Fertilizers for Tomato Plants

By Tracy Colby | Lawn & Garden

Aug 20

Have you planted—or do you intend to plant—various tomato varieties in your backyard garden this year? Are you looking for a fertilizer product that can help those tomato plants grow, flourish and produce optimal fruit? If so, the following article may be very useful.

Here we have reviewed several of the most popular, well known and highly rated fertilizers for tomato plants, including the pros and cons that are associated with each product.

Last update on 2018-09-19 at 03:31 / Affiliate disclaimer / Images via Amazon Product Advertising API

We have also included a Fertilizer Buying Guide as it applies to the growing of tomato plants, in which we have outlined and explained some of the prime factors and characteristics to consider when shopping for a tomato fertilizer.

Jobe’s 6005 18-Spikes Tomato Outdoor Fertilizer

Representing a no-nonsense form of tomato plant fertilization, Jobe’s 6005 18-Spikes Tomato Outdoor Fertilizer allows you to feed your plants continuously without doing any work whatsoever.

These time-released and easy to apply fertilizer spikes, once placed into the ground near the roots of your tomato plants, release a pre-measured dose of nutrients directly to the plants’ roots, giving them all the nourishment they need to grow and thrive. With this basic yet effective method of fertilization there is never any hassle and no mess to cleanup; no wasteful runoff; and no hazard or smell to worry about whatsoever. Instead you get a continuous and measured dose of the most important nutrients—nutrients that are renowned for helping the growth of tomato plants.

Jobe’s 6005 18-Spikes Tomato Outdoor Fertilizer is a product that is made exclusively for tomatoes and has been tested over and over on tomato plants to measure its efficacy. Once the Jobe’s spikes are stuck into the ground, those spikes—which come 18 to a package—feed your tomato plants for 8 continuous weeks, just long enough to produce a bounty of delicious fruit on each one of your plants. The spikes, with an NPK measurement of (6-18-6), come in a waterproof re-sealable bag for easy and safe storage.

Pros

  • Hassle-free. Gardeners without a lot of time on their hands will love Jobe’s 6005 18-Spikes Tomato Outdoor Fertilizer for the no-hassle way in which these eighteen spikes work.
  • Feeds the root directly. As fertilizer spikes, this product feeds nutrients directly to the growing roots where it’s needed most.
  • No hazards or smells. Unlike some other types of fertilizers, Jobe’s 6005 18-Spikes Tomato Outdoor Fertilizer has no mess to worry about, and no wasteful runoff, hazard or smell associated with it.

Cons

  • Tomatoes only. The levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium that are in this product are geared toward growing tomatoes, and tomatoes only.
  • Stakes get compromised when wet. Although the bag is completely sealable, unused stakes can sometimes get wet and compromised, causing them to lose their effectiveness as a fertilizer product.

Miracle-Gro Tomato Plant Food

Made by a company that is renowned for its advanced fertilizer products, Miracle-Gro Tomato Plant Food is guaranteed to grow bigger tomato plants that produce an optimal amount of ripe, juicy fruit per plant.

Just a dash of this plant fertilizer, applied roughly every 1 to 2 weeks, and your garden is sure to be the talk of the town.
Miracle-Gro Tomato Plant Food is great for growing tomatoes, but it can also be used effectively on other fruit and vegetable plants. The product can be mixed and sprayed using the patented Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder or you can use just a simple water can. The product is safe for all nearby plants and is guaranteed not to burn your tomato plants when used as directed.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly. The mass-produced Miracle-Gro Tomato Plant Food is very budget-friendly.
  • Well-known. The Miracle-Gro Company is well known for making some of the best fertilizers and garden enhancement products.
  • Great for all plants. With a fairly neutral NPK mixture, Miracle-Gro Tomato Plant Food is great for all plants.

Cons

  • Need to apply regularly. Miracle-Gro Tomato Plant Food must be used every one to two weeks to be effective.
  • Works best with the Miracle-Grow Garden Feeder. For the best results, users need to use this product with the Miracle Grow Garden Feeder, which is not included and will need to be purchased separately.

​Neptune’s Harvest TV136 Tomato & Veg Formula Fertilizer

Neptune’s Harvest TV136 Tomato & Veg Formula Fertilizer is a specialty product that is sure to increase the vigor and volume of your tomatoes and other vegetables.

It is ideal for vegetables, trees, shrubs and flowers, and helps all plants better tolerate drought conditions.

Based in Massachusetts, Neptune’s Harvest is actually a retailer of fish in the Northeast United States. Its fertilizer division was borne out of a strong desire to use very part of the fish to help enhance plant growth, from the head to the fins to the skeleton.

Pros

  • All natural. Made entirely of fish products, Neptune’s Harvest TV136 Tomato & Veg Formula Fertilizer is an all-natural product.
  • Very effective. This fertilizer has been shown to increase the volume and vigor of tomato plants.

Cons

  • Premium priced. As a specialty product with a limited run, Neptune’s Harvest TV136 Tomato & Veg Formula Fertilizer is a very premium-priced product.
  • Can be odorous. As you might imagine, this “fishy” fertilizer can give off quite an odor in the first couple of hours.

Fertilizers for Tomatoes: A Buying Guide

When purchasing fertilizer for your tomato plants there are several factors to consider—factors other than price. Here we have explained just a few things to keep in mind with regard to tomato plant fertilizers.

What Stage Are Your Tomato Plants In?

What stage are your tomato plants in? The seed stage? Leaf stage? Flowering stage? Like all fruit and vegetable plants, tomato plants have different nutrient requirements at different stages of their growth. In fact, when shopping you should look carefully to ensure the fertilizer product you are purchasing matches the stage of growth at which your tomato plants currently sit.

What Nutrients Do Tomato Plants Need to Thrive?

Along with having different needs at various stages of their lifecycle, tomato plants also require certain nutrients to thrive and flourish. In order to produce healthy green plants—plants that yield big, juicy tomatoes at the end—your tomato plants could benefit from all of the following nutrients:

  • Nitrogen
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Cadmium
  • And many more…

Of course, tomato plants also benefit from hydrogen and oxygen, which they receive through watering.

Are Some Nutrients More Important than Others?

The short answer to this question is yes—some nutrients are more important than others. While all the nutrients in the list above are helpful, the three that are absolutely crucial are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Nitrogen in the soil helps encourage the leaf growth of your tomato plants, and leaf growth is necessary for flowering. However, too much nitrogen in the soil can lead to excessive leaf growth, which ironically can interfere with blossom and fruit production down the line. This is why most master gardeners urge beginners to get their soil tested prior to adding any fertilizer, as these tests can show which substances are abundant and which are lacking.

Phosphorous is also a very important nutrient. Phosphorous will improve the blossoming of the plants and thereby the fruit production as well.

Potassium is a very crucial macronutrient whose importance comes later, as the tomato plants begin bearing their fruit and during the ripening stage of the tomato development.

What Do the Numbers on a Fertilizer Bottle Mean?

When shopping for a fertilizer for your tomato plants (or any other type of plant), you will notice that the fertilizer bottle usually has a set of three numbers on it: such as 2-4-1. So what exactly do these numbers mean? Actually the answer to this question takes us back to the last section regarding Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium.

As we mentioned above, tomato plants require 3 main nutrients in order to grow: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K)—the letters after each of these is their chemical symbol on the periodic table of elements. In the crop-growing business, most gardeners refer to this group of nutrients as NPK, and when you actually go to purchase a fertilizer, you will see that each product has a set of three numbers, such as 2-4-1. These numbers represent the amount of NPK they offer, in that very same order.


Last Word

Although picking the right fertilizer for tomatoes may seem like a scary task, most fertilizer manufacturers understand that the average gardener is not a botanist or soil scientist. Because of this, all of the information you typically need to select the right fertilizer is written right on the bottle. As long as you can identify the stage of growth your plants are in, you can probably select an appropriate fertilizer that will help your tomato plants grow, thrive and produce a bounty of delicious fruit.