Silica nanorods (SNRs) are synthesized and then functionalized with aminoalkoxysilanes to prepare a new class of nitric oxide (NO)-releasing materials. The aspect ratio and size of the SNRs are tuned by varying the temperature, pH, and silane concentration used during the surfactant-templated synthesis. N-Diazeniumdiolate nitric oxide (NO) donors are formed on the secondary amine-functionalized SNRs by reaction with NO gas under basic conditions. Particle surface modifications are employed to manipulate the NO release kinetics. The diverse morphology (i.e., aspect ratio ∼1–8), NO-release kinetics (2000–14 000 ppb NO/mg particle) and similar sizes (i.e., particle volume ∼0.02 μm3) of the resulting NO-releasing SNRs facilitates further studies of how particle shape and NO flux impacts bactericidal activity against Gram–positive Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Gram–negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) bacteria. The bactericidal efficacies of these materials improves with increasing particle aspect ratio and initial NO flux. Both chemical (i.e., NO-release kinetics) and physical (i.e., morphology) properties greatly influenced the bactericidal activity of these materials.