Best Pumpkin Fertilizers: Ratings, Reviews, & Top Picks
Thinking of growing some pumpkins in your garden this year, but aren't sure what fertilizer you should use? Finding the right nutritional balance for your pumpkins can be the difference between a pumpkin that grows well, and a harvest that's not nearly as bountiful. In this guide, we review our favorite fertilizers for Pumpkins by comparing ingredients, costs, soil types, and more!
Pumpkins are heavy feeders. They are one of the most popular forms of edible ground plants, and need very specific nutrients. Because pumpkins are heavy feeders, you should nurture your pumpkin patch by using the right fertilizer throughout the growing season. Pumpkins will do well when you use fertilizer suitable for different growth stages.
For example, during the growing stages, you should go for nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate growth. When blooming and fruiting, use a fertilizer with more phosphorus to encourage healthy fruit development. Keep in mind that too much phosphorus during the fruiting stage will encourage the fruit to grow too big within a short time, and this might cause skin splits.
The right balance of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) will be ideal for the growth, blooming, and fruiting of pumpkins. Sometimes it can be challenging to find the right N-P-K combo in one fertilizer, which is why you should consider adding organic compost to the soil to supplement the fertilizer. To help you make the right choice of fertilizer, we have put together a list of the top 10 best pumpkin fertilizers that have the right balance of N-P-K.
At A Glance: Top Pumpkin Fertilizers
Miracle Gro Performance Organics
Burpee Bone Meal Fertilizer
Osmocote Smart Release Food
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Before getting into our favorite fertilizers, there’s some important factors to consider. You’ll want to make sure you understand the nutrients inside the compounds, your soil type, and if you’d prefer organic to non-organic formulas. Let’s take a look at the most important factors to think over before selecting the perfect formula for your pumpkin patch.
Understand the Nutrients in Your Soil
Before you start shopping for the best pumpkin fertilizer, you need to get your soil tested to know what nutrients are lacking. To do this, get a home soil test to test nutrients in your soil, then get a pH meter to know your soil PH.
Understanding Fertilizer Composition
We touched on different components of fertilizers earlier on, but a better understanding of fertilizer composition is vital if you want to get a bumper harvest.
Fertilizer has three main ingredients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In every stage of your pumpkin growth, you have to lower one of these ingredients and increase the other one to suit the nutrients needs of your plants.
Here is a quick explanation of what each ingredient does:
Nitrogen: Plants need more nitrogen during the early growth stages. Nitrogen fuels your pumpkin plants and encourages the growth of more leaves. You should be careful with nitrogen supplementation as excessive nitrogen application can cause damage; too much nitrogen tends to burn plants.
Phosphorus: Phosphorus is needed for flowers and fruits to emerge. Therefore, when your pumpkins begin to flower, you should switch to a fertilizer with higher phosphorus content (go for fertilizer with 10 and 15 phosphorus content such as 5-10-5.
Potassium: After the formation of pumpkins on the vine, plants need potassium for proper fruit health. Therefore, if you want giant pumpkins, you should add fertilizer with more calcium. Switch to a fertilizer with more potassium levels or supplement with potassium. Keep in mind that excessive application of potassium can cause the pumpkins to overgrow, leading to splitting.
Choosing Between Organic and Non-Organic
Organic fertilizer tends to be better, especially when you’re planning on eating your pumpkins, but this does not mean that inorganic fertilizer is toxic.
Organic means that the fertilizer is all-natural and thus safe for the plant and soil. Inorganic fertilizers do not burn the plants, especially when it is sunny.
Inorganic fertilizers have pesticides and additives meant to keep bugs and pests that could harm your pumpkins at bay. If you have bugs and pests in your garden, go for inorganic fertilizers. However, if you have no problem, organic fertilizers are the best.
Choosing Between Granular and Water Soluble Fertilizer
You also have to decide whether to go with granular fertilizer, normally spread around the plant, or water-soluble mixed with water and then sprayed on the leaves. Granular fertilizer requires more water application for the fine bits to fully dissolve into the soil, making it better when pumpkins are not extensive. Water-soluble fertilizer is better when foliages are in plenty.
With that in mind, you are now in a better position to buy the right fertilizer for your pumpkins. We have put together a list of the top 10 best fertilizers for pumpkins to make your work easier.
Top Fertilizers For Pumpkins
It’s important to mention that we put together this list after analyzing tens of fertilizer brands. We took into consideration consumer sentiment, ingredients, and cost. Each of these fertilizers shsould get the job done during pumpkin planting season. Which one may be best for your garden will depend on your budget, soil type, and hardiness zone. All of the fertilizers covered here should be good for just about any variety of pumpkin.
Miracle-Gro Performance Organics
Miracle-Gro is a renowned brand in the gardening niche, and they are gradually switching from inorganic products to organic products. The Edible Plant Nutrition Granules is a reflection of the direction they are taking.
If you’re a beginner gardener who doesn’t want to add chemicals and pesticides to your virgin land, then this budget-friendly organic fertilizer will suit your needs. It’s one of our top picks for many different types of vegetables, including fertilizing cucumbers.
It’s suited for all kinds of edible plants such as pumpkins, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. As the name suggests, it comes in granules form and has an NPK of 7-6-9, making it great for the pumpkin growth and fruiting stages.
With the number of granules provided in the container, you can fertilize 220 square feet of land. You’ll see changes in foliage size within a short time of application. Reapply the fertilizer every 4-6 weeks for effectiveness.
Miracle-Gro uses soybean meal, feather meal, nitrate of soda, sunflower hull ash, bone meal, phosphate rock, and sulfate of potash to make this fertilizer. It doesn’t burn your plants as it slowly releases the formula.
Use this fertilizer without dissolving it in the water.
- It’s organic.
- It has an easy application process.
- It’s ideal for when you’re growing edible pumpkins.
- It comes from a trusted brand.
- It’s quite affordable.
- Need to apply every 4-6 weeks, meaning you should order several containers.
- Can crust on the soil if there is no enough water to dissolve it.
Jacks All-Purpose Fertilizer
JR Peters is a famous company well-known for producing quality plant foods, and this product is no exception. It has a good balance of NPK, which is in the ratio of 20:20:20.
It also has traces of minor nutrients such as boron, copper, chelated iron manganese, chelated copper iron, zinc, and chelated manganese molybdenum.
The good thing about this all-purpose fertilizer is that you can apply it to roots or leaves. In pumpkins, it can help promote leaf expansion, flowering, and fruiting thanks to the balanced high nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels.
All of these nutrients will strengthen the stem and encourage root extension resulting in more yields.
- Dissolves in the soil fast.
- It encourages the growth of roots and flowering.
- Has added formulas for improved pumpkin yield and size.
- Applying it in excess at the onset of flowering can delay the emergence of more flowers.
- It’s more expensive than other formulas.
Osmocote Vegetable Plant Food
- Formulated for veggies and flowers.
- Can last for 4 full months.
- Great for perennial plants and veggies.
- Comes in multiple sizes.
- Fast acting formula.
- Easy to apply.
The Osmocote fertilizer is another excellent plant food for people who want to get a good pumpkin harvest. It’s ideal for early growth and flowering stages, thanks to the 14-14-14 NPK ratio.
The fertilizer aims at nourishing the leaves and enabling the plant to develop more extensive roots to promote healthy growth and expansion. One application will feed the pumpkins for four months, after which you need to reapply.
In the packaging, Osmocote includes a scooper to make measurements easier. Like any fertilizer, you should apply for Osmocote smart release as per the specified amount. The scooper ensures you don’t apply too little or too much to your plants. When used as specified, it’s possible to see results soon.
Ensure to water your plants well so that all nutrients are activated and become available to the plants.
- It’s economical as reapplication is once every four months.
- Ideal for pumpkins.
- It comes with a scooper for accurate measurements.
- Promotes flowering.
- Pellets do not disappear easily.
Dr. Earth Organic Fertilizer
Next on our list is this organic fertilizer by Dr. Earth, which is safe for humans and pets as it has all-natural ingredients. The fertilizer has all the proper nutrients your pumpkin plants need to flower for better yields.
From its name, it’s clear that Dr. Earth Organic fertilizer has no synthetic chemicals, sewage sludge, chicken manure, or other toxic substances. That’s why we termed it safe for pets and humans.
The fertilizer contains proteins, multi-minerals, and other beneficial organic ingredients that will allow your pumpkins to grow healthy.
In addition, it has soil-benefiting microbes that can improve your overall soil quality. The product is ideal for seeding pumpkin seedlings and flowering as a top dresser.
Dr. Earth is gradually making a name in producing eco-friendly products in the USA, and this particular fertilizer is proof of its ethics to the environment. It’s fast-acting and can feed your pumpkins for several months.
- Has no chemicals or toxins.
- Improves soil quality.
- Suitable for seeding and as a top dresser.
- Visible results within a short time.
- 100% organic and natural.
- It has a pungent smell.
- Contains low calcium level.
Plant Magic Organic Fertilizer
With an NPKN ratio of 6:5:5, this all-purpose organic fertilizer by Plant Magic is suitable for beginner gardeners who want to grow healthy pumpkins quickly. This is a multi-application fertilizer and will work well for flowers like hydrangeas.
The fertilizer helps to intensify leaf production and makes trailing vines strong. These traits make it great for the early growth stage. It is pretty simple to use as you can add it directly to the soil or mix it with water to feed it to your plants.
A 1lb of this fertilizer is enough to feed pumpkins plants in 1000sq feet.
- Promote the growth of leaves and stem, making it suitable for the vegetative growth stage.
- Non-toxic to the soil as its organic.
- Available in a variety of flavors.
- You can use it for other plants, including indoor plants.
- Has a low shelf-life after opening.
- Pretty expensive as compared to other fertilizers in its category.
Pumpkin Juice Foliar Fertilizer
- Formulated specifically for pumpkins.
- Organic Formula.
- Accelerates plant growth.
- Contains beneficial micro-nutrients.
- Will need to be mixed before being used.
- Feeds through both roots and leaves.
If you want to grow more and massive pumpkins, this specific fertilizer will make that dream come true. It has a balanced pH and thus will not harm your pumpkins in any way.
It’s high nitrogen ratio helps to stimulate and encourage rapid growth for pumpkins. This formula contains 11% nitrogen, which is critical to a pumpkin’s growth. The only drawback for this particular formula is that it’ll require you to mix it yourself.
- It promotes more blooming.
- You can use it in all stages of pumpkin growth.
- Doesn’t burn your plant.
- You can use it on other flowering plants.
- Price is on the higher side.
- Formula requires manual mixing.
Dr. Earth Organic Fruit Fertilizer
- Formulated specifically for fruit trees.
- Organic Formula.
- Contains no GMOs or chicken manure.
- Contains pro-bioitic strains.
- Made with 100% organic ingredients.
- Promotes more nutritious fruits.
Dr. Earth is famous for producing farm products, so we include another product from this brand.
As the name suggests, this fertilizer is for the fruiting stage. It stimulates extensive root development to allow fruits to expand.
Dr. Earth uses natural and organic ingredients and adds probiotics with beneficial soil microbes to this fertilizer to stimulate root development and fruit formation.
The slow-releasing feature of this fertilizer promotes soil health and fertility with time.
- It’s 100% organic and natural.
- Promotes soil health.
- Promotes fruit formation.
- Has no GMO ingredients.
- It takes time to release nutrients, which means you should apply it before planting.
- Not ideal for vegetarian.
Scotts All Purpose Flower & Veggie
- Formulated for both flowers and veggies.
- Continuous bloom formula.
- Feeds up to 2 months.
- Won’t burn plants when used correctly.
- Comes ready-to-use.
- Can use on indoor and outdoor plants.
The Scotts plant food is another excellent plant food for promoting flowering in plants such as pumpkins. Its continuous feeding helps your pumpkins to produce more flowers, which means more yields.
You need to apply it directly to the soil for two months to see results. It’s safe and thus will not burn your plants.
- It works great in promoting flower formation.
- Easy to apply.
- Safe to use and thus won’t burn your plants.
- Quite affordable.
- Available in different options: early growth stage and flowering stage.
- It has a pungent smell.
- Excessive usage could delay flowering.
Triple 10 All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer
Triple 10 liquid fertilizer will supply nutrients to your pumpkins during all phases of growth, thanks to its 10-10-10 composition. It’s fortified with seaweed extracts and amino acids.
You should mix 1-2 ounces of this fertilizer with one gallon of water and use it and apply it frequently for best results, especially during the early growth stage.
The fertilizer comes in an easy-to-pour container to allow for easy measurements.
- Easy, uniform application.
- Easy to blend with crop protection products.
- Good for balancing soil pH.
- Calls for frequent application.
- Can delay flowering if used in excess.
Burpee Organic Bone Meal Fertilizer
- Made with organic bone meal.
- Provides vital organic nitrogen.
- Contains ideal phospohrus quantity.
- Promotes strong roots.
- OMRI Listed.
- Great for veggies and flowering plants.
Burpee’s organic bone meal fertilizer has become more popular over the last couple of years. It’s a great option for those looking for an organic fertilizer, that provides vibrant bloms, and strong roots.
This formula has an early phosphorus release, encouraging growth in young plants, especially in the fall season. In addition, its slow-release formula enables it to feed your plants for a long time.
Bone meal provides vital organic nitrogen, a critical component to plant growth. That makes this option, one of the better choices, if you can afford the higher price tag when compared to competitors.
- It doesn’t burn plants.
- Convenient option to feed your pumpkins consistently.
- Easy to apply.
- Suitable for growing gigantic pumpkins.
- Price compared to competitors.
How Often Should You Fertilize Pumpkin Plants?
Fertilizing pumpkins is fairly easy. You need to fertilize your plants with nitrogen-rich fertilizer once a week or every two weeks in the vegetative growth stage. In most cases, liquid soluble fertilizer is best during this stage.
Upon flowering, switch to potassium-rich fertilizer once every two weeks and phosphorus-rich fertilizer after pumpkins form.
Should I Prune Pumpkin Vines?
Pruning your pumpkin plants can be a good thing if the vines are overlapping each other in a way that they will not thrive well. Pruning also improves fruit size and promotes the growth of healthier vines.
Why is my Plant Growing Flowers But Not Pumpkins?
The main reason for this might be a lack of pollination due to a shortage of insects and bees. It is possible to self-pollinate by rubbing a cotton swab on male flowers and female flowers.
What Can You Plant Together With Pumpkins?
Pumpkins do well when planted together with herbs and flowers such as lavender and mint, as these tend to attract beneficial insects. Avoid planting root crops such as onions, potatoes, and beets, as they disturb pumpkin roots.
How Can I Increase Pumpkin Yields?
Ensure your pumpkins receive adequate sun and moisture and use the right fertilizer in different growth stages.
Pumpkins are fun plants to grow in your garden. They are easy to grow, and they are great for novice gardeners, including children. Their long trailing vines and beautiful festive fruits bring warm joy to the heart. They are delicious and can prepare different fall recipes – you can even eat their leaves and flowers.
With the right fertilizer, you’ll be harvesting gigantic pumpkins within no time. All the pumpkin fertilizers in this guide will help you grow awesome pumpkins. The good thing is that we have indicated the ideal time to use the fertilizers on this list.
Remember that nitrogen is most important in the beginning but shouldn’t be overly applied. The moment you notice delayed flowering, scale back on nitrogen. During flowering and fruit setting stages, go high on phosphorus. Potassium comes last and will make your pumpkins gigantic. Make sure to increase it gradually to avoid skin splitting.