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Fertiliser vs. Fertilizer: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 10, 2023
"Fertiliser" and "fertilizer" are the same, with the former being British English and the latter American English. They both refer to a substance used to enhance the growth of plants.

Key Differences

Fertiliser and fertilizer essentially have the same meaning: a substance added to soil to improve the growth and yield of plants. The difference lies in their spelling, which reflects the variation between British and American English.
In British English, fertiliser is the preferred spelling. It is commonly used in the UK and other countries where British English is the norm. In contrast, fertilizer is the spelling used in American English, prevalent in the United States and countries influenced by American English.
Both fertiliser and fertilizer refer to natural or synthetic materials, including manure, nitrogen, or phosphorus, which are used to improve plant nutrition. The spelling variation does not affect the meaning or usage of the term in agricultural or scientific contexts.
When reading literature or scientific papers, the spelling of fertiliser or fertilizer can indicate the origin of the document or the variant of English used. For instance, a paper from the UK will likely use fertiliser, whereas one from the US will use fertilizer.
In digital communication and global discussions, both spellings are understood and accepted. The choice between fertiliser and fertilizer often depends on the regional language preference of the writer or publication.

Comparison Chart

Spelling Variation

British English
American English

Usage Regions

UK, Commonwealth countries
USA, countries influenced by American English


Substance for plant growth
Substance for plant growth

Contextual Use

Scientific, agricultural (British)
Scientific, agricultural (American)

Linguistic Preference

Reflects British language norms
Reflects American language norms

Fertiliser and Fertilizer Definitions


A chemical or natural substance for enriching soil.
The farmer spread fertiliser across the field.


A product applied to plants or soil to improve fertility.
Regular application of fertilizer ensures healthy plants.


A substance added to soil to increase plant growth.
The gardener used organic fertiliser for the vegetable patch.


Organic or inorganic substance for boosting plant growth.
The nursery recommended a balanced fertilizer for the flowers.


Manure or compost used as a plant nutrient.
He prefers natural fertiliser over chemical ones.


A material used to provide nutrients to plants.
They bought a bag of fertilizer for their garden.


Any material of natural or synthetic origin for soil enrichment.
Using fertiliser helped improve the yield.


A substance added to enhance the growth and health of plants and crops.
The use of fertilizer is crucial in modern farming.


A product used in agriculture to promote plant health.
The fertiliser contained a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.


Any agent, such as manure or a mixture of nitrates, used to make soil more fertile.
They decided to use an organic fertilizer instead of a synthetic one.


(British spelling) fertilizer


Any of a large number of natural and synthetic materials, including manure and nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium compounds, spread on or worked into soil to increase its capacity to support plant growth.


Any substance such as manure or a mixture of nitrates used to make soil more fertile


A natural substance that is used to make the ground more suitable for growing plants.


A chemical compound created to have the same effect.


One who fertilizes; the agent that carries the fertilizing principle, as a moth to an orchid.


That which renders fertile; a general name for commercial substances which make plants grow better, as manure, guano, phosphate of lime, ammonium nitrate, etc.


Any substance such as manure or a mixture of nitrates used to make soil more fertile


Are fertiliser and fertilizer the same?

Yes, they have the same meaning but different spellings.

What is fertiliser?

A substance used to enhance plant growth (British spelling).

What does fertilizer mean?

A substance used to enhance plant growth (American spelling).

Can I use fertiliser in American English?

It's understood but fertilizer is the standard American spelling.

Does fertilizer always mean chemical?

No, it can be organic like manure or compost.

Why are there two spellings?

Due to differences between British and American English.

Is organic fertilizer better than synthetic?

Depends on specific gardening or farming needs.

What types of substances are in fertiliser?

Organic or inorganic materials that improve plant nutrition.

Is fertiliser used only in agriculture?

Primarily, but also in gardening and landscaping.

Can overuse of fertilizer be harmful?

Yes, it can lead to nutrient runoff and pollution.

Does fertiliser expire?

Some types lose effectiveness over time.

Is fertilizer safe for all plants?

Generally, but specific plants may have unique needs.

Is fertilizer spelling acceptable in the UK?

Understood but fertiliser is the preferred British spelling.

How do I choose the right fertiliser?

Based on soil type and plant needs.

Can homemade compost be a fertilizer?

Yes, compost is a natural organic fertilizer.

How often should I use fertilizer?

It varies by plant type and fertilizer composition.

What's the best fertilizer for vegetables?

Typically, a balanced fertilizer with micronutrients.

Can using fertilizer harm the environment?

If overused or improperly applied, it can.

What are common components of fertiliser?

Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium are common.

Can I mix different fertilisers?

It's best to follow specific product instructions.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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