Avid gardeners may stock up on a variety of fertilizers to meet their plants’ needs. Casual hobbyists, however, are more likely to rely on a named brand such as Miracle-Gro for plant nutrition.
If you have just a handful of plants under your care, going through even a single package of Miracle-Gro fertilizer could take much longer than one or two growing seasons. It’s also easy to forget which products you have on hand, only to discover them in the back of your garage or shed years after purchase.
Does Miracle-Gro expire? In this article, I’ll explain whether you can still use old Miracle-Gro and how best to store it to prolong its shelf life.
- Does Miracle-Gro Expire
- Does Miracle-Gro Go Bad Once Opened
- How To Store Miracle-Gro At Home
- Verdict: Does Miracle-Gro Expire Or Go Bad
Does Miracle-Gro Expire
Fertilizer can be pricey and its ingredients aren’t always 100% renewable — throwing away unused products should be a last resort. Fortunately, most Miracle-Gro formulas last for several years in storage.
Even when Miracle-Gro does go bad, it may not do so the way you think. Fertilizer is not perishable like milk or eggs. Plant fertilizer will instead slowly break down, becoming less and less potent over time.
Using expired Miracle-Gro in the garden isn’t likely to cause harm. However, it also won’t effectively feed your plants. As a rule of thumb, Miracle-Gro Liquid Plant Food is viable for up to 8 years but is best used within 3 years of purchase. After 3 years, the product’s quality is said to decline.
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Miracle-Gro Shelf Life
According to The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, the manufacturers and distributors of Miracle-Gro fertilizers, most formulas have estimated shelf lives between 3 and 8 years. Shelf life can vary between similar products based on the ingredients, packaging, and fertilizer type.
Here’s a basic breakdown of different formula types and how long they should keep in storage:
- Liquid Plant Food: 8 years
- Water-Soluble Plant Food: 3 years
- Shake ‘n Feed: 3 to 5 years
- Performance Organics: 3 to 8 years
- Potting Mix: 5 years
For the most accurate storage instructions and estimated shelf life, check the label of your Miracle-Gro fertilizer.
Does Miracle-Gro Go Bad Once Opened
In theory, an open bottle or packet of Miracle-Gro should last as long as an unopened product. But this assumes that the container is sealed and stored properly after opening.
The reason you may notice Miracle-Gro going bad more quickly after opening is that it gives things like moisture and air a chance to infiltrate the bottle. These elements can speed up the breakdown of fertilizer even if the product is otherwise stored correctly.
How Long Does Miracle-Gro Last Once The Bottle Is Opened
It’s generally safe to start counting down a fertilizer’s shelf life only after it has been opened. I’d make an exception for bottles of Miracle-Gro that have been kept in storage — albeit unopened — for a significant time. These products may have shorter shelf lives than expected once finally opened.
How Long Does Miracle-Gro Last After Mixing
Water-soluble Miracle-Gro formulas keep very well in their original containers. However, this no longer holds true once the fertilizer is dissolved in water.
In my experience, it’s best to use Miracle-Gro within 24 hours of mixing. Waiting any longer to apply the product could affect its potency.
You can prevent waste by measuring and mixing only as much fertilizer as you need for any given application. It’s always better to err on the side of caution — you can always dilute more fertilizer if the original batch doesn’t get the job done.
Unused fertilizer mixed with water should be safely disposed of as soon as possible. Do not leave mixed Miracle-Gro sitting in a handheld or backpack weed sprayer. The product may congeal over time and clog the pump system.
Does Miracle-Gro Go Bad If It Freezes
Liquid and foam Miracle-Gro products may go bad if frozen. For this reason, you should think twice about leaving such fertilizers in your garage or shed if you live somewhere with cold winters.
Any significant drop in temperatures can affect liquid fertilizers by separating or breaking down the nutrients inside. Since there’s no way to know how much the efficacy of previously frozen Miracle-Gro has been impacted, it’s very hard to apply the correct amount.
If you do opt to apply frozen and thawed fertilizer to your garden, however, do not exceed the recommended rate.
Does Direct Sunlight Affect Miracle-Gro
Bright sunlight can degrade certain ingredients found in fertilizer. Since Miracle-Gro is generally sold and stored in opaque containers, however, direct light exposure isn’t a common problem.
The more likely consequence of storing Miracle-Gro in direct sunlight is heat damage. Prolonged heat exposure may speed up the breakdown of key nutrients in the fertilizer.
If you want your garden products to last as long as possible in storage, be sure to keep them somewhere protected from heat and bright sunlight.
How To Store Miracle-Gro At Home
For the best results, store Miracle-Gro in its original container. If the original packaging has been damaged in some way, transfer the product to a clean, comparable container. Ensure the new container is opaque and has an airtight seal.
I recommend keeping stored fertilizer away from moisture, heat, and sub-freezing temperatures. This may mean storing Miracle-Gro in a controlled climate — rather than a garden shed or unheated garage — during much of the year.
Avoiding moisture is particularly important when storing dry fertilizers. Even slight moisture exposure can cause Miracle-Gro to clump up. It could also impact the fertilizer’s overall efficacy.
Remember that proper fertilizer storage is not just about extending the shelf life. Be sure to keep Miracle-Gro out of reach of curious pets and children and away from products it could potentially contaminate for optimal safety.
Verdict: Does Miracle-Gro Expire Or Go Bad
Miracle-Gro can go bad. However, it’s important to remember that this process does not occur overnight. There are also several steps you can take to prevent Miracle-Gro from expiring before its expected shelf life.
If you tend to go through fertilizer slowly, I highly recommend investing in one of Miracle-Gro’s dry, water-soluble formulas. These products generally have the longest shelf lives and are easy to store for extended periods.
No matter which type of Miracle-Gro you prefer to use in the garden, be sure to read the label carefully for detailed information about storage and shelf life. Following the manufacturer’s provided instructions is the best way to ensure your fertilizer keeps for as long as possible.