5 Safest Fertilizers For Your Succulents

So, you’ve been bit by the succulent bug, and now you have one or five of your own. It might have been the unique shape that attracted you to it or the fact that these no-mess-no-fuss plants are great for those trying out their green thumbs. Either way, you are ready to watch your succulent grow.

We understand that succulents will thrive with the right amount of sunlight, water, air, and well-draining soil. However, occasionally, during horticulturist gatherings, you may stumble upon talk of fertilizer. Word on the succulent grapevine is that these chubby plants may or may not require some fertilizer, which leaves you confused as to whether they need it or not.

5 Safest Fertilizers For Your Succulents
A person adding fertilizer to a succulent planter @sucstu

What is Plant Fertilizer?

Fertilizer is the confidence boost that your succulent needs to assure the plant that it is in a safe place to grow. It provides nutritional support for your succulent, helping it grow the perfect forms, fully bloom, and even better respond to environmental stresses.

Do Succulents Need Fertilizer? 

It is not a rule set in stone, but every so often, it is advisable to fertilize your succulent. Depending on the type of fertilizer you have, you could either must mix it into the soil, place it on top of the soil, or have it in liquid form to water your plant.

A balanced blend of fertilizer should have nitrogen to promote overall growth (larger fuller leaves and bright colors), potassium to encourage flowering and fruit production and phosphorous to stimulate better disease resistance.

The right time to fertilize your succulents would be in late summer or early fall when the growing period starts.

Make sure you also check out our guide “7 Succulent Care Tips” for more tips on caring for your succulent.

Too Much or Too Little?

Deciding to give your succulent fertilizer should not be a difficult one. It is not about how often or how much fertilizer you give your plant, but more about doing it the right way.

Considering that succulents tend to hold on to a reasonable amount of dissolved nutrients, overfertilization can be a danger. The nutrient boost might cause the plant to grow too quickly, leading to stringy succulents with weak stems. Under-fertilization will leave your succulent vulnerable to nutrition deficiencies, meaning it may not develop or even produce flowers.

Identifying and being familiar with your succulent will help you decide the right amount of fertilizer it may need. Every succulent is different. What may be suitable for the Agave may not necessarily be good for the Echeveria.

Chemical Fertilizers and Succulents – Good or Bad?

Chemical fertilizers are also known as artificial or synthetic fertilizers and are made from unnatural elements and procedures. These fertilizers feed the plant directly with high concentrations of supplements and provide rapid nutrition for the plant. Because of this, chemical fertilizers can easily shock or overwhelm your succulent. They may burn the roots of the plant and can cause misshapen or scarred leaves.

Diluting the chemical fertilizers is important before giving to succulents. The dilution ratio will differ depending on the size of the plant and type of succulent, which makes using chemical fertilizers a little tricky. Most growers will agree that chemical fertilizers are often too harsh and too fast-acting for succulents.

5 Safest Fertilizers For Your Succulents
Water pouring in a watering can next to potted succulents @sucstu

Organic fertilizers – Your safest bet for succulents

1. Compost manure – As natural as mother nature gets

If you live on or near a farm and you have outdoor succulents, well-composted manure from grazing animals like cows, sheep, and chickens has been recognized as priceless, because it provides an array of minerals and micronutrients that are critical to the health of your plant. We emphasize on outdoor succulents because with the nutrients comes a rather strong scent that may not be very pleasant indoors.

Compost manure revitalizes the soil, increases soil aeration, and releases the carbon content making it easier for the plant to absorb nutrients.

Super Compost All Purpose Potting Mix. Concentrated (Makes 32...
  • Certified Organic
  • Odorless
  • Non-GMO
  • AVA Approved & Recommended
  • Concentrated Strength

Last update on 2019-11-20 / Amazon

2. Worm castings – wiggly worms that feed plants and keep off pests

The worm castings are technically worm manure – the waste products of earthworms. Worm castings are rich in humus, which improves soil aeration, and they also can balance out high or low pH levels in the soil.

Worm castings are rich with over 60 micronutrients that are essential for healthy succulents. In addition to nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, worm castings are abundant in magnesium, calcium, carbon, potassium, iron, zinc, and copper. They also remedy heavy metals in soils, preventing your succulent from absorbing toxic amounts of these compounds.

A great advantage of using worm castings to fertilize your succulents is they are rich in enzyme chitinase. Chitinase breaks down chitin in an insect’s exoskeleton. When the chitinase is absorption happens in the succulents roots, distribution follows to the leaves and other sections of the plant. Mealybugs, aphids, and whiteflies can sense the chitinase in your succulent and will avoid feeding on your plant. Pests will walk away from their death!

Unco Industries Wiggle Worm Organic Earthworm Castings...
  • Beautiful growth and yields of your plants
  • Nutrients in earthworm castings are plentiful
  • Slowly feeds the plant for long periods of time
  • Just a handful will make your plants Happy
  • Excellent for indoor or outdoor plants;...

Last update on 2019-11-20 / Amazon

3. Tea bags – Succulents can have a cup of tea! 

When looking for organic manure but without the hassle of cow dung or rotting vegetables from a garden compost, look no further than the Authentic Haven Brand Manure Tea. The Authentic Haven Brand owners have created little manure tea bags that you can soak in water and feed your plants with.

The manure comes from organically raised cows that have been pasture-fed with no antibiotics or hormones and are packed in 100% biodegradable cotton bags. A tea bag should be soaked in about 5 gallons of water for 24 – 36 hours until the liquid turns a golden-brown color. This water can replace tap water when your succulent is dry and needs a drink.

The Authentic Haven Brand Manure Teabags can confidently take on two 36-hour soaks each and are available in a packet of three for $12.95 on their website.

Also, try our pick for organic tea bag manure!

Sustane Compost Tea Bags
  • Provides a controlled dose of all essential...
  • Helps build soil microbial populations, reduces...
  • Sustain plant food produces more fruits and blooms...
  • Easily brew tea from safe, high quality compost

Last update on 2019-11-20 / Amazon

4. Spray it with Hello Succulents

When looking for the benefits and nutrients of organic fertilizer without the work of composting or preparing tea, you should invest in a bottle of Succulent Super Food from Hello Succulents.

This easy to use spray bottle contains liquid fertilizer made from all-natural worm casting tea and works well on both indoor and outdoor succulents. You can spray it straight on the soil around your succulents or directly onto the leaves to dissuade white flies or mealy bugs. It retails on Amazon for $24. 99. 

Succulent Fertilizer, Liquid Succulents Food Spray for Succulent...
  • FIND TIME FOR HOME - Hello Succulents will...
  • SUCCULENT, ALOE VERA, AND CACTI CARE FROM...
  • MAINTAINS SUCCULENTS' NATURAL BEAUTY - Hello...
  • AN AURA OF SUCCULENT BLISS - Wedding...
  • 100% MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE - Hello Succulents...

Last update on 2019-11-20 / Amazon

5. Slow-release fertilizer for outdoor succulents

The GrowBetter Organic Cactus and Succulent Fertilizer have been acclaimed for being the ultimate fertilizer for outdoor succulents. This organic, slow-release fertilizer is made from composted chicken manure and can be pre-mixed into potting soil when planting or as a top dress. The plant should be watered after the fertilizer has been applied for the granules to dissolve.

This low odor fertilizer slowly releases the micronutrients into the soil, with each application lasting for up to two months. The GrowBetter Organic Cactus and Succulent Fertilizer are nutritious for both ornamental and edible succulents and cacti.

GrowBetter Organic Cactus & Succulent Fertilizer
  • Organic Cactus and Succulent Fertilizer
  • Great indoor & outdoor fertilizer for both edible...
  • Easy to apply; can be used in both native and...
  • Slow release- each application lasts up to 2...
  • OMRI Listed

Last update on 2019-11-20 / Amazon


Thank you for reading with us today on the safest fertilizers to use for your succulents. Be sure to check out similar content to keep your succulent knowledge growing like “Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off?” or even “7 Mini Garden Hand Tools For Your Succulents“.

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read. 

Happy Planting! 🌵

>