Miracle-Gro® is a brand of consumer garden products sold by the Scotts Miracle-Gro company. There are several products that bear the Miracle-Gro® label, including fertilizers, potting mix, soil amendments, and hose nozzles. Miracle-Gro® is perhaps best known as a fertilizer for plants. There are many different formulas of fertilizer sold under the Miracle-Gro® label that are designed for different uses. Most Miracle-Gro® fertilizers are synthetic chemical fertilizers, although the brand has recently introduced a line of organic products.
Miracle-Gro® makes fertilizers for lawn care, vegetables, flowers, potted plants, trees and shrubs, citrus and palms, and roses. The fertilizers can be applied different ways. The most common application is to dissolve the fertilizer in an indicated amount of water and apply it directly to the soil. Another method of delivery is foliar feeding, or spraying fertilizer on a plant’s leaves. This is done using a garden hose and a special nozzle manufactured for the purpose by Miracle-Gro®.
Miracle-Gro® is known for its synthetic fertilizer products, although it has developed a line of organic products. All fertilizers provide nutrients plants need to grow, but synthetic and organic fertilizers work differently and are made of different materials. The most important components of any fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, usually denoted by their chemical symbols of N, P, and K. Most fertilizers also contain calcium, sulfur, magnesium, and other trace elements. Fertilizers are labeled according to the percentage of different elements they contain.
Synthetic fertilizers are made by processing raw materials. They are water soluble, which means the solid fertilizer will dissolve in water and is immediately available to the plant. Synthetic fertilizer thus provides a quick boost of nutrients to a plant, which is often viewed as an advantage. Too high a dose of Miracle-Gro® or other synthetic fertilizer, however, can burn the plant's leaves.
Synthetic fertilizers have been criticized by proponents of organic farming and environmentalists because they do not do anything to improve the soil over the long term and tend to leach out to streams and ponds. In contrast, organic fertilizers release nutrients slowly into the soil over time and can improve the quality of soil by stimulating beneficial microbial activity. Organic fertilizers are often made of natural materials, such as compost, worm castings, animal waste and fish emulsion.
In 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recalled many Miracle-Gro® products for having an invalid pesticide registration number on their packaging. The affected products were called Miracle-Gro® Shake ’N’ Feed All Purpose Plant Food and Weed Preventer, and related pesticide products. Miracle-Gro® also sued the organic fertilizer company Terra Cycle, which manufactures plant food from worm castings, because they used similar packaging to Miracle-Gro® and claimed that their product outperformed the “leading synthetic fertilizer.”