy. Normal phosphorus levels help fruit, flowers, and seeds produce at their best. Plants can resist the rotting diseases of their roots.  Sub-normal phosphorus levels lead to dry and stunted plants. The leaves of mature plants turn unhealthy colors and start to wilt.   

Potassium (Potash) 

Plants need potash in larger amounts than any other nutrient. Potassium helps them retain their water and nutrients to survive in extreme temperatures and resist harmful pests, such as insects and fungi. Potassium-deficient plants become weak, produce bad fruit or veggies, and start showing signs of disease over time.  

Organic Fertilizers 

When choosing organic, read the package for certain ingredients that have the highest nutritional values. Below are examples of fertilizers that can help improve the quality of corn.  

  • Compost: It is the most organic type of fertilizer you can find because of its natural components. It contains all nutrients a plant needs to survive.  
  • Bone meal: It is slow-acting and does not burn the plant’s roots. 
  • Cottonseed meal: It is best for acidic crops as cottonseed has a low pH level.  
  • Dried blood and tankage: It is organic and rich in nitrogen and quickly enriches the soil.  
  • Dried seaweed: High levels of colloids help the soil to retain water.  
  • Fresh cattle manure: It has a low nitrogen level but does not need to age before you apply it. 
  • Rock phosphate: It has a high phosphorus content, acts slowly, and does not burn the roots. 

Top Fertilizers For Corn 

Grain Vegetable Ready for Harvest
Having the right balance of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen is important to ensure a healthy and tasty corn harvest.

Now that you better understand what to look for in a corn fertilizer, we’ll share our top 10 favorites with you. Each one has a different NPK-ratio and caters to a gardener’s needs. If you have corn in your garden that you fertilize, the same fertilizer formulas can also be used for other vegetable plants, such as when fertilizing asparagus or fertilizing onions. Before you shop, here is a list of our favorites.

Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food

Miracle Gro All Purpose Plant Food
  • Apply with water.
  • Safe for all plants and trees.
  • Can apply every 7 – 14 days.
  • Strong nutrient concentration.
  • Won’t burn plants if used correctly.
  • Works with Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder.
  • 1 gallon per 10 square feet.

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Miracle-Gro makes a water-soluble plant food that supplies nutrients to the entire plant. It contains 24% nitrogen, 8% phosphate, and 16% potash. Every one to two weeks, soak the base of the plant with Miracle-Gro All-Purpose formula and watch it start to work right away. 

There are two ways to apply Miracle-Gro:  

  1. Using a garden feeder: Fill the Miracle-Gro jar with plant food up to the mark, attach it to your garden hose, turn on the water, adjust your setting, and aim towards the bottom of the plant. 
  1. With a watering can: Mix one tablespoon of Miracle-Gro with a gallon of water and aim.  

Miracle-Gro does not consist of any calcium, so if your soil is deficient, you may want to try another product. It is available in different sizes.  

Miracle-Gro Shake n’ Feed

Miracle Gro Shake n Feed
  • Natural ingredients.
  • Guaranteed not to burn your plants.
  • Suitable for in-ground and potted plants.
  • Provides three months’ worth of nutrients.
  • Long shelf life.
  • Requires watering after application.
  • Strengthens roots.

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Another Miracle-Gro product for corn consists of natural ingredients that feed the microbes in your plant’s soil. Those microbes convert the natural ingredients, such as kelp, earthworm castings, feather meal, and bone meal, into nutrients that support root strength and development which increases water efficiency. 

Miracle-Gro feeds the upper and lower levels of the soil for up to three months to keep your plants stronger and taller. The mixture consists of 10% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus, 15% potassium, and 5.65% of calcium. To feed your corn, apply dry fertilizer directly to dry soil. Gently mix in with the soil and water regularly. It covers up to 10 square feet of soil.  

Osmocote Smart Release Plant Food

Osmocote Flower and Vegetable
  • Excellent for perennials.
  • Encourages strong roots.
  • Lasts four months.
  • Gives asparagus an early-season start.
  • Equal macronutrient ratio.
  • Produces more flavorful asparagus.
  • Smart-release technology.

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For a unique fertilizer, Osmocote offers a smart-release food that keeps feeding for up to four months. This is a great option for someone who does not have a lot of time to work outdoors. The resin coating works when the soil is cooler.  

Once the soil warms up, the coating lets water breakthrough and dissolve the nutrients into the soil, strengthening the development of the roots. The warm weather releases the nutrients faster. With 14% of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, plants receive excellent nutrients.  

The smart-release fertilizer is available in four sizes: one-pound, two-pounds, 4.5-pounds, and eight pounds. Gently mix one scoopful with two gallons or four feet of soil, then water.   

Old Farmer’s Almanac Organic Fertilizer

Old Farmers Almanac Plant Food
  • OMRI Listed.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Easy-pour resealable bag.
  • Nutrient dense formula.
  • Covers up to 250 square feet.
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors.
  • Both slow and quick release nutrients.

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The Old Farmer’s Almanac Natural and Organic Fertilizer works in two ways, quick and slow-release, to complement your soil’s delicate ecosystem. It consists of protein-based nutrients, including soybean meal, feather meal, blood meal, bone meal, and potash.  

This odorless food comes in a resealable bag and can feed up to 250 square feet. To keep your corn healthy, apply every six to eight weeks. Its NPK-ratio is 8% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 8 % potassium. 

Miracle-Gro Water-Soluble Plant Food

Miracle Gro Veggie and Herb Food
  • Water soluble.
  • Specific for veggies and herbs.
  • Promotes larger vegetables.
  • No-burn guarantee.
  • Can be used with a watering can.
  • Balanced nutrient breakdown.
  • Budget-friendly.

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Miracle-Gro water-soluble vegetable plant food has natural ingredients that instantly feed your corn. This plant food consists of 18% nitrogen, 18% phosphorus, and 21% potassium. There is no fear of your plants burning in the sun with this food.  

Unfortunately, this Miracle-Gro vegetable fertilizer does not contain calcium. If your soil lacks the appropriate amount of potassium your corn requires, there are other fertilizers you can choose.  

With this fertilizer, you must reapply every seven to 14 days to keep your corn looking great. There are two ways to apply Miracle-Gro vegetable plant food:  

  1. Use a watering can. Mix according to package instructions and apply to the base of the plants.    
  1. Attach a garden feeder to your hose. Follow the instructions on the back of this two-pound bag.  

Dr. Earth Home Grown Organic

Dr. Earth Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer
  • Synthetic-free.
  • No GMO chicken manure.
  • Contains microbes.
  • Boosts mycorrhizae.
  • Improves drought tolerance.
  • USA-made.
  • Four organic certifications.

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If you prefer something completely organic and natural, this is the fertilizer for you. There are no GMOs or other artificial ingredients. Dr. Earth uses eight probiotic strains to promote good resistance against damaging parasites or diseases.  

Additionally, Dr. Earth’s brand fertilizer consists of a blend of multi-minerals, carbs, and proteins that release quickly and nourish for several months. An NPK count of 4/6/3, along with those nutrients, provides just enough essentials for healthy corn.  

Dr. Earth’s organic fertilizer originates from human food and animal feed, humic acids, and trace elements. It is safe for pets and humans, so you can use it anytime during the planting season.   

This American-made plant food has an NPK value of 4/6/3 (Nitrogen/Phosphorus/Potassium) and has different plantings for different types of vegetables.  

Jobe’s Organics Fertilizer Spikes

Jobes Organic Fertilizer
  • Mess-free fertilizer.
  • Contains Biozome microorganisms.
  • Prevents diseases.
  • Bug resistant.
  • Encourages moisture retention.
  • Certified organic.
  • No measuring needed.

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For the savvy gardener, Jobe’s organic fertilizer will rise to the occasion. Instead of a bag or container that you have to mix with water or pour onto the ground, try a time-release, pre-measured dose in the form of a spike.  

What is nice about this option is that there are fewer chances for error while fertilizing. You deliver the appropriate dose to each plant without having to second-guess yourself. The spikes prevent overfeeding, burning, or wasting of nutrients.  

The spiked food is USDA-certified with all-natural ingredients. In addition to the healthy dose of nitrogen (2%), phosphorus (7%), and potassium (4%), the spikes contain Jobe’s Biozone, which is a healthy bacteria that promotes the buildup of rich nutrients and the ability to fight against disease and harmful organisms.  

Other active ingredients include potash, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. You will get 50 spikes (eight per plant) in a convenient, resealable bag. The best time to use Jobe’s organic plant spikes is early in the planting season, typically early April to early May.  

Espoma Garden-Tone Organic Plant Food

Espoma Garden Tone Fertilizer
  • Specially formulated for vegetables.
  • Slow-release feed.
  • Bio-tone microbes.
  • No fillers or sludges.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Contains several bacillus species.
  • Maximum monthly application.
  • Dual-use for herbs.

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For another fertilizer that is safe to use around your dog, consider Espoma’s organic plant fertilizer. Fifteen all-natural ingredients release slowly into the soil and provide long-lasting results. The prime planting time is from May through August on a monthly basis. 

Before planting your corn seeds, mix Espoma fertilizer into the soil, or add to your already planted seeds within seven to 10 days. This USA-made professional-grade plant food contains thousands of living microbes that work hard to keep your corn healthy. Espoma organic plant fertilizer has an NPK count of 3% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus/phosphate, and 4% potassium. 

MasterBlend Vegetable Fertilizer

Master Blend Veggie and Tomato Fertilizer
  • Bulk fertilizer.
  • Can last for many seasons.
  • 4-18-38 formula.
  • 100% water soluble.
  • Concentrated formula requires dilution.
  • Can be used hydroponically.
  • Budget-friendly.
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Another water-soluble option is the MasterBlend International vegetable fertilizer with all of the trace minerals a plant needs to survive. In one dose your corn will receive 4% nitrogen, 18% phosphate, and 38% of potash.  

The super-concentrated blend is easy to use: just follow the instructions on the back. If you have larger ground to cover, there is a recipe for five gallons on the back of the package.  

Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care

Miracle Gro Natures Care
  • Quick-acting fertilizer.
  • Made for tomatoes & veggies.
  • Feeds up to 2 months.
  • Has additional calcium.
  • Natural and organic ingredients.
  • Produces bountiful harvests.
  • Budget-friendly.
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Yet another Miracle-Gro plant food saves the day for corn lovers. This plant food works fast and feeds for up to two months without having to add more. The natural and organic ingredients, including calcium (5%), nitrogen (6%), phosphate (3%), potash (9%), magnesium (1%), and sulfur (1.5%) nourish your plants until they’re ready to harvest.  

How do you use Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care? Simply mix into the soil before you plant your veggies, or gently blend with the soil of existing plants. To maintain a good crop, fertilize every six weeks. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is corn fertilizer safe for humans and pets?​​ 

It depends on the plant food. Some fertilizers are safe if they contain organic ingredients. However, pets may harm the crops. You may want to supervise your pets as a precautionary measure.

What does NPK stand for? 

NPK is the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus (phosphate), and potassium (potash) that most plants need to grow healthy. The average NPK value for vegetables is about 4/3/3, but that can vary on your soil.

Is it possible to over-fertilize corn?  

Yes. Fertilizing too much can destroy plants over time. Excessive amounts of nitrogen or phosphorus can actually cause the plants to weaken and eventually die.

When is the best time to grow corn? 

Corn must grow in warm soil (typically above 60 degrees), so you should wait until the threat of freezing temperatures is over. Mid-spring (April to May) is the best time to plant corn.

What is the best place in the yard to plant corn? 

Corn requires a lot of sunlight. Pick a location that gets at least eight hours of direct sunlight a day and good rainfall. Avoid any areas that consist of clay as corn does not grow in them. Soil needs to be able to drain well.

Final Thoughts 

Before you start growing corn, prepare your garden by applying compost on top of your soil. Buy a kit to test your soil and help you decide what kind of fertilizer you need. Read the instructions on the plant food packaging to make sure you apply it correctly to your buried seeds.  

All plants, even corn, require nitrogen and phosphorus to grow healthy. The NPK  (Nitrogen/Phosphate/Potassium) ratios on packaging will tell you how much of each nutrient your plants will receive.  When choosing a fertilizer, organic is the way to go. There are different types of organic plant food for specific needs. Examples include compost, bone meal, cottonseed meal, dried blood and tankage, dried seaweed, and more.