Which fertilizer for succulents is best?
Succulents have a reputation for being hands-off plants that are easy to grow. However, if you want to give them a boost, help them maintain healthy leaves and see wildly vivid flower spikes, a bit of fertilizer is all it takes.
Succulent fertilizer varies by type, composition and quantity. For the best results, choose the fertilizer that complements your maintenance schedule and budget to make caring for your plants as simple as possible.
For an easy-to-use and affordable succulent fertilizer, The Grow Co Succulent And Cactus Plant Food is ideal for maintaining plant health, color and hardiness with little maintenance.
What to know before you buy fertilizer for succulents
Before you pick out fertilizer, get to know the types and quantities you’ll need to take care of your succulents.
Type of fertilizer
There are two main fertilizers for succulents: granular and liquid fertilizer.
Granular fertilizer refers to a pebble-like mixture of small granules. These are powerful and only need one application per growing season. They slowly release their contents during each watering, letting the plant soak up a little fertilizer with each drink. Application is generally simple, and bags of fertilizer are stored easily in a cool, dry place.
Liquid fertilizer is a bottled mixture of the same chemicals in granular fertilizer. Most liquid fertilizers need to be diluted with water and will have clear instructions on the label. The roots quickly absorb them, so they require frequent application.
How many succulents you have and which type of fertilizer you use determines the quantity of fertilizer you need. If you’re using liquid fertilizer, you may need to stock up to ensure you have enough to use every few weeks.
However, if you use granular fertilizer, you only need a small amount to fertilize all your succulents for up to a year.
What to look for in a quality fertilizer for succulents
Whether your fertilizer is organic or inorganic, look for one that is easy for you to apply within your plant care regimen. Some need to be diluted, while others can be mixed directly into the soil.
Organic vs. inorganic
Fertilizers for succulents can be either organic or synthetic. Synthetic fertilizers are more common and easier to find, but the choice is up to you.
Organic fertilizer comprises only natural ingredients. It may come from other plant sources like seaweed or be a mixture of other natural ingredients.
Inorganic fertilizer comes from purely chemical components. These are the most common and easy to apply. Each label includes information about the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium mixture inside. However, since these mixtures are more pungent, they can harm your plants if not used as directed.
The NPK rating on a fertilizer container refers to the fertilizer’s nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium proportion. These components are essential for growing healthy plants, but the ratios differ depending on the type of plant.
Succulents need much less nitrogen than other household and lawn plants. The fertilizer includes a label with numbers formatted as 5-5-5, indicating the fertilizer is evenly distributed between the three elements. Each fertilizer has a unique mixture, but as long as you follow the instructions exactly, your succulents will grow happily.
How much you can expect to spend on fertilizer for succulents
Expect to spend $1-$2 per ounce of fertilizer regardless of whether it’s a liquid or granular formula.
Fertilizer for succulents FAQ
Do succulent plants need fertilizer?
A. It depends. Succulents, in general, are accustomed to intermittent periods without water followed by periods of heavy rain that deliver the water and nutrients they need. Some succulents never need fertilizer but will perform better, grow faster and produce more luscious leaves and vibrant blooms with the help of a bit of fertilizer. The right fertilizer will help your plants look better and stay healthier for longer.
Can I use any kind of fertilizer for succulents?
A. No. Though some other types of specialty fertilizers are acceptable, such as fertilizers for cacti or orchids, you can never use a fertilizer developed for lawn care on your succulent plants. Those fertilizers use different nitrogen ratios formulated to enhance the growth of plants like grasses and can severely damage succulents.
How do I know when to fertilize my succulents?
A. Before you fertilize, read the instructions on your fertilizer. For liquid fertilizers, you’ll likely apply it every few waterings. For most slow-release fertilizers, you’ll apply it based on their growing season. If your succulent’s growing season is in the summer, fertilize in late spring. If your succulent’s growing season is in the winter, fertilize in late fall.
What’s the best fertilizer for succulents to buy?
Top fertilizer for succulents
The Grow Co Succulent And Cactus Plant Food
What you need to know: This bag of granular fertilizer helps succulents regain their health, color and hardiness with just one application a year.
What you’ll love: The granular formula works during each watering, so you only need to add it once per growing season. It’s safe to use both indoors and outdoors, as well as in a terrarium.
What you should consider: Some customers note that results can take up to six months to show improved growth.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top fertilizer for succulents for the money
Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food, Pack Of 2
What you need to know: This fertilizer is easy to use every few weeks and gives instant results at an affordable price.
What you’ll love: The pump bottle is easy to direct into any pot. You can easily feed your succulents every two weeks. The formula is easy to dilute if needed and is perfectly balanced for use with succulents. It comes in a pack of two.
What you should consider: Since it gives instant results, you need to apply it frequently.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Perfect Plants Store Succulent And Cactus Fertilizer
What you need to know: These high-quality granules last for a whole growing season.
What you’ll love: The granule fertilizer is professional-grade and comes in a resealable pouch for easy use. The slow-release formula breaks down during each watering over a year, so you don’t need to reapply that often. It is easily mixed with any substrate such as pebbles, gritty mix, pumice, perlite-based mixes and soil.
What you should consider: This is intense, and you must use it exactly as directed to avoid burning succulent roots.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.