When should I fertilize my herbs?

fertilizing herbs container and ground

QUESTION: When should I fertilize my herbs? Does it make a difference even? I don’t want to waste fertilizer or burn the herbs either. – Lindsey E

GARDENING CHANNEL REPLIES: You should let the type of fertilizer, type of herb, and growing method determine the frequency you fertilize your herbs.

There are two main types of fertilizer: slow-release granular and liquid fertilizer. There are synthetic and organic versions of these options.

Slow-release granular fertilizers should be applied to your herbs at the time of planting and again halfway through the growing season.

This type of fertilizer isn’t meant to be an instant boost of nutrients to your plants. It’s there to be more of a consistent supply of nutrients throughout the growing season.

When applying liquid fertilizer, the general rule of thumb is to apply it to your herbs once per month. However, there are a few specifications that could change the application times.

planting herbs in containers

First, if you’re growing your herbs in containers, they may need to be fertilized more frequently. Every time you water a plant in a container, the nutrients are washed away.

These plants have limited soil and have no way to replenish what’s lost. Therefore, it’s your job to keep their supplies up. This is why some people fertilize their container-grown herbs as frequently as once every two weeks.

If they’re grown in the ground, herbs can be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks.

You should also consider the type of herb you’re growing. If you have a plant that has larger foliage and skinnier stems, such as basil, it’s a faster-growing plant.

Since this type of plant grows faster, it stands to reason it’ll need more nutrients and should be fertilized with greater frequency.

However, there are some herbs which are slow-growing. These herbs tend to have smaller leaves, or those which resemble needles, and wood stems. An example of a slow-growing herb is rosemary.

This plant won’t need to be fertilized as frequently. Do be mindful that you never over fertilize a plant. If you do this with synthetic fertilizers, you may burn your herbs.

Should you apply too much fertilizer, either synthetic or organic, it can also cause the herb to lose its flavor and fragrance.

You now have an idea of when your herbs should be fertilized, and you have a few guidelines to help you know the frequency your herbs may need a nutrient boost.

Hopefully, these tips will guide you and your plants throughout the growing season. It’s our hope that your herbs look beautiful and taste magnificent, too!

Learn More About Growing Herbs




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