Growing pumpkins is both fun and rewarding. Depending on the types of fertilizer that you use, you can get different results, and they show up quickly – pumpkin gourds can expand up to 2 inches at night! If you’re new to growing pumpkins or just looking to find some nice fertilizer options, then today is your lucky day.
If you’re in a hurry here is our top pick:
|Burpee Bone Meal Fertilizer||Best Overall|
|Miracle-Gro Performance Organics||Best Organic|
|Wallace Organic||Best for Root Growth|
|Pumpkin Juice||Our Favorite|
In this article, we’ll tell you about a number of fine fertilizers that you can try with your pumpkins, as well as some fertilizer application tips, what to look for when buying pumpkin fertilizer, and we’ll even share our favorite fertilizer from the list.
If you’re ready, then let’s get started exploring the best pumpkin fertilizers to perk up your pumpkin patch!
Table of Contents
Growing the perfect pumpkin – a little fertilizer goes a long way!
While there are lots of subtle fertilizer tricks, one basic rule to keep in mind has to do with the stages of your pumpkin’s growth. The rule is simple – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – always in that order.
The nitrogen is going to help your pumpkin to grow up from the seedling stage, and then the phosphorus can help to kick up your flower count. The potassium is going to feed the fruit itself and before you know it, you can have a pretty impressive crop of pumpkins going on.
There’s certainly a little more to it, but it’s best if you experiment and find out along the way. Later, in the tips, we’ll give you a good little piece of advice for growing monster pumpkins if you want to experiment. Until then, however, let’s look at some great commercial fertilizer options that can help you to get started!
The Best pumpkin fertilizers to perk up your pumpkin patch
In the sections below we have compiled a veritable cornucopia of fertilizer options for you to consider. Each has its own perks and they’re all quite good for pumpkins, so how do you choose? Well, to simplify things, we’ll tell you a little about each and then we’re going to share some real review information with you.
So that the reviews are actually helpful, we’ll include the bad with the good and let you be the judge of the one that you feel most confident with. Later on, we’ll share our favorite and we can see if we’re thinking alike.
With that said, let’s get this ball rolling with the fertilizers that you came here to hear about!
Our first entry is Burpee Bone Meal Fertilizer and it’s a great way to ensure that your pumpkins spring up large and healthy. Bone meal helps to spike nitrogen levels and also adds calcium and phosphates to your soil, and all you need to do is add about a cup per every 20 feet of soil and work it in a little when it’s time to fertilize your pumpkins. It’s a natural solution and as a bonus, rabbits don’t seem to like it!
So, how did this product do in the reviews? Well, Burpee Bone Meal Fertilizer received 5 stars for a substantial 78% of 16,720 customers polled. Another 14% gave it 4 stars and praise for the product included ‘works great’, ‘ ‘Ladies and Gentleman, start your seeds!’, and an important one to many gardeners out there with ‘does not have an odor’.
Looking into the 1 star reviews, 2% of folks who purchased this product were less than pleased. ‘Workaunthi’ said their seedlings were yellow and stunted (although they also said they may have added the fertilizer a little too late) and ‘Joseph C.’ added an alarming ‘everything died’. Reading Joseph’s review in detail, he believes that he received a contaminated batch, as gnats came from the area that was fertilized. Overall, Burpee was very well received, so make of this review what you will.
Next up we have Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules and while the name is a mouthful, it’s a pretty solid fertilizer. Ingredients for each granule include quality choices such as bone and feather meal, nitrate of soda, phosphate rock, Sulfate of potash, and sunflower seed hulls. Just ¼ to one cup is good for up to 35 feet and you’ll want to use it every 4 to 6 weeks during growing season.
Wandering over into the reviews, customer reception for these Miracle-Grow granules was very good. 74% of folks who purchased this product gave it 5 stars and another 16% felt that it had earned at least 4. Favorable comments included ‘I trust this product’ from ‘Cindy P.’ and James Baldwin stating ‘I can use this on all my vegetables and adding that this year his tomatoes are 8 feet high, and he feels they would be 10 feet tall if he could support them!
Flipping the review coin, there were 2% of the 6313 reviewers who weren’t as happy with the Miracle-Gro, and comments included ‘Bob I’ stating that he believes the product is causing fig rust and ‘Joaquin and Marn’ said that they received a batch that they believe was contaminated with flies.
All in all, these incidents seem isolated, but be sure to check the reviews to ensure that you feel confident before purchase.
Our next fantastic fertilizer for pumpkins is this Wallace Organic Wonder Super Start Packs set and the big ol’ pumpkin on the front is a hint of what’s to come. This all-natural fertilizer states that its key ingredient is Mycorrhizae, a strain of fungus that promotes root growth in vegetables, and there might well be something to this. A 2021 Guiness World Record grower by the name of Douglas Smith seems to think so, advising that he used this product to grow 839 tomatoes from a single stem!
We are also told that this won’t burn your vegetables or herbs and that the starter packs are good for 5 months of fertilization during the growing season – not too shabby at all.
Looking into the reviews, we can see that 78% of reviewers gave this product 5 stars, with mentions from customers including one from ‘Stephanie’ who says it’s her 2nd year growing pumpkins with this product and ‘I hope they make this product forever’.
Moving on to the 1 star reviews, 4% of people who purchased this felt very differently, though the only review that would elaborate came from ‘Mootoo Chunasamy’ who felt there was too small an amount of product for the money. It’s not every day that you hear about a fertilizer aiding in achieving a Guiness World Record, so we think this gem is definitely worth a second peek for your pumpkins!
Here we have a favorite of many gardeners out there with Dr. Earth brand’s Organic & Natural Mini Premium Gold Fertilizer. Touted as a 4-4-4 fertilizer for 4% nitrogen, 4% potash, and 4% phosphates, it’s got some quality ingredients – including bone meal, fishbone meal, feather meal, kelp meal and flour, and potassium sulfate. Just 2 cups of the product is all that you need for 2 months of fertilization, but how did it do in the reviews?
Well, out of 864 reviews around the world, Dr Earth scored a whopping 82% of 5 star reviews and a further 13% of 4 star ones. User ‘avoidthehype77_47_99’ says that the stuff is gold and ‘smartteacher’ says ‘it works’ and adds that it’s amending her soil in many different positive ways.
Still, no one ever gets perfect reviews with a decent pool size, and Dr. Earth was no exception with 1% of reviewers giving this product a single star. ‘Tonopah Sally’ says it’s ‘the worst smell ever encountered in my life’ and ‘william diaz’ said that the expiration date on his was unreadable. All in all, not the worst reviews we’ve ever heard, so we’re confident that you’ll be happy with what Dr. Earth had to offer.
Probably our favorite name for a fertilizer on today’s list, we present to you ‘Pumpkin Juice. This liquid fertilizer is an 11-8-5 variety, in that it provides 11% nitrogen, 8% phosphate, and 5% soluble potash, in order to bolster any vegetable crop but especially your beloved pumpkins. As it’s a concentrate, a little goes a long way, so this 2.5 pound bottle can net you a whole 32 gallons of liquid fertilizer!
Checking into the reviews, Pumpkin Juice got a warm reception with 71% of 244 reviewers giving it 5 stars and another 12% giving it 4. User ‘JCB Farm and Garden’ says ‘I’ve seen old plants come back to life’ and ‘Scarlettmorgana’ swears that she saw progress overnight.
Praise is fine and dandy, but to keep things fair we checked into 1 star territory, where we found that 4% of those polled were not impressed with their own shots of Pumpkin Juice. ‘Elizabeth Klimek’ actually suspects that it killed her pumpkins, while user ‘Ladislau C.’ admitted only that it was easy to use if you had a lot of pumpkins and did not elaborate further. Be sure to check the reviews on your own, but for the most part Pumpkin Juice appears to be truly great for your happy orange gourds.
Jobe’s Organics makes our list with their Vegetable & Tomato fertilizer and these granules are both powerful and USDA certified to be organic. Touted as a 2-5-3 for containing 2% nitrogen, 5% phosphate, and 3% potash, Jobes main ingredients are a potent combination of bone meal and processed poultry manure, but it also has a proprietary biozome that is there to help break down the materials for mush more speedy results.
Peeking into the reviews, we can see that out of 4039 people who tried this product, 73% felt that it has earned 5 stars, while another 17% grudgingly gave it 4. User ‘kevin’ states that it’s a bit pungent, but that the ‘payoff is worth it!’ and ‘Wasn’t that helpful’ agreed that it was effective, adding in a ‘doesn’t smell great, but what do you expect… it’s bone meal!’.
Wandering over to the dark side of reviews, 2% of customers gave this product 1 star, so we wanted to see what the fuss was about. User ‘RKB’ stated that their bag did not list the biozome component and ‘Anthony/Valerie’ said it ‘smells horrible’ and that it gave their plants mildew… yikes! Without more data we can’t say how often this happens, but we wanted to list that complaint in the interest of a fair and balanced approach – check the reviews yourself to see what you think!
If you want to get a lot of mileage out of your pumpkin fertilizer, then look no further than Joyful Dirt All-Purpose Plant Superfood. Each 1 pound bag of this mighty concentrate is capable of producing 70 gallons and if you just want to try it, they even sell 1 shaker containers to see if they can impress you enough to come back for more! So, what’s in this stuff, anyways?
Well, Joyful Dirt is a proprietary blend that includes ingredients such as bone meal, micro nutrients, kelp, and organic mycorrhiza and you may have heard of this product on Good Morning America, Martha Stewart, Bob Vila, or even Buzzfeed. Let’s see how it did in the reviews, though.
Out of 5293 reviews, 70% of folks that tried Joyful Dirt were happy enough to give it 5 stars and an additional 16% gave it 4. ‘Sarah Halpop’ swears that her plants ‘thrive on this food’ and that hers lasted for 3 months of watering a little over 250 plants. Good to know!
Checking out the ‘Negative Nancy’ side of the same review pool, however, we find that 4% of the 4000+ folks had less kind things to say. The reviews that stuck out the most to us were one from ‘Penny’ who advised that it was NOT pet safe, despite what the labeling says, and that her cat was behaving strangely and drooling after a potential exposure. This seems isolated, but we felt it would be amiss not to bring it to your attention.
Beyond this, there was a trend of ‘use with caution’ type advice, with some advising that it damaged or killed some plants. While we have no way to verify how the product was used in these cases, we would remind you that it is a concentrate so if you use it, then be very careful to follow the directions.
Our final entry is this Supreme Growers Simply Silica and talk about compact… a single 8 ounce bottle is enough to make 47 gallons of liquid fertilizer! While this may certainly be used on its own, it’s really more of a supplemental fertilizer, as it’s a concentrated form of Potassium Silicate.
Silicates are a natural alkaline and they work to help promote stronger stems in your pumpkins and other veggies, as well as help to encourage a soil that is more resistant to environmental factors such as seeping toxicity, drought, and extremes of temperature. That’s a pretty big brag for such a tiny, little bottle, so let’s see what folks who actually used the product thought about it.
Looking at the reviews, in a pool of 226, 73% liked Simply Silica enough to give it 5 stars, while another 10% opted to give it 4. We thought it worth mentioning that user ‘Optimus J.’ complimented their customer service, stating that they returned an email within 3 minutes – you don’t hear that every day – and user Samsquatch spoke with them on the phone for 25 minutes and seemed to agree. As far as the quality, user ‘Devin’ says that it will ‘make your branches fat and thick’ and ‘joseph mark purcell’ said they ‘noticed thicker healthy stems and trunk’.
Taking a walk over to 1 star review town, however, we find that 4% of folks that used Simply Silica were ‘simply unsatisfied’, with comments including 2 customers that said the bottle came only ¾’s full and ‘Jaren’ advised that it ‘lowered the pH exponentially’ of their soil. As with anything, take this with a grain of salt until you can read the reviews on your own to see what you decide!
Best newbie tips for fertilizing your pumpkins
If you’re just getting started with growing your own pumpkins, then you are in for a treat. Growing pumpkins is both fun and rewarding, especially if you’re a big fan of Halloween or simply like some yummy roasted pumpkin seeds every now and again. In the sections below, we’ve got some tips for fertilizing your pumpkins so that you can help them to grow up strong, happy, and healthy:
Check your instructions for your specific fertilizers, but typically you’ll be fertilizing once every 2 weeks during the growing season unless otherwise directed.
A good strategy if you want to go with multiple types of fertilizers is to start out with heavy nitrogen levels in your fertilizer, until your pumpkins start showing flowers. At this point, switch to a phosphorous heavy blend so that you’ll get a lot of flowers. After that, potassium rich fertilizer will make for the healthiest pumpkins.
Too much phosphorus can produce yellowed edges around your pumpkin’s leaves – if you see this, then knock off the phosphorus for a bit and they should stabilize.
If you aren’t certain about amounts, then always go with just a little fertilizer first to see what happens. You’ll get a feel for it eventually, but too little is always better than too much with fertilizer for your pumpkins.
Feel free to experiment with different fertilizers. Pumpkin growing is a bit of an art and different types of fertilizer will yield interesting results. It definitely makes growing pumpkins a lot of fun and you never know what secret blends you might come up with if you let yourself play a bit.
If you see cracks in your pumpkins, then that means that you are using too much potassium. What happens is that the gourds can end up growing too fast, causing the cracking, so if you see them then stop using the potassium right away.
If you are trying to get giant pumpkins, one protip is only leaving 1 or two fruits on each plant. They’ll soak up all the fertilizer and love and you might just be surprised with the results!
Buying information for pumpkin fertilizer
When in doubt, a balanced 5-10-5 fertilizer will cover the basics, so that you can fertilize your pumpkins or to use in a pinch if your favorite fertilizer has run out or not yet arrived in the mail.
Slow-release nitrogen fertilizers are fantastic for pumpkins. Look for ingredients that include one or more of the following – poultry manure, alfalfa meal, bone meal, or feather meal.
13-13-13 fertilizers are good starter fertilizers for pumpkins and a cup mixed with your seed’s soil can work wonders. Alternatively, if you don’t like the unlucky numbers, 2 cups of 8-8-8 fertilizer will also work, so you can look for these types at the store to get a good head start for your pumpkins.
Now that we’ve really explored this subject in-depth, it’s time to commit to a favorite fertilizer and the one that we liked the most was Pumpkin Juice.
Aside from the fun name, it’s pretty solid as an 11–8 -5 fertilizer, so that the high nitrogen levels will help kick the seedlings into gear, and you can use as-is for the phosphorus phase or add a little (just avoid yellowing) to get more flowers. The 5 is pretty basic for the final phase, and you can slowly add a little potassium if you like, but if you see any cracking then that’s time to hold off.
Used just the way it is, you’ll get good pumpkin growth, but we like that the ratios also allow for a little play and experimentation.
That said, if one of the other fertilizers got your attention more, then by all means go with it – just remember the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium should each be heavy in their particular phases and you should have excellent results in your pumpkin patch!
Before we head out of here, we wanted to give you the answers to some frequently asked questions that we hear all of the time on the subject of pumpkin growing. We hope that you get a little mileage out of this info and that, here are those questions and our answers!
Do pumpkins take a lot of fertilizer?
Pumpkins are hungry things and they will eat up all the fertilizer that you feed them, but you can overdo it if you are not careful. Preparing your soil in advance with a nice all-purpose veggie soil can help you to ensure a solid base of nutrient amounts if you are worried or even better, prepare half of your space that way and leave the other half alone so that you can learn your local soil and what works through trial and error.
To give you an idea of what kind of fertilizer they go through, commercial pumpkin farmers use about 2 pounds of nitrogen, then 3 pounds of phosphorus, and about 6 pounds of potassium for approximately 1000 square feet of pumpkin patch space.
Do pumpkins like eggshells?
If your soil is a little low in calcium or simply recovering from growing a pumpkin crop, then you can crush up eggshells and add them in with the soil mulch to help boost and balance the calcium levels. It’s cheap, easy, and effective.
Are coffee grounds good fertilizer for pumpkins?
Yes! Coffee grounds are a great way to give your pumpkin’s a solid nitrogen boost. You can apply the grounds either directly to the root system or simply mix them in a bit with your compost and your pumpkins will appreciate your efforts!
Best Pumpkin fertilizers – the Conclusion!
In this article, we’ve talked about the best fertilizer options for growing your own pumpkins and our favorite was Pumpkin Juice. Not only is it great as a base, the nitrogen heavy content helps to kick those seedlings into high gear and after that, you’ve got a little room to play when your pumpkin plants start to mature.
Just keep in mind that while this was our favorite, we chose this list so that every option has its perks, so go with what you like after checking the reviews to your heart’s content. Growing your own pumpkins really is one of the most fun gardening options out there, so as a last piece of advice we’d recommend getting a cheap 1$ notebook and a pen to track what you use.
Every now and again, something you choose is going to dramatically affect your pumpkin patch in a good way and those little secrets are worth their weight in gold!
Until next time, thanks so much for reading, and we wish you luck with your lovely new pumpkin patch!
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