Do your grape vines need a bit of a boost? If your grape vines are looking a bit lackluster or not producing good fruit, it may be time to fertilize.
The right fertilizer for grapes adds important nutrients to make both new plantings and mature grape vines the healthiest they can be. Keep reading to discover the best fertilizer for grapes in several different situations to help you grow the most successful crop yet.
Our Top Picks
Our top picks for best fertilizer and soil additives:
Best Bulk Option
Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer
Best pH Decrease
Jobe’s Soil Acidfier
Best pH Increase
Bonide Hydrated Lime
Dr. Earth Premium Gold Organic All-Purpose Fertilizer
Dr. Earth Life All Purpose Fertilizer has a 5-5-5 blend, meaning the fertilizer provides 5% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus, and 5% potassium. If you have average, healthy soil, a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium gives your grapes a boost of balanced nutrients to grow strong plants with healthy fruit.
This fertilizer is easy to spread, just sprinkle it on the soil surface and water it in. There’s no need to mix it into the soil, though for best results you may want to. The fertilizer is released quickly but is also long-acting.
- Balanced nutrients
- Easy to spread
- All purpose, can be used with other plants in the garden
- All natural
- Won’t alter soil acidity (only a con if soil pH is not already balanced)
Best Bulk Organic
Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer
The Hoss complete organic fertilizer provides balanced nutrition for your grape plants. The 5-4-3 fertilizer is made from composted chicken manure that is processed into pellets for easy application. It is certified organic by OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute). It also contains calcium which is helpful for fruit quality, firmness, and disease resistance.
- Balanced fertilizer
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Includes calcium
- Comes in 3.5, 10, and 30lb bags
- Isn’t as good for root development so it’s not the best for new plantings
Best for Root Development
Bonide Garden Rich Root & Grow Fertilize
Strong, healthy roots mean stronger, healthier plants overall. In the first couple of years, a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus will encourage your new grape vines to produce deep roots that are strong and healthy. The Bonide Garden Rich Root & Grow Fertilizer is specially formulated to stimulate early root development in young plants. The fertilizer is easy to use, just dilute it with water according to the instructions and spray the mixture around your plants.
- Liquid is easy to apply
- Promotes strong root development
- Good for new plantings
- Comes in three sizes so you only buy as much as you need
- Not as good for well-established plants
Additive to Lower Soil pH
Jobe’s Soil Acidfier
Most grape varieties do best in soil that is around 5.5 to 6.5 pH. If your soil is too alkaline, adding aluminum sulfate can quickly lower the pH by making it more acidic Jobe’s Soil Acidifier contains high-quality sulfate to safely lower the pH of your soil and keep it where it needs to be.
- Increases soil acidity quickly to provide the proper pH for your grapes
- Won’t burn plants
- Only comes in one size
Additive to Raise Soil pH
Bonide Hydrated Lime
Hydrated Lime is the best fertilizer for grapes if you want to increase the soil pH quickly. Dolomitic lime also works well but it will take much longer. Bonide Hydrated Lime works to raise soil pH by neutralizing acidic soil. It’s easy to use, simply sprinkle the lime over the soil and gently work it in with a hand rake. Though not technically a fertilizer, hydrated lime is a very useful soil amendment to achieve the correct soil pH and help your plants take up nutrients more effectively. It also contains calcium and magnesium which are important macronutrients for healthy soil and plants.
- Raises soil pH quickly
- Easy to apply
- Contains calcium and magnesium
- More expensive than dolomitic lime
- Can be caustic
How to Tell if your Grapes Need Fertilizer
Grapes don’t typically need a lot of fertilizer but there may be times when they could use some added nutrition for optimum growth and development. Excessive amounts of fertilizer, especially nitrogen, can encourage plants to grow a lot of leafy foliage at the expense of fruit production. For optimum growth, fertilize only when necessary and get a soil test to determine what nutrients are needed.
If your grapes are growing and producing well, then chances are the soil nutrients are adequate and your grapes don’t need to be fertilized. If you notice any problems with your grapes like a lot of leaf foliage but little fruit, yellowing leaves, or poorly developed fruit, then adding some fertilizer could be helpful.
Different types of grapes require different nutrients and soil acidity so make sure to check what your particular variety needs before adding fertilizer or adjusting soil pH.
Before using fertilizer for grapes it’s a good idea to get a soil test so you know what the soil needs. Soil tests are available from your local extension office, you can purchase soil tests at many garden and home improvement stores, or order a test online from a place like Nature Hills.
Soil samples can be checked every couple of years to monitor soil conditions and nutrient levels and to ensure the soil has the proper pH for your grapes.
How to Use Fertilizer for Grapes
When using fertilizer for grapes make sure to read all of the instructions and warnings before applying the fertilizer. For the best results, apply the right amount of fertilizer, according to the package directions. Not enough fertilizer won’t achieve the goal you want it to, and too much fertilizer could burn or damage your plants.
Apply fertilizer at least one foot away from the base of the plant. Putting fertilizer directly on plants can burn them.
When to use Fertilizer for Grapes
Check to make sure your soil has the proper pH for the variety of grapes you’re planting. If not, amend the soil and test again to make sure you’ve adjusted the pH to the right level.
In the first year or two, you may want to apply a fertilizer that encourages root development to help your plants get established.
Early in the season, fertilizer can help give your plants a boost for rapid, healthy growth.
Avoid applying fertilizer too late in the growing season, grape vines need time to slow down and rest to get ready for winter.
Time to Fertilize your Grapes
A well-tended grape vine can remain productive and healthy for many years Knowing when and how to apply fertilizer for grapes is a useful tool in caring for your grape vines. Having the right fertilizer for your specific needs that does what you want it to is even better. To learn more about caring for grapes check out how to prune grape vines.
Excited for more grape content? Next, check out my grape vine page for more growing tips, care guides, recipes, and more!
- About the Author
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Sadie Teh has experience writing on a wide range of topics including gardening, outdoor life, crafts, travel, and more. She currently lives on 5 acres near Nashville, Tennessee, where she enjoys growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers (there’s always room for one more plant!)
Sadie’s writing is driven by a genuine desire to help people grow beautiful, thriving gardens while sharing the joy and satisfaction that gardening brings. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education, Sadie’s background not only adds depth to her writing but also allows her to effectively communicate with a wide range of readers.
Sadie’s favorite things to grow are flowers (especially sunflowers) and tomatoes. When she’s not writing or working in the garden, you can find Sadie substitute teaching at her kids’ school, curled up with a good book, or poring over seed catalogs.
Sadie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org