Organic Vs. Inorganic Fertilizer Whats Best and What Should You Use

Natural vs. Chemical Fertilizers

Natural vs. Chemical Fertilizers

Difference Between Natural and Chemical Fertilizers

What is the difference between natural and chemical fertilizers?

Organic fertilizers get made from manures, compost, or bone meals derived from different plant and animal sources.

Inorganic also known as synthetic fertilizers, go through a manufacturing process and use ammonium sulfate or ammonium phosphate.

Although some inorganic fertilizers also get created from naturally occurring mineral deposits.

Organic fertilizers will get labeled as soil conditioners and not fertilizers since the nutrient ratios cannot get guaranteed like their synthetic counterpart.

For our plants, they can not tell the difference from where their nutrients are coming from. But they are significant differences between the long-term effects on our soil, nutrient availability, and the long-term impact on our environment.

Organic fertilizers work over a more extended period to create a healthy growing environment.

Inorganic fertilizers provide nutrients much more rapidly to our plants but do not help the fertility of our soil and can harm it over time.


The cost of organic fertilizers is usually going to cost you significantly more than going with their inorganic counterparts.

But a benefit that organic fertilizers have over their synthetic counterparts is that they continue to increase soil fertility over time.

Beneficial microbes and insects like worms thrive in soil feed with organic fertilizers.

Synthetic fertilizers produce the opposite effect and get shown to reduce the biodiversity in your soil.

Organic versions also continue to improve the texture and composition of your soil.

NPK ratio


Since organic fertilizers need their organic matter to get broken down by the environment providing the right conditions(moisture/warmth), you can't know the exact ratio of nutrients released to the soil.

Suppose your plants are currently facing a deficiency. In that case, organic fertilizer can take too long or not provide enough of the specific nutrient your plant presently requires.


The amount of nutrients contained in inorganic fertilizers is highly accurate. Since the nutrient amount is precise, you can formulate different blends to meet the specific needs of your plants.

The nutrients are in a form that can get used by your plants immediately, letting you quickly correct any nutrient deficiencies.

Supply of Nutrients

When you add organic fertilizers to your soil, the nutrients do not get released until they have warm, moist conditions. So until those conditions get met, nutrients cannot get released to your plants.

The nutrients are not water-soluble, unlike synthetic versions.

Soil organisms convert the organic matter into a usable form of nutrients that our plants can use. Organic fertilizers help to stimulate beneficial microorganisms in your soil and help to improve the structure of your soil.

The time it takes for the organisms is why organic fertilizer gets considered a slow-release fertilizer.

Many gardeners using organic fertilizers will add them in the fall so that the nutrients will get available to their plants in the spring.

Most organic materials will provide all of the secondary and micronutrients that your plants will need.

If you need to provide nutrients immediately to your plants, synthetic fertilizers are the best tool for the job.

The nutrients get designed to be in a form immediately available for your plants to use. The nutrients are in a water-soluble form for fast access to your plants.

But this is also what makes nutrient leaching so common with synthetic fertilizers.

Environmental Impacts

Organic Fertilizers

The microorganisms in our soil obtain energy and multiply from decaying plant and animal matter. Insects also get drawn to soils that use organic fertilizers.

Adding organic fertilizers help to increase the biodiversity of your soil, helping to keep it having high fertility.

Since microorganisms slowly break down the organic matter to release their nutrients to the soil, the chance of nutrient leaching gets significantly reduced.

When used on a large scale, the odors and gases from different manures into the air can bother nearby neighbors and communities.[1]

Inorganic Fertilizers

While synthetic fertilizers are generally water-soluble, this makes them very prone to leaching. Leaching happens when the fertilizers get washed below your plant roots from rain and irrigation.

Extensive applications of fertilizers can cause toxic salt concentrations.

Heavy applications can burn your plants and build up toxic salt concentrations in the soil, creating chemical imbalances.

Organic fertilizer may also build up concentrations of some nutrients. Still, the buildup of toxicity is unlikely as long as the organic material can decompose fully.

Overuse of commercial fertilizers can also impact our environment by creating algae blooms resulting in oxygen depletion on the water's surface. Pathogens and nitrates can leach into our drinking water.[1]

Examples of Organic Fertilizer

  • 1) Cottonseed meal
  • 2) Bone meal
  • 3) Worm castings
  • 4) Seaweed
  • 5) Blood meal
  • 6) Slurry
  • 7) Fish emulsion
  • 8) Kelp meal
  • 9) Bat guano

Examples of Inorganic Fertilizer

  • 1) Ammonium sulfate
  • 2) Ammonium nitrate
  • 3) Ammonium phosphate
  • 4) Potassium sulfate
  • 5) Superphosphate
  • 6) Triple superphosphate


Organic fertilizers have more to offer to your plants and soil over the long run.

They provide a food source for your plants and improve the fertility of your soil and its biodiversity.

While both fertilizers can affect our environment, organic versions are less harmful to the ecosystem.

A significant advantage is that organic fertilizers are perfect for microorganisms and soil fertility.

On the other hand, inorganic versions get shown to reduce the microorganisms in your soil and repel beneficial insects like earthworms.

There is no reason that you can not include both organic and synthetic into your garden.

Once a year, adding composts and other types of organic fertilizer will help make your soil stay fertile and have better aeration and water retention.

Find any deficiency cropping up with your plants. You can then use an inorganic fertilizer to remedy the situation quickly.

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