10 DIY Succulent Fertilizer Recipes: The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Succulents

Succulent fertilizer is something you should consider if you’re not satisfied with the growth of your plants. Not all succulents are created equal: some require more nutrients than others do, and some types can’t tolerate succulent fertilizer at all.

Before you add any succulent fertilizer to your garden, it’s important to understand what kind of plant it is and how much food it needs.

In this article we’ll explain how often you should use succulent fertilizer as well as what type of fertilizer works best for each type of plant—and when not to use them at all! This site contains product affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.

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We’ve all done it. Our plants need us!

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Best fertilizer for succulents succulent fertilizer

Fertilize During Growth

If you do choose to use succulent fertilizer, don’t overdo it. Succulent food can be harmful if too much is applied at one time. It should be applied in small amounts throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons to encourage healthy growth and coloration.

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Cactus and succulent fertilizer succulent fertilizer

Imbalanced Fertilizer

Soil that’s too acidic or low in nutrients can cause your plants to grow more leaves and stems but less roots and flowers. This is called “nitrogen deficiency.”


The opposite is called “nitrogen overabundance,” which means that there’s not enough nitrogen in the soil for healthy growth of roots and flowers.

Succulent meme buying more plants office succulent fertilizer
@sociaplant has the best plant memes!

NPK Ratio

You’ll want to use succulent fertilizer with a balanced blend of NPK (nitrogen, phosphate, potassium) levels so that each type of plant has what it needs!

When you’re looking at a succulent food label, there will be 3 numbers that indicate the NPK ratio, so pick one with the same numbers like 10-10-10.

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Succulent fertilizer for echeveria succulent fertilizer

How Much Fertilizer

Use only half the recommended amount of succulent food at first and gradually increase the amount if necessary. If your plant is growing slowly or shows no signs of growth, try increasing the dose again until you find a dosage that works for your plant.

Succulent fertilizer plant food succulent fertilizer

If you’re looking to add more nutrients than just nitrogen(N), phosphorus (P) and potassium(K), look into using other types of succulent food with nutrients such as magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca). These elements can help strengthen root systems so they grow stronger over time—a great way to make sure they don’t get lost in all that dirt!

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Also be careful not let too much succulent fertilizer touch the leaves; this could lead them toward nutrient burn which means losing all their leaves.

Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi variegata flowers succulent fertilizer

How often do you fertilize succulents?

Succulents don’t require frequent fertilizing. In general, they only need fertilizer during their active growing season, which is typically spring and summer.


Most succulents only need to be fertilized once every 4 to 8 weeks during the growing season. Some sources recommend fertilizing every other watering during the peak of the growing season.

Can I use all purpose plant food for succulents?

Sure! Just make sure it can be diluted quite a bit or you can use a granular type of all purpose plant food which is usually time released and is slowly distributed throughout the soil over time.


My favorite type of commercial succulent fertilizer/all purpose plant food is a solid kind that I just mix into the soil called Osmocote. The nutrients are released slowly so as to not burn the succulents. You can find it here: https://amzn.to/3A5ih7a

SUPERthrive for Succulents

One very very popular liquid concentrate plant food is called SUPERthrive which has been used for decades to maintain plant health, reduce transplant shock and improve success with propagation. I use it mostly on my indoor plants, but whenever I have a succulent that just isn’t doing well and I can’t figure out why, I’ll look to SUPERthrive as my last ditch effort.

A little bit of it goes a long way too! The dosage for succulents and cactus is 1/4 of a teaspoon per 1 gallon of water. You can also use it every time you water, but I’d wait to see how your succulents react to it and adjust the frequency from there. It’s always available on Amazon and most garden retailers as well. The reviews speak for themselves, so have a look and try it out!

Superthrive succulent fertilizer succulent fertilizer
Superthrive helps your plants… thrive!

When you’re rooting or transplanting your succulents and cacti, use SUPERthrive to help reduce the chance of transplant shock and grow a strong root system.

Overuse of Fertilizer

Overusing succulent fertilizer on soil can have a number of negative effects on soil fertility and plant health, including:

Salty Soil

Excessive succulent food application can lead to an accumulation of salts in the soil, which can cause soil structure to degrade and make it difficult for plants to absorb water and nutrients.

Algae and Microbial Growth

Fertilizer runoff into water bodies can lead to excessive algae and microbial growth, which can cause a decrease in oxygen levels and harm aquatic life.

Nutrient Imbalances

Overfertilization can create imbalances in soil nutrients, which can lead to deficiencies or toxicities of certain elements and affect plant growth and health.

Overly Acidic Soil

Certain types of succulent fertilizers, such as ammonium-based fertilizers, can acidify soil and cause an imbalance in pH levels.

Increased Pest and Disease Pressure

Overfertilized plants may be more susceptible to pests and diseases, as they are less able to withstand stress and may be more attractive to insects and pathogens.

By using succulent fertilizer in moderation and applying it in a way that is consistent with soil test results and the needs of the plants being grown, you can help to maintain soil fertility and promote healthy plant growth. If you feel like you’ve overfertilized your succulents, I recommend flushing them with water to dilute what’s in the soil.

Rainbow of succulents succulent fertilizer


Excessive succulent fertilizer application can lead to leaching of nutrients beyond the root zone of plants, where they can no longer be absorbed and used, leading to waste and environmental pollution.

Click the image below to learn about liquid fertilizer for water propagation.


8 Homemade DIY Succulent Fertilizer Recipes

While it’s possible to purchase commercial succulent fertilizers, there are also several household items that can be used as a natural and cost-effective alternative. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some common household items that can be used as homemade fertilizers for succulents.

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6 sided crassula moonglow types of succulents identification succulent fertilizer
Instead of pairs, this Crassula ‘Moonglow’ grew leaves in triads. I miss it so much.

Benefits of DIY Succulent Fertilizer

Using homemade succulent fertilizer has several benefits, including:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Most household items used as fertilizers are things that you already have on hand, saving you money on commercial fertilizers.
  • Convenience: No need to make a trip to the store, simply use what you already have in your home to feed your succulents.
  • Sustainability: Using organic, biodegradable products is a more sustainable option than commercial succulent fertilizer, which may contain chemicals that can harm the environment not to mention the packaging that it comes in.

Here are some common household items that can be used as DIY homemade succulent fertilizer:

Compost/Compost Tea

Save your kitchen scraps to make compost succulent fertilizer

Compost is an excellent source of slow-release nutrients for plants, including succulents. To use compost as an organic homemade succulent fertilizer for succulents, simply mix it into the soil around the base of the plant. The microbes and bacteria in the soil will take it from there. Another way you can use compost is to make DIY liquid compost tea. Keep scrolling for the recipe.

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Compost tea is a liquid succulent fertilizer made by steeping compost in water. The process of making compost tea is simple and can be done at home with a few basic materials.

How to make organic compost tea:

  1. Fill a large container with water.
  2. Add compost to a burlap sack or cheesecloth bag and tie it closed.
  3. Submerge the bag of compost in the water and let it steep for 24 to 48 hours.
  4. Stir the mixture occasionally to help release the nutrients from the compost into the water.
  5. Remove the bag of compost from the water and strain the liquid into a separate container.
  6. The compost tea is now ready to use as a fertilizer for your succulents. Simply dilute the tea with water to the desired strength and use it to water the plants.

It’s important to note that compost tea should be used fresh, as it can quickly become contaminated with harmful bacteria. To maximize the nutritional benefits of natural compost tea, it should be applied within a few hours of being brewed.

Check out my full guide to compost tea here: Compost Tea for Healthy Succulents: A Comprehensive Guide

Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when using compost or compost tea as a homemade succulent fertilizer:

Pros of Compost Tea:

  • Improves soil structure
  • Helps retain moisture, so be careful and use compost sparingly
  • Provides a slow-release source of rich nutrients to plants

Cons of Compost Tea:

  • Can make the soil too dense if used in excess, leading to poor drainage and root rot in succulents
  • Must be used right away so storing it for convenience isn’t really an option

Keep a small compost bin in your kitchen so you can toss your scraps and empty it easily.

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Bloom stalk echeveria perle von nurnberg pruning 1 succulent fertilizer

If you want to use compost tea to fertilize your succulents, but don’t want to go through all of the hassle of composting, click on the image below and purchase some from a small business on Etsy!



Sprinkle finely crushed eggshells and mix with soil succulent fertilizer

Eggshells are a natural source of calcium, which is important for strong cell walls and root development in plants.

To use eggshells as a DIY organic succulent fertilizer, first remove the membrane inside the shell, crush the shells into fine pieces and sprinkle around the base of the succulent or mix in with the soil.

Over time, the eggshells will break down and release calcium into the soil. The smaller the eggshell bits, the faster the calcium will be released into the soil.

Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when using eggshells as a natural homemade succulent fertilizer:

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Pros of Eggshells:

  • Provides a natural source of calcium
  • Supports strong cell walls and root development
  • When properly prepared, eggshells can be stored for use later

Cons of Eggshells:

  • Can raise the soil’s pH if used in excess, making it too alkaline for succulents

Dig deeper into how crushed eggshells can fertilize your succulents here: Crushed Eggshells as Fertilizer for Succulents: A Comprehensive Guide

Time required for cactus propagation succulent fertilizer

Banana Peels/Banana Peel Water DIY Liquid Fertilizer

Banana peel water as a homemade fertilizer for succulents succulent fertilizer

Banana peels are a rich source of potassium, which is important for plant growth and flowering. To use banana peels as a DIY organic homemade succulent fertilizer, bury them in the soil near the roots of the succulent.

Keep scrolling and learn how to make banana peel water to fertilize your succulents.

How to Make Banana Peel Water

Alternatively, chop up the peels and boil them in water to make a potassium-rich tea. Let the tea cool to room temperature before using it to water the succulent.

Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when using banana peel or banana peel water as a natural succulent fertilizer:

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Pros of Banana Peels:

  • Rich source of potassium
  • Supports plant growth and flowering

Cons of Banana Peels:

  • Can raise the soil’s potassium levels if used in excess, leading to poor growth and stunted development in succulents.
  • Attracts fruit flies if stored improperly, so best to use it right away.

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Echeveria elegans light succulent fertilizer

Coffee Grounds

Coffee drinkers can put the used grounds in the soil as fertilizer succulent fertilizer

Coffee grounds are a rich source of nitrogen, which is important for leafy growth and healthy green foliage in plants. I love using coffee grounds as succulent fertilizer because I drink at least a pot of coffee every morning, so I might as well put those grounds to good use!

How to Use Coffee Grounds to Fertilize Succulents

Coffee grounds are a great natural fertilizer you can use in your succulent pots. They are full of nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus that your succulents need to stay healthy.

Just sprinkle some used coffee grounds around your succulents or mix them into the soil. The grounds will break down slowly and feed your succulents over time. This helps the soil and improves growth.

Coffee grounds also help the soil hold water better. They add tiny holes that trap water so it doesn’t dry out too fast. The grounds attract good bugs in the soil that keep it richer too.

Fertilizing with coffee grounds is good for the environment too. It keeps waste out of landfills and recycles it as plant food. Your succulents will love the nutrients.

Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when using coffee grounds as a homemade succulent fertilizer:

Pros of Fertilizing With Coffee Grounds:

  • Rich source of nitrogen
  • Supports leafy growth and healthy green foliage

Cons of Coffee Grounds:

  • Can lower the soil’s pH if used in excess, making it too acidic for succulents

I have a whole page dedicated to how spent coffee grounds provide much needed nutrients to your succulents here: Using Coffee Grounds in Succulent Soil: Benefits and Tips

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Euphorbia flowers

Fish Tank Water

Fish tank water is full of nutrients for succulent soil succulent fertilizer

Fish tank water is a rich source of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are important for plant growth. Personally, I think that fish tank water is the best fertilizer for succulents hands down.

We used to have a 40 gallon fish tank and when I’d use fish tank water to water my succulents, they thrived like never before. It almost makes me want to keep another fish tank just for the water!

Fish tank or aquarium water makes an excellent DIY liquid fertilizer for succulents for a few key reasons:

  • It contains nitrogen and phosphorus from fish waste and uneaten food, which are nutrients that succulents need. The nitrogen promotes healthy green growth and phosphorus aids in root development and flowering.
  • The water is rich in minerals and trace elements from the fish food, gravel, coral, seashells, etc. in the tank. These provide additional nutrients succulents thrive on.
  • The water already has a balanced pH since aquarium water is carefully monitored for fish health. This means it won’t make soil too acidic or alkaline when used as DIY liquid fertilizer water.
  • Aquarium water is free of chlorine, chloramines, and other additives found in tap water that can build up in soil over time.
  • Using tank water for plants when changing aquariums prevents it from going to waste while providing a free and natural fertilizer source.
  • The mild nitrogen concentration of aquarium water reduces chances of fertilizer burn compared to stronger synthetic fertilizers.

So by occasionally using used fish tank water to water succulents, it feeds them a variety of vital nutrients and minerals tailored to plant health. This leads to stronger, healthier, and more vibrant succulents. You’re changing your aquarium water regularly anyways…. right!?

How to Use Fish Tank Water to Fertilize Succulents

To use fish tank water as a DIY liquid succulent fertilizer, simply dilute it and use it to water your succulents. You would think it could make the soil stinky because fish, but that isn’t the case at all.

Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when using fish tank water as a DIY liquid homemade succulent fertilizer:

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Pros of Fish Tank Water:

  • Rich source of nutrients
  • Supports overall plant growth

Cons of Fish Tank Water:

  • Can contain harmful chemicals or toxins if the fish tank is not properly maintained
  • Can raise the soil’s salinity levels if used in excess, leading to poor growth in succulents

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Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is a rich source of magnesium, which is important for photosynthesis and healthy chlorophyll production in plants. This is probably the DIY liquid fertilizer I’m least likely to use since I love taking hot baths with Epsom salts. I digress…

How to Use Epsom Salt as a DIY liquid Fertilizer

To use Epsom salt as a DIY liquid fertilizer, dilute it in water and use it to water the succulent once a month.

Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when using Epsom salt as a homemade liquid succulent fertilizer:

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Pros of Epsom Salt:

  • Rich source of magnesium
  • Supports photosynthesis and healthy chlorophyll production

Cons of Epsom Salt:

  • Can raise the soil’s salinity levels if used in excess, leading to poor growth in succulents

Be sure to get plain, unscented Epsom salt like the one below:

Wood Ash

Wood ash mixed with soil adds beneficial nutrients succulent fertilizer

Wood ash is a rich source of potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, which are important for plant growth and flowering. My husband likes to smoke meats and he usually dumps the used wood pellets in my soil bin to boost the nutrients and put them to good use.

How to Use Wood Ash as a Fertilizer

To use wood ash as homemade plant food, sprinkle it on top of the soil or mix it into the soil around the base of the succulent.

Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when using wood ash as a homemade succulent fertilizer:

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Pros of Wood Ash:

  • Rich source of potassium, calcium, and phosphorus
  • Supports plant growth and flowering

Cons of Wood Ash:

  • Can raise the soil’s pH if used in excess, making it too alkaline for succulents
Do more of what makes you happy types of succulents identification succulent fertilizer

Rice Water

Rice water is a great homemade fertilizer succulent fertilizer

Rice water is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are important for plant growth. In this house, we pretty much always have a pot of rice in the rice cooker and before hitting that cook button, I always rinse my rice at least twice so it isn’t a gooey mess.

I have a dedicated watering can under the sink that I put the rice water in so I can water my plants with it. For convenience sake, my houseplants near the sink are usually the recipients of the rice water succulent fertilizer.

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Aeonium nobile succulent plant
Aeonium nobile is one of my favorites. It gets huge!! Here is a younger one in a 4″ pot.

How to Use Rice Water as a Fertilizer

To use rice water as a succulent fertilizer, simply soak rice in water, strain the water, and use it to water the succulent. Other guides will say to soak your rice overnight, but that’s excessive and will make your rice mushy.

Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when using rice water as a succulent fertilizer:

Pros of Rice Water:

  • Rich source of vitamins and minerals
  • Supports overall plant growth

Cons of Rice Water:

  • Can raise the soil’s salinity levels if used in excess, leading to poor growth in succulents

Succulents are not hard to care for, but they may seem a little overwhelming at first. If you’re new to succulents, then it may seem like there’s a lot to learn about them. But once you get the hang of it, caring for your succulent garden will be easy and fun! I hope this guide has helped you understand some basic tips on how best to fertilize your plants without causing any harm. It’s important that we all take care of our gardens so they’ll remain healthy long into future generations.

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How planting succulents in the ground vs pots affects shape and size succulent fertilizer

Organic Fish and Kelp Liquid Fertilizer

This nutrient rich DIY seaweed recipe provides a well-balanced organic succulent fertilizer. Dilution and correct application are important to avoid burning plant roots. The smell deters some, but it’s an inexpensive way to nourish plants with nutrient-dense fish and kelp byproducts.

Here is how to make an organic fish and kelp liquid succulent fertilizer:


  • Fish scraps or bones (1/2 – 1 cup)
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Water
  • Kelp (seaweed) meal/powder (1/4 cup)


  1. Place fish scraps/bones and kelp in the bottom of the bucket.
  2. Fill bucket about 3/4 full with water.
  3. Stir to combine ingredients and let it brew/ferment for 2-4 weeks, stirring occasionally.
  4. Strain liquid fertilizer through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
  5. Dilute the strength as needed when watering succulents.


  • High in nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that succulents need
  • Organic and natural ingredients
  • Can be homemade for low cost


  • Fertilizer may smell strongly of fish
  • Needs time to brew before use
  • Must be diluted correctly or can burn plants
  • May attract pests like fruit flies

Egg Shell Powder and Bonemeal Rooting Fertilizer

This succulent fertilizer uses naturally mineral-rich ingredients to promote healthy root development in succulents. The powdered egg shells and bonemeal release calcium and other micronutrients into the soil over time.


  • 1 cup eggshell powder
  • 1/2 cup bonemeal powder
  • 1 cup water

Grind egg shells into a fine powder. Mix with bonemeal and water to form a paste. Store in an airtight container.

Pros of Egg Shell Powder and Bonemeal:

  • Encourages sturdy root growth and plant structure
  • Slow-release formula means infrequent applications needed
  • All-natural and organic ingredients are safe for plants
  • Provides minerals succulents need for photosynthesis

Cons of Egg Shell Powder and Bonemeal:

  • Must prepare ingredients by grinding and mixing
  • Not a complete fertilizer, so may need supplemental nitrogen
  • Little research on its effectiveness on succulents specifically
  • Bonemeal can raise soil pH in very alkaline-sensitive plants

This homemade succulent fertilizer aims to nourish roots organically. While mineral-rich, it lacks nitrogen and may need supplementing. Its benefits would depend on individual succulent needs and soil chemistry. Commercial fertilizers may provide a more balanced meal but if you already have the ingredients why not use them instead of letting them go to waste!

Below, read on about the most important factors that I think all succulent owners should know when taking care of their plants.