Liquid fertilizer does not go bad as long as it’s not mixed with water or faces excess heat or cold. Synthetic and organic liquid fertilizers can last 8-10 years without losing their potency. You need to store them properly so they can last as long.
My advice is to only buy the quantity that you need for your garden so you don’t need to worry about storing the excess. This will ensure that you always use potent fertilizer and avoid the risk of damage during storage.
What can cause liquid fertilizer to go bad?
One of the biggest causes of liquid fertilizer going bad is freezing temperatures and overheating. In either of these conditions, a crystalline material will form, which signals that your fertilizer has begun to break down.
These inconsistencies in the nutrient composition of your fertilizer mean it will no longer offer your garden the correct amount of nutrients it needs.
Organic liquid fertilizers, such as those made from compost or seaweed extracts, can spoil over time due to the presence of living microorganisms. The shelf life of these fertilizers can vary, but it is generally recommended to use them within a few months of purchase to ensure they are still effective. To make them last longer, store them in a cool, dry place and keep the container tightly sealed when not in use.On the other hand, synthetic liquid fertilizers do not contain living microorganisms and are not subject to spoilage in the same way. They can last for several years if stored properly. However, the nutrients in synthetic fertilizers can break down over time, and the concentration of the nutrients may not be as consistent as when the fertilizer was fresh. It is usually not advised to use expired products or synthetic fertilizers because the nutrients may need to be available in the right proportions to meet the needs of your plants. – Susan Deguara, CEO of High Quality Turf
How to tell when liquid fertilizer has gone bad
Before using any fertilizer, you should carefully inspect the bottle, especially if you are using a fertilizer that has been stored for an extended period. The chances are if it’s been kept outside, in freezing or extremely hot temperatures, it’s no longer good.
When inspecting the bottle, you want to look for any signs of crystals inside of the bottle. If you notice crystalline structures, then your fertilizer has been compromised, and you will need to dispose of it.
What happens if you use liquid fertilizer that has gone bad?
Using expired liquid fertilizer on your plants will not directly harm them, but that doesn’t mean you should continue to use it either.
Old fertilizer simply loses its potency and its effectiveness, which means it will not offer your plants the nutrients necessary to grow. As a result, the only way your plants suffer is by not receiving enough of the nutrients they need.
If you’re using expired fertilizer, you may want to increase the rate of fertilizing or the amount you use. However, it is highly recommended that you replace the older fertilizer with a fresh bottle to provide your plants with the maximum nutrients they need.
If you find that your liquid fertilizer has expired, you can use it but there are several things to be aware of. Note that the effectiveness of the fertilizer may be reduced, as the nutrients in the fertilizer may have broken down over time. It’s possible that you’ll end up needing to purchase more fertilizer in the end when the expired fertilizer doesn’t work. Additionally, using expired fertilizers could potentially cause harm to plants if the nutrients have broken down into forms that are toxic to plants. It’s usually best to just use fresh and high-quality fertilizers. – Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO, Lawn Love
How to prevent liquid fertilizer from going bad
The biggest enemy of liquid fertilizer is temperature; overheating and freezing temperatures will destroy the quality of the fertilizer, and it will no longer be effective.
So to prevent liquid fertilizer from going bad, you need to store it in a controlled environment that is unaffected by extreme temperature changes.
How to properly store the liquid fertilizer
If you want to store your liquid fertilizer correctly, keep these essential tips in mind:
1. Find a good spot inside where the environment can be controlled
This is going to protect your fertilizer from exposure to UV rays and eliminate the risk of freezing. These outdoor elements will weaken the product, and it will not work as its intended, as the potency will be weakened.
The best places to store your fertilizer is inside your home or in a well-insulated garage, but where you live often plays a vital role in where you end up storing it.
You should never store liquid fertilizer outside or in an un-insulated shed, as the temperature cannot be controlled; freezing or overheating temperatures will destroy the fertilizer’s effectiveness and potency.
To make liquid fertilizers last longer, it is important to store them properly. This generally means keeping them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If the fertilizer is stored in a sealed container, it may last longer than if it is stored in an open container. It is also a good idea to follow the expiration date that is listed on the package, if one is provided. – Emily Jones, Gardener & Tomato lover, Tomato Mentor
2. Maintain a temperature between 50–80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keeping the fertilizer at a consistent temperature is best. Fluctuations of temperature can cause some mineral buildup; while this is not bad, it can affect the potency of the fertilizer to some small degree.
We all live in different types of homes and in different climates. Be sure to find the proper place inside your home to store your liquid fertilizers, especially if you live in an area that gets below 50 degrees or hotter than 80 degrees. If you are living in an apartment, think about storing it under your kitchen sink.
3. Make sure that the top to the bottle is on securely
This will prevent any elements from entering that might compromise your fertilizer, and therefore, your garden. It will also prevent any leaks that can be environmentally unsafe, depending on the type of fertilizer you’re using.
When liquid fertilizers have not been used for a while, sometimes a type of sedimentation forms. This is the buildup of minerals that will collect at the bottom of the container.
While this is not exactly harmful to your garden, it’s essential that you always give the bottle a good hard shake to mix any of these solids that settled at the bottom back into the liquid before use.
Here are some of my favorite container gardening tools
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you with your gardening needs. I’ve listed some tools below that can help you with container gardening. These are affiliate links so I’ll earn a commission if you use them.
Gardening Gloves – I find the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves really good for both men and women. It’s made from bamboo so helps absorb perspiration. They are also comfortable and fit very well.
Containers – You know picking the right container is crucial for your container gardening. I’ve written a detailed post on the best containers you can choose from. If you’re happy with a plastic container, you can check out the Bloem Saturn Planter.
Watering Can – This is a must-have tool when you’re growing plants in pots or grow bags. It helps to water the potting soil without splashing on the foliage. The Kensington Watering Can is stylish, strong, and can provide precision when watering potted plants.
Trowel – Garden Guru Trowel is my favorite because it’s durable and comfortable to use. My gardening friends really love having a trowel because they use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, mixing compost or mulch, and also dividing tubers
Bypass Pruner – I really like the Corona Bypass Pruner because it’s durable and gives a clean cut that helps plants recover faster. If you’re looking for something cheap, get the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that is really good as well.
To see an extensive list of the best container gardening tools gardeners recommend, check out this resource that I made for you.