Cheaper Alternative Slow Release Fertilizer than Osmocote?

Hello everyone,

This is the cheapest I can find Osmocote assuming free shipping:

Would also love something organic, but also not sacrificing anything on the switch from Osmocote. Maybe I’m asking for too much, haha.


I buy 50 lb bags of cottonseed meal (N), fish bone meal § and langbeinite (K). I then mix them in proportions and quantities needed for each plant type. I also amend with a slurry mix of my homemade worm castings, liquid fish fertilizer and kelp meal on a regular basis. I occasionally add iron and epsom salts (especially for citrus).

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BTW, I buy the big bags from my local hydroponic store and they come out to about $0.65/lb.

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Just checked Amazon and that item is $1 less on Amazon Prime. A bag that size lasts me a few years.

I’ve got a lot of pots. Unfortunately an 8 lb bag won’t get me through a year.

Just found this on amazon:

Okay. That one is 4 lbs of 4-4-4 compared to the first of 8lbs of 19-6-12. It’s “fast acting” compared to “time released” for the first one. I’m interpreting those two differences to mean that you’ll need to use considerably more of the second type and more frequently. On nitrogen comparisons, it would take about 10 bags of the Jobe’s to one bag of the Osmocote Plus.

I do too, and yeah, it goes fast I use one per year about. I like Dynamite although it tends to become wet, but it was used by commecrcial nurseries because it lasts 9 months, 3 months longer than Osmocote. I use this product.

What I like about it is the ratio is near perfect for my needs. And it has all trace elements. I think Osmocote is missing some? Happened when they were bought out. I think Scott’s owns them now? Not sure?

Use a full-spectrum water soluble at exceedingly low dosage every watering. For example an “industry standard” 20-10-20 with minors and micros at the rate of 1 LB per every 1000 gallons of irrigation water.


I would never even consider Osmocote for anything besides maybe blueberries (and plants in pots). Why do you even want a slow release N for fruit trees? If they are bearing it is preferable to give them a boost in spring but discourage growth in summer so vegetative shoots don’t block light from spur leaves.

However, if you want vegetative growth from a slow release organic source, I think the best choice is to buy alfalfa cubes from a feed supply store. I’ve heard of some concern about herbicide in alfalfa but for years I used this source as a slow release N with nothing but positive results.

Lawn clippings work extremely well also.

Other nutrients are usually supplied adequately from any good compost- why not make your own?

You made the first mention of fruit trees. I don’t use it on them myself. I have about 70 potted edible plants I need it for. This is the general gardening forum.
Thanks for the tip about alfalfa cubes, my problem is the closest place that would possibly sell them is 30 miles away. All city around here. I do like organics, and I see my plants respond well to organics, Any organic is going to be a slower release.

This is a problem for me as I don’t have the time to do this, I need a faster method. It takes me about an hour to water everything. It would be 90 minutes if I did this first as I don’t have large reservoirs of water to mix it with. A gallon at a time!
@bleedingdirt I like your method a lot, that sounds like what I would like to do, what is langbenite? Do they sell it at feed stores? Again the closest to me is about 30 miles away. So that increases the cost of the stuff, Although at times I’m out that way. I need to remember to go there next time I’m in that area. Another reason is the amount I need is so much I need to find a way to lower fertilizer cost.

@Drew51 that’s the advantage of being in a state with legalized marijuana (medicinal or otherwise) laws. Hydroponic stores here are a dime a dozen and they stock organic fertilizers in bulk. They are also very competitive pricing wise.

It’s legal here too, thanks for the tip!

Get a siphon injector and a tub for it to draw concentrate from. It would add 2-3 minutes to your watering time and reduce the time you spend hand casting fertilizer to zero.

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Compared to what? I’ve always found their prices easy to compete with.

Thanks Richard, I’ll look into it! Yeah I have just a few containers! Here is a photo from today, this is not all of them! Quite a motley crew of garbage picked pots, and root pouches I bought.


I must admit when i went in one, i didn’t see anything cheap. I thought it was as one would suspect, marijuana growers seem to have deep pockets! The stuff is outrageously priced!

There’s an ample supply of pot growers who have no other gardening experience. Show them a 5 Lb bag for $12 and 1.5 Lb jar for $16 of the same contents, except that the latter has a dancing hula girl on the front. In my experience they buy the jar every time.

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LOL! Well at least some of the products may be useful. I have bought perlite there fairly cheap, and I like the large size. Although I stopped using perlite these days. I use DE instead, and it isn’t cheap!

I get this for $31.58 from my local hydroponics shop

I don’t think you can find that price online after shipping. And no store sells it other than pot shops. One bulk landscape supply does but it’s pricier.

Your sources are limited. Try an agricultural supplier (not landscape supply). I can get it for $22.50 from two places in north county San Diego. The wholesale price from their supplier is $17.50 per 50 Lb bag.

Also if you care about such things, all cottonseed meal from the U.S. is likely GMO cotton since nearly 100% of commercial cotton in the U.S. is GMO. Personally this never bothered me.