How and When to Fertilize Succulents - Backyard Boss
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How and When to Fertilize Succulents

Burro’s tail, hens-and-chicks, cactuses, money plant, aloe vera, Haworthia … the list of succulents seems to go on forever!

Many people grow succulents in their homes because caring for them is so easy. Most succulents are happy with a bit of sun and water (and many are forgiving if you forget about them). But when it comes to keeping your succulents looking their best, there is more to consider — it is a great idea to fertilize them!

Fertilizing your succulents enhances their growth, well-being, and overall ability to thrive. After a good fertilizing, your succulents become bigger, brighter, and are even ready for potential propagation.

Want to know more about how and when to fertilize your succulents? Here is all the info!

Materials Required  

Person writing plant specie on paper at table with instruments
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When it comes to fertilizing your succulents, the materials you need are pretty simple! Here’s what’s required:

  • Gardening trowel
  • Gardening gloves (optional)
  • Fertilizer

Select Your Fertilizer

Chemical fertilizers isolated on white background.
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Offering succulents healthy or homemade potting soil is the first step to giving your plants the nutrients required to succeed. Succulents are hardy and are even successful for those with less than a green thumb. However, fertilizer is a great option to improve your succulents’ health! All you need to do is select the best fertilizer for your succulents!

When choosing a pre-made fertilizer, selecting one with higher phosphorous and lower nitrogen is recommended. To determine how much of each nutrient is in a fertilizer, look at the three numbers provided. If the numbers listed are “5-10-10,” that means there is five percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphate, and 10 percent potassium.

Specialized fertilizers are available for different plants, so choose one according to your succulent. For example, cactus fertilizers are tailor-made with the nutritional needs of a cactus in mind. Cactus fertilizers do not work the same for succulents and vice versa! So guarantee that the fertilizer you select is appropriate for your plant’s needs!

Alternatively, there are homemade options that will boost your plants. Homemade fertilizers ideas include compost tea or using your own compost to improve the soil nutrients of your succulents.

When to Fertilize Your Succulents

four different succulents and cacti in white pots on a window ledge
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The best times to fertilize succulents is when they are in a period of growth or when they require repotting. Most succulents are actively growing from early spring until late fall due to all the warm sunlight they receive. The hotter months are when to fertilize your succulents, as their growth rate slows in the winter.

How Often to Fertilize Your Succulents

Green cacti in Brown Clay Pots
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One great thing about owning succulents is they do not require much maintenance; simply giving them regular watering keeps them happy for a long time! With this in mind, a succulent does not need as frequent fertilizing as other plants in your home or garden.

All cactuses are succulents, but not all succulents are cactuses. How and where they store water differs, so their needs also vary! Cactuses only require fertilizing about twice during the growing period, whereas it’s best if you fertilize other succulents three or four times during the growing months.

How Much to Fertilize Your Succulents

Planting and repotting plants. Person is changing flower pots. Only hands and selective focus
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When providing your succulents with fertilizer, dilute the fertilizer by half the recommended amount specified on the label. Some gardeners even suggest reducing and diluting the suggested amount by a quarter. 

Pro Tip: As you fertilize your plants, they will grow larger and fuller. Bear this in mind as, over time, some succulents will require repotting to ensure they continue to thrive. Keep an eye out for signs that your plant needs repotting!

Care for Your Succulents

Watering can watering various succulent pots
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Now you know what, when, and how much to fertilize your succulents, you should know about the other things you need to do to care for them! One way to help your succulents is to give them plenty of sunlight. Place indoor succulents in a spot where they are bathed in sunlight throughout the day.

Succulents can thrive outdoors, though if you are transferring them from inside to outside, choose a spot that receives some shade. Doing this will prevent your succulent from receiving too much direct sunlight and prevent burning.

The other thing to do is water your succulents. Water only when your succulent’s soil is dry a few inches down (test this with your finger). Then, give them a thorough water and allow all excess water to drain.

With enough sunlight, water, and fertilizer, your succulents will become things of beauty!

Time to Boost Your Succulents!

Whatever succulents you have in your home, take the time to invest in their long-term health! Offer them quality fertilizer in the hotter months when they are growing the most. Provide your succulents with a fertilizer lower in nitrogen and high in phosphorous. Dilute the fertilizer to half or a quarter the strength of what is recommended on the label.

Ideally, you should give your succulents fertilizer a few times over the growing months. Then to continue improving their growth, water them, provide them with sun, and watch them thrive!

Happy growing!