The 5 Best Fertilizers for Cabbage

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Not all fertilizers are created equal. The difference between the best ones out there and average ones is drastic. It can mean the difference between healthy crunchy cabbage and bitter lifeless cabbage.

Among the different factors and products that help growth, fertilizers play a crucial role. It is what delivers all the necessary nutrients to allow your plant’s root zone and intracellular processes remain in homeostasis and grow. However, nowadays, there are so many choices that it can be hard to differentiate which products have the best ingredients that will deliver the proper nutrients to allow your cabbage to flourish. 

Read on to find out the important aspects to a good product and also to see my top 5 recommendations.

At A Glance

These are the products that we recommend most. They use quality ingredients and are much better than the other products on the market. Please keep reading below to learn more about each one. 

Comparing Our 3 Top Recommendations

To maximize growth, cabbage needs best fertilizers

Best Fertilizers for Cabbage

J R Peters Jacks Classic All Purpose Nutrients

For a quality product that nourishes plants in two ways, J R Peters Jacks Classic All Purpose Fertilizer is an excellent choice. It contains a balance of phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen that works well on a variety of plants but is particularly helpful in vegetables. The water soluble formula sinks into the soil, nourishing the roots to create healthier, stronger cabbages. The formula also nourishes through the leaves. Vegetables treated with J R Peters Classic often grow more quickly and have larger leaves that are deep green in color.

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Flower & Vegetable

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Flower & Vegetable is an excellent choice for establishing plants or promoting new growth. The water soluble formula allows nutrients to enter directly into the soil. From there, they help to nourish the plant’s roots, ensuring that the plant is healthier overall. Because the nutrient formula is designed to release during temperature changes, plants will receive the most amount of nutrients during warmer weather, which is when plants are growing and require those nutrients the most. In addition, the slow-release formula means that plants will receive nutrients for up to four months. Gardeners will find that cabbages treated with Osmocote grow more quickly and produce richly colored, large leaves.

Triple 10 All Purpose Liquid Nutrients

triple 10 is a water fertilizer to promote healthy leaves

Triple 10 All Purpose Liquid contains a balance of nutrients, amino acids, and seaweed extract that help to elevate soil quality and nourish a range of plants, including cabbages. This product’s formula is specifically designed to help plants grow larger and become healthier, even during later growth stages. It is simple to measure out and pour and can be used every one to two weeks to ensure that plants receive the nutrients they require. Cabbages treated with it display fuller foliage and are often larger, with more top growth.

Cabbage require proper water and sun

Dr Earth Premium Gold All Purpose Fertilizer

Gardeners can feel great about using Dr Earth Premium Gold All Purpose Nutrient because it’s made from organic materials that are safe for both people and pets. The formula is specifically crafted to grow healthier vegetable plants, and it is perfect for helping to establish and encourage growth in young plants. The product contains a blend of humic acids, carbohydrates, and trace elements and minerals that help to create a better soil quality and nourish plants from the roots up. It contains no GMOs and no chicken waste. Plants treated with this nutrients will be hardier and healthier overall, with fuller, richer leaves.

Shultz All Purpose Plant Food Plus

Shultz All Purpose Plant Food Plus is the perfect choice for a range of plants, from ornamental indoor plants to outdoor vegetables. This liquid nutrient, which contains a balance of essential nutrients, is easy to measure and apply. Adding a few drops of it to the soil helps to feed and nourish plants for an extended period of time. Nutrients will be released into the soil, and thus to the plant, every time it rains or the plant is watered. Gardeners will find that cabbages treated with this formula experience new top growth and produce larger, fuller leaves.

Cabbage requires tailored nutrients to grow robustly.

Care Guide

Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable. That means it is suitable for both the spring and the fall. It belongs to the Brassica family, which includes broccoli, Brussel sprouts, collards, and cauliflower. It is not difficult to grow healthy cabbage with the right conditions – plenty of water and good fertilization.

They are heavy feeders and require lots of nutrients. Lack of food will stunt their growth and will lead to poorly developed heads. They also require lots of nutrients as they are high in water content. Without sufficient water, the heads will dry out and become bitter.


When your first plant your cabbage, it is ideal if you can prepare the soil by mixing in compost or manure. Try to make sure the soil is also well draining – even though they have high water requirements, sitting in still water will cause root rot.

You’ll want to plant seedlings about 12-24 inches apart to ensure they grow well. The closer you plant them, the smaller your harvests will be.

Also make sure to plant in an area where there is full sun. They should be receiving 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. The optimal temperature for germinating seeds is about 77F and the optimal temperature for transplantation of immature plants is around 50F.

Healthy leaves a result from a proper guide

How to Properly Water

Your plants will need at least one good, deep soak of water per week. Part of the reason they do better in cool seasons is because there is no sun that quickly dries out the soil and strips the soil of water. Deep watering is better than several shallow soaks. Cabbage roots run deep.

When watering, try to keep the water pressure low to prevent washing away soil. Try to primarily focus on watering the soil around the base of the plant rather than the leaves themselves. Wet leaves encourage pests and diseases. A good way to prevent this is to use soaker hoses, which direct water directly into the soil around the plant. Water in the morning, to allow any water that may have gotten on the leaves to evaporate.

Harvesting a vegetable grown with ideal NPK ratio

Ideal NPK Ratio

Cabbages are heavy feeders. The ideal N-P-K ratio is 1-1-1 (can be found commonly as 10-10-10 or 12-12-12). These numbers are the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, respectively.

They grow most robustly when they are given a couple feedings of nutrients throughout their growth. Early in their growth, you can use granular nutrients, but after they reach about 6 inches tall, it is easier to use water mix product. If granular fertilizer comes in direct contact with the plant, it can cause leaf burn.


As per Illinois extension, cabbage is ready whenever the head forms. That being said, it is usually ready to be harvest around 70-90 days. Plan to harvest around this time. Press down on the cabbage to see if it is firm, which indicates its ripeness. When you are harvest, use a sharp knife. Cut through the stem, below the head. Remove the head, but not the stem. Sometimes, if the weather is still cool, additional heads may grow from the remaining stem. These heads can be eaten as well – they are small and less dense, but still taste great.

Robust root growth

Bottom Line

Again, I recommend buying J R Peter’s All Purpose Fertilizer. Don’t make the mistake of buying any average product at your local gardening store. Many of them will simply not produce the same results. You cannot go wrong with any of the fertilizers above. 

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About the author: Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at TheGreenPinky. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.

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