Products, Sustainability
September 06, 2021 | 10–12 min read

OSMOCOTE 5: We Grow Ideas So You Can Grow Plants


The future of sustainable plant and crop growth is mainly being determined by innovations in fertilizer technology. Over 50 years ago, Osmocote® pioneered the first generation of controlled-release fertilizers. Today, ICL’s Osmocote is the number one coated fertilizer in horticulture in the world.

What are Controlled-Release Fertilizers?

We are all familiar with long-acting or slow-release pharmaceutical tablets or capsules which offer the benefit of taking a tablet once in 24 hours as opposed to three times per day. This technology was pioneered in the early 1950s and is usually achieved by applying a layer or layers of materials to the outside of the tablet. These layers slowly dissolve once in the digestive system and release the active ingredients over a defined period of time.

Coated fertilizers are produced similarly. A variety of coatings are applied to fertilizer particles to regulate the rate of nutrient release dependent on moisture content, soil temperature, coating material, and thickness. Controlling the rate of nutrient release can offer multiple benefits including improved plant health and yield, lower environmental impact, and increased profits.

Controlled-release fertilizers help optimize nutrition throughout the plant’s growth cycle with a one-time application achieving great results with minimum effort. Due to the differing length of time that each granule takes to release the nutrients inside, which we call longevity, it is possible to fertilize on cycles ranging from six weeks to eighteen months.

So, What Is Osmocote and How Does It Work?

The word Osmocote comes from the words osmosis and coating.

But, what is osmosis you may ask?

Osmosis is best described as the movement of water across a specific type of membrane or coating from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. Osmosis is what regulates the movement of water into and nutrients out of the Osmocote granules.

How do Osmocote fertilizers work?

Osmocote fertilizers have a special patented coating that enables gradual nutrient release. Each granule is covered with an organic resin coating that regulates the daily release of nutrients. By varying the thickness of the coating the release characteristics can be modified to create longevities that meet the growth requirements of the plant. The internal core of the granule contains Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (NPK), and all essential trace elements.

Osmocote granules are mixed into the plant’s growing medium, in the pot or container. When the plants are watered, the water penetrates the granule coating and a process starts that dissolves the nutrients. Osmotic pressure influenced by temperature releases the nutrients through the coating and the nutrients begin to move outwards. The nutrients are released at a constant and controlled rate during longevity. When all nutrients are released the resin coating breaks down and disintegrates.

The Oscmocote Granule

The Oscmocote Granule

Structure of Osmocote

Structure of Osmocote

Osmocote Working Principles


Osmocote products

The Advantages of Osmocote Controlled-Release Fertilizers

  1. Nutrients are supplied across the growth cycle of the plant in a controlled manner with only temperature influencing the release of Osmocote® controlled-release fertilizers.
  2. Better plant growth is achieved due to the continuous and uniform availability of nutrients.
  3. The coating that is applied around a controlled release fertilizer’s granules minimizes the leaching or washing away of nutrients.
  4. Because the plant grows evenly and gradually, it is less susceptible to damage and diseases resulting in greener, stronger, and more resilient plants.

Growers can achieve higher production and higher quality by using coated fertilizers. Today ICL continues to innovate and leverage the latest scientific knowledge in the field of horticulture to develop the world’s best-coated fertilizers.

Osmocote has become a trusted product that is used by thousands of growers around the world.

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Fertilizer Longevities from Six Weeks to Eighteen Months

The most important part of controlled-release fertilizers is the coating itself. The difference in coating thickness and type of coating affects the direct availability of nutrients to the plant as well as the leaching during the growth season.

Osmocote controlled-release fertilizers are not affected by salinity, pH, microbial activity, water quality, or rain. Only soil temperature and coating type and thickness influence the longevity and release of nutrients.

osmocote 5 granules

The future of stronger and healthier plants is hidden in each small granule  of Osmocote 5

Osmocote5:  Small Granule, Big Impact!

Next Generation Fertilization

With over 50 years of experience, ICL is proud to introduce Osmocote  5, the fifth generation of innovative controlled release next gen fertilizers straight from our Osmocote Green Lab.

Thanks to OTEA (Optimized Trace Element Availability)-system and NutriMatch-Release technology, each bag of fertilizer provide small granules that make a big impact.

Watch the video to join ICL’s Gerard Klein Onstenk, International Marketing Manager Ornamental Horticulture, behind the scenes at the ICL trial station in the Netherlands, what Osmocote 5 is and how it benefits your plants.

The Major Advantages of Osmocote 5 for Growers

  • Extraordinary leaf color
  • Optimum availability of trace elements
  • Healthier plants of higher quality, with improved branching, earlier budding, and strength.
  • Greater plant resilience, thanks to smooth and steady plant growth enabled by NutriMatch-Release technology.
  • Great return on your investment
  • Sustained nutrient release to decrease leaching and gaseous losses

NutriMatch Release Technology: Uniform and Continuous Nutrient Release.

Plants grow best when the release of nutrients matches the plants’ needs at every growth phase. For example, younger plants need fewer nutrients at the start than later during crop growth. Our brand new NutriMatch Release Technology provides an NPK release pattern that matches the plant’s needs more closely than ever before.

The Osmocote 5 range has been developed to provide growers with a choice of product longevities to meet their plant’s needs.

Osmocote5 has been tried, tested, and approved. Osmocote 5 was received enthusiastically by growers all over the world after testing the big impact on their plants. Osmocote 5 safely delivers greater nutrient efficiency and effectiveness.

ICL’s Commitment to Specialty Fertilizer R&D

ICL employs over 500 R&D specialists including some of the world’s most innovative scientists to serve our customers and to develop new, sustainable products and applications. Over 60 years of experience in the development and application of specialty fertilizers has enabled us to evolve into a leader in plant nutrition and a professional partner for the green sector.

Our Specialty Fertilizers’ Research & Development facilities are among the world’s best. Our scientists are dedicated to the development of new products and innovative technologies to improve the environmental profile of our plant nutrition and maintenance products and services.

Our innovation ecosystem is fully resourced with our vast experience in the agriculture industry, global presence, and our determination to continue to provide farmers state-of-the-art products and solutions that help grow healthier, stronger plants with a low environmental footprint now and in the future.

How can we help you?