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Best Fertilizers For Tomatoes At Different Stages

We gardeners love growing tomatoes, and there are so many tips to care for them. What we are going to discuss today are the details of how to fertilize tomatoes from seeds at different stages. You will find plenty of tips and tricks below, and growing tomatoes will be easier. I also include some options of the best fertilizers for tomatoes at different stages as well. There are so many things to know, so feel free to check them out.

How To Grow Tomatoes From Seeds

Generally, there are two main ways to grow tomatoes: from seeds and by picking up starting tomato plants from the nursery. The former is way easier than the latter, and we are only going to talk about growing tomatoes from seeds today. Below are how growing this type of delicious produce works:

Step 1: Selecting Tomato Seeds

Before you grow tomatoes, you have to choose the type of tomato that you want to have in your garden. There are a few different types of seeds that you should have in mind which are:

  • Heirloom Seeds: An heirloom is a tomato that has been handed down through the generations that is an open-pollinated variety. One of the main reasons to grow an heirloom is its flavor, so rich and so tasty. More than that, this type also provides a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes for you to choose from. Some of the best heirloom varieties are Big Rainbow, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and Pineapple.
  • Hybrid Seeds: Plant breeders create hybrid seeds by crossing between the pollen from two different kinds or species. The thing is that hybrid seeds cannot be kept because they don’t produce plants that are true to type. One of the main reasons that hybrid seeds are popular is the improved features that they have. Hybrid seeds provide better standard yields, and they are disease-resistant and vigor. Sun Gold is one of the popular varieties, and these tomatoes are cherry-sized with a golden color.

Step 2: Starting Tomato Seeds

After you selected your tomato seeds, it is time to start them. You have to know when to start the seeds in order to receive the finest yield possible. The best time to plant them is a few weeks after the last frost date. This is why you should always do your research on the final frost date before starting your tomato seeds.

When you sow, do it in a group of two or three seeds per hole. After 7 to 10 days, your tomato seeds will begin to germinate. To ensure proper germination, make sure that the temperature is between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The best conditions to promote tomato seeds to healthily germinate and grow are good air, high humidity, and warm soil.

Step 3: Tomato Seeds Care

The germination process is over once the primary root is formed, and this next phase is called sprouting. You will see the branch develops upward from the seed, and that is when you need to care for them. In this stage, there are a few important things that you want to provide for your tomatoes.

  • Fertilizer: Many people go for pre-planting composting by using additives and fertilizers in the hole before planting. You can add them into the planting holes after you dig them before you sow the seeds. Some of the most common options are baking soda, bone meal, coffee grounds, eggshells, Epsom salt, and kelp meal.
  • Mulching: By adding mulch to the soil, you will be able to maintain moisture and prevent dirt from splattering onto the bottom leaves. Use organic mulch to cover 2 to 4 inches thick or an alternative option such as bark chips or hay.
  • Sunlight: Make sure to offer your seedlings a lot of light to promote healthy and strong growth. Without enough sunlight, the seedlings will be leggy and long which is the thing to avoid. If it is not sunny outside, get a grow lamp so that they receive what they need.
  • Water: Care for your baby tomato plants by spraying the soil with water to moisten it. When the plants get bigger, use a small watering can or teapot so that you can easily water them.

Tomato Growth Stages

When it comes to tomato growth, there will be 5 different stages that you should pay attention to. Each stage may take different days depending on the light, nutrients, soil composition, and temperature. Those important stages are:

  • Germination: 5 to 10 days
  • Early growth with initial leaves: 25 to 35 days
  • Vegetative period: 20 to 25 days
  • Flowering period: 20 to 30 days
  • Early fruiting: 20 to 30 days
  • Mature fruiting: 15 to 20 days

The best fertilizers for tomatoes at different stages should have different NPK ratios. Choose a slow-release fertilizer during the planting stage to provide all of the vital major nutrients to aid their growth. When tomato plants first start their growth cycle, they will require more nutrients to support their leaf, root, and stem development. This stage requires a balanced NPK ratio so that there are enough nutrients for their growth.

As your tomatoes begin to develop fruits, then you will need to provide them with more support. They will require a small alteration for healthy flower production, fruit development, and resistance to diseases. The moment they mature, they will need fewer nitrogen levels and more phosphorus and potassium along with a few micronutrients. Don’t forget to provide them with calcium during this stage to prevent blossom end rot and promote fruit setting.

Best Fertilizers For Tomatoes At Different Stages

Tomatoes are not too difficult to grow when you know what to do, and fertilization is important. The first thing that you have to know is that the best fertilizer for tomatoes should consist of macronutrients. Those are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and the tomato fertilizer ratio of these nutrients will change during each growth cycle. Nitrogen takes care of the foliage, but make sure that it is not too much because it leads to bushy plants. Phosphorous is beneficial for the growth and development of the roots and fruits during the initial and final stages. Potassium helps tomatoes to grow rapidly and produce flowers and fruit.

#5. Best 8-8-8 Triple Play Tomato & Vegetable Plant Food

Product’s Specs:
  • By: Purely Organic Products LLC
  • Type: Granular
  • Weight: 2.25lbs

Slow-release fertilizers are useful for long-term fertilization, and it is also ideal for busy gardeners out there as well. In case you don’t have time to check the fertilization and want your tomatoes to receive enough nutrients, go for this type. Along with that, it continues to feed for around 6 to 8 weeks which is so convenient to use. While being a slow-release kind, this tomato fertilizer offers fast-acting results to ensure the healthiest growth possible for your tomatoes. In fact, it is also ideal for berries, fruits, herbs, and vegetables as well which is simply amazing.

The best part about this tomato fertilizer is that it comes with a unique balanced triple 8-8-8 formula. It is a healthy tomato fertilizer ratio that ensures healthy blooms and fruiting along with strong roots. More than that, it is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use across all regions of the United States. The combination of easy application and good results makes this fertilizer a great choice to choose. It can cover up to 250 square feet, and it is also very easy to store when not in use. This could be your next favorite fertilizer for tomatoes, don’t forget to check it out.

Reasons To Purchase:
  • Compact and easy to store
  • Slow-release type with fast-acting results
  • Ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications
  • Balanced formula for various fruits and vegetables
  • Easy to mix and use with instructions on the package

#4. Best Organic 3-4-6 Fertilizer For All Tomato Types

Product’s Specs:
  • By: Espoma
  • Type: Granular
  • Weight: 4lbs

Things could get a little tricky with fertilization when you plant different types of tomatoes in your garden. This is why this is one of the best fertilizers for tomatoes that you should take into consideration. Here you are looking at a tomato-tone organic fertilizer that is ideal for all types of tomatoes, both heirloom and hybrid. It contains a rich blend of the finest natural and organic ingredients along with bio-tone formula of 3-4-6. The balance is to ensure abundant yields with healthy and plump tomatoes in your garden. Along with that, it is also very safe so you won’t have to worry about sludges or toxic ingredients at all.

On top of being safe, this fertilizer for tomatoes is also very easy and simple to use. It does not require mixing at all which saves you a lot of time. Just apply it every two weeks during the growing season in late spring and early summer. When you do so, apply the fertilizer to the soil around the drip line of your tomatoes then water thoroughly. There are instructions on the package for different types of plants that you can follow as well which is so convenient. Not to mention that it is long-lasting and safe, no doubt why it is one of the best fertilizers for tomatoes.

Reasons To Purchase:
  • 100% natural and organic
  • Easy, safe, and simple to use
  • Long-lasting and slow-release feeding
  • Ideal for all types of tomatoes and vegetables
  • Promotes healthy growth and prevents blossom end rot

#3. Best Organic 4-6-3 Tomato Fertilizer

Product’s Specs:
  • By: Dr. Earth
  • Type: Granular
  • Weight: 4lbs

Comes with just natural and organic ingredients, this tomato fertilizer provides so many benefits for your plants and vegetables. That’s right, you can also use it with other plants as well which is so versatile to have. More than that, it contains carbohydrates, humic acids, multi-minerals, pro-biotics, protein, and 7 champion strains of beneficial soil microbes. This fertilizer does not contain chicken mature, GMOs, or sewage sludge at all which is absolutely safe for plants. The best part is that it offers optimum levels of primary plant nutrients as it feeds for several months. That way, your tomatoes will be continuously getting fed which results in healthy and tasty fruits.

What’s so special about this fertilizer is that it can feed pretty much anything. From container planting and vegetable gardens to summer and winter crops and more, it is ideal for them all. More than that, you can use it during the initial planting of seeds, transplanting, and on a regular basis as well. This is the type of fertilizer that is super easy to use with pretty much everything that you grow. It does not only contain the right tomato fertilizer ratio but also the fertilizer ratio for herbs and vegetables. Thousands of gardeners are extremely happy with this fertilizer for tomatoes, and you will definitely be one of them.

Reasons To Purchase:
  • Safe for both pets and peoples
  • 100% natural and organic ingredients
  • Full of useful nutrients for healthy growth
  • Promotes abundance, growth, and tasty results
  • Fast-release formula that feeds for several months

#2. Best Water Soluble Tomato Fertilizer

Product’s Specs:
  • By: Miracle-Gro
  • Type: Powder
  • Weight: 1.5lbs

In case you prefer a different type of tomato fertilizer, this could be something that you are looking for. This is a water soluble tomato plant food that ensures that your tomatoes will grow healthily and vigorously. At the same time, it also promotes bigger tomato growth with more bountiful yields which is a total plus. The awesome part is that you can use this fertilizer on all vegetables to achieve the same results. Its effects are equal as it works instantly to deliver the best performance to ensure satisfaction just the way you expect.

What I like about this powder tomato fertilizer is that you can use it in two different ways. The first method is with a feeder if your garden is large to save your time. Another alternative is with a watering can in case you want to use it with flowers or vegetables on a smaller scale. It is super easy and simple to use, and the results are extremely incredible. This fertilizer is safe, and using it every 1 or 2 weeks during the growing season is highly recommended. Acceptable price with awesome quality, do not overlook this option.

Reasons To Purchase:
  • Perks up sick plants
  • Easy and simple applications
  • Fast dissolve and quick results
  • Enhance the growth and more bountiful yields
  • Ideal and safe to use for tomatoes and vegetables

#1. Best Organic Tomato & Vegetable Fertilizer With Biozome

Product’s Specs:
  • By: Jobe’s
  • Type: Spike
  • Content: 50 Counts

One of the best tomato fertilizer types is spike, and it is super convenient and easy to use. All you need to do is insert it into the soil next to the tomatoes, and it will start its magic. Spike fertilizers continue to feed the roots for weeks or months to come. It is ideal for a busy gardener, and its effectiveness works just as great as the other types. This one is OMRI-listed for organic gardening, and it is all-natural and environmentally friendly which is simply healthy and safe to use.

The awesome thing about spike fertilizers is that they are pre-measured so the amount of nutrients delivered is always correct. You can use it with tomatoes and vegetables since this spike fertilizer can feed all varieties of vegetables. Its job is to improve the soil environment for your plants while preventing the depletion of valuable nutrients. At the same time, it also helps to reduce the risks of diseases, drought, and insects as well. Thousands of users are happy with this option, could be the best fertilizer for tomatoes at different stages that you like.

Reasons To Purchase:
  • Slow-release formula feeds
  • Convenient and easy to apply
  • All-natural and organic ingredients
  • Promotes soil health and reduces risks
  • Ideal for tomatoes and all varieties of vegetables

How To Apply Fertilizer To Tomato Plants

Different tomatoes at different stages require different ways to apply fertilizer. More than that, you also want to know that the types of fertilizer also have different ways to apply as well. Just a few important things to have in mind, and you are good to go.

  • If you buy a plant from a nursery, it is essential to follow the instructions closely and never go over the recommended amount.
  • With liquid fertilizer, make sure to pour the diluted mixture into the soil around the base of the plant. At the same time, don’t water too close to the stem as it can burn the stem along with the roots. Make sure to water slowly, and keep a distance of around an inch from the stem. This is to prevent any backsplash on your leaves to damages.
  • For dry fertilizers, sprinkle them on the soil surrounding your tomatoes and gently work them in. Just like liquid fertilizers, don’t apply them too close to the stem. Keep a distance of an inch or two so that the nutrients are not too far from the tomatoes’ roots. Then water them deeply and slowly so that the fertilizer can release nutrients for the plants.

How To Choose Fertilizer For Tomatoes

What you have to know about choosing the right fertilizer for tomatoes is that it is not about the fertilizers alone. Your plant and soil nutrition is the key to growing juicy and plump tomatoes with abundant yield. In order to choose the right fertilizer, you have to know which type works best with your soil. There will be 3 steps to follow when it comes to checking the soil so let’s take a look.

Step 1: Garden Soil State Check

The first thing that you want to know about growing tomatoes is the soil conditions. You want the soil to contain magnesium and nitrogen because they are the best tomato plant food. Doing a soil test allows you to know the level of acidity and number of minerals in the soil. If the soil is sandy, it can reduce the effectiveness of fertilization and you don’t want that. Know what your soil needs, and provide it with that so that your tomatoes can grow healthily and properly.

Step 2: Tomato Growth Condition

The second step is to monitor the growth of your tomatoes when they are at different conditions and stages. If you want your tomatoes to have a strong root system, make sure to choose fertilizers with high levels of phosphorus. And if you want them to have a full bloom, then go for fertilizers with a balanced amount of nitrogen and phosphorus.

Step 3: Choose The Fertilizer

Before we talk about fertilizers, you have to know about the NPK ratio first. NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium, and a good tomato fertilizer ratio should have a proper balance of these three. Some of the most common ratio rates are 6-24-24, 8-32-16, and 10-10-10. The higher the percentage complex blend NPK ratio with extra potassium, the better the soil. And that also means the more nutrients your plants will receive.

Along with the NPK ratio, your fertilizers for tomatoes should contain micronutrients as well. Micronutrients are among the things that plants need as they have essential nutrients that the plants need. Some micronutrients such as sulfur help to collect light so that the plant can grow strong and healthy. As for calcium and magnesium, they help to neutralize harmful substances in the soil. This is to ensure that your plants can benefit with healthy growth by being in a more balanced right soil environment.

Things To Consider When Buying Tomato Fertilizer

Once you know what your soil needs, then it is time to think about what to look for in the best tomato fertilizers. The thing that you want to know is that each garden and tomato has its own characteristics. So there is no single fertilizer that work best due to many factors. Some of the important factors to consider when buying tomato fertilizers are below so check them out.

Fertilizer Application Methods

Different types of fertilizers also mean different ways to apply, and you need to consider that as well. The most common way to apply granular fertilizers, for example, is with a mechanical spreader or shaker container then water them in.

NKP Ratio

The soil’s composition and ratio of its NPK ratio will determine the ideal fertilizer for your tomatoes. Once you did your soil test, then choosing the right fertilizer will be an easy step. Another thing to have in mind is to not feed your tomatoes too much nitrogen. Some of the most common soil compositions and ideal NPK ratios are:

  • Composted and well-balanced soil will need fertilizers with NPK of 4-6-3.
  • If the soil lacks nitrogen, a more balanced fertilizer is ideal so go for a 10-10-10 NPK ratio.
  • In case your soil is rich in nitrogen, consider planting broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, spinach, or sweet corn instead. These crops requires large amounts of nitrogen to thrive, and they will help you balance the soil for next year.

Organic Quality

When it comes to homegrown crops like tomatoes, it is advisable to use organic fertilizers. It is better to grow healthy tomatoes that are free from chemical substances or other harmful substances that affect your health. And since you grow tomato plants from seeds so it is better to go for organic fertilizers.

Pack Size

Another important feature to have in mind when buying fertilizers is the pack size. There will be two things to consider regarding this matter: the size of your garden and the type of fertilizer. If your garden is small, then you don’t want to buy a big pack. That is because you will only need to fertilize your tomatoes during the growing season. In case your garden is big, then it is wise to go for a big pack since it saves costs.

The type of fertilizer also plays an essential role in this aspect. If you buy granular, spike, or water soluble, then it is okay since they are easy to store. At the same time, you also want to check the expiration date of the fertilizers as well. Just because they are easy to store doesn’t mean you should buy a lot because they will go to waste.

Quick-Release vs Slow-Release

When you buy fertilizers, you will come across the quick-release and slow-release types. Knowing the differences between these two is going to benefit you and your plants in so many ways. So let’s find out some of the details of these two fertilizer types below:

  • Quick-Release: is also known as water-soluble nitrogen (WSN), and it provides nitrogen to plants immediately. This type of fertilizer usually lasts for up to 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the rainfall conditions and temperatures.
  • Slow-Release: or water-insoluble nitrogen (WIN) comes in two varieties, and they last longer than quick-release fertilizers. The sulfur-coated varieties last for about 8 weeks while the polymer-coated varieties can last for up to 12 weeks.

Tomato Fertilizer Types

When you search for fertilizers, there will be a few certain types that you will come across. The 4 most common ones are granular, liquid, spike, and water soluble. We are going to discuss all of their details below so that you have a clearer idea of tomato fertilizer types. Let’s take a look and see which one is the most ideal fertilizer for your tomatoes.


There are many good things about granular fertilizer because it promotes healthy and tall growth. It is also very easy to store since you can keep it in a cool and dry place for several months. The best part is that its effectiveness remains the same, and you can use them in edible garden as well. This type of fertilizer helps with soil nourishment during the growth cycle to promote a healthy root system. Both quick-release and slow-release are good, depending on how you want to use your fertilizer.


As for liquid fertilizers, you will need to dilute them with water, and it is also pretty easy to apply. You can simply apply liquid fertilizer whenever you water your plants, and reapply it every two or three weeks. Liquid fertilizer is available in both inorganic and organic options for you to choose from. It is also very to store since it comes in a container, and there is no heavy bag handling at all. The only drawback is that liquid fertilizers don’t last long so you will have to reapply them quite often.


Spike is one of the most popular types of fertilizers for tomatoes that is also very easy to apply. Coming in the shape of sticks, the application is rather easy and simple. All you need to do is insert the stick into the soil near the base of the plant. It is a slow-release type that will continue to feed your tomatoes for weeks or even months to come. This type is also perfect for beginners out there as well since it is extremely simple to use.

Water Soluble

What’s so unique about this type of fertilizer is that it is in the powder form. It dissolves in water, and it is very similar to liquid fertilizer. Water soluble is amazing because it has a combination of easy storage and fact-acting capabilities which has the best of both worlds. It makes sure to deliver all the nutrients that the plants need for healthy and strong growth. This type also comes with inorganic and organic that works differently to match your preferences.


What amount of fertilization do tomatoes need?

The amount of fertilization depends on the growth stage and the type of tomatoes that you grow. There is no one specific rule of the amount of fertilization that applies to all tomatoes at all. You will have to consider the application rates, frequency, and timing that you should know about. Then follow the instructions on the label, and you are good to go.

How long does it take tomatoes to grow from seed?

Normally, tomato seeds can germinate between 5 to 10 days, depending on different factors. You can tell that the seeds have germinated when you see a green plant emerge from the growing medium. After the seeds sprout, you can begin the harvest in 65 to 85 days.

Do I need fertilizer to start my tomato seeds?

Not really, the seeds contain sufficient amounts to put up the first true leaves already. However, your tomato seedlings will need fertilizer once they have germinated because they are going to grow very quickly. This is when you need to fertilize them so that they have all the nutrients and support for healthy growth.

What is the best tomato fertilizer ratio?

The best tomato fertilizer ratio depends on many different factors. The key is to make sure that it includes NPK and other micronutrients that tomatoes need to grow. Along with that, you also want to follow the instructions on the package as well. This is to ensure the right application of the amount of fertilizer ratio that your tomatoes need.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to fertilize tomatoes is very useful for the growth of your plants. There are quite a lot of things to know, but the final outcome will benefit you. Learn about the conditions of your soil and what your tomatoes need, then choose the fertilizers for them. Another thing that you should know is how to apply the fertilizers correctly and at the right time. Hopefully, this long article shows you all the important things that you need to know about fertilizing tomatoes at different stages.

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