5 Types of Copper Fertilizer

Copper fertilizer activates enzymatic processes that can increase the production of seeds and induce healthy levels of chlorophyll. All copper fertilizer though is not the same. Fertilizer importers and exporters alike must be aware of the different types. What are they?

Here are the five types of copper fertilizer:

  • Copper oxysulfate
  • Copper fungicide
  • Copper oxide
  • Copper chelate
  • Copper sulfate

This extensive guide to copper fertilizer will explain each of the five types in much more detail. We’ll also delve into the benefits of using copper fertilizer on plants and crops, so make sure you keep reading. 

What Are the Five Types of Copper Fertilizer?

Copper Oxysulfate

The first copper fertilizer type is copper oxysulfate

An oxysulfate refers to a compound with a sulfate anion and an oxide. To make copper oxysulfate, sulfuric acid and copper oxide undergo an acidulating process during manufacturing. 

This type of fertilizer usually comes in granular form. The granules are typically spherical, and they release low amounts of dust.

Whether used as part of a dry-blend fertilizer formula or added directly to the soil, copper oxysulfate is beneficial. The sulfate in the fertilizer dissolves once ingrained in the soil. What results is the production of insoluble copper oxide particles that have a very fine texture.

This form of fertilizer is popular in Southeast Asian and Australian markets alike.

Copper oxysulfate fertilizer should include copper at a high purity level. This provides a twofold benefit. To start, the high-purity copper reduces dust in the granules, and second, there are fewer heavy metals in the formula.

The only downside to using copper oxysulfate fertilizer is that the stuff isn’t entirely soluble and thus is not appropriate as an ingredient in foliar sprays. Further, when applying copper oxysulfate fertilizer to the soil, the soil must be dry.

Copper Fungicide

Next on the list, copper fungicide is a liquid product that farmers and gardeners use for controlling fungal diseases in their plants. Those diseases can run the gamut from rust to peach leaf curl, black spot, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and mold. 

Most copper fungicide products are useable on a wide range of plants and crops such as turf, ornamentals, herbs, nut plants, fruit trees, roses, and vegetable trees. 

The base of a copper fungicide will include either copper hydroxide or copper oxychloride. 

Copper hydroxide is an alkali that’s colored dark red to orange. Dicopper chloride trihydroxide or copper oxychloride is a chemical that can control bacterial diseases in addition to fungal ones.

A copper fungicide, due to its makeup, is mostly insoluble. The product will release particles that are very fine and will spread across the entirety of an affected plant or crop. 

Although copper fungicide is categorized as a fertilizer, technically, it’s to be used for fungal and/or bacterial disease control only. Applying the stuff as a fertilizer could be damaging to crops and plants, as you’re using it for unintended purposes. 

Copper Oxide

When oxygen and copper combine, a compound results that is copper oxide. Outside of copper sulfate, which we’ll talk more about later, there is no more common copper-based plant and crop fertilizer than copper oxide.

It too is an insoluble compound, and copper oxide can be added straight to a crop or plant’s soil. When used as a fertilizer, copper oxide is available in very fine particles. The fertilizer should increase root uptake.

Unfortunately, copper oxide fertilizer is prone to getting dusty. This can make consistent use of the fertilizer a challenge. Some plants or crops might receive most of the fertilizer application while others are starving for it. Now copper deficiencies can develop.

That’s why it’s common to use copper oxide fertilizer with a carrier. In the world of fertilizer, a carrier refers to an additional substance that’s often nutrient-containing.

The copper dust, as an example, could be applied to seed dressings. However, this would entail collecting the dust and then applying it, which would be difficult and unreliable. The inconsistency of the application method could affect the growing seedlings.

Another carrier example is water. Although water isn’t a fertilizer carrier in the traditional sense since it doesn’t contain nutrients on its own, when mixed with fertilizer, the water can carry the nutrients where they need to go. 

Using water as a microfine suspension such as a flowable concentrate or a wattage powder is especially effective. You could apply a boom spray either on the crops or their soil. The fertilizer is suspended due to the small particle size, which allows for stomata absorption when spraying fertilizer on the leaves.

Copper Chelate

Copper chelate is another copper-based fertilizer. The chelate refers to chelated minerals such as copper, with chelating a process that chemically mixes amino acids and minerals. 

Chelated copper can be used on its own, and byproducts of the chelation process might be useful such as copper glycinate. This is a complex that combines glycine (an amino acid) with copper.

One of the downsides of using copper chelate fertilizer is its high cost. When exportation or importation fees are factored in top of that, copper chelate might not be the most financially appealing type of copper fertilizer we’ve discussed to this point.

The fertilizer won’t fixate in the crop’s soil though, and copper chelate is also compatible with all sorts of other fertilizer products. Thus, if the high price is not a huge obstacle, this is one viable form of copper fertilizer to consider. 

Copper Sulfate

The last form of copper fertilizer to discuss is copper sulfate. As a type of inorganic compound, copper sulfate includes copper and sulfur in its base. 

Sulfur comes from vulcanized black rubber and usually goes into making sulfuric acid. That product is found in everything from inorganic acids to salts, detergents, explosives, dyes, pigments, and fertilizers.

Copper sulfate’s composition varies depending on the salt used. In the case of copper sulfate pentahydrate, the formula is 25 percent copper. This common copper salt has a crystalline texture and a very vivid blue color. 

That’s why plant and crop fertilizers that use copper sulfate pentahydrate will often name themselves after the extraordinary hue.

The other formula for copper sulfate fertilizer is copper sulfate monohydrate, which is 35 percent copper. This water-soluble form of fertilizer is typically texturally granular and can be applied directly to dry soil. 

How Is Copper Fertilizer Beneficial?

Farmers and gardeners rely on copper fertilizer for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the advantages of adding copper to plants and crops. 

Reduces Nutrient Deficiency Risks

A crop or garden that’s fed copper fertilizer is one that’s receiving at least that micronutrient and likely a balance of others as well. 

Without copper in the soil, a plant can develop many negative symptoms that can impact its health and appearance.

For instance, the tips of the leaves will become bluish-green, which is quite noticeable in some plant and crop species. 

Further, the plant can become sterile. Flowers, if they bloom, may do so later than scheduled, which can affect the rate of future blooming as well.

Growth as a whole can also slow or come in fits and spurts. Farmers and gardeners will have a much smaller plant yield than usual, and that will impact their livelihoods.

Manages Protein and Carbohydrate Metabolisms

People aren’t the only ones who ingest protein and carbohydrates. Plants have their own protein metabolism that allows the proteins to become synthesized into amino acids through a process known as anabolism. 

Copper can keep protein synthesis occurring as usual, and that’s true of carbohydrate synthesis too. Plants receive carbs when they photosynthesize. The carbs come from water and carbon dioxide and allow for internal energy storage.

Encourages Plant Processes

Other everyday processes that plants and crops undergo also wouldn’t be possible without copper in the soil. One such process is respiration, which allows a plant to release carbon dioxide.

In doing so, adenosine triphosphate or ATP is generated; the same happens during photosynthesis. ATP is a crucial molecule that retains energy in cells. Plans need that energy to support their current growth as well as to produce new growth such as offshoots, flowers, fruits, or vegetables.

Contributes to Chlorophyll 

Finally, there is copper’s role in the production of chlorophyll, a pigment that makes plants green. More so than giving plants their trademark color, chlorophyll allows a plant to absorb sunlight that can then become the basis for photosynthesis.

That explains why a plant with a copper deficiency turns bluish. 


Fertilizer importers and exporters should familiarize themselves with the five types of copper-based fertilizers. Each has its own respective role in the arsenal of any gardener or farmer and is thus worth keeping in stock.

Boost your business with our high-quality services

Ask For A Quick Quote

We will contact you within 1 working day, please pay attention to the email with the suffix “@ofertilizer.com”.