How Often to Fertilize Succulents? {Is Over-Fertilizing Bad?}


Succulents are very low-maintenance plants. But people often wonder, do succulents need fertilizer? Yes, of course, they need, but there is a general misconception that succulents don’t need fertilizer to grow. For getting those healthy and succulent leaves, fertilizing them in a balanced way is very important. But how often to Fertilize succulents? It is best to fertilize the succulents once or twice during the growing season. But fertilizing the succulents depends on many factors as there are a variety of succulents in the market. Read this article to get a detailed idea about fertilizing succulents. 

Although succulents can easily obtain nutrients from the soil, fertilizers will help them grow profusely. Therefore just like any other plant, succulents also need some balanced fertilizer. The succulents don’t need a much nutrient-rich growing medium, so rich fertilizers might get them burned out. Rich fertilizers of the usual outdoor plants might rot the roots of the succulents and cause chemical burn too. Hence the succulent fertilizers have different compositions according to their need. When you see that your succulents are getting paler than ever before. That’s when you know fertilizers are not that enough in that soil. 

Being the plant from arid regions, succulents require a more or less similar environment to grow. Hence one might feel, do succulents need fertilizer? Yes, they do as domesticated succulents need fertilizing to achieve their native conditions. That’s why fertilizing them fully depends on the weather conditions or the condition of their stems or leaves. Along with the correct amount of fertilizer, watering, and sunlight plays a crucial role in the hybrid vigor of the succulents. 


How Often to Fertilize Succulents?


Interestingly, succulents hold a decent amount of nutrients already. Therefore, how often to fertilize succulents? The experts recommend fertilizing the succulents mostly in their growing seasons to avoid overfertilization. Most succulents have a growing season between spring and summer. But few succulents even grow in winter too. But we don’t mostly get to understand the growing season of our plants, hence a monthly feeding is good enough in the spring and summer months. Although it will be best if you can figure out your plant growing season, that’s the period your succulent needs some extra attention. This will help you to determine when to fertilize succulents.


How Often to Fertilize Indoor Succulent Plants?


Indoor succulent plants are mostly adapted to grow without sunlight. Hence fertilizing them can be a little tricky. Indoor succulents can easily thrive in dry air and warm temperatures, hence they require different fertilizers than outdoor plants. So if you are thinking about how often to fertilize indoor Succulent plants? then fertilizing them once every year is enough. Although most indoor succulents are prone to losing their color. For such issues, use a blended fertilizer of Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the ratio of 5-10-5. This will help your succulents to retain their original color in a few days. As it’s tricky to fertilize indoor succulents you might want to know how often to fertilize indoor Succulent plants. Don’t overdo these fertilizers, as it might also lead to discoloration of the leaves and roots get rot too. When you notice such issues, sprinkle the diluted fertilizer once every month until the color comes back. 


How Often to Fertilize Outdoor Succulent Plants?


Outdoor succulent plants are used to the harsh weather conditions. For them, fertilizing is very. Although during winter and rainy seasons, outdoor succulent plants require less fertilizer. This is because the soil stays soggy in the rainy season which prevents their growth. Also in winters, the succulents don’t grow. Hence in the rainy and winter season, it’s best to skip fertilizing for one month. Bugs mostly attack in the spring months, which is also the growing season of succulents. So what to feed succulents attacked by bugs? So along with giving the usual fertilizers once a month, sprays the bug replacement fertilizer once every week. Thus by now, you are well aware of how often to fertilize outdoor Succulent plants


Types of succulent fertilizers:


A healthy succulent has supple and firm leaves. When you notice the leaves are dropping and turning paler. It’s a sign that you are not providing the ideal fertilizer. Thinking of what to feed succulents? To be honest there are just a few commercially available succulent fertilizers available in the markets. Moreover, different types of succulents have different fertilizer needs. The fertilizer which is good cactus might not work for Agave. Therefore due to the lack of variety of succulent fertilizer, it is best to make a suitable concoction of various fertilizers which is required for succulents. 

Here various types of succulent fertilizers are mentioned which might help you to choose which ones to opt for.

  • Cactus fertilizers – The market is flooded with fertilizers for cactus needs. So if you are looking for fertilizer for cactus, you can get a handful of them. But not all cactus fertilizer is good enough for other kinds of succulents. That’s when you can try some DIY at home. Buy cactus fertilizers and then add extra compost tea for growing your outdoor succulents. If you have leafy indoor succulents, it is advisable to provide fertilizer that will help in greening. This is because most indoor plants start to pale due to a lack of sunlight. 
  • Organic fertilizers – Organic fertilizers are the best option available. The slow-releasing NPK ( Nitrogen Phosphorus and Potassium) should be used in making organic fertilizers for succulents. Instead of using harsh chemicals, organic rock phosphates work best as an organic fertilizer. For better development of succulent plants, humic acid-based organic fertilizer. But organic fertilizer should not be used directly in the succulents. These fertilizers have a higher percentage of NPK. Thus dilute the organic NPK fertilizers in sterile water and then apply them to the plants. So how often to fertilize succulents with organic fertilizers? As we know they are nutrient-rich fertilizers, so fertilizing twice in the whole year is good enough. 
  • Liquid fertilizers – These fertilizers are very useful for lazy people. This does not require making compost, just apply it anytime while you are watering the succulents. But make sure to read the instructions mentioned in the liquid fertilizer before using it. In the instructions manual, you will find how to fertilize succulents using liquid fertilizer. Liquid fertilizers are diluted using water and then sprayed in the succulents. The solution ratio differs from succulent to succulents and also for the size of the succulent.  Also for better growth, liquid fertilizers work great as they are packed with liquid micro and macronutrients. But on the other side, liquid fertilizers are often regarded as harsh and very fast-acting for succulents. 
  • Homemade fertilizers – As we already know there is a lack of variety for succulent fertilizers. Homemade succulent fertilizers can be easily made with some correct composition of different organic matters. This prevents your succulent plant from getting exposed to harmful chemicals from store-bought succulent fertilizers. Hence homemade succulent fertilizers are a great savior for your succulent plants. You can easily mix and match the ingredients of the fertilizers according to your succulent plant requirement. Also, homemade fertilizers are not going to burn out the succulents as they are very mild yet powerful fertilizers.

5 Best Homemade Succulent Fertilizers Potting Mix:


 Here 5 best homemade succulent fertilizers potting mix are given. Try them at home to get healthy growth and bloom in your succulents.

  • Coffee grounds: This is a great homemade fertilizer for the initial days of baby succulents. In the succulent pot add draining soil and soaked coffee grounds to get the most benefits. Avoid putting direct coffee ground as it is acidic which might destroy the fragile roots of succulents.
  • Eggshells: We all know eggshells are rich in nutrients and thus a great low-cost fertilizer for succulents. Sprinkling the washed and crushed eggshells fertilizes the soil.  But few indoor succulents require some extra care, hence eggshell tea concoction works wonders.   For making this homemade fertilizer, start accumulating the eggshells for 7 days after you eat eggs. 10 eggs will be enough to make the Eggshell tea for the succulents. In 6 cups of boiling water, crush 10 eggs to get that nutrient-packed tea. This crushing process helps in releasing important nutrients like calcium and phosphorus from the eggshells. This calcium-rich manure tea is then separated and then diluted with sterile water. This fertilizer is calcium-rich too however how to fertilize succulents using these eggshells tea. Sprinkle the diluted fertilizer water every month during the spring in the succulents. It’s best to make a fresh batch of fertilizer every time you use it.
  • Compost manure: In animal manure, 80-100% organic phosphorus is present. Even store-bought manure has similar amounts of nutrients. So compost manure is a healthier alternative but it’s quite a task to find them. The phosphorus is great for developing better roots and helps blooming flowers in succulents. Adding compost manure at the starting of the growing season will help in showing better bloom.
  • Manure Tea: Manure tea is a great way of naturally fertilizing your succulents. In this homemade fertilizer, the manure is brewed with water. Yes, the process of making this manure tea is a little bit of work. But the resulting manure tea liquid is worth the efforts you make. The succulent doesn’t need too much fertilizer, hence manure tea gives the right balance of nutrients. Manure tea is similar to eggshell tea. The animal manure is curred in water overnight. Then the manure tea is packed into small punches just like teabags. Whenever you wish to fertilize the succulents, dip the manure tea bags in the watering can.  After 2 days remove the manure bags and water the succulents. Moreover, never repeat the same manure tea bag twice. Even using manure tea once a year during early spring is enough fertilization for indoor succulent plants. If you do not want to work so much, making the  Manure tea bags, then you can buy them online too.
  • Epsom salt: Epsom salt is a very easy homemade liquid succulent fertilizer. The best succulent fertilizer composition is 1 tablespoon of  Epsom salt diluted with 1 gallon of water. This formula works best in almost all succulents. Epsom salt is easily soluble in water and the nutrients are easily absorbed by succulents.  Even the paleness of the succulent is treated easily by using diluted Epsom salt as it boosts chlorophyll production. The magnesium in the Epsom salt is very useful for flowering in Echeverias succulent plant. As this solution works wonders, you might be thinking about how often to fertilize succulents with Epsom salt solution. It is best to fertilize the succulents once every month during the spring with this solution.

Fertilizers to Avoid Using for Succulents


  • Never use calcium nitrate and magnesium sulfate together in your fertilizer mix. Calcium sulfate is formed after mixing them in a fertilizer,  which on the other hand decreases the solubility of the soil. 
  • Many store-bought fertilizers have rooting hormone – Indole-3 Butyric Acid. It is best to avoid these rooting hormones which contain the toxic fungicide Thiram. So make sure to check the full ingredients of your fertilizer before buying 
  • Unlike usual plants, succulents require low nitrogen in their fertilizers and have higher levels of potassium. Nitrogen makes the plant stretch out quickly and is prone to pests too. Therefore the Nitrogen level should be less than 15 in the ingredient list. 
  • Never buy a succulent fertilizer in which it is written with a fast-absorbing formula. Succulent requires slow absorbing nutrients for prolonged growth. 

Tips and Tricks on How to Fertilize the Succulents


  • Now that you know about so many options of succulents fertilizers. But when to fertilize succulents? So make sure to fertilize your succulents in the daytime during the spring season or summer season. At daytime, a temperature of 60°F is considered good to fertilize the succulent. But as the rainy season starts to arrive, fertilizing the succulent before the rainstorm is best. After the rain, the soil becomes soggy, and also the weather is humid. Hence there is a high chance of pathogen attack on the succulents.
  • Along with correct fertilizer, choosing the correct soil for the succulents is important too. It is mandatory to choose a good draining soil. This is not the regular potting soil. As succulent roots are fragile, the succulent requires soil that contains sand or perlite. Also,o top dressing the soil with compost in autumn makes the soil nutrient-rich. 
  • Often flowering succulents don’t bloom, this is because of too much use of chemical fertilizer. Chemical fertilizers are packed with different plant hormones which eventually makes them stretch out and buds don’t appear. 
  • Although charcoal is any fertilizer but works great to absorb excess water in the soil. Add a little bottle of charcoal to the base of the succulent pot and then add the potting mix. Therefore, even if you over water some days, charcoal will make sure to absorb the excess water and prevent root rot. 
  • For diluting the fertilizers, use sterile water which is first boiled and then cooled. Pond water is not always safe to use and might cause pathogen attacks. 
  • When you are using dry fertilizers, make sure to water your succulents beforehand.

Now that you are aware of what difference the fertilizers make in your succulents. Also, you are aware of how often to fertilize succulents. Try out the succulent fertilizers that suit your succulents and take good care of them. Moreover, you are now aware of what kind of fertilizers to avoid while buying your succulent fertilizers. Make sure to keep all the tips and tricks in mind while fertilizing your succulents to get amazing results in just one month of fertilizer use. 

Nikita

Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

Recent Posts