Just the other day, my wife asked me, ‘Do succulents need fertilizer?’. This is something that I have struggled with in the past but have a great answer for now. I’ve developed my own strategy and quite a few tips.
The short answer is yes, succulents need fertilizer about once a year. Fertilizing succulents can make a huge difference and can help your plant grow larger, faster and maintain better color.
Let’s dive a little deeper.
Succulents need less fertilizer than you may initially think. Based on my research and growing experience, succulents like a little fertilizer right before their growing season. Be sure to identify your succulent and find its growing season by checking out a dormancy table. For example, if you have a winter grower, fertilize in the late fall. If you have a summer grower, fertilize during the late spring.
For indoor succulents, fertilizing once a year is just about right. If you fertilize too much, you will find your succulent growing too fast this will cause the plant to stretch out (not as pretty and compact).
Outdoor succulents get a lot more sun and maintain better color than indoor succulents. When your succulent is in its active growing season, you can fertilize a lot more (about once a month). This will really give your plants and extra boost during their growing season.
Bringing Your Indoor Plants Outside
When the weather is warm, it’s a great idea to bring your indoor plants outside. This is often a great time to fertilize them. That way, they are getting a lot more sun and the fertilizer can help them grow, grow, grow! Try it when the weather is warm and sunny, you’ll thank me later.
Now that you know when to fertilize, let’s talk about what kind of succulent fertilizer to use.
Type of Fertilizers
Some fertilizer are extremely potent and can burn your succulents, so it’s important to choose your fertilizer with care. I would definitely avoid any slow release formula; that will almost certainly burn or otherwise damage your plant.
You can use most any water soluble fertilizers if you dilute it down to about ¼ strength. Again, we’re diluting the fertilizer to avoid burning your plant. Some fertilizers are specifically formulated for succulents.
Of all the fertilizer options out there, I can recommend two:
- Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 liquid Plant Food. This fertilizer is very low in nitrogen (the first number), and is formulated specifically for succulents and cacti. You can find this or similar at almost any nursery or even Lowes/Home Depot.
- Manure Tea by Haven Brand. This is my favorite and, in my opinion, the best succulent fertilizer. It’s very similar to making compost tea, except you’re using cow or horse manure, hence the name manure tea. What so great about it is that it’s very gentle on succulents. It gives your succulents what they need without you having to worry about burning them.
Now you know how and when to fertilize your succulent plants. Give it a shot next time your plant needs a boost or is about ready to enter its growing season. You might be surprised at what it will do for your plant.