Succulents are so pretty and distinctive; they’re practically like art for the home—so, it makes sense that people forget you’re supposed to fertilize them! It might not look like it’s doing much in its little pot, but your succulent is soaking up lots of nutrients from the soil. If that soil doesn’t get replenished with more nutrients by adding fertilizer, then your succulent is going to suffer.
Wait! Before You Start to Fertilize Those Succulents…
While it isn’t difficult to feed succulents, it’s a process you want to do carefully. Different fertilizers contain a ratio of chemicals formulated for specific types of plants, and adding too much could end up doing more harm than good. Timing your application properly is also very important, because your plant doesn’t want to be stuck in a never-ending growth spurt. Sometimes it needs a little time to rest!
The Best Fertilizer For Succulents
It’s best to feed your succulents with a formula specifically tailored to their needs. Typically, they’ll have less nitrogen than your average all-purpose fertilizer, because nitrogen stimulates root development. Since succulents are supposed to have smaller, delicate root systems, too much nitrogen is not ideal. The first number in an NPK ratio is nitrogen, so look for a formula with a 5-10-10 ratio or something similar that indicates low nitrogen.
All-purpose fertilizers can also be used, but you’re better off diluting it to half-strength. Succulents aren’t heavy feeders, so you don’t need to go overboard. Water-soluble solutions are simple because you can just mix it up into some water and pour it directly into the soil. Easy peasy!
Succulents also respond very well to applications of fish emulsion and compost or manure tea. These natural solutions to fertilizing help bulk up the soil with beneficial bacteria and microbes that help your plant thrive. They’re also water-soluble, making them easy to apply! If you’re growing an outdoor succulent garden, compost or manure tea should definitely be a part of your regular fertilizer regime. Just water the soil directly, and all that good stuff will get delivered straight to your plants’ roots.
When to Fertilize Succulents and How Often
Most houseplants, including succulents, go into a dormancy period over the winter. It’s kind of like their hibernation period, where they rest for a few months like a bear, and then awaken in spring, hungry and ready to eat. You don’t want to fertilize your succulents during this time. The amount you water your succulents should also change depending on the season—scale back on watering in the winter, and water more from spring until mid-fall.
In March, you can begin to fertilize your succulents once or twice a month. Since you’ll be watering your succulents more frequently during the warmer months—sometimes as often as every 2–3 days—it will be easier if you mark these days on the calendar. That way, you can make sure you’re keeping a regular schedule—plants appreciate consistency!
We have several different cactus and succulent fertilizers for sale that are perfectly formulated for those desert-dwelling cuties, as well as plenty of other soil amendments for both your indoor plants and outdoor garden. Visit OC Succulents, and we’ll be happy to hook you up with all the right stuff to help your plants thrive.