How to Fertilize Succulent Plants

How To Fertilize Succulents 

Succulents will grow perfectly with enough water and in different climates. Still, these plants need fertilizer for healthy growth. To help you understand, we have discussed how to fertilize succulents in this article; read on.

Overview of Succulents Plants

Succulents are unique and differ from other plants in many ways. They need less water that allows them to dwell in various conditions. And because they need fertilizer, you must understand how to feed them properly.

Whether you are doing it for the first time, you should know how to fertilize succulent plants. That way, you are convinced the plants will grow, and you’ll enjoy having them for long.

What to Use as a Fertilizer?

First, know what you use as fertilizer before you can fertilize succulents. You can choose to use the same fertilizer you use for other plants, but that isn't an ideal option.

You may have to use a specific fertilizer for succulents. That way, the fertilizer will help your plants nutritionally and help them grow perfectly. 

A more general fertilizer will work for other plants, but choosing a specific fertilizer for succulents is an excellent choice to invest in.

Tea Manure Fertilizer

Manure tea fertilizer is a great option for succulents. The fertilizer is like compost or manure - as its name suggests.

Fortunately, you will not worry about the mess or smell. You also don't have to spend much of your time producing manure tea.

The easiest and straightforward method is to buy manure tea bags and use them to prepare your fertilizer. That way, you can keep your manure tea in the garden shed. The method of preparing tea fertilizer is also suitable for beginners and advanced gardeners.

Like other natural fertilizers, manure tea fertilizer provides succulents with essential benefits. It does not have chemicals; therefore, environmentally friendly. If you’re sensitive to chemicals, with manure tea fertilizer, you can live happily, and so to your succulent plants.

Commercial Granular Fertilizer

When not using manure tea, the other choice is commercial granular fertilizer. These types of fertilizers are available in a garden shop. Commercial fertilizer is also a smart choice to fertilize other plants. The use of commercial fertilizer will minimize the purchase of equipment to lower the budget.

Granular fertilizer is suitable for succulents in the ground. It will not work effectively on potted plants. The brand you choose is not a problem; you need to buy one with equal ratios of these elements:

  • Potassium (K)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Nitrogen (N) 

You can buy commercial granular fertilizer online or nearest garden shop. So, you need to choose one that will meet your needs for all plants. And if you have succulents only, this type of fertilizer is still an excellent choice to buy.

Do Nothing

It sounds ridiculous to say nothing; some succulents will not need special fertilizer. You must check on succulents to figure out whether they need you to add fertilizer. That may also depend on how you want the succulents to look.

Adding fertilizer improves the appearance of succulents, but the change can also be worse, as well. When you’re happy and satisfied with how the succulents look, you should hold off adding fertilizer.

Once you add fertilizer to the soil, it is impossible to take it back. So, think carefully about the fertilizer – manure tea or commercial fertilizer – to use. Then pick the best choice for your garden and succulent plants.

When to Fertilize Succulents 

The next thing is to know the right time to fertilize succulents. Regardless of the species in your home, there are specific times where adding fertilizer will be an excellent option.

During the spring season, wait and add the fertilizer after consistent temperatures above 15.5°C. That ensures the environment is warm enough to top-dress and improve the growth of your succulents. 

Later in the year, top-dress more fertilizer during the fall. Ensure you add fertilizer before a rainstorm for the rain to help water your succulents. The rainwater dilutes the fertilizer not to hurt the succulents. 

When starting, add your fertilizer once in spring and fall. However, you are also not limited on the number of times to add fertilizer; you can add more to stimulate more growth. 

Gardeners usually add fertilizer to their succulents throughout the growing period to keep them looking healthy and attractive.

How To Fertilize Succulents 

The other thing worth knowing is how to fertilize succulents to give them a chance to thrive and grow healthy. The process involves providing the best growth environments and setting a schedule for adding fertilizer.

If you had planted other plants before and used fertilizer, that can help. However, the process is different from what the succulents need. But the steps are easy to learn and follow. 

Here are tips for fertilizing succulents so that they look healthy.

Access to Sufficient Sunlight

Succulents will thrive with sufficient sunlight. You should ensure they have at least four hours of daylight or more in a day. The sunlight should be indirect, so the succulents should receive less heat. However, more sunlight is even better than less; feel free to put your plants somewhere they receive light throughout the day.

If you fertilize succulents receiving inadequate light will have irregular growth. After top-dressing fertilizer, the succulents will grow fast; but they will grow towards the light. 

Although not the appearance or shape you want, that may provide the succulent with a unique look. So, you must make sure your plants receive enough sunlight or allow them to grow slowly. With inadequate sunlight, hold off on using the fertilizer.

Prepare the Fertilizer

This step depends on the fertilizer you want to use. If you use manure tea, you’ll spend time preparing it. And like other forms of tea, the fertilizer should steep in water before you can use it.

Follow these steps to prepare your manure tea fertilizer:

1. Get a teabag from the package.
2. Put the teabag inside a big bucket (5 gallons). 
3. Add to fill the bucket with water. 
4. Cover the top of the bucket with a lid. 
5. Allow the tea and water to sit for about two to three days. 
6. Remove the teabag and use the water.

The last step may be a hassle because you must reach the bottom of the bucket to get the teabag. It can be easier after you tape a string on the teabag at the top of the bucket.

Manure tea fertilizer requires more preparations, unlike other types of fertilizer. But the important thing is to have what you need ready to portion it out as recommended. That way, you will not add too much fertilizer to your plants.

Fill Your Watering Can

Once the fertilizer is ready, set it aside, take a watering can, and fill it up. Consider the number of plants and succulents requiring watering. And if the hose is close enough, you can use it to water directly. Water the plants and succulents with enough water through your plant-watering routine. With fertilizer, you will not add to your succulents every day. You can water all your plants through this step.

Water Your Succulents

When using a watering can or hose pipe, you can go through all your plants and water them. Add enough water that moistens the soil without drowning the plants. The process is highly recommended when using manure tea fertilizer. When you add water, you prevent the fertilizer from affecting succulents harshly. Plus, it allows you to add plain water, essential for plant growth. If you have other plants besides succulents, you can use plain water.

If you want to use manure tea, pour some water from the bucket and add to mix with plain water. And if you want to use commercial or granular fertilizers, follow the recommended directions. Use half of the required amount to prevent "burning" succulents.

Wait a While

Succulents will lose water fast like other plants. When you finish adding fertilizer and water, you should refrain from fertilizing for a day up to a week.

That will depend on the soil and the environment because when the soil dries, you have to water it.

Now you can decide to fertilize succulents again when you water again or wait longer.

Fertilize with Each Watering

Wait to Fertilize Next Season

Easy to remember to fertilize

Saves on fertilizer use

Produces Soft Plants

Produces Hard Plants

Fast Growth

Slower Growth

Before you choose a fertilizer schedule, weigh both the pros and cons. If you want big succulents, you will add more fertilizer.

Succulents grown outdoor in the garden benefits more from fertilizer because they have space to grow. But for indoor succulents, you should wait. 

Benefits of Fertilizing Succulents

You may be interested in learning to fertilize your succulents but still wonder why you have to. Like other plants, succulents also benefit from the nutrients available in fertilizers.

Fertilizers are essential to use, whether your garden is small or big. You will use the fertilizer to ensure your plants grow healthy and in decent shape.

A good fertilizer will help with the appearance of succulents and plants, which is great for a visually appealing garden. That means fertilizers are essential as they benefit succulents.

Adding fertilizer to succulents helps to:

Promotes Growth

The most apparent benefit of using fertilizer is to promote growth. Once you add fertilizer to succulents, you will notice the plants get bigger quickly. And if you want to have more succulents in your garden, adding more fertilizer is an excellent option.

Succulents in pots may also require fertilizer to fill out the pots. As you add more fertilizer, succulents continue to grow to maturity. You don't wait for long before the plants reach the desired size.

Adding fertilizer can help set a world record of the biggest succulents and enjoy them as they grow across the yard. Each time you water the plants, you may have to add fertilizer. Or you can add fertilizer to succulents every month to boost their growth and get more benefits.

Maintains Shape

Adding fertilizer to succulents gives them a decent shape or hurts them. But the right fertilizer use, and proper growth environment are vital for succulents. Inadequate fertilizer use hinders the succulents from proper growth, making them look bad and unhealthy.

However, it is not wise to add too much fertilizer - particularly for indoor plants or those that don't receive enough indirect light. If succulents get four hours of sunlight in a day, you should add fertilizer. That will help them and give them decent shape.

Preserves Color

Fertilizer will also help succulents to have a healthy color. It may be cool to see your plants changing colors, but you may not want that. If you choose your succulents to have the same color, ensure they get enough fertilizer.

Fertilizer contains nutrients that help the plants to stay healthy and not die easily. So, when your plant changes color, it means it isn't doing well. But you can help prevent the change of color after you fertilize regularly.

Risks of Fertilizing Succulents

The benefits of fertilizing succulents are many. But there are also risks associated. If you check your succulents and grow healthy, you might not need to add more fertilizer. Adding fertilizer may change the size or color of the plants.

However, you can evaluate with some succulents and wait for results. The results you get will determine whether it is worth risking the rest plants in your garden.

Some risks come after you use too much fertilizer in succulents. So, you can start slowing to avoid the effects of too much fertilizer.

These effects could be:

Too Much Growth

Fertilizer will make your succulents grow fast, which may be your desired results. But sometimes, it might not work as expected. If you add fertilizer without a strategy, your succulents grow too big to fit in the pots. Or the plants will take up much of the space.

Unlike outdoor plants, when you add much fertilizer to indoor plants, they will grow in odd shapes. These plants get less exposure to light and grow towards the light. Sure, you may get cool designs, but they might look weird.

Before you add fertilizer, consider how fast you want your succulents to grow. They will still grow even after you add a few times in a year.

Soft Plants 

Soft or hard plants will depend on your personal preference. Therefore, this could be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the succulents you want. Perhaps you don't want soft succulents; you should not fertilize too often.

Hard plants are tough, so they can withstand even after adding much fertilizer. And if you want to grow your succulents outside, you should make them tougher. That is more suitable for a garden than potted succulents.

On the other hand, if you have no problem with soft or hard plants, feel free to add fertilizer. Think of how you may want your succulents to grow and decide whether the risk is worth taking.

How to Pick the Right Fertilizer

Suppose you want the right fertilizer to use in your succulents. In that case, you should consider the kind of fertilizer and where planted. Granular fertilizers are suitable for gardens. When using granular fertilizers, ensure you spread them lightly and adequately over your garden. Once done, water your succulents with enough water.

If your succulents are potted, manure tea fertilizer will be a great option. You may also consider other liquid fertilizers for these plants. Apply the fertilizer at a half dose so that you don't use excess fertilizer to impact the growth of your succulents. With time, when your plants don't grow quickly enough, add more fertilizer each time.  

Does Your Soil Matter When Fertilizing?

The soil plays a significant role in how you should fertilize your succulents. If it has a bunch of nutrients, you may not have to fertilize your succulents often. And when you fertilize, you must use less fertilizer.

If your soil is basic with no nutrients, you must add more fertilizer. You might also want to increase the frequency of how you add fertilizer. That way, your succulents will have enough nutrients to thrive.

Common Types of Succulents 

There are many types of succulents. That is why you must know the succulents in question fall into which category before you start to fertilize. That way, you will use the right product for the succulent.

Here's is a list of some common succulents:

  • Agave
  • Aeonium 
  • Aloe
  • Senecio
  • Opuntia
  • Kalanchoe
  • Echeveria

Final Thought

Knowing how and when to fertilizer succulents is important for healthy growth. You can choose to fertilize once a month or once a year, depending on the condition of your succulents.

Make sure to use a suitable fertilizer, prepare it correctly, and add it to your succulents correctly. Then, wait and see the healthy growth you expect from your succulents.

Good luck!

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