Like all other plants, succulents need nutrients to grow big and strong. Normally they absorb some of their needs from the soil; but If you want your succulents to grow faster and get a stronger color, consider giving them a little fertilizer once in a while. This, along with proper watering and adequate sunlight, will take them to a new level.
In this article, we will list 5 of the best succulent fertilizers available on the market, which will help you give your succulents the boost they need to be at their best.
Do succulent plants need fertilizer?
Some succulent lovers mistakenly think that these plants don’t need to be fertilized.
Like all other plants, succulents need nutrients to grow big and strong. In fact, all plants, whatever their type, need to be fed. Therefore, one could say that water is essential for life and that food, or in this case fertilizer, is essential for growth. Your succulents may get some of their needs from the soil, but if you want them to grow faster and have a stronger color, a good fertilizer will help. It provides them with all the nutrients they need and thus promotes their health and growth.
Succulents need nitrogen for good growth, phosphorus for reproduction and therefore for flowering, potassium for better stability and water balance. During the growth phase, succulents first lack these three nutrients. Fertilization prevents a deficiency.
But remember, less is always better. Because if you fertilize too much, the shoots will grow faster, that’s for sure, but they will be weak and soft.
The 5 Best Succulent Fertilizers in 2020
There are many possibilities and choices when it comes to succulent fertilizers.If you’re ready to give them a try, here are a few of our favorites.
Useful information: NPK refers to the components contained in a fertilizer. This term can be found on the labels of fertilizer bottles and cans. The NPK acronym stands for : N (for nitrogen), P (phosphorus) and K (potassium). Their dosage varies according to the needs of the plants.
1. Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food
Miracle-Gro succulent plant food is a liquid fertilizer for all cacti, jade, aloe, and almost all other popular succulents. It feeds instantly so you get results fast.
It’s also the best option if you have succulent plants that look a little out of shape: It gives them an instant boost and allows them to recover in record time. It seeps deep into the soil, providing long-lasting food for thirsty roots.
You have the choice of spraying it directly onto the soil or mixing it with water and then applying it to your succulents every two weeks.
The fertilizer is delivered in an easy-to-use bottle equipped with a pump which allows easy measurement of the quantity to be used.
The manufacturer (Miracle Grow) suggests two pumps for small pots and five for pots over six inches in diameter.
This succulent fertilizer comes concentrated, so make sure you read the instructions carefully to see if your mix is right for your soil.
2. Schultz Cactus Plus Liquid Plant Food
Schultz cactus fertilizer is also a liquid fertilizer. it’s a brilliant product that can make you notice awesome changes in your succulent’s health from the first week.
This formula feeds the roots with each watering, encouraging new growth.
Use the dropper provided to measure the amount of product to be added to the water. Schultz recommends seven drops per quart of water if you feed once or twice a month. If you think your succulent needs more or if you water less often, you can use up to 14 drops.
For more explanations, you can refer to the detailed instructions on the box.
3. EarthPods Premium Cactus & Succulent Plant Food
This organic fertilizer is a mixture of nutrients, trace minerals, natural growth hormones, and beneficial soil microbes to stimulate strong growth.
It improves leaf color, stimulates root and stem growth, and strengthens resistance to diseases, pests, and drought.
A single EarthPods tube contains 100 capsules of concentrated organic food. To apply it to your succulent, push 1 EarthPod into the potting soil mixture near the center of the plant OR open the capsule, spread its contents, and simply water it! (EarthPods will break down and slowly release nutrients directly into the root zone).
Use one to two pods for small succulents, two to four for medium, and four to eight for large ones.
4. Grow More 3130 Cactus Juice
Despite its name, Cactus Juice isn’t just designed for cacti but is also perfectly suitable for succulents. It enhances growth and blooming if applied regularly during the growing season.
It contains calcium and other trace elements to ensure that your succulents and cacti get all the vital nutrients they need.
To use this liquid fertilizer, you will need to dilute it at a rate of one teaspoon per gallon of water. Once diluted, simply water your succulent as you would normally do.
As with most fertilizers, apply Cactus Juice only to the soil and be careful not to get it on the succulent leaves and stems.
It is recommended to apply Cactus Juice during your succulent’s growing season, but if you wish, you can use it every two weeks without any problem.
With the right dilution ratio, a single 16-ounce bottle will last quite long time even if you have a massive collection of succulents.
5. Cute Farms Succulent, Cacti, Aloe Fertilizer
Cute Farms is a gentle but effective liquid fertilizer for your succulents and cacti. Its NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio is .02-.02-.02.
It’s so gentle that it can be used as often as once a month. With regular use, you should see remarkable growth and brighter colors.
It comes in an easy-to-pump bottle that allows you to measure out the right amount of liquid without the need for measuring cups or spoons.
To use Cute Farms fertilizer, simply spray one or two pumps near the base of each plant. As you water, the fertilizer will be distributed into the soil, so you don’t need to dilute it.
The company also provides a 4-ounce bottle, as well as two or three sets of bottles at a discounted bulk price. You can even buy an 8-ounce bottle with an empty sprayer to water your succulents.
How to Fertilize Succulents
It depends on the type of fertilizer you are using.
Sprays and pumps Succulent Fertilizers
Some of the quick release, short-lasting fertilizers are supplied in a spray bottle. This method is one of the easiest to apply because it allows good control over the destination of the fertilizer. Try to spray directly on the soil surface where the succulent’s roots are located.
For pumps, the process is the same, but instead of using a spray nozzle, you use a pump to eject the fertilizer directly onto the soil surface.
Liquid Succulent Fertilizers
Liquid succulent fertilizers are a great way to give plants a quick boost as they are easy to apply and immediately absorbed. They are available either as liquid or powders that are mixed with water or as a ready-to-go liquid.
Liquid fertilizers should be mixed with water before being applied in order to obtain the required ratio of succulent fertilizers. Dissolve in about 4 liters of water. Use half the amount of fertilizer recommended on the label. This means that if the label recommends using one tablespoon of fertilizer per 4 liters of water, then you should use ½ tablespoon because succulents usually need half the dose recommended by the manufacturer. Water them and then apply the diluted liquid fertilizer until it starts to emerge from the pot.
Pellets and Capsules
This succulent fertilizer is usually very easy to apply and comes in the form of small round balls, usually with a special coating that allows the nutrients to be released slowly once in the soil.
Apply the desired amount to the soil surface and then water. If your succulents are mature, add pellets to the top of the pot one to two inches above the soil surface. If they are still young, it’s a good idea to mix the pellets throughout the pot.
When to Fertilize Succulents?
Most succulents go through a dormant period that lasts until fall and spring. In principle, you should respect the natural growth cycle of the plant and not fertilize it during this period.
Therefore, start fertilizing your succulent in early spring so that they get the nutrients they need to grow as they start to enter their growth phase.
During the winter period, succulent plants do not require any fertilizer. Only fertilize them when they are in full growth and stop early so that they draw their nutrients from the soil.
How often should you fertilize succulents?
As with water, the use of fertilizers should be considered with caution. Too little fertilization causes most plants to become loose, but they also react sensitively to too much fertilizer! that means:
Under no circumstances should too much fertilizer be applied, as this would lead to “burns” due to too much salt on the roots. 0.1-0.2% in the water is completely sufficient.
On the other side, if fertilization is applied much less frequently than recommended, this doesn’t mean that the succulent will die quickly. They can easily cope, but then they do not develop as well as they could with sufficient nutrients.
The perfect time of the year to fertilize your succulents is spring when daytime temperatures remain above 60 degrees F.
For fast-growing succulents, it’s recommended to apply fertilizer every three to four weeks.
For slow-growing ones, it’s enough to apply fertilizer every four to five weeks. The slow growth is genetically determined and cannot be accelerated by fertilization anyway!
It is also recommended that you carefully follow the instructions that are included in the fertilizer package because the formulation of each fertilizer is different: some release nutrients slowly over a long period of time, while others release them immediately and in small doses.
It’s true that succulents, in their natural environment, are known for their ability to grow in less favorable environmental conditions, without fertilizers or special maintenance.
But it is also important to understand that a good fertilizer is an ideal solution that can help your succulents grow faster and more vigorously.
Take a look at our selection of succulent fertilizers to see what you can do to help them become happy.