We all know that proper watering and right sun exposure will surely help enhance the growth of succulents. However, if the utmost goal is to keep your succulents thriving all year round, then one of the secrets is to feed them with some excellent fertilizer, and compost tea is a good option for you to try.
Why? Read on to learn more.
What is Compost Tea?
Compost tea is like a healthful drink for plants, making it the perfect all-natural fertilizer for succulents. It consists of tiny amounts of compost or animal manure that goes through the fermentation process to create a liquid form of miracle fertilizer.
What are the benefits of using Compost Tea?
By using compost tea to your succulents, you decrease the need for fertilizers and pesticides, which will reduce the cost to keep them healthy. And just about anyone can make compost tea as long as you have the right tools and ingredients.
2. Helps Produce Healthier Plant
Since compost tea is made up of the same basic ingredients as compost (or is made from compost), it will increase or improve the nutrients available for your succulents to absorb in the soil. And this will allow them to grow faster, and at the same time, reduce the risks of pest infestation and diseases.
How to make Compost Tea?
There are 2 ways to brew compost tea. The first method is called Aerobic composting, which can be made using an air pump or commercially available compost tea brewer to circulate air continuously through the tea.
And the second way is called Anaerobic composting, which is a much simpler method than the other one as it doesn't require you to use any fancy equipment like an air pump, as there's no need for you to add any oxygen to it. However, this method would create a rotten egg-like smell due as it releases sulfur compounds, plus the process would take much longer compared to Aerobic composting but can be done in 5 simple steps below:
Step 1: Start by filling 1/3rd full of compost to a clean 5-gallon bucket. If you don’t have readily available compost, you can use commercially bagged compost as an alternative.
Step 2: Next is to fill the bucket with at least an inch or two of water. It is recommended to use well water, rainwater, or distilled water to avoid chlorine and other chemicals.
Step 3: Stir up the mix for a few minutes to help the compost release its nutrients into the water. This process is almost similar to dunking a tea bag to release more tea into your drink.
Step 4: For five days, continue stirring the mix a few times each day. Once five full days are up, your compost mixture will be full of nutrients and is ready to go.
Step 5: Lastly, strain the compost mixture using a mesh screen, strainer, or other porous fabric you can find like burlap or an old shirt to another bucket. Then toss the remaining solids to your garden or compost bin.
However, if you have an air or aquarium pump and wants to brew an Aerobic compost tea, then you can follow the steps below:
Step 1: Fill a clean 5-gallon bucket with 4 gallons of water. Preferably with rainwater or well water. If you choose to use tap water, it is important to aerate it first in an open container for a few hours to a day to eliminate chlorine or any chemicals.
Step 2: Introduce the water with oxygen using an aquarium pump, preferably a double outlet, connected with plastic tubing to 2 air stones set in the water.
Step 3: Add 1 cup of compost per 1 gallon of water to the bucket. If possible, put the compost first in a pillowcase or stocking before adding it to the water. This will help reduce the need to filter the tea later, especially if you plan to apply it with a sprayer. Then about add 2 tablespoons of natural sugarcane, maple syrup, or fruit juice to promote bacterial growth.
Step 4: Brew the mixture for about 24 to 36 hours. Just until it produces that earthy smell and bubble-covered surface. And make sure to keep it away from sunlight to prevent UV damage to the microbial population, and for best results, keep it as close to room temperature as possible.
Once you are done mixing your compost tea, don't forget to clean all the tools you used with a 5% baking soda or 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
How to use Compost Tea to fertilize your Succulents?
Whenever you fertilize your succulents, a good rule of thumb to follow is to use only half of the recommended amount. Generally, compost tea is diluted to at least a ratio of 4 cups to 1 gallon, many even use a ratio of 1:10, and can be directly applied to your succulents' soil using either a sprayer or watering can.
Just keep in mind that compost tea is not your usual fertilizer that can be stored for future use. It needs to be used by your plants within 4 hours of completing the process, which should be enough time before the thriving microbial population exhausts the oxygen in the mixture.
Also, it is best if you can apply the compost tea in the morning or the evening as UV rays will most likely kill microbes. And remember that succulents only need to be fed once or twice a year, preferably right before their growing season.
For example, succulents like Aeoniums, Crassulas, and Aloe plants that grow actively during the winter months, should be fertilized in the late Fall season and in late Spring for succulents that are actively growing during Summer like the Agaves, Echeverias, and Tillandsias (or also known as air plants).
See more about How To Propagate Succulents Using Natural Rooting Hormones
For Types of Succulents Careguide. Read more information here.
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