Succulents, like all plants, need feeding, but in small quantities with perfect timing. Here's a resource to give you some choices and guidelines to know what is the best fertilizer for succulents.
If you’re new to succulents or if you’ve been looking for a way to get yours to grow bigger or brighter, fertilizer might be just what you need. Though succulents are low-maintenance plants, using the best fertilizer for succulents may just bring your plants to a whole new level.
Finding what kind of fertilizer for succulents can take a bit of trial and error – learning how much to use, and how often, depending on the type of succulent, how big it is, and how much soil is in the pot.
Below are the top 5 fertilizer for succulents.
- The 5 Best Fertilizer for Succulents
- 1. EarthPods Premium Cactus & Succulent Plant Food
- 2. Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food
- 3. Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer
- 4. Jobe's Succulent Fertilizer Spikes
- 5. Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 Liquid Plant Food
- Do Succulents Need Fertilizer?
- How to Fertilize Succulents?
- When to Fertilize Succulents?
- How Often to Fertilize Succulents?
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The 5 Best Fertilizer for Succulents
1. EarthPods Premium Cactus & Succulent Plant Food
- PREMIUM INDOOR ORGANIC CACTUS & SUCCULENT FERTILIZER — Stimulates robust root growth, stem development & color vibrancy for all live Cacti, Succulents, Aloe Vera, Jade & other arid / desert plants
- NO MESS / NO MEASURING / NO SMELL — 1 tube = 100 concentrated EarthPods (a 6-year supply for a single special plant or use on big collection of Succulent & Cactus species)
- FAST & EASY TO APPLY — Push 1 EarthPod into potting soil mix near center of plant OR open capsule & spread contents if grown in bark / pebble substrate, then just water! (EarthPods break down & slow release nutrients direct to root zone)
- PROPRIETARY FORMULA FOR SUPERIOR RESULTS — Succulent & Cactus fertilizer robust with a variety of organic plant nutrients, trace minerals, natural soil humates & a diverse population of beneficial soil life in a form immediately available to your plants
- ECO FRIENDLY & COMPACT — Stores easily on your kitchen shelf + recycle the empty paperboard tube when done (EarthPods are pet, child, eco-friendly + 100% sustainably made in the USA)
If you’re looking for an organic yet easy-to-use fertilizer, look no further than this fertilizer pod by Earthpods. Specially formulated for all succulents, cacti, aloe, jades, and other arid plants, it uses a variety of organic plant nutrients, trace minerals, natural growth hormones, humic + fulvic acids, and a diverse population of beneficial soil microbes in a form immediately available to plants.
Upon using the EarthPods Premium Cactus & Succulent Plant Food, we noticed more vibrant colors, better overall stem development and robust root growth on our plants. We also love the value we get from one tube of this fertilizer – it contains 100 concentrated pods that can feed a small collection of succulents or a single big succulent for 6 years!
Application is fast and simple. You just need to insert the pods into the soil. If your planting medium is bark or pebbles, simply open the capsule and apply the contents evenly near the plant. Use 1 to 2 pods for small plants, 2 to 4 for medium, and 4 to 8 for large.
The pods are pet, child, and eco-friendly. They come in a compact container that stores conveniently between feedings. Each container is sustainably made in USA and is recycleble.
2. Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food
- Instantly feeds succulent plants, including cacti
- For all cacti, jade, aloe and other popular succulents
- Feeds instantly
- Able to apply directly to the soil or can mix with water
- Feed every 2 weeks
One of the most famous fertilizers for succulents, the Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food is undoubtedly a great choice for any type of succulent, even cacti, jade and aloe. It feeds the succulents instantly, so you get immediate results upon application.
We love the convenience of this fertilizer as it can be mixed with water or applied directly to the soil. The bottle comes with a convenient pump and you can easily measure the amount of fertilizer to use. Miracle-Gro recommends using 2 pumps for small pots and 5 for pots larger than six inches wide.
We recommend applying this fertilizer on a monthly basis.
3. Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer
- Beautiful growth and yields of your plants
- Nutrients in earthworm castings are plentiful
- Slowly feeds the plant for long periods of time
- Just a handful will make your plants happy
- Excellent for indoor or outdoor plants; houseplants, vegetables, flowers, and more
Wiggle Worm Soil Builder’s worm castings contain rich proportions of water-soluble nutrients. It allows succulents to quickly and easily absorb all essential nutrients and trace elements. This is possible because the worm grinds and uniformly mixes the nutrients and trace elements in simple forms, so plants need only minimal effort to obtain them.
Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Worm Castings also provide a perfect mix of nutrients that are not readily available, but present for long term nutritional needs. This allows succulents to feed as needed for weeks and months at a time. You need only use a small amount in your succulents.
The worm castings also contain a high concentration of beneficial bacteria and microbes added to them by the earthworm in the digestive process. These microscopic creatures help different elements of the soil work in conjunction with each other to create healthy, working soil that provides the best possible atmosphere for optimum growth.
Yet another benefit of Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Pure Earthworm Castings is their ability to improve soil structure. These miniature football shaped particles improve aeration of the soil as they don't pack together. This allows roots the ability to grow fast and fibrous which promotes rapid plant growth. It also allows for excellent drainage in soil so roots don't become waterlogged or develop root rot.
We explain further on how to apply worm castings below.
4. Jobe's Succulent Fertilizer Spikes
- NEW innovation from Jobe’s Organics – easytoinsert spikes specially formulated for succulents and cacti
- NEW innovation from Jobe’s Organics – easytoinsert spikes specially formulated for succulents and cacti
- Slow release formula lasts all year
- People and pet friendly
- Low odor, feeds directly at the roots delivering vital nutrients
Fertilizer spikes are one of the latest innovations to fertilizing – they can be easily inserted into the soil and provide good nutrition to plants. This specially formulated fertilizer spikes by Jobe’s is one that is suited to succulents and cacti.
Jobe's Succulent Fertilizer Spikes is a slow-release fertilizer that lasts all year. What’s great about it is that it is both people and pet-friendly. It produces very little smell as it is buried beneath the soil surface, and delivers vital nutrients directly to the roots.
We love the all-natural properties of the Jobe's Succulent Fertilizer Spikes – it is derived from feather meal, bone meal, and sulfate of potash. It’s 2% Nitrogen is made up of 1.2% slow-release Nitrogen, therefore lowering the level of Nitrogen at any one time, which is ideal for succulents.
5. Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 Liquid Plant Food
The Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 Liquid Plant Food is one of the best plant food for succulents and cacti, including aloe vera and jade. This liquid formula feeds through the roots each time you water, encouraging new growth and giving you strong, healthy plants.
This product comes with an easy-to-measure dropper for measuring how much of the fertilizer to add to the water. Schultz recommends using seven drops per quart of water for indoor plants if you feed once or twice a month.
We recommend applying this fertilizer every other watering and only during the active growth season of your succulents.
Do Succulents Need Fertilizer?
Potted succulents often require less watering and fertilizer than other houseplant varieties, but the irrigation they do require flushes nutrients out of the soil, so they need periodic feeding.
While your succulents may survive without fertilizer, they will be able to grow and multiply quickly reegardless of the season. What's more, you’ll likely get more vibrant and hardy plants. If your succulents are looking tired and worn out, feeding them some kind of liquid fertilizer can give them an instant boost.
Too much fertilizer, especially high-nitrogen blends, can cause leaf and root rot problems. Therefore, it's crucial to use the right blend and avoid overfeeding to keep the succulents healthy.
Outdoor succulents usually don't require fertilizer because they can access the nutrient stored in the soil. If they do need feeding, apply half the recommended amount of a balanced slow-release fertilizer in spring.
How to Fertilize Succulents?
How to fertilize your succulents very much depends on the type of fertilizer you are using.
Sprays and Pumps
Some of the quick-release and short-lasting fertilizers come in a spray bottle. This is one of the easiest ways to apply fertilizer because it gives you a lot of control over where the fertilizer is going. Spray directly to the top of the soil, around where the roots of the plant would be.
Pumps work the same way, only instead of using a spray nozzle, you use a pump to expel the fertilizer directly onto the surface of the soil.
Pellets and Capsules
Most of the slow release fertilizers come in pellet form. These small round balls of fertilizer usually have a special coating that allows the nutrients to slowly release into the soil. This type of fertilizer is generally really easy to apply.
Add the appropriate amount to the top of the soil and then water. For young succulents, it’s a good idea to mix the pellets throughout the pot. For mature plants, you can add it to the top inch or two of soil.
Concentrated liquid fertilizers need to be mixed with water before application to achieve the right succulent fertilizer ratio.
For most succulents, dilute a low-balanced soluble fertilizer to half the amount of fertilizer recommended on the package. Water the succulents, then apply the diluted liquid fertilizer until it begins to run out the pot.
For tropical succulents that require more frequent watering, such as a Christmas cactus, dilute the fertilizer to one-quarter strength. Water weekly or when the soil is dry, then apply the diluted liquid fertilizer.
There are 3 ways to apply worm castings to your succulents. First is to sprinkle a teaspoon of the dry castings on the surface of the soil, close to the plant. Secondly, you can mix it into the soil when you repot an overgrown plant.
Thirdly, you can make it into compost tea, known as vermicompost tea. To make a batch of basic compost tea with worm castings, all you really need to do is soak some vermicompost overnight in water. I prefer to use something as a makeshift tea bag because it makes it less messy but it is not necessary. Here is the basic worm compost tea recipe that I use.
- Find something to use as a compost tea bag (old t-shirt, panty hose, cheese cloth, etc). For more about compost tea bags read: What to use as a Compost Tea Bag
- Fill your homemade tea bag with worm compost and tie off the open end of the tea bag somehow.
- Submerge the worm compost tea bag in a bucket of water. I use a 5-gallon bucket but any size bucket will work.
- Let it sit overnight. In the morning the water should be light brown.
- Because the beneficial microbes in the worm compost tea will start to die off, water your garden first thing in the morning for best results.
- Remove the worm compost tea bag from the bucket, cut it open and add the worm compost either to your garden, your worm compost bin, or your hot compost pile.
When to Fertilize Succulents?
Succulents don’t need a lot of fertilizer. If used too much and too often, the plant will grow fast but it usually becomes spindly and weak.
When you apply fertilizer is important, too. While it varies from plant to plant, most have a dormant period that lasts through fall and spring. Ideally, you want to abide with the plant’s natural growth cycle and not fertilize during this time.
Therefore, begin applying fertilizer in early spring so that your succulents get the nutrients to grow when they re-enter their growing phase. Depending on the type of fertilizer you use, when you next apply it will differ.
Generally, succulents don't require any fertilizer at all during the winter. Only fertilize when they're actively growing, and stop early so they have a chance to use up what's in the soil.
So, if you start to prepare them in late September for a winter indoors, in anticipation of a frost, then you would stop feeding them in early August, so the salts in the fertilizer don't build up in the soil when the plants start to go dormant.
How Often to Fertilize Succulents?
How often to fertilize your succulents differs depending on the type of fertilizer you use and the type of succulent you’re growing. Therefore, you need to understand your succulent’s natural growth cycle so you can plan from there.
It’s also a good idea to pay close attention to the instructions which come with your fertilizer. Each fertilizer is formulated differently – some release nutrients slowly over an extended period of time while others deliver nutrients instantly and in small doses.
For some succulents and fertilizers, it suffice to apply only once during springtime. This is usually the case with slow-release fertilizers. By applying them during springtime, you’re essentially supplying nutrients to the soil for the succulent’s growth phase throughout spring and summer.
Some plants can handle a monthly fertilizing but only if you’re using fertilizers that are meant to be used that frequently. Though succulent fertilizers are generally mild and shouldn’t damage or burn the plant, the worst may happen if used too much and too often.
It’s easy to figure out why some might think that succulents don’t need fertilizing. After all, they’re well-known for being low-maintenance and able to thrive in the desert where the environmental conditions are less friendly.
That being said, it’s important to know that the right succulent fertilizer can make them grow faster, fuller, and more vibrant. If you’re not satisfied with how your succulents are growing, do check out our top fertilizer picks to help them with.
Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API