We recommend Dr. Earth Root Zone Fertilizer blend as an incredible supplement for succulents of every kind.
It is a common misconception that succulents never need to be fertilized. It is true that most cactus and other succulents will grow just fine without supplemental fertilizing. There are, however, many factors that will make fertilizing succulents a very good idea. Poor soil, less than desirable lighting and other growing conditions, or a plant that appears to be dying may be reasons to try a fertilizer for succulents. It may also be that you simply want to see if you can achieve brighter colors, fuller leaves and more flowers through proper fertilizing.
Best Cactus and Succulent Fertilizer Blend
We did a lot of research to discover the top succulent fertilizers. Our goal was to find a great product that we could use ourselves and that we would not hesitate recommending.
Why Dr. Earth Root Zone Fertilizer?
- 100% organic, pure and natural
- Safe for people and pets
- No GMO’s – NON GMO Project Verified
- No chicken manure
- No other sewage sludge
- Includes wild-caught Alaskan fish bone meal, alfalfa meal, seaweed extract and micronized humic acids
- Includes TruBiotic – beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizae
- California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) certified organic plant food
- OMRI certified for Organic Use
- MycoApply third-party guarantee of the mycorrhizae
- Safe for seedlings, early planting stages and tender transplants
- Use outdoors or for houseplants
- Complete instructions for the best use
Why is Root Zone Ideal for Cactus and other Succulents?
The Root Zone blend has a balanced and purposely low NPK of 2-4-2. Don’t let the extremely low numbers mislead or confuse you. This succulent fertilizer has been used successfully over and over. Growers find that they only need a very small amount since, unlike chemical fertilizers, it is made with bio-available nutrients that are fully utilized by the plant.
Root Zone fertilizer provides the fast nutrition you want with newly planted as well as transplanted succulents. It also provides slower release properties that will continue to feed the succulents for many months. This also makes it ideal for more mature and established plants.
The Root Zone Starter Fertilizer could be described as a superior premium brand. The remarkable combination of ingredients provide the optimum levels of essential micronutrients and minerals for every type of succulent variety.
Side Note: It is an oversight but Root Zone is recommended for succulents on the company website but they are not specifically mentioned on the package itself. The package does mention “potted plants” and “transplants”. According to the Dr. Earth website Root Zone fertilizer is ideal for “drought tolerant plants (e.g. cactus and succulents) and all plants that require a low N-P-K.” This specific blend was created with succulents in mind and you can be sure this has been scientifically developed like all the other Dr. Earth products.
Before Choosing Dr. Earth Root Zone We Researched
- Hoffman Organic Plant Food 4-2-3
- Feed Me! Time Release Fertilizer
- Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food
- Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food
- Espoma 3-5-3 Plant Food
- Dry Desert Cactus Potting Mix
- Organic Plant Magic Instant Compost Tea
- Down To Earth Starter Fertilizer Mix
- Down To Earth Fish Powder Fertilizer
- Maxicrop Liquid Seaweed
- Extreme Gardening Tea Brews
- Schultz All Purpose 10-15-10 Plant Food
- Jack’s Classic 15-30-15 Houseplant Special Fertilizer
- Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes
- Bonide Houseplant Liquid Food
- Natural & Organic Flowering and Indoor Plant Fertilizer
- NitroGro Organic Soil Fertilizer
- Eden’s Secrets Primal Plant Food
- Revita Earth Organic Soil Fertilizer/Enhancer
- Liquid Love All Purpose Natural Plant Food
- Southern Ag PowerPak Water Soluble Fertilizer
- Better-Gro Controlled Release House Plant Food
- Osmocote Plus Outdoor and Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food
- Humboldts Secret Golden Tree Fertilizer
Why Should My Succulent Fertilizer be Organic?
Chemical and non-organic fertilizers can sometimes be very detrimental to succulents. Generally succulents are highly adapted to thrive in extremely poor soil and in drought conditions. They specialize in absorbing even the minutest amount of minerals and nutrients from their environment. When chemical fertilizers are applied to succulents they are often overwhelmed and you could even say they overdose.
Using a good quality organic succulent fertilizer has a much different and superior effect on succulents. The plant is not shocked and overwhelmed because it can simply absorb the nutrients and minerals it needs at the time. Many chemical fertilizers will essentially sterilize any living organisms that are present. The opposite is true with a premium organic fertilizer. The macro and micro nutrients help feed the living soil microbes and they in turn benefit the plant.
There is also a final but major difference in using an organic natural fertilizer compared to a chemical synthetic brand. With chemical fertilizers you must frequently and consistently add new applications. This is because the chemicals quickly leach through the soil and are often not used by the plant at all. Organic fertilizers are proven to stay in the soil and benefit the plants much longer. For this reason you do not need to apply additional organic fertilizers nearly as much or as often.
Frequently Asked Questions – Dr. Earth Root Zone Fertilizer
What is mycorrhizae important in a fertilizer?
Many growers are realizing that mycorrhizae might be the single most important ingredient in potting soil and fertilizers. Since the Dr. Earth brand was the first one to add this to its soil and fertilizer blends many competitors have started imitating them.
The mycorrhizae fungi forms a symbiotic relationship with the plant itself. As it colonizes the root system of the host plant, it greatly improves many of the biological functions of the roots. The mycorrhizae increases water and essential nutrient absorption capabilities. The mycorrhizae also thrive and continue to grow since the plant continually provides it with food in the form of carbohydrates from photosynthesis. This special relationship is why healthy organic soil can be described as being alive.
What actually is the ingredient listed as TruBiotic?
TruBiotic is the name registered by Dr. Earth that refers to the seven strains of living beneficial soil microbes that are mixed in with the Root Zone fertilizer. This special TruBiotic fertilizer amendment is crucial for the maximum nutrient absorption of the plant. These microbes work with the mycorrhizae to improve the intended utilization of all other ingredients.
Why is the inclusion and proportion of humic acid important?
Some plants including succulents have a difficult time absorbing the essential nutrients in the soil even when they are there in abundance. Humic acid helps correct this problem by converting these minerals into more absorbable organic compounds. Even if your soil already has some humic acid present there is no harm to add more and it will often be a powerful compound that boosts the overall effectiveness of the fertilizer.
What size bags are available?
It is currently sold in 1 pound and 4 pound bags. It seems the 1 pound bag may soon be discontinued though since it is getting harder to find it sold anywhere. The 4 pound bag is a MUCH better deal anyway.
How much Dr. Earth Root Zone fertilizer do I need?
The one pound package states that it will feed 14 square feet, or put another way, 20 one-gallon plants. The amount you use will vary according to the plant, its current health, the quality of the soil it is in and the time of year you are applying it. More specific and detailed instructions are given on each bag of fertilizer.
What does the “MycoApply Certified” label mean?
An independent tester called MycoApply verifies the presence and amount of mycorrhizae listed in the various Dr. Earth products. The official certification from MycoApply guarantees the specially selected eight strains of mycorrhizae amount listed for each fertilizer mix is accurate. Since the mycorrhizae are invisible to the human eye it is important that a third party verifies its presence in the product.
What is the ProMoisture Hydrate?
Depending on the date of production and the temperature, the prebiotics, soil probiotics and mycorrhizae are primarily dormant in the Root Zone. Moisture is the key to springing them to life. The ProMoisture Hydrate provides a fast and effective way to provide that moisture. This patented supplement is carefully infused with Aloe vera and other ingredients to provide the soil microbes just what they need to thrive.
How do I apply the Root Zone fertilizer?
It is very simple to apply this fertilizer. First, measure out about 5 tablespoons of fertilizer per 1 gallon of soil. Since this is an ultra-premium product even that small amount will do wonders for your plants. Root Zone is a well balanced organic fertilizer so you do not need to worry about being perfectly precise with the amount you use. You can confidently add more or less fertilizer depending on the needs of the plant.
Next, simply broadcast the fertilizer around the base of the plant. Use your fingers to stir the fertilizer into the soil a few inches. Finally give the plant a good watering. The moisture will activate the highly beneficial soil microbes that have been dormant.
What is included in the Root Zone ingredients?
Wild-caught Alaskan fish bone meal, valley grown alfalfa meal, MicroActive (micronutrient-rich seaweed extract), micronized humic acids, mined potassium sulfate, phosphate, feather meal, 8 strains of both ecto and endo mycorrhizae and 7 other strains of probiotic soil microbes.
What fertilizer should I use if my succulents are growing along with other plants?
In outdoor designs it is common to mix succulents in with other plants that have different growing needs. In this case you may want to consider using the Dr. Earth “Life” formulation which is an all-purpose fertilizer for all types of plants. It has a perfectly balanced NPK of 5-5-5 and is a very safe and effective way to fertilize plants with a wide variety of nutritional needs.
Can I use Root Zone to fertilize indoor and outdoor succulents?
Yes. This succulent fertilizer is safe and effective for outdoor potted plants as well as those growing in gardens and other landscaped areas. We know landscapers that apply Root Zone to the bottom of holes when planting new trees, shrubs and other plants (not just succulents).
It may also be used to fertilize indoor houseplants. Use it sparingly in terrariums and dish gardens since you generally want those succulents to remain small. However, it may be just the thing to make your succulents healthier and more vibrant.
Is Root Zone a liquid or dry fertilizer?
It comes in both forms but we highly recommend the dry version. Even the Dr. Earth Company itself recommends the dry over the liquid. The liquid application might be more practical if you have a cactus with spines that is taking up most of the surface area of the soil in the pot. The liquid Root Zone would likely be easier to pour around the base of the plant and there would be no need to stir it in. I couldn’t find anything to verify this but if you have a succulent that is almost dead it may need some “emergency” fertilizer. In that case the Dr. Earth liquid fertilizer may penetrate the soil and be absorbed by the plant faster than the dry fertilizer. In most cases, however, the Root Zone dry fertilizer has better long term results. The dry fertilizer is easy to work with and has the texture of tiny flakes.
Should I use some Root Zone fertilizer when transplanting?
Most succulents do not often need to be transplanted except when they have outgrown their container. When you do transplant a succulent, however, you will find it convenient and beneficial for the plant’s health to replace the soil and boost it with a fertilizer. Deciding whether to add fertilizer, of course, is a case-by-case situation. If your succulent is healthy and thriving it is not always necessary to add fertilizer. The great thing about Root Zone is that you will never need to fear over-fertilizing like with other brands. It provides the optimal nutrients but the plant will only absorb what it needs. You will not shock or over-stimulate the plant.
Comments from Actual Users of Root Zone
Amazing product. – This product is the best organic product I have ever purchased. I ordered this for use on extremely important and costly seed starts. The growth, color and stamina of the seedlings, after a few days of using the product, as directed, is remarkable. I highly recommend your product. Well done! I have purchased another bag of this product so I’ll have some on hand. Yes…it is THAT good!! (by sessionanna Aug 02, 2016)
5.0 out of 5 stars organic fertilizer – I bought this to keep the whole organic gardening thing going in my garden. I had always used well known commercial products for this purpose, with great results, and thought that an organic version would not measure up. Wow, was I wrong, not only does this work a little better but, a whole lot better… Plants grow bigger and faster with no bug problems! I will never go back to the commercial product! Thanks for such a great product! (By Cheryl Lelandon May 16, 2011)
5.0 out of 5 stars – Using this product my new plants don’t wilt a bit even in the hot Texas sun! (By Sharon E. Kennedy on August 11, 2016)
5.0 out of 5 stars – This product was recommended to me by an arborist which is good enough for me. I have been using this as a tea for my trees and I think they really benefit from the product. (By John Zorbaon April 24, 2013)
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong growth start for my plants. – My plants thank me since I used this starter to get my pansies into the ground. They are now strong blooming plants with a great base. Well worth the cost. (By susan d.on December 7, 2016)
There are many good fertilizers commercially available. There are also some terrible fertilizers that may do your succulents more harm than good. Individual plants and their growing environments are always unique so there is often some experimentation involved in finding the right fertilizer as well as when and how much to apply. There is simply no way that everyone will have the same experience or results with fertilizers. It is, however, best to at least start out with well-known and proven fertilizers that growers have loved for many years.
The Dr. Earth Root Zone blend that we have described has met all our rigid (picky) standards for a great cactus and other succulents’ fertilizer. It is custom blended in just the right proportions of the vital nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It is also supplemented with many other natural micro ingredients that are highly beneficial for cacti and succulents. So in summary, we highly recommend Dr. Earth Root Zone Succulent Fertilizer. It is a safe, inexpensive and convenient way to fertilize even your most sensitive succulents.