Fertilising your succulents - the complete guide

Fertilising succulents
Healthy, compact rosettes.
I grow all of my succulents in pots and because I don't re pot them into fresh soil every Spring I fertilise from Spring through to the end of August. This ensures that my plants have access to all the nutrients they will need throughout the growing period. If your plants have access to all the nutrients they need they will grow more and look healthier and more colourful.

There are 3 main elements in pant fertilisers:
Potassium(K)- Increases drought resistance, regulates water uptake and helps them to digest and make their food.
Phosphorus(P): Supports root, stem and flower growth.
Nitrogen(N): Promotes healthy leaf growth.

For Succulents you are looking for a fertiliser that is low in nitrogen, too much nitrogen can cause your succulents to loose their nice compact shape and grow leggy.

There are lots of ready made succulent fertilisers available, these can be expensive and sometimes hard to source depending on where you live. If you decide to use a ready made succulent fertiliser then just follow the instructions on the pack for dosage.

One fertiliser I see recommended a lot is Chempak 8 this is a low nitrogen fertiliser so a great choice for succulents and cacti.
Fertilising for healthy succulents
Succulents grown using tomato fertiliser

I use a liquid tomato fertiliser that is high in potash, potash contains a variety of potassium salts that are great for leaf firmness, flowering and disease resistance. I dilute it to a quarter of the strength recommended on the pack for tomatoes and use about once a month from the beginning of Spring through to the end of August when I start preparing for winter dormancy. Using this on my succulents has brought such great even growth, although they grow fast they grow with strong stems and compact rosettes, colour wise they have also never looked better.
Since I started using tomato feed on my cacti I have had the most fantastic blooms and good strong growth, so I would definitely recommend it for cacti too.

Fertilising cactus and succulents
A cactus in bloom

Another type of fertiliser you can get are slow release pellets, I would stay away from these. Because they sit in the soil they can cause root burn if they sit against your succulents roots. Another big downside it that unless you re pot your plant at the end of August your succulent is going to continue to get fertiliser right through the Winter which can disrupt dormancy and if you live somewhere where lack of light in winter is a problem, any growth you do get will cause your succulents to stretch out.

Using fertiliser can be a little bit of trial and error to get right, depending on where you live you may need to fertilise more or less often, you can experiment with both the frequency and they strength of fertiliser to find what works best for you. Do remember though that less is more when it comes to fertiliser, too much can lead to an unhealthy plant just as too little can so start small and work up.

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