How Often to Fertilize Succulents?

Most people have a misconception that succulents gain no benefit from fertilizers. As a result, they don’t know how often to fertilize succulents. While it’s true that they don’t need it as much as other plants, they benefit from it quite a lot.

It’s a good idea to give your succulents some fertilizer every month, depending on the type you use. However, you can also get by doing so at least once a year. Just remember to feed it to your succulent at the beginning of its growing season.

In this article, we’ll discuss how often you should fertilize succulents, which fertilizer to use, and what its benefits are. Let’s dive right in!

How Often Should I Fertilize My Succulents?

Fertilizers

You can get away with giving fertilizer to your succulents at least once a year. Given the right conditions, they can still stay healthy with such treatment.

This is better than overfeeding them with fertilizer, which can cause wilting, stunted growth, and defoliation.

Another possible feeding rate you can follow is once a month, but only with the use of manure tea. Just be sure to strain it properly to remove any solids and dilute it well before applying.

When Is the Best Time to Fertilize Succulents?

If you’re only giving your succulents fertilizer once a year, it’s best to do it before or at the beginning of their growing season. Take note that this may vary as there are succulents that grow best during summer and winter.

If your succulent’s growing season is during summer, you should feed them in early spring or as soon as summer begins. In case it’s winter, feed them during fall. This can help maximize their growth throughout the season they best thrive in.

As an added general rule of thumb, avoid giving fertilizer during your plants’ dormant seasons. This will cause them more harm than good, as it could induce decaying or mushy leaves.

It’s also worth noting that fertilizing once a year works best with indoor succulents. Outdoor succulents are more fit for monthly fertilizing due to their exposure to sunlight.

Related: How to Make Succulents Grow Faster – Beginner’s Guide

What Are the Benefits of Giving Fertilizer to Succulents?

Since most people think succulents don’t need fertilizer, they end up missing out on the advantages it can bring to the table.

Yes, succulents are naturally slow-growing plants, but that only means they can’t handle heavy doses.

Like any other plant, they can still benefit from being fertilized once in a while. Here are some of the pros of giving fertilizer to your succulents:

  • Increases the plant’s rate of growth
  • Maximizes nutrient absorption, especially during the growing season
  • Keeps their color vibrant and lush
  • Promotes thick and healthy leaves
  • Can help increase bloom growth

Moderation is key when it comes to fertilizing your succulents to end up with these desirable results.

Which Fertilizers Are Good for Succulents?

NPK fertilizer

There’s a variety of succulent fertilizers on the market you can use for your plants. However, a lot of them are in demand and can quickly go in and out of stock.

If you’re opting for convenience, you can try ordering online or finding them in your local shops.

These are the top recommended commercial fertilizers you can use for your succulents:

  1. Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food: One of the best and most popular picks for succulent plant food that has a low NPK (Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium) ratio
  2. EarthPods Premium Cactus & Succulent Plant Food: A gentle and eco-friendly option that generally uses one capsule per feed
  3. Jobe’s Organics Succulent Fertilizer: A trusted brand that comes in a convenient resealable pack and has a well-balanced NPK ratio
  4. Dr. Earth Succulence Organic Succulent & Cactus Food: An organic succulent fertilizer that’s free of chemicals and is OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) listed
  5. Schultz Cactus Plus Liquid Plant Food: A relatively more affordable option that has good value and is easy to apply

Some alternatives you can use in place of these are manure tea or making your own fertilizer. We’ll explain how to prepare a DIY fertilizer in a few!

Users Also Read: How to Plant Succulents in a Terrarium?

How to Fertilize Succulents Properly

If you’re using commercial fertilizers, the best way to apply them to your succulent is by following the instructions on the pack.

However, don’t use the full suggested amount. You can cut it down by half to avoid overfeeding.

If you’re planning to use manure tea, just follow these steps:

  1. Find a five-gallon bucket and fill it with water.
  2. Place your manure tea bag in the bucket and let it sit for around 6 to 24 hours, depending on how much you’re making.
  3. Remove the tea bag after steeping.
  4. To avoid wasting any of those leftover nutrients, you can let the used tea bag drip over one of your succulents until it dries.
  5. Transfer the contents of the bucket into a watering can.
  6. Use it to water your succulents until the water gets out from the pot’s drainage hole.

One tea bag of manure tea can amount to five gallons of water. If you don’t need that much, make the tea in smaller batches.

Manure tea is best used immediately, so avoid storing leftovers and ensure you only make what you need.

Should I Give Fertilizer to My Succulents?

Deciding on whether you should fertilize your succulents or not is up to you. Even if you don’t give them fertilizers, they can keep a natural growth process with the right care.

If you want to keep your succulents small and compact, you can pass on the fertilizer. However, people who aim to grow larger succulents at a faster rate should give them the proper amount of fertilizer.

Just be prepared for some trimming in case your succulent grows beyond your expectations. Afterward, you can follow your usual routine of providing sufficient light and replacing dried-up soil.

This should be enough to meet your succulent’s needs.

How to Make Your Own Fertilizer for Succulents?

Making your own fertilizer may not be as convenient as buying one, but it’s definitely cheaper and more efficient.

Here are some of the best homemade fertilizers you can use for your succulents:

Coffee Grounds

Coffee as fertilizer
  1. To remove the coffee grounds’ acidity, soak and rinse them in water before using.
  2. Once they’ve dried up, you can simply mix them with the succulent’s soil.
  3. If you want to turn the coffee grounds into a liquid fertilizer, add around six tablespoons of them to a gallon of water, then let the mixture sit overnight.
  4. Stir the mixture, then strain out the coffee grounds.

Eggshells

  1. Wash the eggshells thoroughly to remove any leftover yolks or egg whites.
  2. Crush them into tiny bits and mix them well with the succulent’s soil.
  3. You can also make a liquid fertilizer by soaking the eggshells in boiling water.
  4. Strain the eggshells once the water cools down and apply them to the succulent’s soil.

Compost (Fruit and Vegetable Scraps)

  1. Gather your fruit and vegetable scraps in a compost bin.
  2. Once they’ve broken down and started to appear dark, combine them with your succulent’s soil.

Wrap-Up: How Often to Fertilize Succulents?

Fertilizing succulents isn’t mandatory, but it has some desirable benefits. You can always go for low doses of commercial succulent fertilizers to quickly get the job done.

If you’re on a low budget, you may either use manure tea or make your own fertilizer.

Regardless of your pick, it won’t take too much effort since you won’t need to fertilize succulents too often. Just remember to tend to their other needs to keep them glowing!