Organic Vs. Chemical Fertilizer


There is a lot of debate over which type of fertilizer is better---organic or chemical. Although each offers advantages, many people feel that organic fertilizers are gentler on your plants and soil. On the other hand, in many cases a chemical fertilizer will offer faster, more noticeable results.

Natural vs. Synthetic

Organic fertilizers are derived from natural---animal, vegetable and mineral---sources,. Chemical fertilizers are derived from synthetic compounds. Both types of fertilizer augment soil nutrients.

Sources of Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizers run the gamut of natural substances, including manure, compost, and lime. Fish processing waste is a common organic fertilizer that can be obtained in pellet form or liquid.

Sources of Chemical Fertilizer

Synthetic fertilizers are highly refined versions of the basic nutrients required for plant growth. In some cases these fertilizers are derived from organic sources, but in many cases they are artificially produced chemical compounds.

Advantages of Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers contain additional elements that can help make your soil more healthy. Because they release their nutrients slowly, it is difficult to overfertilize with them.

Advantages of Chemical Fertilizers

The nutrients in chemical fertilizers are already broken down and thus your plants can absorb them immediately. Chemical fertilizers allow you to adjust the nutrient levels in your soil quickly and precisely.


  • The Debate over Organic vs. Chemical Fertilizers
  • Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizers
  • Fertilizer: Organic (Natural) versus Chemical (Inorganic)
Keywords: fertilizer types, organic fertilizer, chemical fertilizer

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.