Slow release fertilizer not good for succulents?

paulsiu(5a)June 19, 2012

I recently purchased an ice plant and is growing it in a container hanging off the mail box. The instruction on the webs said not to overwater it.

I have water it heavily when I first planted it a month ago and have not watered it since. It did get rain twice. The plant looks healthy, so it's probably getting enough water.

I fertilized with a slow release granular fertilizer, but I wonder if that will actually work, since it's not wet enough to dissolve.


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paulsiu, I am not being evasive when I say "It depends".

  1. Monitor the soil moisture in the container on a regular schedule. Over time, water will settle at the bottom of the container and from there it will move upward in the soil by capillary action. As moisture is depleted, two things will happen.
  2. The top layer(s) of the soil will dry out. Eventually all moisture will be lost except hygroscopic water.
  3. Whatever is dissolved in the soil water will get more and more concentrated as the moisture is depleted. By fertilizing you have added to this component; and you can expect it to increase as the fertilizer breaks down. How rapidly that will happen depends on how quickly the fertilizer is released.
  4. As moisture is depleted, the plant has to expend more and more of its energy to extract water. This takes a toll on its appearance (its good looks if you will). Leaves roll up; lowest ones lose green color; stems/stalks become furrowed. The plant dies.
  5. Learn the earliest symptoms of moisture stress and watch carefully for the symptoms - a daily visit to your mailbox will help - and add water judiciously. Watch for improvement and after a short while you will get to know how much water to add - and how often.
    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 7:44AM
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