DIY Succulent Fertilizer Recipes For Higher Progress And Extra Flowers

Succulents are known for their stoicism and ease of care. They require little water and fertilizer compared to the average plant, but they do need a bit of TLC. Give your succulents they get a bit of supplemental feeding during the growth seasons, and they will reward you with brilliant blooms and gorgeous greenery.

Making your own succulent plant food is as simple as opening the kitchen cupboards. These ingredients will be non-toxic, easy to formulate, and accessible to any gardener. Our favorite “recipes” for DIY succulent fertilizers are effective, often dual-purpose, and quick to whip up, while checking the box on organic.

When to Fertilize Succulents

Succulents enter a dormant state when light levels decline and temperatures cool. In this state, they need much less water and no supplemental feeding. The usual dormancy period is fall through winter, though it varies depending on local conditions.

Begin fertilizing succulents in early spring. Dilute any liquid fertilizer by half to avoid burning the sensitive roots. Feed succulents once per month in the active growing season. Suspend feeding at the end of summer. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Natural Ingredients For Fertilizing Succulents

Most of us know that cycling kitchen waste through a municipal recycling program or tossing it into our compost bins is a recommended practice. By avoiding tossing kitchen waste into the general bin, we can help prevent landfill accumulations, while contributing towards rich compost.

Natural materials such as orange peels, carrot tops, and other unused parts of our produce will rot into a beautiful, natural addition for plants. Compost has a host of benefits, one of which is as a fertilizer.

A compost tumbler, three-bin system, vermicomposting, or just a pile of organic matter will all produce deep, dark, nutrient-rich soil that may be used as a tea, top dress, or mixed into potting or garden soil. 

Discover common ingredients for fertilizing succulents you may already have at home.

Banana Peels

We don’t eat banana peel, but it is rich in calcium: one of the macro-nutrients required for good root establishment. The peel is also high in magnesium, which helps drive photosynthesis; phosphorus, a flowering and fruiting nutrient; and potassium, which is good for overall plant health.

Banana peel also contains sulfur, which is released as the peel rots and helps repel pests. You can dry the peel and crush or blend it into a powder which can be added to the soil or made into a tea. 

Sedum sieboldii with pink tinged leaves and flowers

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds bear many plant nutrients and minerals. They contain quite a lot of nitrogen, an essential nutrient for leafy plant growth. They also have potassium and phosphorus, as well as the micro-nutrients zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, boron, and calcium.

Coffee grounds may be mixed into the soil, soaked in water to make a tea, or simply top-dressed around the root zone of the succulent. 


Eggshells are another discarded item that has plant nutrient benefits. Wash and dry the shell so it doesn’t get smelly. Then crush it up and apply it to the soil.

Eggshells, unsurprisingly, contain calcium, but they also have potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium in small amounts.

The breakdown of eggshells is very slow, so this is a great way to enhance plant health gradually. Consider it a natural time-release fertilizer. 

Easter Lily Cactus (Echinopsis oxygona) with pink flowers in full bloom

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Worm Castings

If you are into vermicomposting, you will have worm castings. These are left behind when worms have digested the kitchen scraps and make a nutrient-dense, but gentle fertilizer. Castings can be mixed into soil or made into a tea.

Setting up worm composting is quite easy and the worms will reduce natural, organic waste to a material that is very beneficial to plants. Use a 1:4 ratio of castings to soil. 

Seaweed Extract

Seaweed has many benefits in the garden, and it also contains many valuable nutrients. You can make your own seaweed fertilzer if you have access to seaweed. Alternatively, purchase a bottle of seaweed extract.

To make your own, soak the seaweed in water for 2-3 weeks. Strain out the seaweed and store the liquid in a bottle in a cool, dark location. Dilute the seaweed extract to 1:10 and mix with water before feeding your succulents.

Lithops blooming with yellow flowers, in blue ceramic pot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Combining Ingredients To Make DIY Succulent Fertilizer

Combining items will often result in a more nutritionally rounded fertilizer. Because some items contain mostly nitrogen or another macro-nutrient, mixing in something else will provide more balanced nutrient and mineral needs.

DIY Eggshell and Bone Meal Succulent Recipe

Bone meal fertilizer is used to increase phosphorus – an essential nutrient needed for succulents to flower.

Mix 2 parts eggshell with 1 part bone meal and 2 parts water. Let this soak together for a day. Dilute this at a 4:1 ratio with more water before watering the roots of the plant.

String of pearls plant with flowers, in red pot

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

DIY Coffee Ground and Epsom Salt Fertilizer

While coffee grounds have the nitrogen needed to drive stem and leaf growth, Epsom salts can encourage flowering. Mix together 1 part coffee grounds with ½ part Epsom salts. Dilute this in half when using it to fertilize succulents. Apply during the early part of the growing season once per month to promote blooming.

DIY All-Nutrient Fertilizer

A formula that is balanced and provides all necessary nutrients and minerals combined with soil softener and natural fungicide is perfect for succulents. You will need:

  • Spent tea leaves (2 parts)
  • Neem powder (0.5 parts)
  • Banana peel powder (0.5 parts) 
  • Compost (1 part) 
  • Mustard cake powder (0.25 parts)

Mix these together and add it to the upper surface of the soil. Water it in well. Do this once per month during the growing season. 

Leave a comment