There’s nothing better than going out to the garden just before a meal, picking a few fresh herbs, washing them off, and then adding them to your plate.
Homegrown herbs are a delicious way to add to your meal, not to mention they’re unmatched in cost and convenience.
Without proper care, however, you’ll find yourself using dried herbs from the grocery store way more than you’d like.
Proper fertilizing of your herbs will ensure a long growing session and an abundance of fresh, delicious ingredients, so I’ve compiled a list of the 5 best herb fertilizers just for you!
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Why you should fertilize your herbs throughout the growing season
- How to choose the best fertilizer for your herb garden
- What qualities are most important in your fertilizer
- And much more!
Below is a quick list of my favorite fertilizers for herbs. Keep scrolling to learn more of my top tips to choose and use the best fertilizer for your very own herb garden.
Jobe's Organics Herb Fertilizer Spikes
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Joyful Dirt Premium Concentrated All Purpose Organic Plant Food
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EcoScraps Tomato & Vegetable Plant Food
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Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food Vegetables & Herbs
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Burpee Organic Bone Meal Fertilizer
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My Overall Top #1 Pick: Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes
Out of all these amazing fertilizers, Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes is by far my favorite.
Well, while organic fertilizers are oftentimes more expensive than your average Home Depot bag of plant food, these awesome fertilizer spikes are super cheap for what you’re getting (it averages out to about 12 cents per spike). You also don’t need to stress about what chemicals you’re putting near your plants/food, since they’re organic.
Organic fertilizers generally don’t contain pesticides and are safer to ingest than inorganic fertilizers. Now, that doesn’t mean eat it out of the bag, but you don’t have to be quite as meticulous about not getting it on yourself or the edible parts of your plants. They also contain vital nutrients that your plant needs to grow healthy and strong without any of the extra nonsense in some inorganic fertilizers.
Fertilizer spikes are also way easier to use than a big bag of powdered fertilizer. You don’t have to mix these with water or worry about diluting it safely–you just stick them in the ground near your plants and you’re all set. They can be planted in pots or straight in the ground, too.
The other great thing about these fertilizer spikes is that they’re made specifically for herbs. Most other fertilizers are made for a variety of things–tomatoes and herbs, vegetables and herbs, etc. Not these, though. These are made just for your herb garden, although you can buy the same brand for just about every kind of plant you could grow. There’s even specially-formulated cactus fertilizer these days.
And, of course, the results these fertilizer spikes produce are jaw-dropping. In just a few days you’ll notice an unbelievable difference in your plants–basil that was once sad and wilting will grow new leaves like magic, ready to top your next bowl of pasta. Leggy, drooping cilantro will perk up within hours and stand at attention, waiting for your next bowl of homemade guacamole.
So, if you’re looking for something safe, easy-to-use, and mess-free, look no further than Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes!
Top 5 Best Fertilizers for Herbs
In a hurry? Check out our top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these awesome herb and garden fertilizers.
- Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes (My Top Pick)
- Joyful Dirt Premium Concentrated All-Purpose Organic Plant Food and Fertilizer (Best Pick For Indoor/Windowsill Herbs)
- EcoScraps For Organic Gardening Tomato & Vegetable Plant Food (Best Organic Pick)
- Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food Vegetables & Herbs (Best Budget Pick)
- Burpee Organic Bone Meal Fertilizer (Best Pick To Promote Seeding)
What Are the Advantages of A High-Quality Fertilizer For Herbs?
So by now, you might be asking yourself: why should I fertilize my herbs? And it’s true–herbs are relatively easy keepers, and they don’t need a lot of special attention. But fertilizing your herbs can do several things to elevate their flavor and the overall health of the plant.
Herbs are amazing plants with a variety of uses. They can be used as a garnish for meals or the main ingredient (hello, homemade pesto), or even as medicine for minor ailments like sunburn or a sore throat.
Fertilizing your herbs will keep them healthy and strong so that they produce an abundance of delicious ingredients. Put simply, fertilizing your herbs can take you from one batch of homemade pesto to six or more. You can also preserve your herbs for use over the winter:
I currently have some parsley hanging in my kitchen, and I love using it all year round!
Fertilizing your herbs also promotes root strength, which in turn keeps the whole plant healthy. Without a good root system, the plant will wither no matter how much you tend to it. Fertilizer can provide your herbs with the nutrients they lack, keeping them healthy all growing season.
Herbs are great for companion planting, and did you know that planting basil near your tomatoes can actually enhance their flavor? I’ll never plant basil away from my tomatoes again!
Making sure you choose a high-quality fertilizer is extremely important, as a low-quality choice could actually be detrimental to your beloved herbs. Low-quality fertilizers can cause molding, especially white mold, which can destroy the soil around your plants’ roots.
Although herbs are pretty easy plants, using a high-quality fertilizer, such as the ones listed in this article, can elevate them from “okay” to “amazing!” To make the most out of your herb garden, I recommend one of the 5 high-quality fertilizers listed above.
How to Pick the Best Fertilizer For Herbs?
There are three super important variables when selecting the best fertilizer for your herb garden:
Organic Versus Inorganic
In my experience, organic is almost always better than inorganic. I feel better knowing that the fertilizer I’m putting on my herbs (aka plants that I will eat) is all-natural.
“Organic” just means that the fertilizer is produced without added chemicals or artificial ingredients. It’s the equivalent of eating fresh pico de gallo versus jarred salsa from the grocery store. Organic fertilizers are all-natural, and are less likely to harm your plant.
Organic fertilizers are also safer to ingest. Obviously, don’t eat it on purpose, but know that by using an organic fertilizer, you’re eliminating the risk of eating harmful chemicals.
And, if you’re still not convinced, organic fertilizers (bagged ones, at least) are less likely to crust on the top of the soil. Inorganic fertilizers can harden and dry up, which means your plant won’t receive enough nutrients. Organic fertilizers seep into the soil better and get those nutrients right to your plants’ roots.
Most fertilizers have three numbers on them. They usually look like this:
(But with any combination of numbers). The first number is the amount of nitrogen, the second represents phosphorus, and the third is potassium. These are all vital nutrients for your herbs, but too much of the wrong nutrients and your plants will die. The best kind of fertilizer for your herbs is:
5-10-5, or 10-10-10
But don’t worry! Deviating from these numbers a little won’t harm your plants—it’s when the fertilizer is super potent that damage could be done.
Fertilizers with very high numbers (think 28-28-28) could be too concentrated and harm your plants, especially those in pots and not in the ground. When fertilizers are too potent, it’s like overdosing your plant.
Fertilizers with different low numbers are fine, however. 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 is best but anything with a higher phosphorus number is good. Just make sure all the numbers are under about 15, with the nitrogen and phosphorus contents being the most.
Sticks Versus Water-Soluble Versus Granular
Herb fertilizer traditionally comes in two forms: sticks and water-soluble solution. Both are great, but it all comes down to convenience on an individual basis. In my opinion, sticks are easiest for container gardening, while water-soluble fertilizer is best for a large in-ground garden, since you can just dilute it in a large watering can and water all your plants at once.
Water-soluble fertilizer is super simple as well. All you have to do is read the label and dilute the necessary amount of fertilizer into the necessary amount of water (usually a tablespoon per gallon). I like to use this kind of fertilizer for large swaths of my garden instead of kneeling down and giving each plant their own fertilizer stick.
Fertilizer sticks are great for smaller gardens or potted herbs, since you can remove them if you notice that your plant is unhappy. You also don’t have to worry about diluting the proper amount in water, and if you only have a few plants, you don’t have to do the math.
I also recommend making liquid fertilizer from the third type of product, which is granular. Granular fertilizers are meant to be spread over your garden (like throwing a handful of wildflower seeds into a field). I prefer to convert them into liquid so that I see faster results and to ensure that my plants fully absorb the nutrients.
My Reviews of the Best Fertilizers for Herbs
1. Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes (My Top Pick)
These fertilizer sticks are clean, simple, and 100% mess-free!
You don’t need to dilute anything in water or make sure you’re measuring properly—just stick one fertilizer stick in the ground per plant and that’s it.
You can also use them in pots, but be wary of putting them in teeny-tiny containers, as they have a lot of slow-releasing nutrients that could overwhelm your beloved plants.
They are designed specifically for herbs and contain all the best nutrients, and work almost immediately.
Their slow-release design means they’ll keep your herbs happy for weeks, if not months, and the 4-3-3 NPK ratio is nice and gentle.
The only bad thing I have to say about Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes is that dogs are very attracted to their smell, so if you have a dog, your plants must be out of their reach or else they could dig up the sticks and try to eat them.
|+ Clean and easy to use
+ Designed specifically for herbs
+ Produces quick results
+ Long-releasing nutrients
|– Dogs love them
– Hard to tailor the amount to your herbs’ specific needs
2. Joyful Dirt Premium Concentrated All-Purpose Organic Plant Food and Fertilizer (Best Pick For Indoor/Windowsill Herbs)
This concentrated fertilizer is perfect for both indoor and outdoor plants, but I do prefer it for my windowsill herbs.
Just mix a tablespoon with one gallon of water and give all your herbs a nice soak–they should perk up within just a few days! You can also sprinkle a small amount directly onto the soil (or water, if you have hydroponic herbs) and then water.
The 8-1-5 NPK ratio will help to produce more leaves, which means more pesto and other delicious herb-based recipes!
The advanced fertilizer formula is perfect for your beloved herbs and is also safe for pets and kids, which is why it’s perfect for indoor herbs. The compact packaging also makes it easy to store in a junk drawer or the back of a cabinet.
The only downside would be that it is on the pricier side, but in my opinion, it’s worth it for the miracles this fertilizer will work!
|+ Safe for pets and kids
+ Good for indoor or outdoor herbs
+ Compact, easy-to-store packaging
+ Can be used on hydroponic herbs
|– A bit expensive
– Very highly concentrated; be careful with younger herbs!
3. EcoScraps for Organic Gardening Tomato & Vegetable Plant Food (Best Organic Pick)
EcoScraps fertilizer is changing the game when it comes to plant food.
This tomato and vegetable fertilizer is also perfect for herbs, and it’s composed of plant matter from all stages of a plant’s life cycle.
By using discarded plant matter, EcoScraps keeps biodegradable trash out of landfills (yay, helping the planet!). The fertilizer itself is slow-releasing and works wonders on even the saddest plants, and at $2 a pound, you can’t beat that price.
And the 5-4-6 nutrient composition is suited for herbs of all ages, which is perfect if you have a large garden.
Who doesn’t love a good deal, saving the earth, and getting organic, high-quality fertilizer all at the same time?
The only problem is that dogs are in love with the smell, and it can cause upset tummies if they ingest it, so make sure they can’t get to the bag or your herb garden!
|+ Environmentally friendly
+ Perfect “middle ground” NPK ratio
+ Good for a variety of plants
|– Dogs love it
4. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food Vegetables & Herbs (Best Budget Pick)
If you’re a first-time gardener, allow me to introduce you to Miracle-Gro. It’s probably the most mainstream fertilizer and potting soil brand–you can find their products pretty much anywhere.
This water-soluble plant food is perfect for your whole garden, especially your herbs.
Just mix with water as instructed on the packaging, give your plants a good soak, and then boom!
You’ll be enjoying a bountiful harvest in no time. The 18-18-21 NPK ratio can be really strong, so I recommend this product for established herbs that are planted in the ground.
The only downside is that there isn’t a ton in this bag—one 2 lb bag waters about 800 sq. feet, so if you have a huge, sprawling garden, this one isn’t the most wallet-friendly option on the list. But Miracle-Gro is a garden staple if you don’t mind using inorganic products.
|+ Mainstream, trustworthy brand
+ Won’t burn your plants
+ Great for established, in-ground herbs
+ Promotes a bigger harvest
|– Not a large bag
– Very strong NPK ratio
5. Burpee Organic Bone Meal Fertilizer (Best Pick To Promote Seeding)
Last but certainly not least, this organic bone meal fertilizer is perfect for your whole garden, particularly your herbs.
It’s rich in nitrogen and phosphorus (the NPK ratio is 6-8-0) which will keep your herbs happy all season long. The higher phosphorus content will actually promote flowering and seeding, which makes this perfect if that’s your end goal. For example, if you wanted coriander seeds, this product if perfect for you!
This fertilizer also promotes strong roots and even enhances the flavor of your plants (seriously, homemade pesto with this helpful boost? To die for).
Talk about starting them young! The only thing I have to say is that bone meal comes from animals, so if you’re a vegan/someone who likes to avoid using animal products, this one might not be for you.
+ Rich in nitrogen and phosphorus
+ Moisture retaining
+ Encourages flowering/seeding
+ Enhances taste
|– Not vegan
My Top Pick: Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes
At the end of the day, Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes walks away with the gold medal.
Finding a fertilizer specifically for your herbs is tough–most brands make plant food for herbs and vegetables, not exclusively herbs. I love that the gardening world is shifting away from generic fertilizer and embracing specific products for the healthiest plants possible (seriously, there’s even oak tree fertilizer these days). These fertilizer spikes ensure that your herbs get exactly the nutrients they need.
Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes are easy to use as well. All you have to do is pop one in the soil next to your plant and it provides precious nutrients for weeks thanks to its slow-releasing design. No need to worry about giving your plant too little or too much!
And who doesn’t love organic fertilizer for a great price? 50 spikes cost only $5.99. I even did the math for you–that’s about 12 cents per spike! For weeks of perfectly-formulated nutrients, you really can’t beat that price.
Jobe’s Organic Herb Fertilizer Spikes are an amazing option for your herb garden, and my personal favorite, but you really can’t go wrong with any of these five fertilizers for herbs!
Final Thoughts On The Top 5 Fertilizers For Herbs
Like I said earlier, herbs are easy keepers. I didn’t fertilize my herbs for years, but I found that they would wilt or die about halfway through the growing season. My cilantro would keel over; my basil would burn. I had good yields, but nothing great.
Fertilizing my herbs changed all that. I went from an okay harvest to an amazing one. I was making batches of pesto and guacamole practically every day, and my mom loved to take fresh spearmint and make her own mojitos.
All five of the aforementioned fertilizers will work wonders on your herbs—each has a plethora of pros and maybe one or two cons. It’s all about finding what works for you and your garden. Just as each individual is unique, so is each precious herb garden.
But rest assured, any of these fertilizers will take your herb garden from average to out-of-this-world in just a few short weeks. So get out there, give your garden some love, and enjoy the delicious taste of fresh, home-grown herbs!