Although most people think that succulents do not need any fertilizer, like any other plant, succulents benefit from using fertilizers because this will allow them to grow fully and produce beautiful and colorful flowers.
Succulents are different from other plants because they have thick, fleshy stems, leaves and roots that are capable of storing water and nutrients. This ability allows the succulent to live in dry climates. Potted succulents normally require less watering and small amounts of fertilizer but since the pots have drainage holes that flush the nutrients out of the container regularly, they will also need periodic feeding.
When a succulent is exposed to a lot of fertilizer in one feeding, especially those fertilizers rich in nitrogen, they will be prone to root and leaf rot. You can’t just use fertilizer on the succulent and expect them to become healthy, you must remember that succulents are unique so they will need the right blend of fertilizer so you will not overfeed them and they can grow healthy. If you are having a hard time growing your succulents, feel free to reach out to us here at Eden Succulents.
Succulents are sensitive to salts, and most fertilizers that are available in the market are commonly made from salts. Fertilizers can dry out the root hairs of the succulent and make it impossible to absorb moisture, as well as the nutrients in the soil. Find out the best fertilizers to use for your succulents below!
Best Fertilizers to Use for Succulents
1. Authentic Haven Brand Premium Soil Conditioner
This manure tea has the same concept as using manure or compost as fertilizer but it is not messy to handle and most of all, it does not smell bad. You can use this fertilizer for your outdoor succulents.
To prepare the manure tea: remove it from the packaging and place it in a 5-gallon bucket. Fill up the bucket with water up to the top, making sure that the water is running over the tea bag. The directions say to use 1 gallon to 5 gallons of water. You can prepare it according to your succulents’ needs. Cover the bucket and allow the tea bag to sit inside for a few days. You can tie the tea bag to prevent it from being submerged deep inside the bucket. After 2-3 days, you can open the bucket and use the solution to fertilize your succulents.
It won’t burn the succulents and you can use large amounts without having to worry about anything. It is safe to use and applying it to your succulents will allow them to grow fully and become healthy. The manure tea is milder and it won’t burn the succulents even when it gets on the leaves of the plants. You will not have to worry about over fertilizing them.
2. Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food
This fertilizer is a great option for your succulents. This is a liquid fertilizer so it can seep deep into the soil and will provide the nutrients needed by the succulent plant. This fertilizer is perfect for succulents that need an instant boost and restore them to full health and give them a fast recovery.
Read the instructions on the product label and follow the directions carefully so you can prepare the correct solution for your succulents. You can use this fertilizer every 2 weeks. It is advisable to use for succulents such as cacti, aloe, jade, etc.
3. Dr. Earth Premium Gold Pure & Natural Fertilizer
This fertilizer is the ideal choice for succulents that are turning pale or yellow. This fertilizer is rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. Nitrogen is for the leaves of the succulent. Potassium is perfect for helping the succulent fight off any diseases. The phosphorus is the nutrient responsible for healthy root growth and helps the succulent produce colorful and beautiful flowers.
When preparing this fertilizer, make sure to dilute it. If it is too concentrated it can cause burns and destroy the roots of the plants. To prepare it for use, mix 1 tsp. of the fertilizer and mix it with a gallon of water. You can use this fertilizer every time you need to water the plants.
4. Malibu Compost Bu’s Brew Biodynamic Compost Tea Bags
If you prefer using a non-fertilizer alternative, you can purchase this compost tea bag or make your compost tea bag from your compost pile if you have one at home. Compost tea is the preferred fertilizer since it provides the nutrients that your succulents need to grow. It also provides nutrients to the soil microbes that protect help your succulents from soil problems and pests that can invade your succulent collection.
5. Worm Castings
Worm castings are rich in nutrients that plants need and can be a suitable fertilizer for your succulents. Worm castings have more than 60 different nutrients such as calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, carbon, etc. You can also use worm castings to balance the pH of the soil to make it suitable for your succulents. Mix the worm castings with your soil when potting a new succulent.
6. Espoma Organic Grow Fertilizer
This fertilizer is advisable for succulents that spend most of their time indoors. Indoor succulents are potted in small containers and can miss out on the microbes that are commonly found in in-ground succulents. The helpful microbes are introduced to the succulent plants through this fertilizer.
Microbes help build up the soil and make it a suitable environment for the succulent to grow well. Espoma Organic Fertilizer is gentle and safe to use and you can avoid over-fertilizing your indoor succulents.
How to Fertilize Your Succulents
1. Dissolve a 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 water-soluble fertilizer in a gallon of water; use only half the amount of the recommended fertilizer on the package. For tropical succulents like Christmas cactus, you can use 1/4 strength of the fertilizer because it requires frequent watering.
2. Succulents must be watered with a half-strength mixture of water and fertilizer. You should allow the excess moisture to drain from the pot through its drainage holes. When you buy a gallon of fertilizer solution, it can be enough to fertilize several succulents, depending on their size.
Fertilizers must be applied during springtime as this is the time when the new growth begins, this is also knowing as the growing season. You can also apply fertilizer in late summer or early fall. Do not fertilize succulents during its winter dormancy period.
3. If you have tropical succulents such as Christmas cactus, you can fertilize it using a quarter strength of the fertilizer solution while it is actively growing. Some tropical succulents grow during the summertime, while others grow during wintertime as well. When the succulent is on its winter dormancy, stop applying fertilizer. Too much fertilizer during its dormancy can cause their root, stems, or leaves to rot.
Additional Tips on Fertilizing Succulents
2. Outdoor succulents that are planted in the ground may not require fertilizer since they can access the nutrients found in the soil. If you will be applying some fertilizer, make sure to apply half of the recommended amount of the slow-release fertilizer during the start of the growing season or springtime. Get your slow-release fertilizer here.
3. Apply fertilizers when the top inch part of the soil is completely dried out. When the soil is still moist, postpone the application of fertilizer for at least a week so the soil can completely dry up before the fertilizer can be applied.
4. When applying fertilizer blends, do not apply them on the leaves or flowers of the succulents, plants do not absorb the nutrients this way. Make sure to apply them at the ground level, all around the outside of the plant over the root mass, you can use a garden sprayer like this or use a backpack sprayer like this. Be careful and try not to splash any fertilizer solution onto the succulents directly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question #1: When do I need to apply fertilizer?
Answer: To determine if the succulent needs fertilizer, you can check for the most obvious sign: its color. If the succulent looks pale or it is turning yellow, this means it needs Nitrogen. Also, make sure that the color change that occurs is caused by a lack of fertilizer and not because you used the wrong kind of soil. Succulents need a well-draining type of soil like this.
When a succulent is potted in the wrong soil, for example, peat moss is an example of acidic soil. When the soil is acidic, the plant will not be able to absorb nitrogen and other nutrients that the succulent needs to grow properly. In this case, you can sprinkle some Dolomite Lime on the top of the soil and water it. Do not add any fertilizer over the coming weeks; make sure to observe the affected plant and you will notice that the leaves will become green as the nitrogen is released from the soil.
Succulents in pots usually need fertilizer when they are emerging from dormancy and before the growing season starts. This is the time when the plant begins its annual growth spurt and it usually occurs during the springtime.
Question #2: Do succulents need to be fertilized frequently?
Answer: There are plenty of succulent varieties available, and fertilizer application will depend on the different factors, such as the environment where you live in. You have to consider also which type of fertilizer will work best for your succulents. According to the nursery industry, succulents that are consistently applied with fertilizers are “soft” plants, while those that are barely fertilized are “hardened” plants. This refers to how the plants will survive in less fertile conditions. Hardened plants are the ones that can live longer and can withstand and survive harsh conditions. Soft plants, on the other hand, can grow beautifully but will greatly depend on your continued care to keep it flourishing. Too much fertilizer is not good. While it won’t kill the plant, it can cause irregular growth in some succulent species.
If you prefer to fertilize your succulents every month, use an organic fertilizer like manure tea. It is gentle and safe for the succulents and does not cause burns.
Question #3: Are there succulent species that do not require fertilizers?
Answer: Succulents are plants, and like all plants, benefit from fertilizers because they can get all the nutrients they need to grow well and bloom beautiful and colorful flowers. There are succulent species that can grow well if they are planted in good soil, especially in-ground.
You can easily add rich compost to your potted succulents at least once a year and they will be able to survive without needing to be fertilized at all. This specific succulent will become “hardened” and will be able to live and survive harsh conditions. Some compact succulents may do well in less fertile conditions, especially types that are smaller and compact.
Question #4: How often do you have to fertilize your succulents?
Answer: You can fertilize your succulents as often as once a month if you’re using manure tea, but the succulents will do fine with a single application of fertilizer every year during springtime. Most succulents begin growing during the spring, so adding fertilizer will help your plants grow fully and become healthier. If you have winter growing succulents, you can begin fertilizing them during autumn.
If you are going to use other succulent fertilizers, stay away from slow-release fertilizers as they are extremely powerful and can cause burns on your succulent, instead, you can use a water-soluble fertilizer and dilute it with water for a half-strength solution.
Question #5: Do indoor succulents need fertilizer?
Answer: Indoor succulents need fertilizer, but you must be careful as they can grow more quickly. Some plants can become leggy and stretchy, especially if they are not getting enough sunlight exposure. You can fertilize your indoor succulents every year during the springtime.
If you are located in a bright and shady area, you can move your succulents after they undergo fertilizer treatment so they can stay compact and benefit from the boost of nutrients. If you keep the succulents inside, make sure to expose them to enough sunlight, you can also use a grow light like this.
Take a look out the products we have mentioned above, we hope that they will be able to help you become successful in growing succulents. Here at Eden Succulents, we are passionate about sharing our vast store of knowledge about succulents, if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are hoping to hear from you soon!
Horses Manure Tea Soil Conditioner
- 100% natural soil nutrients
- Safe for all garden, houseplants, shrubs, specialty plants and soil types
- No scent, easy to brew and feed
LEAKTITE B5GSKD 5GAL Black Plastic Pail
- Ideal for building your own hydroponic system
- Great for containing and transporting liquids and solids
Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food
- Instantly feeds succulent plants, including cacti
- For all cacti, jade, aloe and other popular succulents
- Feeds instantly
Dr. Earth Pure Gold All Purpose Fertilizer
- NPK 2-2-2
- People & Pet Safe – Non-GMO Project Verified – Certified Organic
- 3 pound bag feeds 90 square feet or 120 one gallon plants
Malibu Compost Bu's Brew Biodynamic Compost Tea Bags
Wiggle Worm Unco Industries Builder Worm Castings
- An organic fertilizer featuring pure earthworm castings
- Organic and odorless, the nutrients are perfectly balanced for immediate and long term absorption
Espoma GR24 2-2-2 Organic Grow
- Feeds plants instantly
- Ideal for both indoor and outdoor use
- Available in a 24oz size
Lilly Miller All Purpose Planting And Growing Food 10-10-10
- Lilly Miller All Purpose Planting And Growing Food 10-10-10 16Lb Slow Release For Lush, Steady Growth
- Fortified With Essential Plant Minerals
GrowBetter Organic Cactus & Succulent Fertilizer
- Organic Cactus and Succulent Fertilizer
- Great indoor & outdoor fertilizer for both edible and ornamental cacti and succulents
Hand held Garden Sprayer Pump Pressure Water Sprayers
Pressure Sprayer Backpack for Fertilizing and Pesticides
- Multipurpose Backpack: Fits 2 Gallon 3 gallon 4 gallon pressure sprayer tanks
- Many Outdoor Uses: weed killing and fertilizing and many other uses!
Brilliest Watering Can for Indoor/Outdoor Plants
- LONG STAINLESS STEEL spout to comfortably water plants at any height.
- A RUSTPROOF and DURABLE watering can, will make great for outdoor or indoor use. Designed to handle easy day-to-day use or rough outside gardening.
Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix by rePotme
- High Quality Mix That’s Ideal for Succulents, Cactus, Plumeria, Christmas Cactus, and Epiphylliums.
- Hand-Crafted in Small Batches Everyday to Ensure Quality and Freshness
- Dolomite gravel is an attractive and appreciated addition to any aquatic attraction
- A great organic source of calcium and magnesium