Best fertilizer for potted or PIG succulents?

yorkiemikiSeptember 27, 2013

I was wondering what minerals succulents like the most?

I heard they like alkaline with calcium before I believe?

I was wondering if fertilizing potted succulents was different from Planted In Ground succulents PIG?

Also I've mainly used coffee grounds from Starbucks to amend soil and sometimes to fertilize pots? Is that ok because isn't coffee grounds acidic?

I like free stuff and you can get coffee grounds free at Starbucks

Also... I have Miracle Gro fertilizer for potted plants. Would it be ok to fertilize potted succulents at half strength once every week or two? Should I change the feeding schedule duri winter? Would this differ for winter growing plants vs summer growers? I don't even know which ones are active during winter/summer but read somewhere that it depends on which hemisphere they're from. ie. southwest north America vs south Africa ?
Also I live in coastal California so it's still fairly warm 70s F with overcast mornings

This post was edited by yorkiemiki on Fri, Sep 27, 13 at 1:15

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Some folks get nearly as detailed in their ferts as they do their soil. I use MG 15-30-15 diluted to 1/4 strength. You're fertilizing far too often IMO, but others may say differently. I'd only go once a month.

There's no need to fertilize plants when they're not in their growth cycle. Figure out what's in growth (and what isn't) and you'll be able to feed appropriately.

Plants adjust to the seasons of their location.

No, no to the coffee grounds - these plants aren't acid-loving, as they prefer a neutral soil.

I'd suggest you get a book on the basic care of C&S - they're usually fairly cheap at the bookstore or often available at a public library. Miles Anderson has two (I think) inexpensive ones which were quite valuable to me when I was beginning in these plants of ours. In this way you can get a lot of 'Aha' moments and be more comfortable about how to grow. Aside from that, you're in a prime area for plants of these sorts - mistakes are more easily forgiven, but you can avoid them by getting some beginner's information under your belt and stride about confident that your plants are getting good care.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 12:16PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I agree with Jeff - you're fertilizing too often/too heavily, however you'd like to look at it. For succulents, I generally play it safe by using a 1/4 strength dose, every other week during the growing season. During the Winter, I reduce that to 1/16 or 1/8 strength, as often as I remember. This is for potted plants.

In a fast-draining soil, plants should be fertilized year-round for maximum growth potential...even during the Winter, plants need nutrients; they just need much less. But they still need those reduced nutrients *regularly.*

For in-ground plants, I'd use a reduced dose of fish emulsion. The coffee grounds can be used, but don't pile them up as mulch. Spread them lightly, or incorporate into the soil so that they don't form a sludgy mat that invites pests around your plants. Basically, the coffee grounds should be decomposing quickly. Don't use the coffee grounds for potted plants - they muck up the drainage and they can be high in salts. Also, the acidity and tiny nitrogen boost is not worth it.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 1:39PM
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andy_e(SF Bay CA 9/14)

Use a good soil mix in your containers (50% potting soil, 50% perlite or pumice or turface) and then leave the soil alone. Definitely do not add anything that makes it more alkaline.

You do want your water to be a little acidic. Since you live in CA like me, I'm guessing you're watering with city water for most of the year (unless you're way up on the north coast). City water tends to be alkaline and over time you'll get a buildup of bicarbonate that inhibits water and nutrient uptake. In short, your plants will stop growing. City water is usually a pH of 8-8.5, and you want to be closer to 5.5. If Get a pH test kit to test your water, and you can use vinegar to lower the pH to the appropriate level.

I'd skip the coffee grounds altogether, they're not needed and they introduce too many other variables.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Thank you everyone. I think I will invest in some books.

I will also skip the coffee grounds and fertilize very infrequently. Moreso during the summer.

Do you guys know if I have to fertilize winter plants during winter season? I'm kind of confused as to which are which but I suppose I should get a book for that

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 1:18AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

If a plant is in a fast-draining soil in a container, it is relying on you for nutrients year-round. A lighter strength dose in the Winter, but provided consistently - for example, with every watering.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 12:00PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

The water in Los Angeles typically has a pH around 7.6 not the 8-8.5 previously mentioned.

A container mix of 50% potting soil and 50% Turface will be far too wet for cactus and succulents. 50-50 soil and perlite or pumice would be fine. Just stay away from 50-50 soil turface. And it's not really soil but commercial potting medium. For cactus, I use 100% pumice.

As for feeding the plants it depends on when their active growing season is. Some plants like Aeoniums are winter growers and should be fed at that time. Others are summer growers and go dormant in the winter. Those should not be fed or in some cases watered at all.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 3:47PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

my Aeonium is just now waking up...but it is in a small container, and would have dried up and utterly died had I not watered it this Summer (whilst it was dormant).


    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 10:55PM
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