How and When to Fertilize Succulent Plants

There are a few plant care fundamentals that each one gardeners think about day after day to maintain their crops trying good. Watering is high-priority because it must be achieved extra usually than different duties, however fertilizing is one other important that shouldn’t be forgotten.

However if you happen to’re rising succulents, there may be some confusion round finest care practices. Since they’re so low-maintenance and difficult, do they even want plant meals?

This information covers all of your questions, from myths you’ve most likely heard to recommendation on which fertilizers are finest to your succulent crops.

Myths About Fertilizing Succulents

Indoor succulents require much less fertility than different houseplants.

Earlier than we get into the main points, it’s vital to dispel some myths you could have heard about fertilizing succulents.

The most typical fantasy is that they don’t want fertilizing in any respect. Like many myths, it has some fact, nevertheless it’s not fairly so simple as it appears. Succulents want much less fertilizer than different crops and should not want a further enhance open air if in case you have good-quality soil. However if you’re rising in containers, vitamins will finally get depleted, and it’s finest to interchange them, even whether it is in restricted quantities.

One other fantasy to disregard, particularly if you happen to’re rising succulents indoors, is that these crops want the identical quantity of vitamins as different houseplants.

Most succulents are accustomed to rising in soil with fewer vitamins and may face harm if they’re given an excessive amount of fertilizer. Half-strength doses at minimal intervals are really useful for many sorts to provide them simply sufficient to develop to their full potential.

There may be additionally the overall fantasy that feeding a plant will make it develop sooner or {that a} struggling plant will be fastened by feeding it. Fertilizer isn’t a cure-all, and relating to succulents, progress issues brought on by nutrient deficiency are extremely unlikely. Feeding additionally received’t make a slow-growing succulent shoot up faster than it naturally can. It dietary supplements sturdy progress nevertheless it’s not the one issue concerned.

Now that we’ve cleared up some misconceptions, let’s dive into what fertilizer is and why it’s vital to your succulents.

Why Fertilizer Is Vital

Close-up of potted succulent plant Sansevieria trifasciata with granular fertilizers. A plant in a beautiful square clay pot, on a gray-white surface. Sansevieria trifasciata has erect, elongated, sword-shaped dark green leaves with light gray-green horizontal stripes. They are thick, fleshy and grow in the form of a rosette.
Crops require macronutrients (NPK), secondary vitamins, and micronutrients.

Fertilizing is a crucial a part of plant care, together with fundamentals like watering and upkeep. All crops want sure vitamins to develop and keep alive, identical to people do. These vitamins are current within the soil and get drawn up by the roots via water, transported to the elements of the plant that want it.

Vitamins are typically cut up into three classes:

  1. Macronutrients (NPK)
  2. Secondary Vitamins
  3. Micronutrients

The primary is macronutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You’ll acknowledge these letters as NPK on product packaging.

Secondary vitamins are issues like calcium that crops want in average quantities however not as a lot because the macronutrients.

Lastly, there are micronutrients like iron. These are wanted in a lot smaller quantities however play an important function in general plant well being.

Having the proper steadiness of those teams in your soil will assist your crops develop to one of the best of their capacity. The roots will draw up these vitamins over time, finally depleting the availability if vitamins aren’t changed naturally.

Fertilizer is designed to take care of the right quantity of vitamins within the soil (which differs relying on what you’re rising) to assist crops develop to their full potential. That is particularly vital when rising crops in containers, as there may be restricted soil and vitamins for the crops to entry.

Do All Succulents Want Fertilizer?

Close-up of an Echeveria succulent in a white ceramic pot, under the sun's rays. The plant forms a beautiful rosette of oval, fleshy, elongated leaves with pointed tips. The leaves are bright green with burgundy tips.
The fertility wants of succulents differ relying on soil vitamins and whether or not they’re planted open air or in containers.

The query of whether or not all succulents want fertilizer or not isn’t actually a typical sure or no. All succulents want vitamins to develop, however the degree of vitamins current within the soil will decide whether or not they want an additional enhance.

Succulents are additionally not a single group. There may be loads of selection and variety of succulents throughout households, genera, and even species. These variations play a job in how a lot fertilizer to use or whether or not to use fertilizer in any respect.

Nonetheless, as a basic rule, succulents planted open air usually don’t require additional feeding. So long as they’re planted in wholesome soil with loads of exercise, they will usually survive with out an additional enhance. That’s to not say you shouldn’t fertilize, however that they are going to often be wonderful with out it.

Succulents in containers are a special story. Soil is restricted, and until you repot steadily, your succulents will finally lack the vitamins they want. They might not present indicators of wrestle, however additionally they received’t develop in addition to they could possibly be with the optimum quantity of vitamins within the soil.

An “it depends upon the scenario” reply isn’t actually satisfying. However if you happen to’re on the fence (and keep conscious of the dangers of overfertilizing), somewhat additional enhance of the suitable product is healthier than no feeding in any respect.

Fertilizing Succulents Indoors Vs Open air

Close-up of a woman's hands holding a green pitcher filled with liquid succulent fertilizer about to fertilize a potted plant Crassula ovata 'Gollum'. A plant in a bright pink decorative pot on a white table. Crassula ovata 'Gollum' has thick, fleshy, glossy, bright green leaves. The leaves are slightly elongated, resembling elongated tubular fingers or suckers.
Outside succulents develop sooner, and might have extra frequent fertilization.

Though I’m not a fan of rising succulents indoors year-round, many individuals have the perfect spot for an plentiful indoor succulent backyard. For these gardeners, it’s possible you’ll ponder whether there’s a distinction between fertilizing succulents indoors vs open air.

Once more, it depends upon your particular crops. Succulents open air usually develop faster and stronger than succulents indoors, doubtlessly requiring feeding sooner or extra usually.

I like to recommend fertilizing indoor succulents solely as soon as per 12 months, whereas these open air in containers can often deal with an additional fertilizing session or two all through the hotter seasons.

It’s as much as you to evaluate the efficiency of the plant and the well being of your soil to resolve what’s finest.

Kinds of Fertilizer

Fertilizers in Soil are orange and blue. The soil is soaking up the nutrients.
Artificial fertilizers present fast outcomes however lack soil enchancment.

There are such a lot of several types of plant meals to select from and it may be tough to decipher the distinction between them. Between natural and artificial, compound or sluggish launch, there are a number of phrases to know earlier than choosing the right choice.

First, let’s take a look at natural and artificial. Natural fertilizers are derived from crops or animals and slowly add vitamins to the soil over time because the natural molecules break down. Some widespread examples embrace seaweed-based fertilizer or ‘weed teas’ comprised of broken-down crops.

Artificial fertilizers are created to comprise a certain quantity of vitamins crops have to develop in several ratios. They ship faster outcomes however don’t contribute to soil well being the best way natural fertilizer does.

Each natural and artificial fertilizers can be found in several product sorts. You could discover compound nurients as liquids, granules, or pellets with totally different utility necessities and concentrations. Gradual-release fertilizers are designed to degrade over time, slowly including vitamins to the soil as they break down.

Which Sort Of Fertilizer Is Greatest For Succulents?

Close-up of female hands in bright orange rubber gloves pouring liquid fertilizer to a potted Aloe Vera plant. A plant in an orange plastic pot on a wooden table, against the background of other potted plants. Aloe Vera is a succulent plant characterized by a cluster of thick, fleshy leaves in a rosette shape. The leaves are oblong, with pointed tips. They are gray-green in color and have spiny edges with fine teeth.
Keep away from extreme use of slow-release fertilizers to forestall root burns.

Fortunately, relating to rising succulents, the crops aren’t too fussy about the kind of fertilizer they get. Most are proud of a balanced fertilizer utilized in any type, so long as it’s utilized in accordance with the packaging directions. When you’re frightened about overfertilizing, keep away from slow-release fertilizers as they are going to burn the roots if utilized excessively and are tough to take away from the soil.

Relying in your chosen product, I often begin with a half-strength dose for many sorts to keep away from overdoing it. Succulents don’t want excessive ranges of soil vitamins and like much less fertility over an extreme quantity.

A fertilizer with equal NPK values is appropriate and nice for a number of crops, particularly indoors. Alternatively, you possibly can search for a fertilizer barely larger in phosphorus. Extra nitrogen needs to be prevented as this may trigger progress to turn into leggy.

There are numerous specifically formulated merchandise for succulents and cacti. Utilizing these will remove the guesswork of whether or not you’re utilizing the suitable stuff. However I prefer to work with what I’ve and take a trial-and-error strategy, by no means making use of greater than the crops want.

How Usually Do Succulents Want Fertilizer?

Close-up of female hands holding blue fertilizer sticks over Agave montana succulent plant on terrace. This succulent plant is characterized by rosette-like growth and thick, fleshy leaves. The leaves of Agave montana are bluish green in color and have prominent teeth or spikes along the edges.
Low-concentration fertilizer will be utilized extra steadily, monitoring for indicators of overfertilization.

As succulents don’t require loads of feeding to develop properly, I typically limit my succulent feeding to round as soon as per 12 months. This differs relying on the crops and the dimensions of the container. Nonetheless, that is often sufficient to maintain the crops completely happy with out overdoing it.

I additionally keep away from feeding if I’ve not too long ago repotted, as the brand new soil often accommodates sufficient vitamins. Fertilizing too quickly after a soil change could contribute to root stress.

You possibly can apply fertilizer extra usually if you happen to’re utilizing a low focus and watch rigorously for indicators of overfertilizing. For instance, I prefer to fertilize my aloe veras as soon as extra in summer season to provide them a lift earlier than flowering in fall. As soon as per 12 months is commonly loads and gives a much better final result than fertilizing an excessive amount of.

When Is The Greatest Time To Fertilize Succulents?

Close-up of female hands adding granular fertilizer to a dying Sansevieria plant in a large white pot, indoors, on a white marble table. There is also a water dispenser on the table. The plant has vertical, thick sword-shaped green leaves with dark green patterns. One of the leaves is wilted, rotting, with brown spots.
Fertilize yearly in early to mid-spring to advertise progress, avoiding fall and winter chilly harm.

When you’re fertilizing yearly, early to mid-spring is often one of the best time. It’s good to encourage progress when temperatures have warmed. New and susceptible progress is additional delicate to chilly harm in fall and winter.

When you’re including an additional dose, goal for round two to 3 months after the primary utility, round mid-summer. Don’t feed too near any predicted temperature drops, particularly in case your succulents are rising open air unprotected from the chilly.

How To Apply

Close-up of female hands inserting fertilizer in green sticks into the soil towards a Sansevieria plant, indoors. The girl is dressed in a white striped shirt and a blue apron. The Sansevieria plant has long, erect leaves. The leaves are thick, fleshy, have variegated yellow patterns. They grow vertically, resembling a sword or spear.
Keep away from making use of fertilizer to leaves, specializing in the soil across the plant.

The best fertilizer utility technique will rely upon which product you’ve chosen. Fortunately, most product packaging features a helpful information on precisely how one can apply it. Comply with these directions to the tee to keep away from any dangers of over-fertilizing or losing the vitamins.

Time your feeding to coincide with watering. Vitamins are drawn up by the roots via water, so the soil needs to be moist earlier than including plant meals. This additionally limits your danger of burning the roots by evenly distributing the product all through the soil.

It’s vital to keep away from making use of the fertilizer to your succulent leaves. Relying on the product you’re utilizing, this may result in burning. Focus the liquid or granules on the soil across the plant solely. Additionally, maintain them away from the stem. Add vitamins to the soil across the plant moderately than immediately on the plant.

In case your succulent container is packed tight, it may be tough to fertilize the soil immediately. Firstly, it is best to most likely think about repotting in some unspecified time in the future. However if you happen to like your succulents compact and confined, fill a container with diluted fertilizer and water. Then place the pot inside to permit the soil to attract up moisture from the underside.

Remaining Ideas

When you’re frightened in regards to the efficiency of your succulents, fertilizer can provide your crops a much-needed additional enhance. It’s not all the time vital and definitely isn’t required in giant quantities, however including this easy job to your annual schedule will ship one of the best progress potential.

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