Succulents are popular home and office plants because most varieties are small and colorful. These plants benefit from fertilizers because it helps them to grow well and produce vibrant colors. Commercial fertilizers are easily available and accessible, but you can always use homemade fertilizers that are less-expensive and still effective.
Homemade Fertilizer for Succulents: Common Types
These are some commonly used homemade fertilizers for succulents:
1. Banana Peels
Bananas contain potassium, which is important to plant growth. To use, simply throw one or two banana peels into a hole in the soil before planting the succulents. You can also place it under mulch to compost it, or pour pureed banana peels directly into the plants.
2. Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds provide nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals to your plants. However, they are acidic, so be sure to soak and rinse them after you have used them for your coffee. To use as fertilizer, simply mix the coffee grounds into the soil around the succulents.
You can also use coffee grounds as a liquid fertilizer by soaking them in water for one week. When the water is ready, simply pour it onto the plants.
Eggshells are rich in calcium and potassium. They contain 83% calcium carbonate and help lower the acidity of the soil. To use as fertilizer, wash them first to remove any yolk or egg whites, then crush them and sprinkle or mix them in the soil.
You can also make eggshell tea by soaking crushed eggshells in boiling water to release the nutrients. When the liquid cools down, pour it onto the plants.
Weeds can also be used as a fertilizer, either as compost or as a brew. They provide nitrogen and do not steal nutritional elements from the plants. You can cut them into small clippings, soak them in water, and let them sit for a day or two. Mix one cup of the solution with 10 cups of water and pour it at the base of the succulents.
Chicken, horse, and cow manure are also good fertilizers for plants. Make sure that these types of manure are composted and old since that works best for plants.
You can also make manure tea out of livestock manure by steeping it in water to be cured. The curing process is intended to destroy harmful pathogens that could harm the plants. Once the curing is complete, the finished product is placed in a sack resembling a teabag. The bags are then ready to steep in water that is applied or poured onto succulents.
Charcoal may not contain nutrients like other homemade fertilizers, but it helps in lowering carbon dioxide. This allows the roots to thrive and grow. You can add it to the base of the soil as it encourages airflow and helps absorb excess water. It controls moisture and helps prevent root rot.
Other organic fertilizers that you can use for your succulents are seaweeds, Epsom salt, and green tea. Seaweed contains trace elements that act as food for soil microbes. Epsom salt is rich in sulfate and magnesium and can help nourish the plants to grow greener and healthier. Simply dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and use the mixture to water the plants. Green tea improves soil oxygenation and increases the level of nutrients in the ground allowing the roots to grow and thrive.
Pros and Cons of Homemade Fertilizer for Succulents
- They improve the structural component of the potting soil and increase soil aeration.
- They are ecologically friendly.
- They are gentle and safe and help avoid leaching and toxic salt buildup.
- They are very affordable since they are commonly available at home or in the environment.
- They transform unhealthy soil and make it more suitable for plants.
- There is a slower release of nutrients, which means it may take time before you see favorable results.
- There can be a low supply despite the commonality of most homemade fertilizers since most plant and crop growers also use natural fertilizers.
- It is messy and some may find it inconvenient. Other plant growers cannot tolerate the unpleasant odors of rotting organic matter and manure.
- The nutritional value of homemade fertilizers is usually less than that of commercial fertilizers.
Succulents grow well and display vibrant colors when they are provided with the right amount of care and attention. Commercial fertilizers are effective in making them healthier, but you can also opt to use a homemade fertilizer for succulents. These natural and organic fertilizers are ecologically friendly, cost-effective, and commonly available at home or in the environment. However, some plant owners may not prefer them because they can be messy or produce unpleasant odors.
Image: istockphoto.com / KarpenkovDenis