Best Succulent Fertilizer To Keep Your Plants Healthy
Succulents are known for their ability to thrive even in harsh conditions. Still, it doesn’t mean they never need the best succulent fertilizer to stay in good shape.
Their thick stems and leaves can store a lot of water. However, your plant may not thrive to the fullest when its much-needed nutrients keep getting flushed away.
To see your plants in their healthiest conditions, check out the best plant foods for succulents from Growingherbsforbeginners.com below.
5 Best Fertilizers For Succulents
From here, we will review the top best succulent fertilizer and reveal which one is the best product.
|PICTURE||PRODUCT'S NAME||APPLICATION TYPE||APPLICATION TYPE||N-P-K RATIO||ORGANIC||SIZE/ WEIGHT||PRICE|
|Jobe's Organics All Purpose Granular Plant Flood||Liquid||Liquid||0.5-1-1||No||4/8 fluid ounces|
|Cute Farms Succulent, Cacti, & Aloe Fertilizer ||Granules||Granules||4-4-4||Yes||1.5/4/16 lbs|
|Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food||Liquid||Liquid||0.5-1-1||No||8 fluid ounces|
|Schultz 2-7-7 Cactus Plus||Liquid||Liquid||2-7-7||No||4 fluid ounces|
|The Grow Co Succulent & Cactus Plant Food||Slow-release||Slow-release||11-10-11||No||5 ounces|
#1. Jobe’s Organics All Purpose Granular Plant Flood – The Best Overall
- Application type: Granules
- NPK Ratio: 4-4-4
- Organic: Yes
- Size/Weight: 1.5/4/16 lbs
- Overall rating: 4.6/5
For the safest product to feed your beloved succulents, pick this plant food from Jobe’s Organics. It can give their development a boost without posing a risk to them.
The fertilizer has a balanced 4-4-4 NPK ratio. It’s gentle enough to feed a wide variety of plants, including succulents. We had plenty of it left after our test and used it on our outdoor flowers and plants. They seemed to get along just fine with it.
There is no universal formula for every combination of plant and potting soil out there. But the Jobe’s Organics comes really close to that, as far as succulents are concerned. If you worry about overbuying, the manufacturer makes several sizes, from 1.5 to 16 pounds.
Like other products from this brand, this fertilizer contains no synthetic ingredients. The entire formula is biodegradable, so there is one fewer thing to worry about. The product is OMRI Listed, meaning it can be used in organic production certified by the National Organic Program.
The organic matter in this bag is good for the soil condition of your succulents too. It increases the cation exchange and water-holding capacity.
Jobe’s Organics adds a proprietary mineral supplement called Biozome – a combination of Archaea, Mycorrhizal fungi, and other healthy bacteria.
These unique blends improve soil health by aiding its structure and stimulating microbial activity. You definitely can’t find these benefits from synthetic plant foods.
This plant food breaks down quite quickly compared to other organic products, though. You may need to apply it more than once at the beginning of the growing season. It is, of course, pricier than non-organic competitors.
And the smell – it’s terrible. If you can’t stand horse or chicken manure, you may need to hold your breath.
- Balanced nutrient ratio, compatible with most plants
- Good for both new and established planting
- Certified organic product
- Gentle formula
- No synthetic matter
- Help improve soil conditions
- Hard to apply exact amounts
Verdict: If you don’t mind the price tag and smell, the Jobe’s Organics all-purpose fertilizer is a fantastic choice in most cases.
#2. Cute Farms Succulent, Cacti, & Aloe Fertilizer – Best Liquid Option
- Application type: Liquid
- NPK Ratio: 0.5-1-1
- Organic: No
- Size/Weight: 4/8 fluid ounces
- Overall rating: 4.5/5
Liquid fertilizers have become more and more popular among the gardening community. This Cute Farms product is a great choice if you want to benefit from its easy and even application.
The manufacturer markets it as supplements for popular plants like cacti or Aloe, but this liquid formula is compatible with most succulents. The 0.5-1-1 ratio allows this Cute Farms model to deliver equal amounts of vital nutrients for monthly application. It’s a low concentration as well, so even beginners are less likely to burn their roots.
This plastic spray bottle is clearly catered to those who see houseplant more as a hobby. The packaging is stunning and doesn’t require much effort to apply correctly.
Both the diluting and watering processes are straightforward. If you don’t want to spray, choose the main bottle only to save some money.
We had to wait for about a week to see any results. But the positive differences were noticeable, including more growth and healthier-looking stems.
It’s important to note that its price is higher than similar synthetic products. If you’re a seasoned grower, getting a cheaper alternative and watering it down may make more sense.
- Easy to apply
- Balanced formula
- Uniform distribution
- Adorable packaging and bottle
- Great for beginners
- You may need to apply more frequently.
Verdict: The Cute Farms spray-on bottle is a perfect start if you’re thinking about switching to liquid choices. It can keep your succulents healthy with minimal effort.
#3. Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food – Budget Choice
- Application type: Liquid
- NPK Ratio: 0.5-1-1
- Organic: No
- Size/Weight: 8 fluid ounces
- Overall rating: 4/5
Miracle-Gro is one of the most well-known non-organic brands. The best part is that they have specialized products for succulents too. It comes in bottles like the Cute Farms model, and the low cost makes it very appealing.
The 0.5-1-1 NPK ratio can make your succulent thrive. The drop in nitrogen percentage is great if fast plant growth isn’t a top priority. It avoids excessive nitrogen and prevents your plants from looking sickly.
You can apply it directly to the soil or dilute it with water first. The foam form of the Miracle-Gro plant food dissolves quickly in either case. It comes in handy when you need to give your plants an urgent boost of nutrients.
Like other liquid products, you will need to re-apply it quite often. Miracle-Gro recommends an application every week, yet you can adjust it to meet the needs of your succulents.
The two-bottle pack can last for a whole year with several plants. That said, the bottle quality seems questionable – a challenge for outdoor storage.
- Easy to use
- Instant release
- Effective formula for most varieties
- Direct exposure may damage the leaves
- Low-quality bottles
Verdict: The Miracle-Gro bottles can give your plants a quick boost in growth and health at affordable prices.
#4. Schultz 2-7-7 Cactus Plus – Best For Cacti
- Application type: Liquid
- NPK Ratio: 2-7-7
- Organic: No
- Size/Weight: 4 fluid ounces
- Overall rating: 4/5
All products in this list can work wonders with your lovely cacti. But if you want to give them some specialized care, check out these formulas from Schultz.
Designed with cacti in mind, the Schultz Cactus Plus features a 2-7-7 mix. The amount of nitrogen is enough to maintain their healthy growth as cacti don’t use as much nitrogen as vegetables.
Meanwhile, the increased phosphorus and potassium help with flowering and root growth. It’s worth a try if your Christmas or Pincushion cactus is in its maturity age and about to bloom.
There is no doubt that our new transplants will get established faster. We saw newer stems that were bigger, thicker, and brighter within weeks. It did the trick for other succulents too.
The Schultz Cactus Plus works with both indoor and outdoor plants. The box has a dropper for easy measuring. Make sure you don’t over-fertilizer, or you may burn your cacti. We also wish Schultz produced more sizes besides the 4oz bottle.
- Made especially for cacti
- Encourage growth and flowering
- Simple measuring and application
- Only one size
- Easy to overdose and harm the plant
#5. The Grow Co Succulent & Cactus Plant Food – Best Slow-Release
- Application type: Slow-release
- NPK Ratio: 11-10-11
- Organic: No
- Size/Weight: 5 ounces
- Overall rating: 4/5
The Grow Co product is worth a close look if you’re done with feeding your succulents on a regular basis. This slow-release fertilizer stands in stark contrast to the above products. Its granules don’t dissipate all at once.
They can provide a constant feed of valuable nutrients for your plants for a long time. The grainy particles go along well with plants that don’t need a huge amount of watering. Feed them once, and you can forget about fertilizing for up to 9 months.
It doesn’t mean you have to wait for that long to witness the differences. The product features a gentle yet effective 11-10-11 ratio.
This formula promises a great deal to the stem growth, root development, and color vibrancy of your succulents. You should mix those granules in pots with perlite, gravel, pebbles, or pumice.
The dry form of the Grow Co plant food helps so much with storage. It also wasn’t as hard to use as we thought. Just mix them into the soil with a plastic spoon before watering, and that’s it.
That bag is small for several plants, however. The cost may add up quickly when you need to buy a large quantity. But it could even out over a long period as you don’t need to apply them often.
- Reduce the frequency of fertilizing
- Provide nutrients during a long period
- Convenient storage
- Easy to use
- Great for most popular species
- Only available in a small bag
- No fast results
How To Choose The Best Succulent Fertilizer
Whether you’re looking for a general-purpose fertilizer or a product specially designed for succulents, it shares the same basic properties. Getting a firm grasp on them will allow you to pick up the most useful plant food for succulents.
Plant fertilizers contain macronutrients and optional micronutrients. Products for succulents are no exception.
The amount and ratio of these ingredients are the most important aspect of a particular fertilizer. It determines the amount of nutrients your plants will get from your feeding.
Macronutrients And Their Roles
Three macronutrients, namely nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (P), are the main building blocks of every fertilizer.
Most countries use the same standardized NPK labeling convention for those elements.
Manufacturers print three numbers separated by dashes on the label of their commercial fertilizers. It’s easy to check out this NPK ratio, such as 4-4-4, due to its prominent position.
Each number tells the relative content of its respective nutrient by weight. For instance, the above sequence indicates the fertilizer contains 4% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 4% potassium. The rest (88%) is inactivated ingredients and micronutrients.
Among other roles, nitrogen plays a huge part in foliage growth. It encourages chlorophyll production and coloring.
The atmosphere we breathe is abundant in nitrogen. Though most plants can get their share of nitrogen from the air, it’s a complicated process for plants to absorb.
The lack of nitrogen can lead to the yellowing of green plants. Fertilizers make up for this in the form of nitrates.
Plants like grass benefit the most from fertilizers with high nitrogen content. They need more help in leaf development than flowering.
The middle of an NPK sequence is phosphorus, a vital chemical element for fruiting, blooming, and growth of roots.
It contributes to several essential processes like seed formation and rooting. Converting sunlight to energy in plants requires a lot of phosphorus, for example. That is why phosphorus is a fundamental nutrient for many plants in spring.
Like nitrogen, there is a lot of potassium in the soil. But its natural form isn’t easy for plants to draw in.
Potassium is key to the overall health of plants. Deficiency in potassium can lead to reduced growth, as well as seed and root development.
Fertilizers usually also come with nutrients like calcium. Plants don’t need a lot of them, yet the soil alone may not provide enough for their needs.
Nutrient Ratio For Succulents
Balanced (or complete) fertilizers feature equal percentages of macronutrients. For general-purpose feeding or when you’re not sure about the needs of your plants, they’re the safest choice.
This is also the case for succulents. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact nutrient mix for every variety out there. The primary reason is the diversity of succulents in nature, and they don’t belong to a single group. Each plant in practice may have a different need.
Unless you know exactly what your plant needs the most for its healthy development, you’d be better off with an all-purpose balanced fertilizer. Avoid high-nitrogen blends as they can increase root rot and leaf issues.
That said, many specialized products exist and have their uses. They can come in handy in many situations. When issues occur, it may be necessary to apply a higher amount of a single nutrient as well.
A prime example is products marketed as “cactus fertilizers.” Their formulas typically have a lower percentage of nitrogen than normal. This ratio can encourage heavily-flowering plants like Christmas cactus to bloom.
Overall, go for specialized fertilizers when you have a special purpose in mind. Otherwise, just pick a balanced, all-purpose product.
Fertilizers for houseplants are available in granular, liquid, slow-release, and worm casting forms. The type decides how you can apply the fertilizer and how your plants are going to absorb it.
Most liquid fertilizers come in a container or a spray bottle. The former holds a concentrated formula that you need to dilute before use.
They are all easy to apply, especially for non-professional gardeners. Just keep in mind that the liquid form is usually more expensive and short-lived. They can’t last for a whole season like other forms, requiring you to re-apply often.
Also known as dry fertilizers, they are available as granules. Users have to mix this type of fertilizer into the soil when applying, usually for outdoor plants.
They are easier to store and cheaper in bulk. But without sufficient watering, those granules and their nutrients might not get to the roots. Even applications aren’t easy to achieve and may require additional tools.
This type has several physical shapes: capsules, spikes, balls, and pellets. What makes it a favorite choice for hobbies or professionals alike is the special coating on spikes or pellets.
This shell prevents the fertilizer from getting soaked up all at once. Instead, nutrients slowly dissolve into the soil during an extended period of time. This duration for a single application can last several months.
Slow-release products are convenient and reduce the number of applications. However, they come with a higher upfront cost, and you have less control over the release rate.
Many commercial worm castings are also available. Those natural fertilizers are an organic choice and contain many key nutrients like nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and carbon. Worm castings have the benefits and downsides of organic fertilizers (more on this below).
Organic Vs. Synthetic
Synthetic fertilizers may have some natural ingredients in their formulas. For the most part, they’re still made of synthetic compounds.
They’re easier and cheaper to produce. Manufacturers can have great control and pack a higher concentration of nutrients as well.
When applied in the soil, they work quickly and help plants with their growth. However, the risk of burnt foliage and roots is higher.
From eggshells to coffee grounds, those products feature only or, in part, organic ingredients.
Entirely organic fertilizers exist, but this isn’t always the case. Their label can tell you more about the percentage of synthetic and natural matter.
This type of fertilizer is less likely to burn your succulents. Buying organic formulas tends to be more smelly and pricier. They’re less potent, and you may have to wait for a longer time to see results.
You don’t need to feed your plants with expensive food. The actual content making it up is the most important and more expensive products don’t contain better, say, nitrogen or potassium.
Only pay a premium if you care about its sustainability or its application method.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Succulents Really Need Fertilizers?
Most succulents aren’t heavy eaters. Unless you want to encourage growth or have poor soil, added nutrients aren’t essential to their survival.
Having said that, a proper application at the right time won’t hurt and can help with flowering promotion.
What Happens If I Don’t Feed My Succulents?
Most of the time, they’ll be fine. Succulents have adapted to low-fertility environments. A lot of those plants, like Mexican firecrackers, come from semi-desert places where the lack of nutrients is part of their life.
Without you feeding them, the most likely outcome is they grow slower and smaller.
Can I Use Regular Fertilizers To Feed My Succulents?
Yes. Most all-purpose houseplant fertilizers can meet the nutritional needs of succulents. Just following the above recommendations to avoid wrong products for them.
When Should I Feed My Succulents?
Like other plants, succulents don’t always grow at the same rate throughout the year. Some varieties like Agave, Euphorbia, or Echeveria go into dormancy during the winter months. During this period, they don’t grow much.
If you want to stimulate the growth of those plants, spring is the best time of the year. It’s when they bounce back and become active again.
On the other hand, winter is the active growing season for some species. Late fall feeding creates the best environment for their growth. Find more information about your plant and its dormant period to get the best timing. It isn’t the same for every succulent.
How Often Should I Feed My Succulents?
Only fertilize your plants very occasionally. You may feed them once or three times before each growing season. But avoid feeding more than once a month in most cases. Only a few varieties like Echeveria can tolerate weekly applications with a weak formula.
What If I Use Too Much Fertilizer?
If you feed your succulents too often or use a strong concentration, many problems are at play. The plants may survive, but they may not look appealing or suffer from wiry growth.
Are There Any Alternatives To Commercial Fertilizers?
You can opt for DIY organic solutions if you want to avoid off-the-shelf products.
For example, compost tea is a good source of nutrients, which can help protect your succulents from soil and pest problems by aiding beneficial soil microbes. Fish emulsion is another common homemade option.
More often than not, you just need to stick with an all-purpose, balanced formula. Feed it before your plants start ramping up their growth. The additional nutrients can aid in their development without harming their roots or stems.
For those reasons, the Jobe’s Organics plant food is the best succulent fertilizer. The great nutrient mix works with most plants, while the biodegradable nature ensures they don’t get burnt.
If you can’t stand a pungent smell indoors, check out the Cute Farms product. Available in spray-on bottles, it is pleasant to use.