Fertilizer 101: How to Grow the Best Crops

Jovy

Looking to take farming to the next level? Learn all there is to know about Fertilizers, and let us help you choose the right one for you!

A screenshot from Stardew Valley in which the farmer is standing in the Greenhouse, having used Fertilizer on all the soil around them.

What is Fertilizer?

Fertilizers are a type of item you can apply to tilled soil to improve the quality of your crops. There are several different types of fertilizer, each doing something unique. Some of these cause crops to grow faster, others increase the chance that they reach higher crop quality.

Types of Fertilizer

There are four different types of fertilizers in Stardew Valley:

  1. Tree Fertilizer
  2. Standard Fertilizer
  3. Speed-Gro
  4. Retaining Soil

Tree Fertilizer

Tree Fertilizer is a special type of fertilizer. Unlike all the other types, which you apply to soil, you apply this directly to tree saplings. You can apply Tree Fertilizer to Pine Cones, Acorns, Maple Seeds, and Mahogany Seeds.

Normally, trees go through five stages of growth which take about a season to complete. For example, a planted Acorn has a 20% to reach the next stage of growth each night. When fertilized, this chance soars up to 100%. Since it’s guaranteed to grow each night, it’ll only take five nights to go from stage one to stage five and become fully mature.

The exception to this is the Mahogany Seed. Mahogany Seeds have a 15% chance to grow into their next stage each day. When they’re fertilized, this chance increases to 60%.

Once you apply Tree Fertilizer onto a sapling, you’ll notice that the seed has a unique appearance, taking on a red hue. You can only apply Tree Fertilizer once, but once is all you need!

The recipe for Tree Fertilizer is very cheap!

In order to unlock the recipe for this item, you’ll need to reach level seven in Foraging.

To craft Tree Fertilizers, you only need five bits of Fiber and five Stone. Both are super easy to grab and you’ve probably got a huge stack of both items in your chests even now. If by chance you don’t have any Fiber, you can collect some by using a Scythe or a Sword on a swath of grass on your Farm, in the Cindersap Forest, or in the mines.

Does Tree Fertilizer work on Fruit Trees?

Unfortunately, Tree Fertilizer only works on tree seeds; you’ll still have to wait an entire season to get your hands on those sweet treats.

Standard Fertilizer

The Standard Fertilizer improves the soil quality, increasing the chance that the crop that grows on that soil will be of higher quality. It comes in three varieties – Basic, Quality, and Deluxe. Each variety is better than the last, increasing the chance for Silver, Gold, and Iridium crops more and more.

A Greenhouse with Quality Fertilizer on each tile.

Basic Fertilizer

Crafting: You will unlock the recipe for Basic Fertilizer once you reach level one in Farming. To craft one bag of this, you’ll need to use two Saps. You can get Sap from chopping down trees, killing Slimes in the Mines or tapping Mahogany Trees. Crafting yields just one bag of fertilizer.

Purchasing: You can also buy this item for 100 gold from Pierre from the 15th of Spring onwards in Year One.

You must apply Basic Fertilizer on tilled soil before the seed sprouts.

Quality Fertilizer

Crafting: You unlock the recipe for Quality Fertilizer once you reach level nine in Farming. It requires two Sap, as before, as well as one Fish of any kind. Try to use Fish of lower quality and price, so as not to waste too much money on this. Crab Pot fish, like Periwinkles and Snails, serve this purpose well. Crafting yields just one bag of fertilizer.

Purchasing: You can buy this item from Pierre starting in Year Two. One bag will cost you 150 gold. You can also find it at the Traveling Cart, though the price can be anywhere between 100 gold and 1000 gold.

You must apply Quality Fertilizer on tilled soil before the seed sprouts.

Deluxe Fertilizer

Crafting: You can purchase the recipe for Deluxe Fertilizer for 20 Qi Gems in Qi’s Walnut Room. It requires a whopping 40 bits of Sap and one Iridium Bar per bag. Pricey, but crops that have been sprinkled with this item have a nearly 50% chance of being Iridium Quality, and otherwise they are Gold Quality. Crafting yields five bags of fertilizer.

Purchasing: You cannot purchase Deluxe Fertilizer anywhere.

You can apply Deluxe Fertilizer on tilled soil before or after the seed sprouts.

Retaining Soil

Retaining Soil is mixed into tilled soil, and provides a chance for your crops to remain watered overnight. This can cut back on your Energy consumption during the day, as you won’t need to spend time and Energy watering all of your crops the next day. It comes in three varieties – Basic, Quality, and Deluxe. Each variety is better than the last, increasing the chance that crops remained watered the day after.

Retaining Soil is especially important on the Beach Farm where sprinklers cannot be placed on the majority of the area.

Half of the crops are already watered as the farmer woke up.

Basic Retaining Soil

Crafting: You will unlock the recipe for Basic Retaining Soil when you reach level four in Farming. To craft it, all you need is two pieces of Stone. Crafting yields just one bag of fertilizer.

Purchasing: You can purchase Basic Retaining Soil at Pierre’s after the 15th of Spring, Year One, for 100 gold.

You can apply this fertilizer onto soil before or after you’ve planted your crops.

Quality Retaining Soil

Crafting: You will unlock the recipe for Quality Retaining Soil when you reach level seven in Farming. You’ll need three Stone for one bag, as well as one Clay. Crafting yields two bags of fertilizer.

Purchasing: You can purchase Quality Retaining Soil at Pierre’s after Year Two for 150 gold, or from the Oasis in the Calico Desert for 200 gold, on Saturdays.

You can apply Quality Retaining Soil onto soil before or after you’ve planted your crops.

Deluxe Retaining Soil

Crafting: You can purchase the recipe for the Deluxe Retaining Soil at the Island Trader for 50 Cinder Shards. You then need five Stone, three Fiber, and one Clay to craft it. The chance that your crop stays watered is 100% with this sprinkled on the soil. Crafting yields just one bag of fertilizer.

Purchasing: You cannot purchase Deluxe Retaining Soil anywhere.

You can apply this fertilizer onto soil before or after you’ve planted your crops.

Speed-Gro

Speed-Gro lowers the amount of time necessary for a crop to grow by a certain percentage. It can be very useful if a Season is coming to an end, but you still want to plant crops without worrying about them wilting as the Season changes. Basic Speed-Gro lowers the growth time by 10%, Deluxe by 25%, and Hyper Speed-Gro by 33%.

Speed-Gro

Crafting: You unlock the recipe for Speed-Gro when you reach level three in farming. You need one Pine Tar, and one Clam to craft it. You can find Clams by foraging on the Beach, and you can get Pine Tar by using a Tapper on Pine Trees. The process of tapping a Pine Tree will take nearly a full week, so you may need to be patient if you want a lot of this item. Crafting yields five bags of fertilizer.

Purchasing: You can purchase Speed-Gro for 100g from Pierre starting from the 15th of Spring, Year One. As acquiring Pine Tar can be an arduous and lengthy endeavor, it may be worth spending the gold to get your hands on this.

You can apply Speed-Gro on tilled soil before or after the seed sprouts.

Deluxe Speed-Gro

Crafting: You will unlock the recipe for Deluxe Speed-Gro at level eight of Farming. It requires one Oak Resin and one Coral. You can find Coral by foraging on the beach, and it’s extra common to the east of the wooden bridge, which you’ll need to fix before crossing. You can get Oak Resin by tapping an Oak Tree. Tapping the tree will take nearly a full week, so you may need to be patient if you want a lot of this item. Crafting yields five bags of fertilizer.

Purchasing: Starting from Year Two, you can purchase one bag of this Deluxe Speed-Gro from Pierre for 150 gold. You can also buy this at the Oasis shop for 80 gold on Thursdays.

You can apply Deluxe Fertilizer on tilled soil before or after the seed sprouts.

Hyper Speed-Gro

Crafting: You can purchase the recipe for Hyper Speed-Gro by spending 30 Qi Gems. It requires one Radioactive Ore, three Bone Fragments, and one Solar essence to craft. Most of these ingredients can be found on Ginger Island. Crafting yields just one bag of fertilizer.

Purchasing: You cannot purchase Hyper Speed-Gro anywhere.

You can apply Deluxe Fertilizer on tilled soil before or after the seed sprouts.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ZAuyPKG.jpg
The Bok Choy with Speed-Gro is ready, but the Bok-Cho without it will wilt tomorrow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Fertilizer?

Each fertilizer fulfills a different need. If you are looking to make the most profit, increasing crop quality should be your priority, and in that case, the Standard Fertilizer is the best. Applying quality improving fertilizer to crops that are already very valuable, such as Ancient Fruit or Star Fruit, can increase your profit exponentially.

Speed-Gro is incredibly useful as Seasons start to end. Some crops, like Corn, take a very long time to grow. If it’s the 16th of Fall, you won’t have enough time to wait for your Corn crops to grow, and they’ll wilt in Winter. Applying Speed-Gro allows you to reap Corn right before the Season changes.

Can I Place Fertilizer in a Garden Pot?

Yes, you can!

Does Fertilizer last forever?

They remain in the soil throughout the whole season but disappear when the seasons change. It stays on the soil forever in the Greenhouse, however. Additionally, it won’t disappear if a multi-season crop is growing on its tile of soil, such as Wheat, Sunflower, or Coffee Bean. For example, Retaining Soil will stay on a Coffe Bean bush throughout Spring and Summer.

Can I use multiple Fertilizers on One tile?

You can only apply one type per tile of soil. That means that, for example, you can’t use both Speed-Gro and Retaining Soil on one tile of soil.

How do I replace Fertilizers?

If you previously applied Speed-Gro and now you want to apply Retaining Soil, you’ll need to first remove the Speed-Gro. Equip your pickaxe from your inventory, and break the tile. Re-till it with your Hoe, and apply your new fertilizer.

How Does Fertilizer work with Multi-Harvest Crops?

Multi-harvest crops, such as Blueberries and Cranberries, are affected differently by different types of fertilizer.

  • The Standard Fertilizer will improve the quality of all Blueberries you harvest.
  • Speed-Gro will only affect the growth time of the first crop harvest. After that, it’ll take the usual time to harvest again.
  • Retaining Soil will remain in the soil until the Season changes, regardless of what kind of crop grows on it.

Meet the author

I'm a content writer and an avid video game player whose favourites are either chill RPGs or super competitive shooters with no in-between! If anyone is still reading this please help, Joja has trapped me in a guide-writing factory and I'm so tired of drinking Joja Cola.

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