University of Florida

Quick vs. Slow-Release Fertilizers

It's tempting to pick a quick-release fertilizer; it's the "fast" way, since they make the nutrients, primarily the nitrogen, immediately available to the plant. They’re often used for plants with high nutrient needs, like vegetables or annuals.

But plants can only absorb so many nutrients at a time. If you apply too much quick-release fertilizer, the excess can leach through the soil and end up in our water supply.

For this reason, it’s often better to choose the "slow" option. Slow- or controlled-release fertilizers make specific nutrients, again, usually the nitrogen, available to the plants over time.

UF/IFAS Publications

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