Plants are just like babies. They rely on you to feed them because they can’t get their food themselves.
While babies need baby food, plants need rich soils and fertilizers.
Herbs have always been described as plants with low nutrient requirements. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need food at all.
In several cases, your herbs won’t be able to survive without a constant supply of fertilizers.
Below, we’ll look at the best fertilizers for herbs that you can use to keep your plants healthy and happy!
Note: Rich Soil Is Always The Best “Fertilizer”
Using organic-rich soil from the beginning to grow your herbs is important.
We don’t recommend that you use fertilizers for your herbs immediately after you plant them. Fertilizers can change the characteristics of the soil, including its pH and texture.
Most herbs can grow tall only by consuming the nutrients that come from the soil. That’s why we always tell herb gardeners to use high-quality rich soil for their plants, especially when growing them in containers.
The famous Foxfarm potting soil is super rich in nutrients and from our experience, it’s suitable for all herbs.
Foxfarm potting soil can keep your herbs growing without fertilizers for several months and sometimes for a whole growing season.
You should start using fertilizers for your herbs after they stop growing as they used to.
Sometimes, your herbs will wilt and turn yellow if they stop receiving the essential nutrients they need.
P.S. If you want to obtain a very high yield from your herbs, you might need to use fertilizers from the very start.
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Organic Fertilizers vs. Synthetic Fertilizers
We can classify fertilizers into two major categories: organic and synthetic.
Should you use organic or synthetic fertilizers for your herbs?
The answer is that you should always use organic fertilizers.
Synthetic fertilizers can be more harmful than helpful for your plants. In fact, synthetic fertilizers make your plants grow abnormally fast, which will make them more susceptible to pests and diseases.
Also, synthetic fertilizers can kill useful microorganisms in the soil.
So, your plants will become very dependent on fertilizers and this will make you spend more money on their maintenance.
Organic fertilizers act slower on plants than synthetic fertilizers. In such a way, organic fertilizers promote natural growth in plants.
Also, organic fertilizers can support and boost the ecosystem present in the soil.
For that reason, organic fertilizers have a lower impact on the soil than synthetic fertilizers.
We only recommend synthetic fertilizers for commercial growers and not for home gardeners.
Best Fast-Acting Fertilizers For Herbs
Let’s look at a list of the best fertilizers for herbs.
Fish emulsion is one of the popular fertilizers for herbs.
It’s made of ground fish, so it’s natural and organic. It’s very rich in nitrogen, one of the most essential nutrients that your herbs need and can’t easily obtain.
Fish emulsion has no side effects on your soil and plants.
Applying this fertilizer to your plants once a month is more than enough.
Fish emulsion is available in powder or liquid form.
One of the most popular liquid fish emulsion fertilizers on Amazon is Neptune’s Harvest Fish Fertilizer. It’s also very cheap compared to other organic fertilizers.
Remember that you need to dilute Neptune’s Harvest fertilizer before using it for your herbs.
Instead of buying fish emulsion, you can prepare it at home. Although that sounds like a challenging task, homemade fish emulsions cost less than commercial ones.
Check this article on GardeningKnowHow.com to know how to prepare your homemade fish emulsion.
This fertilizer is made especially for herbs. It’s composed of bone and feather meal besides poultry manure (composted), sulfate of potash, and other ingredients.
Jobe’s Organics herb plant food acts faster than other organic fertilizers.
So, if you want to boost your herbs’ productivity quickly, this fertilizer would be the ideal choice for you.
You need to stick to the instructions provided by the company on how to use the fertilizer to avoid burning your plants.
Also, don’t overfeed your herbs with this fertilizer. A two-monthly dose is enough for them.
3. Compost Tea
Compost tea is another recommended fertilizer for herbs.
Making compost tea is technically turning compost into liquid plant food. Preparing compost tea at home is very easy, but it needs time.
You can use any compost that doesn’t contain animal manure.
We also recommend making your own compost at home.
But if you’re not interested in that, you can buy your compost from Amazon. (We recommend Blue Ribbon Organics compost).
To prepare your simple compost tea, you need (in addition to compost):
- Warm water
- Cloth bag (optional)
- Container (for brewing the tea)
Fill the container hall full of water and half full of compost. If you’re using a cloth bag, fill it with the compost and then put it in the container.
Wait for several days and then you can start using your compost tea as a fertilizer for your herbs.
If you didn’t use a cloth bag during the process of making the compost tea, strain the mixture before using it.
You can give your plants a weekly or monthly dose of your finished mixture.
Note: The above compost tea recipe is a simple one. For more advanced recipes, check this article on DIYnetwork.com about making compost tea.
Tips on Fertilizing Herbs
- Indoor plants need less food than outdoor ones because they grow slower. Keep that in mind when scheduling fertilizer doses for your herbs.
- Top-dressing your herbs with compost instead of using fast-acting fertilizers is a great way to keep your soil as healthy as possible.
Compost acts slowly, so you need to apply it to your soil several weeks before your herbs become hungry.
Top-dressing has many benefits other than providing food for plants. For instance, top-dressing can protect the roots from fluctuations in weather by stabilizing the temperature in the soil.
- Always remember that too much fertilizer is unhealthy for your herbs. This may sound counter-intuitive, but too many nutrients in the soil can reduce the productivity of many herbs.
- If you want to prevent your herbs from flowering, you need to decrease the quantity of food you’re giving them.
- It’s very good and sometimes necessary to feed your herbs after you prune them.
Regrowing all the stems and leaves that your plant loses after pruning requires an abundance of nutrients.
As we said before, most herbs don’t need as much nutrients as other heavy-flowering and fruiting plants.
So, rich organic soil can keep your herbs growing for a relatively long time.
But in case your plants are showing symptoms of malnutrition or if you want to boost their growth, choose one of the fertilizers mentioned above.
Enjoy growing and consuming your herbs and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!