5 Best Fertilizer For Grapes | How And When To Use

If you’re looking for a perennial fruit that will produce for many, many years, I can’t recommend a grapevine enough. There are so many great varieties out there that tolerate all kinds of climates, and you might be surprised by how hands-off this plant can really be.

Grapevines are very similar to fruit trees in that overall soil quality is extremely important. While grapes don’t rely on supplemental feedings to survive, the fertilizer you choose can play a big role in the health of your garden soil. That’s why I think it’s so important to select a grape fertilizer based on expert advice and testimonials for the best results.

Best Grape Plant Fertilizers

Looking for my preferred grapevine fertilizers? Here are the formulas I recommend most often:

Down to Earth All-Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer 4-3-6

Best Organic Fertilizer for Grapes

Down to Earth Acid Mix Fertilizer 4-3-6

100% natural ingredients and fortified with organic compounds. Expect bountiful fruit and protection against disease and temperature spikes.

J R Peters Jacks Classic 20-20-20 Fertilizer

Best Foliar Spray for Grapes

Jack’s Classic All Purpose 20 20 20

Ideal for use in nutrient-depleted soil and to keep acid levels in check. Use as a water-soluble fertilizer or when grapevines will benefit from a foliar spray. 

By the way, our site is supported by visitors like you. Some links on this page may be affiliate links which means if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support! You can find out more here.

Choosing the Best Fertilizer for Grapevines

A balanced fertilizer is ideal for most grapevines. Grapes tend to respond best to organic fertilizers like compost and manure that add lots of organic matter to the soil. The benefits of this organic matter — i.e., aeration, water retention, etc. — are almost more significant than the nutrients these fertilizers contain.

Another thing to keep in mind is that grapes prefer acidic soil. So I recommend testing your soil’s pH and selecting a fertilizer that will lower or maintain its acidity as needed.

Grape Fertilizer N-P-K Ratio

The N-P-K ratio is the most important piece of data on any fertilizer label. This is a sequence of 3 numbers that represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium contained within. For example, a fertilizer labeled 7-6-9 contains 7% nitrogen, 6% phosphorus, and 9% potassium.

Grape Soil pH and Nutrients

Grapes are considered acid-loving crops. Each variety prefers a certain pH level — according to the University of Connecticut, American varieties prefer a pH around 5.5 while European varieties like a pH level around 6.5 — but nearly all grapes thrive in the 5.0 to 7.0 range. 

Magnesium Deficiencies

A soil pH below 5.5 can impede grapevines’ ability to absorb magnesium. Treating magnesium deficiencies may require adjusting the pH level as well as adding nutrients to the soil.

Boron Deficiencies

It’s also common for grapevines to be deficient in boron. This deficiency, however, is often caused by soil that is too alkaline. 

Granular Vs Liquid Fertilizer

You should keep in mind that most grapes have very deep, extensive root systems. So delivering nutrients where you need them can take a bit of work.

My preferred formula for grapevines is a slow-release one made from organic materials that will penetrate and enrich the soil. 

Liquid Concentrate, Sprays, and Foliar Fertilizer for Grapes

In my experience, traditional liquid fertilizers don’t penetrate far enough into the soil to effectively feed grape plants. However, I know of several gardeners who use foliar sprays for supplemental feedings with great success.

Fertilizer Granules

Outside of organic fertilizers like aged compost and manure, slow-release granules are the ideal type of fertilizer for grapes. But you can’t expect these types of fertilizers to deliver immediate nutrition. If you’re going to rely on granules for your grapes, you need to be consistent with fertilizing each year.

Fertilizer Spikes

While fertilizer spikes work well for some fruit-bearing plants, I don’t recommend them for grapevines. Grapevine roots are too vast and deep to be effectively fed by spikes or capsules.

Synthetic Vs Organic Fertilizer for Grapes

There are benefits to both synthetic and organic fertilizers for grapevines. The right choice for your garden will largely depend on your goals and the quality of your soil.

I recommend using synthetic formulas to address specific nutritional needs. (Synthetic fertilizers are those made from inorganic ingredients like minerals and gasses.) On the other hand, organic fertilizers are excellent for long-term soil health. 

Best Grape Fertilizer Reviews

Rest assured, fertilizer won’t make or break your grape harvest this year. But to prepare your garden for future growing seasons, there are several formulas I recommend applying in the spring. I’ve also highlighted one of the best foliar sprays for feeding grapes mid-season.

1. Down to Earth Acid Mix Fertilizer 4-3-6

Best Organic Fertilizer for Grapes

Jobe’s Organics Continuous Release Fruit Fertilizer Spikes


  • Designed for acid-loving plants
  • Can be combined with another nitrogen source


  • Not a balanced fertilizer

Since grapevines are notorious acid-lovers, one of my favorite fertilizers to recommend is this acid mix from Down to Earth. It’s a granular formula that promotes a lower soil pH while slowly releasing nutrients.

You might notice that the N-P-K ratio of this fertilizer isn’t exactly balanced. Some grapevines might not get enough nitrogen from this formula at the start of the growing season but you can easily supplement the soil with aged compost or manure as well.

How To Use: Apply up to 1 cup of fertilizer per plant in early spring. If desired, you can apply a second dose when your grapevines flower. 


  • Maintains a low soil pH
  • A balanced mix of nutrients
  • Can be used as a foliar spray


  • Risk of overfeeding due to high nitrogen content

This Jack’s Classic fertilizer is a great all-purpose formula that can be purchased in bulk (saving you time and money in the long run). It’s also slightly acidic, so you’ll have an easier time maintaining the correct soil pH for your grapevines.

It’s a fast-acting formula that will enhance foliage color and growth and root and fruit development quickly when used either as a fertilizer or when used as a foliar spray.

As far as nutrition goes, this formula contains a balanced N-P-K ratio and several micronutrients recommended for grapevines. However, I caution against using such a concentrated formula with other nitrogen sources like compost or manure.

How To Use: Mix at a rate of 1 tablespoon of fertilizer per gallon of water. Feed with up to ½ cup of fertilizer total per plant.


  • Made with feed-quality ingredients 
  • Can be applied as a granule or made into “fertilizer tea”
  • Safe to combine with other nutrient sources


  • The scent may attract pets and wildlife

While I personally think that synthetic fertilizers can be perfectly safe when used correctly, I know plenty of other gardeners who just feel more comfortable using an organic formula. If that sounds like you, I recommend trying Dr. Earth’s Acid Lovers Fertilizer on your grapes.

Along with everything that’s not in this fertilizer, it’s important to mention that it includes TruBiotic microbes that benefit soil and plant health over time. This microbial blend is great for both in-ground and potted grapevines.

How To Use: For grapes, apply up to 2 cups of fertilizer around the plant’s base. Gently rake the granules into the top layer of soil before watering.


  • Created specifically for edible fruit and vegetables
  • Listed as organic by OMRI


  • It May contain too much potassium for some grapes

Miracle-Gro is a trusted brand in the gardening world for a reason. While not everyone swears by this company’s products, I’ve found that some of its newest formulas are extremely high quality.

This particular formula is designed for all edible plants and is made from OMRI-certified organic ingredients. On grapevines, it can be used alone or in conjunction with another nitrogen source at the start of spring.

How To Use: Apply up to 1 cup of fertilizer per plant. Gently work into the soil and water the area thoroughly.


  • Unlikely to cause fertilizer burn
  • Formulated with beneficial microbes
  • Made with zero-waste manufacturing


  • It May have a strong odor

Although this Espoma fertilizer is marketed for blueberries and raspberries, I’ve also seen good results when used on grapevines.

This fertilizer features a near-balanced N-P-K ratio that’s not too concentrated, so overfeeding with this formula is extremely difficult. It also contains a blend of beneficial fungi and bacteria to support long-term soil health.

How To Use: To feed grapes, I recommend applying up to 2 cups of fertilizer per plant. Spread the fertilizer on top of the soil around the grapevine’s base.

How to Fertilize Grapes

When using a balanced formula, the recommended rate is approximately 1 pound of dry fertilizer per vine. Organic fertilizers like compost and manure can be applied in a similar manner.

Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer at the beginning of the year for growth. Potassium-rich fertilizer may be applied when fruit starts to form. Apply micronutrient amendments through spring and summer as recommended by a soil test.

Avoiding Fertilizer Burn

Measuring all applications of nitrogen will help prevent fertilizer burn in grapevines. Also, be sure to apply fertilizer at least a foot away from the vine’s base to prevent burns. As grapevines grow, the University of Missouri suggests increasing this margin to 2 or 3 feet.

When to Fertilize Grapes

Fertilize grapes in early spring to give them a head start on the growing season. I recommend prioritizing nitrogen in this first application. A second dose of nitrogen fertilizer can be applied after your grapevine’s flower but no later than mid-summer. Late feeding will promote unseasonable growth and put your grapes at greater risk of frost damage in winter.

Fertilizing Young Grapevines

Prior to planting and for the vines’ first couple of years, your goal should be to identify and address any nutrient deficiencies in the soil. Light applications of nitrogen are safe but not always needed.

Fertilizing Mature Grape plants

For mature grapevines, apply a balanced fertilizer or aged manure around grapevines as soon as the buds emerge in spring.

Keep in mind that many established grape plants don’t require fertilizer at all. So this is one crop I definitely encourage performing soil tests on before settling on a feeding regimen.

How Often to Fertilize Grape Vines

Most grape varieties have extensive root systems and do not need frequent feeding to thrive. While you should always reference the feeding guidelines on your fertilizer’s packaging, I recommend fertilizing grapevines no more than monthly from spring until mid-summer.

Verdict: Best Fertilizer for Grapes

Grapevines are an orchard staple that will serve your kitchen for many, many years. They don’t ask for much in terms of outside nutrition, so meeting the needs of grapes is extremely easy for the average gardener.

Down to Earth All-Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer 4-3-6

Best Organic Fertilizer for Grapes

Down to Earth All-Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer 4-3-6

100% natural ingredients and fortified with organic compounds. Expect bountiful fruit and protection against disease and temperature spikes.

Since grapes prefer acidic soil, I love recommending Down to Earth All-Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer 4-3-6 for backyard vineyards. It’s a nice organic formula that will help maintain the acidity in and around your grape bed.

J R Peters Jacks Classic 20-20-20 Fertilizer

Best Foliar Spray for Grapes

Jack’s Classic All Purpose 20 20 20

Ideal for use in nutrient-depleted soil and to keep acid levels in check. Use as a water-soluble fertilizer or when grapevines will benefit from a foliar spray. 

Grape roots grow quite deep, so quickly addressing nutritional deficiencies isn’t always possible with fertilizer applied to the soil. A foliar spray, such as Jack’s Classic 10lb Bag Professional All Purpose 20 20 20, is a great alternative.