Are biostimulants and growth regulators classified as plant protection products?

Growth regulators are plant protection products, but biostimulants are not. Fertilisers, biostimulants and growth regulators have an impact on plant health, but not all these products are covered by the Plant Protection Regulation. According to the new fertilisers Regulation (EU 2019/1009), biostimulants are now classified as fertilisers and have been explicitly removed from the Plant Protection Regulation. Growth regulators – substances that stimulate or inhibit the growth of plants but are neither a nutrient nor a biostimulant – are still covered by the Plant Protection Regulation.


Growth regulator: substance that, in low concentration, stimulates or inhibits the growth of plants, but is neither a nutrient nor a biostimulant.

Biostimulant: biostimulants are not actual nutrients, but they do stimulate the natural nutrition processes of plants. These are classified as fertilisers rather than plant protection products. This is because these substances, mixtures and micro-organisms are intended only to 1) help the plant use nutrients more efficiently, 2) make the plant more resilient to fluctuations in temperature or the availability of light or water (abiotic stress), 3) improve quality characteristics, or 4) increase the availability of nutrients in the soil. They increase the efficiency of fertilisers, so that plants need fewer nutrients.

Whether a product falls under the regulations for fertilisers or plant protection products depends on what the product does and what effect the product is claimed to have.