Organic Vs. Non-Organic Fertilizers

Written by rachel delp
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Organic Vs. Non-Organic Fertilizers
Organic and non-organic fertilisers offer advantages and disadvantages to gardeners. (Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Organic and non-organic fertilisers are used to provide nutrients and promote the growth of plants. However, when selecting the best option for your garden, remember their ingredients and methods of release differ, resulting in numerous advantages and disadvantages for each.


Organic, sometimes called natural, fertilisers contain ingredients of animal, mineral and/or plant origin known to provide essential nutrients for plant growth. Non-organic fertilisers, on the other hand, are synthetic products that have been manufactured chemically.

Pros and Cons

Numerous advantages and disadvantages can be attributed to organic and non-organic fertilisers. Advantages of organic fertilisers include slower, more natural release into the soil; long-lasting results requiring fewer applications; and benefits to the environment. Advantages of non-organic fertilisers are availability, easy application, fast-acting effects and lower costs. Disadvantages of organic fertilisers include their dependence on microorganisms to break down organic matter in the soil, higher costs and less-convenient applications. Non-organic fertilisers have shorter lifespans, carry the risk of salt burn to plants and can result in environmental problems because of chemical runoff.

Common Examples

Common organic fertilisers include blood meal, bone meal, cottonseed meal, compost, fish emulsion, seaweed extracts, fresh manure and manure pellets. Nutrient-specific non-organic fertilisers contain sodium nitrate, ammonium sulphate, rock phosphate and muriate of potash.

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