Are you looking for the best pumpkin fertilizers? Growing vegetables at home is always an exciting challenge for beginner and experienced gardeners alike.
Not only is it exciting when you start to witness your first tomatoes, eggplants or beans form but growing vegetables really allow you to taste the fruit of your labor. Unfortunately, some vegetables are trickier to grow than others.
Pumpkins are an absolute American staple. However, growing them in your garden may pose a greater challenge than you’d expect. Pumpkins have quite specific fertilization requirements, and if you want to harvest big, bulbous pumpkins, you’ll need to follow them.
Follow our guide for everything you need to know about the best pumpkin fertilizer and what schedule to follow.
Best Pumpkin Fertilizers for 2023
6. Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food
7. MasterBlend 4-18-38 Vegetable Fertilizer
Things To Understand About Growing Pumpkins
If you’re growing pumpkins from seeds, you should be ready for harvest anywhere between 90 to 120 days. However, in that time, you’ll need to give your pumpkins plenty of love and attention to give you the result you’re hoping for.
Pumpkins need full-sun and easy draining soil, as well as the right watering tactics. You’ll want to make sure you’re watering your pumpkins in the mornings, giving them a good soak at the base.
Still, the most important consideration when it comes to growing pumpkins will be keeping up with their fertilization demands. Pumpkin fertilization requirements can be intimidating at first, but once you have the right knowledge it can be a breeze.
Pumpkins are heavy feeders, they’ll devour as many nutrients as provided to them which most often results in a big and tasty pumpkin.
While fertilization will promote growth, which kind of fertilizer to use is dependent on which growth stage your pumpkin is at. So, here are our best pumpkin fertilizer tips:
Pumpkin Fertilizer Requirements
Pumpkins thrive in a rich, organic environment. However, supplementing with manure and compost isn’t always enough. Before buying your fertilizer, you’ll need to ask yourself, “What nutrients do pumpkins need to grow?”
Now, there are three very important chemicals to consider. Most bags of fertilizer will have three numbers. This would look like 5-10-5. These refer to the level of Nitrogen – Phosphorus – Potassium; in that order.
So, why and when does your pumpkin need these chemicals?
Nitrogen is what is going to help your pumpkins green growth, and should be added in the early growth stages. Nitrogen will help produce plenty of strong vines and leaves – essential to fruit growth.
Still, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need to balance the nitrogen levels just right. Too much nitrogen burns plant roots and will cause more damage than good.
Avoid adding fertilizer directly onto the leaves and vines. Get to know more on how important nitrogen is for lawns in this ultimate guide.
Once your plant starts to bear flowers, it’s time to switch from a nitrogen-based fertilizer to a phosphorus-based one. You’ll need to pick a fertilizer that has a content count between 10 and 15.
Phosphorus will help to promote root growth, flowering and push your plants to start developing fruits. You won’t need to worry about using too much phosphorus, the same way you’d need to with nitrogen.
Potassium is what is going to take your pumpkin right to that winning size. Once the fruit has begun to set on the vines, you can switch to a higher phosphorus fertilizer.
This will promote fruit growth and keep your plants happy and healthy. It’s best to start with a smaller dose of potassium and slowly work your way up.
Applying too much potassium to start will cause your plants to grow too quickly causing pumpkins to split. You can either pick a high-potassium fertilizer or simply add a smaller potassium supplement.
Best Pumpkin Fertilizer Reviews
So, now that you’ve answered what nutrients pumpkins need to grow, and how to apply them, it’s time to pick a fertilizer that suits the bill.
Here are our picks for the best fertilizer for pumpkins:
Granular Or Water Soluble: What’s Better
When it comes to what is the best fertilizer for pumpkins, you’ll need to consider whether you want to go with a water-soluble fertilizer or a granular one.
Many gardeners prefer to choose pumpkin-specific, water-soluble fertilizers that they can easily add to the water when they’re soaking their pumpkins.
Water-soluble fertilizer often gets absorbed faster as they are already dissolved into the water that roots are sucking up. Granular fertilizers will need some additional soaking after application to allow them to dissolve into the soil properly.
Whichever you decide to choose, just keep an eye on your plants to track any changes and adjust accordingly.
Organic or Non-Organic: What’s Better
In general, organic fertilizers are the better choice for gardeners. Organic fertilizers are a healthier option, especially for edible plants and they are far kinder to the environment.
This is not to say that non-organic fertilizers are toxic, they just have certain pesticides and additives which can help to keep away bugs and pests that may feed on your crops. If you can, try organic first.
For more information on fertilizers, read our article about 10 10 10 fertilizers and when to best use them.
FAQs About Pumpkin Fertilization Requirements
How Often Should You Fertilize Pumpkins?
You can fertilize your pumpkin plants on a 1 to 2 weeks cycle, depending on how they’re doing. In the first stage, a nitrogen-rich fertilizer can be added once every two weeks.
Once flowering has started, you can switch to potassium fertilizer every 2 weeks. Thereafter, phosphorus every 2 weeks.
How Can I Increase Pumpkin Yields?
The best way to ensure a bountiful yield is to make sure your pumpkins are getting enough sun, enough moisture and the right kind of fertilizer at the right time.
Why Do Pumpkin Leaves Turn Yellow?
Yellow leaves are usually a sign that your pumpkin plants are having an issue. This could be due to spells of extreme heat, lack of water, nutrient deficiency or a pest issue.
If young leaves are still green and healthy, your pumpkin plants are definitely in distress.
How Often Should You Water Pumpkins?
Especially when you’re using a granular fertilizer, giving your pumpkin plants enough to drink is essential. They’re thirsty plants so you can give them as much as one inch of water per week.
How Many Pumpkins Will One Plant Produce?
Depending on which variety you are growing, a single pumpkin plant can produce anywhere between 2 to 5 pumpkins. That’s why it’s essential to give your plants the nutrients they need to make each of the pumpkins big and healthy.
What Month Should You Plant Pumpkins?
Some varieties mature faster than others, so it’s a good idea to look into which pumpkin variety you are growing before planting.
Ones that need the 120 days should be planted earlier in the year. In general, pumpkins should be planted from early May through June.
Looking for other vegetables to add to your garden? Take a look at our vegetable growing guide.
Wrapping Up Our Pumpkin Fertilizer Guide
So, there you have it. Our picks for the best fertilizer for pumpkins and a guide on how to use them effectively throughout your pumpkin growing stages. If you are looking for organic fertilizers for your other plants, be sure to check our organic fertilizer list here.
In the first stage, be sure to pick a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, like the Pumpkin Juice foliar fertilizer. In the flowering stage, switch to a phosphorus-rich fertilizer, like Burpees Organic Bone Meal. In the final stage, switch to a potassium-rich fertilizer, like Miracle Gro’s plant granules.
Of course, if you’re looking for an all-rounder you can always opt for the Osmocote plant food which will offer the most bang for your buck.