How Often Should You Fertilize Succulents? – Myth Debunked

Are you wondering what succulent fertilizer to use and if it is necessary? People often think that succulents do not need to be fertilized, but like any other plant, succulents will benefit from a regular fertilizing.

Do Succulents Need Fertilizer?

Like all plants, succulents require nutrients to help them grow healthily.

If you propagate your succulents regularly (every one or two years) and provide them with a new nutrient-rich substrate, you probably do not need to contribute any extra fertilizer to your succulents. However, if this is not possible, your plants will benefit greatly from regular nutrient intake in the form of fertilizers.

Although succulents can obtain some of the nutrients from the soil, fertilizers will aid their growth, producing more beautiful colors in the process.

You should be careful not to use a fertilizer that is too strong, otherwise succulents can burn. However, a suitable succulent fertilizer, used every few months will dramatically improve the growth of your succulents.

What Succulent Fertilizer to Use?

When choosing the appropriate succulent fertilizer, you can choose to:

  • buy a specific fertilizer for succulents and cacti,
  • use one of the so-called “universal fertilizer” for ornamental plants and apply it at a lower concentration than indicated on the packaging, or
  • choose to make your own homemade natural fertilizer for succulents.

The truth is that there aren’t many specific fertilizers for succulents on the market, and that’s partly because there’s so much diversity of succulents with such different needs that it’s hard to produce a fertilizer that’s worth it for everyone.

As a rule, succulents use nitrogen to develop foliage, while phosphorus and potassium help the plant flourish, especially phosphorus.

Before explaining which fertilizers are most suitable, it may be easier to warn about which ones you should not use.

What Fertilizers to NOT Use?

  • You should not use fertilizers high in nitrogen. Excess nitrogen causes plants to grow fast but makes them vulnerable to common pests. The nitrogen concentration of the fertilizer you use should never exceed 15 (the first number of the three used to define fertilizer concentration).
  • It is also not good to use chemical fertilizers as there is an increased risk of burning the leaves and roots of plants (although they are usually the easiest to get).

What Fertilizer for Succulents Should You Use?

If you do not find a specific fertilizer for succulents, you can always use a standard fertilizer but at a lower dose.

For example, you can use a standard fertilizer type 8-8-8 (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium), dissolve it about 2 or 3 times the recommended dose on the pack and fertilize your succulents once a month.

What Fertilizer for Baby Succulent?

If you want to fertilize your baby succulents, go with homemade natural fertilizers like manure tea, liquid hummus, and compost tea. These are the best options for baby succulent plants, according to many experts.

It is safe for baby succulents and enables them to grow much bigger and healthier than they would otherwise.

The problem, of course, is that most people cannot prepare these in their homes, so the easiest thing is to choose to buy a ready-made bottle of this type of fertilizer in a garden center or buy it online.

How Often to Fertilize Succulents?

While you can fertilize your succulents once a month, especially if you are using a homemade fertilizer like manure tea, it will usually be enough for you to fertilize your plants once a year in spring.

For many succulents, this is the start of their growth phase, when they will want to use those nutrients. If it is a succulent variety that grows actively in winter, then I would recommend fertilizing in fall.

how often should you fertilize succulents

How Often to Give Succulent Plant Food?

After much reading, researching, and experimenting on the subject, I have concluded that you only need to fertilize indoor succulents once a year, in spring (when the days get longer).

Fertilizers induce growth in succulents, which can cause plants to stretch if they do not get enough light, causing it to look uglier and weaker.

If you can, relocate your succulents outdoors towards a bright, shaded area right after fertilization to assist them to stay compact while enjoying the nutrient augmentation. If you keep them indoors, try giving them the most amount of light. You can even consider buying a grow light.

How Often Should You Fertilize Succulents?

Depending on the types of succulents you have as well as the environment you live in, you might need to choose what works best for your plants.

In the language of nurseries there is talk that succulent plants which are under consistent fertilization are “soft” plants, while those that do not get fertilized are “hardened” plants.

This mainly refers to how they will withstand in less fertile conditions. Plants which are hardened tend to live longer as they can withstand harsher conditions. Soft plants can be beautiful-looking, so it ultimately depends on how much you want to take care of your succulents.

Excessive fertilizer will not kill your plants, but it can cause irregular growth in some species, and may not be as visually appealing.

Don’t All Succulents Need Fertilizer?

Technically, succulents have no need for fertilizers if it is on a reasonably good soil.

However, the benefits are certainly there in the form of an extra supply of nutrients. If you add a little organic matter-rich compost to the pot once a year, it is very likely that they can live without any fertilizer.

Most compact succulents also perform well in soil with low fertility. Therefore, if you have smaller, more compact plants, they will be fine without any fertilizer.

Is Osmocote Good for Succulents?

Osmocote is a fertilizer that is mostly sold on Amazon. If you really need to add some fertilizer to your succulents for that extra nutrients, they can help immensely as it:

  • Promotes strong root development
  • Is designed for perennials
  • Formulated for colorful blooms and flavorful vegetables
  • Can feed your succulents for 4 months

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*Clicking on the button will redirect you to a list of our recommended online succulent stores
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