Aloe/succulent nutrition question!

cMouserJune 5, 2012

I posted this on the 'cacti & succulent' forum a week ago and am still in need of answers. My mix is made and ready to go (besides any nutrients) and I have been practicing more patience than I thought possible, to not re-pot my plants until I know the nutrient source will be proper. PLEASE!!! HELP!!!


Hello to all! Brand new member, although I have learned quite a bit just from reading the posts and replies of all the well-educated horticulturists out there. So for that, I thank you!

I have a question as to what type of macronutrient ratio/regimen (as well as micronutrients, for that matter) would be most suitable for my Aloe and Succulent plants. I am switching my potting medium to tapla's 1:1:1 'gritty' mix that is virtually inorganic. I am looking for a suitable micronutrient slow release pellet to mix in with the 'soil,' as well as a water solluable/ liquid macronutrient provider (N P K) to be applied in very weak doses at every watering.

My Aloes, are of primary concern. I have heard and read that, sans a little bone meal in the spring, Aloe do not need or want any fertlization and in fact grow into leggy, awkward looking specimens when excessive nutrients are applied. I have several solitary tree aloe species (marlothii, vaombe, ferox, excesla, rupestris, thraskii) that all have the potential to reach 20' tall or more!! All of them (besides two 4' vaombes) are still only about 1' tall. --Maybe a little more detail than necessary but hey, I love those dang plants!! Hah! I want to see them reach their full potential!!

If anyone has had success with ANY nutrition regimen in conjunction with an inorganic mix for aloe and or succulents, I would love to hear your reports!!


Okay so after calling every source imanigable, including Scott's headquarters and every single FL distibuter on their list, I have had no success in finding 'Micromax' that Tapla raves about in any quantity less than a 50lb bag for $90! I have given up the hunt and have setteled on an exceptional second (I think...) It's called 'Essential Minor Elements' in granual form and is made by Southern Ag. It contains all the trace elements I was looking for, besides CALCIUM >:( as well as excluding N P K.

So my question now is about gypsum. I want to supplement the lack of Ca that the EME provides, but want to keep the ratios consistent with eachother. The only place I have found gypsum has it in grannual form but I'm worried it will still wash out much faster (worried the powder might flush even FASTER) than the EME. Is it really recommended to mix in with the soil as well as the EME and how often should it be re-applied? I should mention that my FP 9-3-6 is in the mail and should be here soon. I just really want to limit the use of the FP (due to the presence of N) on just my Aloes. I still want the Aloes to have access to the micronutrients from the EME and gypsum when they get watered from the rain. Any advise?


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Once you get the FP you will no longer have to add anything, right? FP has ALL needed nutrients. Yea gypsum is just spread on the surface of the soil then watered in but you may not need to because of the foliage pro.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Master- I was hoping to limit the use of FP as much as possible on my Aloe plants due to the presence of Nitrogen. My thinking was that even if I do exclude this FP from their regimen (maybe only once or twice every two weeks at a VERY weak dose) they would still have a sufficient micronutrient source.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 6:13AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Plants tend to use nutrients in a ratio that varies surprisingly little from plant to plant. What varies is the o/a amount of nutrients various plants require. I find it difficult to envision how you could improve on supplying all the essential nutrients in a favorable ratio at the rate you choose by using FP 9-3-6. I think you're making it far more complicated than it needs to be.

Best luck on whatever course you choose.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Al- Every single recipe I have seen you write out for the gritty mix says to include a slow release micronutrient source. You, yourself, have said many times that you use Micromax, as well as FP for all of your potted plants. I learn through observation and immitation. I figured if you were doing it, there must be a reason... Who better to immitate, than the most talked about person on these forums?! ;)

As it turns out, I made a (semi)educated guess from the information at hand, and decided to mix in the 'EME' with my 'gritty mix.' I will be picking some gypsum and watering it in. I am in the process of re-potting my Aloes as we speak. I will post pics soon for any of you who might care...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 6:40PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you want a half pound of Micromax or so, I'll send it. I really haven't pushed its use, or the use of other micronutrient sources since I started using FP. I think I remember mentioning it once recently somewhere - prolly in an answer to a question, but I'm not sure. If you're using the gritty mix & FP 9-3-6, you can even skip the gypsum & Epsom salts. Your call ..... I have no problem at all keeping all my succulents perfectly happy (in MI) with nothing but the gritty mix & FP.

Shallow containers are tough on succulents, but .....

For fun


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 6:13AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I fertilize my succulents fairly regularly, using a low dose of Foliage Pro 9-3-6 -
which derives none of its Nitrogen from Urea, and so helps prevent leggy, bloated growth.
Since all of my succulents are in some form of grit or gritty mix, with only bark as the
organic fraction, a steady stream of adequate nutrients makes for the healthiest plants.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:57AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Al, that is some of the coolest stuff I have ever seen. What a talent. Thanks for the pics! Man, I am happy with just a simple tomato that is red and round. LOL

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:17AM
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