Liquid Fertilizer Vs. Dry Fertilizer


Fertilizers come in both liquid and dry forms. When choosing a fertilizer, consider your gardening needs and preferences, as well as costs. Commercial liquid fertilizers tend to be more expensive than dry. However, you can easily and economically make liquid fertilizers at home.

Liquid Fertilizers

Liquid fertilizers are fast-acting and can be applied directly to plants. Liquid fertilizers can even be put in a drip system for easy distribution. They may need to be re-applied more frequently than dry fertilizer.

Types Of Liquid Fertilizer

Liquid fertilizers come in both chemical and organic. Fish emulsion is an organic product that has a strong smell, but is easy to use and very effective.

Making Liquid Fertilizer

Manure or compost tea can be made by putting a shovelful of manure or compost in a bucket of water. The tea is ready to be spread on plants after the mixture sits overnight.

Dry Fertilizers

Dry fertilizers are available in both chemical and organic formulas. Slow-release formulas are available, as are formulas for specific types of plants. Some can be dissolved in water.

Using Dry Fertilizers

Dry fertilizers get spread around plants and gently raked into the soil. Fertilizer should not be placed directly on the plants as the granules burn the roots and leaves. Dry fertilizer must be watered thoroughly after application.

Soil Preparation And Plant Needs

Adding compost, manure or humus to the soil reduces the amount of fertilizer your garden needs. Plants have different nutrient needs. When choosing a fertilizer, the types of plants being grown should be considered.


  • "Garden Primer"; Barbara Damrosch; 1988

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University Extension: Fertilizers
Keywords: dry fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, compost

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing professionally since 2001. She is a full-time freelance writer and former teacher with writing credits from several regional and national publications, such as Colorado Parent and LDS Living. She specializes in parenting, education and gardening topics. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College, and spent 20 years as a teacher and director in university and public school settings.