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Published on October 9th, 2018 | by ozlem

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Succulent Fertilization Guide: How and When to Fertilize Your Succulents

If you came to this point following my “How to” guides, I bet your succulents already look like a million buck art! How about I say you can help your succulents to look even more gorgeous within a month?

I recently made a deep research on this topic and I am ready to share all about it, by giving answers to the most frequently asked questions about fertilization.

Fuelling the succulents with a small amount of nutrition once in a while will help them to produce brighter color, glow healthier and blossom better. Let’s speak about why, how and when to fertilize the succulents and what kind of fertilizers will act the best way.

Do Succulents Actually Need to be Fertilized?

Before beginning to talk on how to fertilize the succulents, there is one question I hear all the time: Do succulents actually need to be fertilized? The answer is simple. Yes, succulents – do – need to be fertilized.

The unique characteristic that the succulents have is caused by their fleshy leaves and stem. They are known by their bodies which store water and nutrients, so they are able to survive in a situation where there is a lack of external resources. That is why you leave your succulent neglected for ages and it still thrives.

Even so, succulents will benefit from a periodic fertilization just as they need a good watering regularly; besides that they require less maintenance rather than other houseplants. Rare doesn’t mean “never”… 

What Difference Does the Fertilizer Make?

I think the fertilization makes a visible difference in a brief time if applied properly. Succulents take some part of the nutrition they use from the soil. But that is not the whole portion that they want.

Some additive nutrients will be very helpful for the succulents to grow faster, bigger and better. They will grow larger and fuller leaves and develop brighter colors; you will notice they look so much prettier.

How do I Use the Fertilizer?

Going too far is the biggest problem you should avoid all the time while feeding the plants. Even though the intentions are good, too much fertilizer is going to cause a negative effect and leave you with burnt leaves or roots. I would recommend staying away from very intense ones.

In particular, for the succulents, I am super careful all the time. Just a little portion of fertilizer will be enough depending on what type of fertilizer you use. I always remember that “Less is more.” if I’m not so sure about succulents.

Either you buy a packaged fertilizer or you prepare it yourself, learn how it will act the best when you use it. Usually half of the recommended amount is better than applying all of it. Methods are changing according to what kind and what brand of fertilizer it is.

We describe the formula for the fertilizer with the numbers that stand for the nutrient substance respectively: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. For an ordinary case, it is advised to use a 5-10-10 mixture once or twice every year in spring.

How Often do I Need to Fertilize my Succulents?

Frequency is changing with a few parameters, ranging from “once in a month” to “once in a year”. If you fertilize your succulents once every year, try to do it in spring.

Spring is a great period for fuelling many types of succulents because they are finally ready to start growing season and they will be hungry for more nutrients.

Following the same logic, use the fertilizers in fall if you have succulents mostly growing in wintertime.

As I learned, it is not so healthy to give fertilizer to indoor succulents more than once in a year. Make sure they get adequate light when you fertilize your indoor succulents. Apparently, they tend to grow a longer stem and lose their density of leaves to reach more sunlight when they’re given fertilizer.

It is generally proposed to take the indoor succulents to an outdoor place where they can have the bright sun directly during fertilization. Sun is the one thing you are allowed to exaggerate while caring for succulents.

What Type of Fertilizers are There to Use?

Some are supposed to be mixed to the soil, where some are just dissolved in the water. You better stay in the safe zone and go for the less powerful fertilizers if you want to avoid rotten succulents with burnt roots and leaves.

Take a look at various examples I found for you to have an idea about what kind of fertilizer to pick up and what to pay attention before applying them.

1. GrowBetter Organic Cactus & Succulent Fertilizer

  • This is a fertilizer used for a large variety of cacti and succulents.
  • I liked that it has organic ingredients, which are extracted from composted chicken manure.
  • The grains are able to dissolve in the water.
  • The recommended usage is 1 teaspoon of fertilizer for every 5 centimeters diameter of a container. It is mixed in the top part of the soil and watered after application.
  • The downside of this product that it is a slow-release fertilizer, which should not be used for indoor succulents.

2. Hello Succulents – Succulent Super Food

  • Hello Succulents is a liquid succulent fertilizer which is used for all types of succulents, both indoor or outdoor.
  • Again, all natural formula of worm tea contains beneficial microbes.
  • It is applied by spraying directly from the container, but you can also prepare a diluted mix.

3.  Schultz Cactus Plus – Liquid Plant Food

  • 2-7-7 cactus fertilizer can be preferred also for the succulents.
  • Condensed fertilizer comes with a 4 ounces easy-to-measure dropper bottle.
  • The producer is suggesting 7 drops per quart of water.
  • It’s impressive that Shultz is one of the top-rated plant nutrient product among the Amazon.

4. Suppleplant Succulent Love – Natural Mineral Succulent Fertilizer Supplement

  • Suppleplant Succulent Love is presented an organic succulent plant food specifically formulated to provide the right balance of nutrients that succulents and cacti need.
  • Product in a spray bottle is proposed to be applied by spraying directly to the surface of the leaves for a fast result.
  • The composition is fully natural, non-toxic and safe for the pets and children.
  • Unfortunately, I find it a little more expensive when compared to other options; $15,99 for 350 mL of a spray bottle.

5. Hinterland Trading – Succulent Supplement

  • This fertilizer is also very high reviewed and promising that it contains a variety of nutrients that support healthy growth.
  • Good to be careful if you have pets or children running around because the chemical mix can be dangerous for them.

How Can I Prepare the Fertilizer by Myself at Home?

Bone meal is a great fertilizer to boost the plant growth. Basically, it is made by steaming animal bones; most of the time it is beef bones. This way the nutrients stored in the bones are extracted in the water. There you have a perfectly natural liquid fertilizer.

Bone meal has the 4-12-0 ratio formula. It is rich in Phosphorus which helps the growth of the root by promoting cellular division. You can comfortably use it for your succulents any time you wish.

Bonus Tip

Succulents require minimal effort as a houseplant. But if yours is needing more frequent watering and the soil is drying out too fast, you can try to add a fertilizer to the watering container, following a quarter strength of the recommended mixture.

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