Learn how to fertilize succulents

Often people think that you don’t need fertilizer for succulents. Just like most plants though, succulents will benefit from regular fertilizing. Find out how often you should fertilize and what you should use!

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As with all plants, succulents need nutrients to help them grow healthy and beautiful. Surprisingly though not many people think succulents need fertilizer! While they can get some of the nutrients they need from the soil, fertilizer will help them grow more full and produce better colors.

You do have to be careful not to use a fertilizer that is too strong, otherwise the succulents can burn. However, the right fertilizer used every few months can dramatically change how well your succulents thrive.

Over the winter I got to photograph with Cindy Davison of The Succulent Perch and she was kind enough to give me a bag of Haven Brand Manure Tea. I highly recommend this for a succulent fertilizer. You can also use Miracle Grow Cactus Fertilizer, but I think the tea works much better, plus it won’t burn the succulents, even in large amounts.

Your succulents will thank you for fertilizing them! Find out how often you should fertilize succulents and what you should use
Cold hardy Sempervivums and Sedums

The idea behind manure tea is great: it’s like using compost or manure as fertilizer, but you don’t get messy and it doesn’t stink. It’s a great natural way to fertilize succulents and my succulents loved it! It is really safe for the succulents and they grew so much larger and healthier than they would have other wise.

You’ll get 3 bags for $12.95 including shipping. Only available in the United States.

Preparing manure tea

Remove the tea bag from the packaging (but leave the tea bag as is) and then place it in a 5 gallon bucket (or any large bucket you have).

Place your manure tea bag in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket and then fill it with water

Fill the bucket nearly to the top with water. Run the water over the tea bag as you fill the bucket. The directions suggest using somewhere between 1 and 5 gallons of water. I used 5 gallons.

Steep your manure tea for several days for a more potent fertilizer

Cover the bucket and let the tea bag sit in the water for a few days. I didn’t want to fish the bag out of the water later, so I left the string hanging over the edge of the bucket.

Cover the manure tea while it steeps

After 2-3 days (or longer… I accidentally left mine for 4), open up the bucket and remove the tea bag. Now you can begin fertilizing!

After 3-4 days of steeping your manure tea is ready to use!

Using manure tea

Your succulents will benefit from using fertilizer - find out how often they need it and what to use
Cold hardy Sempervivums and Sedums

The tea is mild enough that it won’t burn your succulents if it gets on top of the leaves. I poured the tea into a large watering can and generously poured it on my succulents just like I would with any other watering. I only fertilized my outdoor succulents (I’ll tell you why a bit later) and I only watered them with the tea once. Here’s what they looked like before the manure tea fertilizer…

Help your succulents grow bigger and more beautiful with manure tea fertilizer

Find out how to improve the health of your succulents with fertilizer

The succulents looked healthy, although they were a little sparse. I was really curious to see how much the fertilizer would help. I was so amazed to see how quickly the fertilizer helped! Within just 30 days I noticed a difference in how filled in the container of succulents became. They were all very healthy and growing quite large. I didn’t get around to photographing them until about 2 months after using the fertilizer, but here is what they looked like…

Your succulents will grow faster after you fertilize them

Find out how to fertilize succulents to get this full and lush look

After using fertilizer succulents will become more lush and full

I love how full this rain gutter succulent garden is and I’m confident the fertilizer really helped. I have a couple other planters outside and they don’t look nearly as good. The great thing about using the manure tea is you aren’t likely to burn your succulents or over fertilize them because it’s such a mild form of fertilizer (but very powerful all the same!). I’ve also used a Miracle Grow Cactus Fertilizer but wasn’t as impressed.

You can get 3 bags for $12.95 including shipping. Only available in the United States.

How often do succulents need fertilizer?

Now that you know about a great fertilizer, you may be wondering how often to fertilize succulents. While you can fertilize succulents as often as once a month, especially if you’re using manure tea, they will generally do just fine with one fertilizing each year in the spring. For a lot of succulents this is the beginning of their growing season so they can are ready to use the added nutrients. If you have mostly winter growing succulents, I’d recommend fertilizing in the fall.

If you decide to use something other than manure tea for your succulent fertilizer, stay away from slow release options. These are extremely potent and can often burn the succulents rather than help them grow. I recommend using a water soluble fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength.

Fertilizing indoor succulents

I’ve gone back and forth on whether indoor succulents need fertilizer. Ultimately, I’ve decided to fertilize mine just once per year in the spring (when the days are getting longer). The fertilizer causes succulents to grow more quickly which can cause a lot of stretching if you’re succulents aren’t getting enough light. If possible, move your succulents outdoors to a bright, shady area just after fertilizing to help them stay compact as they enjoy the boost of nutrients. If you do keep them inside, try to give them as much light as possible and even consider using a grow light.

So, if you’re itching to fertilize your outdoor succulents, order some manure tea and get started! I know you’ll love how large they grow and fill in. I’d love to know about your experience fertilizing succulents! Feel free to leave a comment below! Also, if you know anyone who you think would benefit from this post, please share it with them on social media or via email.

111 Responses to Learn how to fertilize succulents

    • You can fertilize indoors, however, unless you are getting plenty of sunlight I would wait until you can place them outside to fertilize them.

  1. Hi,

    A five gallon bucket of fertilizer will last me probably forever! Will this manure tea retain its potency and effectiveness for a long time?

    • Once it is made up you should use it within a day or two. However, you can mix it in smaller quantities and let the tea bag dry out in between. It will make about 5 gallons total.

    • Freezing may work, or you can mix it up in smaller batches. You can make a gallon at a time and let the tea bag dry out in between.

  2. Would you refrain from fertilizing indoor succulents even in a gritty mix that does not provide many of its own nutrients? Additionally, would the use of a grow light alter your habits for fertilizing indoors? I’m using a grow light and am in the process of transitioning to gritty mix for my succulents and want them to grow as healthily as possible!

    • The fertilizer is a good idea for all succulents, it just needs to be used sparingly. No, grow lights after the fertilizer will be fine, and your plants will love all the attention! :)

  3. Dear Ms. Cassidy,

    Is it possible to use our table tea or any tea in bags.
    I am from the Philippines and I’m not sure if there is manure tea for sale here in the locals

    • I don’t believe so. Instead, I’d recommend looking for a balanced fertilizer and then dilute it with water. Generally equal parts water and liquid fertilizer will be fine for succulents.

  4. Love your information. When I went to the manure tea website, I noticed there were three kinds offered. Also, I noticed there was an offer of one each of the three kinds. Does it matter which manure you use on succulents? Thank you.

    • If you use manure tea you will be watering them when you fertilize them so you don’t need to water them first.

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Wondering who I am?

Let me introduce myself... My name is Cassidy Tuttle and I’m a professional photographer turned succulent addict. These are my two sweet children and wonderful husband in the photo with me!

My adventure with succulents started with three small plants on the window sill of my basement apartment. Within a year I had propagated them and purchased more, totaling over 100 plants!

It’s been a fun adventure since then as I’ve drowned, burned, frozen, and starved my collection of succulents. This site is where I teach you how to avoid all those mistakes I made or help you recover from them.

While I’ve killed plenty of succulents in the last few years, I’ve also kept hundreds alive and thriving, and I know you can do the same!

Did I mention I wrote the book on succulents?

It’s true! I’m the author of Idiot’s Guides: Succulents which is designed to help those of us who love succulents (but are limited to growing on our window sills and porches) keep our succulents looking great.

You can purchase my book through my Amazon affiliate link here or pick it up at your local Barnes and Noble.

If printed books aren’t your thing, I’ve also written several ebooks about succulents on various topics including indoor growing, watering and propagating. You can check those out on this page.

My goal is to help you not just keep your succulents alive, but help them thrive no matter where you live.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff!

I’m impressed you’ve made it this far down. You should probably be rewarded for that…

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