How To Use Osmocote Fertilizer For Cactus

  • Just scatter Osmocote on the soil surrounding your plants.
  • Don’t water it in.
  • According to the application rates, reapply in six months.

Is Osmocote beneficial for cacti?

Cacti and succulents are frequently the most puzzling among the strange group of desert plants. On the one hand, my buddy Gino Dreese claims that the reason his golden barrel cactus are so large is because he generously feeds them Miracle Grow. On the other hand, if I mix plant food too lavishly, Clark Moorten’s collection of Echinocereus cacti will suffer. Maybe this is just how cacti from various ecosystems differ from one another. Or perhaps it was a prehistoric genetic trait that allowed individuals who ate more or less to escape a climatic catastrophe.

Like everything else in life, we look for harmony by finding a happy medium. As I become older, I tend to be less extreme. I avoid difficulty because of that. Because I can correct or deal with small errors, it lessens the likelihood of making major errors. My motto is “less is more” since I am too old to start afresh.

When it comes to plant food, there is one fertilizer that was created as a solution for wholesale growers of landscape plants and that I have used since the 1970s. It was the first time-release fertilizer and was known as Osmocote. The pelleted grains in the BB size are made to release a tiny quantity of nourishment each time they become wet. This fixed the issue that afflicted plants grown in containers: the yo-yo diet brought on by repeated fertilizer applications. The plants grew regularly rather than in flushes after each fertilizer application thanks to time release pellets, which released lesser amounts of nourishment each time the gardener irrigated.

I buy enormous quantities of Osmocote, which has been thoroughly tested, from retail garden centers to use on each and every plant in my garden and greenhouse. It is the answer to feeding all the lovely succulent plants in pots that adorn patios and porches. Every three months, just spread a spoonful of it around the plant’s base, and you’re done. With succulents, we water them so seldom that applying more potent fertilizer results in a lot of residue in the root zone, which may cause it to lose efficacy before the next watering. After excessive fertilizing, succulents frequently put on a lot of rank growth, which causes issues with too much internal moisture and raises the risk of freezing in the winter and melting in the summer.

Most cacti do not consume a lot of food. Just take a look at the natural plants that are flourishing in the desert; they all grow in sand and gravelly soil that isn’t very fertile. It makes sense that many species from the Southwest and Mexico have evolved to the wetness of the summer monsoon. Every time cacti absorb this water throughout their summer growing season, fertilization is produced thanks to atmospheric nitrogen infiltration caused by the copious lightning in these brief but frequent storms.

The use of Osmocote for growing cactus, especially those in containers, results in a similar situation every time you water. Like nitrogen in lightning, the amounts are low but steady, allowing for ongoing development rather than excessively rapid growth brought on by larger nutritional loads. When a cactus absorbs too much water, it might break or even explode from very rapid development.

I tried mixing a lot of Osmocote into my food garden even if it isn’t organic to raise fertility unnaturally high. As a result, the squash plants were the biggest and most productive ever. It made me think about how quickly our local plants can develop because of the high UV levels during the winter and transitional seasons. Because of the shorter day length, they must be fed much more generously to maintain proper nutritional levels and prevent deterioration. Nutritional deficits are much more prevalent than you might assume since dry air slows the decomposition of organic soil additives.

I still stick with Osmocote even though a lot of other slow-release fertilizers have just entered the market. It works well with native plants, cactus, and succulents, and it’s simple to use, making it perfect for our desert gardens. The best part is that it perfectly aligns with my “less is more” mentality because less yardwork frees up more time for us to all have fun in the great winter sun.

How To Fertilize A Cactus

When fertilizing cactus or succulent plants, it’s vital to use fertilizer carefully while the plants are growing.

Slow development and poor root growth may result from frequent feedings of too much fertilizer. Some growers prefer to apply manure tea or fish emulsion to succulents as a fertilizer.

When using a 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer mixture, mix one gallon of water with one tablespoon of the fertilizer.

Overwatering should be avoided because it can harm the cactus or succulent.

Alternately, feed cacti with a 1-7-6 cactus blend or slow-release fertilizer.

One gallon of water should be mixed with one teaspoon of the 1-7-6 cactus food mixture.

The liquid fertilizer mixture is used in a watering can, and the leftovers are kept in a labeled, sealed container.

Pour carefully, allowing the water to absorb and the extra to drain out the drainage holes on the pots.

When To Fertilize Cacti

The best time to feed cacti is right before or at the start of the growing season, according to the general rule of thumb.

The majority of cactus species, including the Christmas cactus, awaken from dormancy at this time.

Succulent plants don’t require fertilizer more often than once a year when they are actively growing.

Fertilize once more in two to three months if the potting soil mix used for terrariums and indoor succulent plants is subpar.

Some gardeners use cactus fertilizer because it works well when transplanting cacti from pots.


If you use chemical fertilizers during the summer growth season, take extra care around cactus.

Avoid feeding the plants right before or throughout their prolonged winter hibernation.

Chemical fertilizers and a lot of NPK are too powerful and overpower the plant.

Due of this, most gardening and cactus experts will advise diluting nutrients by half or one-fourth.

You won’t have any trouble producing healthy cacti and succulents if you use the right feeding techniques and provide ideal conditions for growth.

Osmocote may be sprayed on top of soil.

Osmocote topdressing is possible at any stage of the plant’s growth cycle. Topdressing is the process of evenly spreading or dispersing the granules on top of the soil or growing medium without incorporating them. I Because the nutrients is less obtainable to the plant’s root system, it is less effective than dribbling or mixing. To start the release process and transport nutrients to the root zone, irrigation is advised.

How frequently should Osmocote be used?

Osmocote should be applied how frequently? Every six months, Osmocote Outdoor & Indoor Plus should be applied. Every 4 months, Osmocote Flower & Vegetable should be used.

Which fertilizer is ideal for cacti?

The traditional idea of the ideal habitat for cacti is a hard, arid desert with two extremes: intervals of complete lack of precipitation or unexpected downpours that the plant must absorb, store, and use during the following dry spell.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that fertilizer cactus plants may keep them happy growing no matter the season, whether they are outside in the yard exposed to seasonal extremes or in a bright, sunny spot in the house.

Fertilizing cactus plants will help them adapt, actively grow, and even reproduce if it is one of their traits, just like with any other garden or indoor plant. The fertilizer needs for cacti are rather straightforward. Any decent houseplant food that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen is a suitable option (diluted to half). A 5-10-5 solution may be effective.

Knowing when to feed cactus plants is essential now that you are aware of their true requirement for fertilizer.

How much Osmocote do I need to use?

In order to produce flowers, fruits, and vegetables, flowers and vegetables require a fertilizer with more phosphorus than a general-purpose product. Osmocote’s flower and vegetable blend, with a grade of 14-14-14, provides nourishment that balances the needs of the top growth with those of the roots. Sprinkle fertilizer around plants in the spring and fall for perennial blooming plants at a rate of 3 tablespoons per 4 square feet or 1 teaspoon per 4-inch plant.

Incorporate the fertilizer into the mulch or top 3 inches of soil. Apply 3 tablespoons of Osmocote for every 2 feet of branch distributed around trees and shrubs. Apply the fertilizer once, at the start of the growing season, to the vegetable garden beds at a rate of 3 tablespoons per every 4 square feet, or 4 tablespoons for heavy fruiting crops like tomatoes. Apply 3 tablespoons for every 10 linear feet to row crops of smaller vegetables like carrots and onions.

Osmocote can it be dissolved in water?

The fertilizer nutrients are all included in a water-soluble nutrient prill that is used by Osmocote. The pellet-shaped prills are covered in an alkyd-like resin. According to PlantersPlace, the semi-permeable layer, which is comprised of linseed oil, lets some water to pass through and begin dissolving the fertilizer inside.

After dissolving, the fertilizer-containing solution will osmotically exit the pellet and enter the soil, where roots can absorb it. Because the resin is biodegradable, it won’t stay in your soil for very long. The temperature and thickness of the resin layer both affect how quickly the fertilizer is released.

The National Gardening Association says that the 14-14-14 Osmocote fertilizer will last four to five months, for instance, when the soil temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The pace at which fertilizer is supplied increases together with the temperature and rate of plant development. Osmocote lasts three to four months when it’s 70 degrees outside, and it lasts roughly one to two months when it’s 80 degrees.

Can I use Osmocote in pots?

For all indoor potted plants growing in all shapes and sizes of pots, tubs, barrels, planters, and boxes, a simple, set-and-forget controlled release plant food is available. One application of fertilizer feeds continually for up to six months, making it a wise choice.

  • When it’s warm and the plants are growing, nutrients are released more readily than when it’s cold and the plants are growing more slowly.
  • Advanced prill technology used by Scotts Osmocote enables even and controlled nutrition release with no waste.
  • Less frequent feeding is more affordable and environmentally friendly because controlled release makes feeding less frequently and more efficiently.
  • A wetting agent is added to soil or potting mix to improve water absorption and aid in nutrient uptake by plants.
  • NPK can be used safely on the majority of native Australians because it contains less than 2% phosphorus (the “P” in NPK).
  • Potted plants with flowers and leaves, regardless of the size or shape of the container
  • Palms
  • Ferns and orchids
  • The controlled release of nutrients makes it safe to use on young plants because it won’t burn sensitive leaves or tender young roots.
  • Do not use in ponds, pots submerged in water, or hydroponic growing systems.
  • Use only specialized fertilizers on grassy areas; avoid using on lawns.
  • All plants growing in planter boxes and containers should read Pots, Planters & Indoors to encourage strong development, lovely blooms, and abundant fruiting.
  • To determine how much to apply, use the rates in the table below.
  • Established pots: Sprinkle the potting mix at the specified rate, mix it in lightly, and then fully water to start the release of nutrients.
  • Self-watering pots: Use a pencil or long skewer to poke holes in the potting mix that are 10 cm deep*. Fill the holes with columns of Scotts Osmocote (share the rate suggested above equally between the holes). To begin the feeding process, spray water from the top once or twice.

*The number of holes will depend on the size of the pot; as a rule of thumb, a 20cm diameter pot only needs three evenly spaced holes.

When ought my cactus to be fertilized?

Most of the time, feeding succulents and cacti should only be done once a year, according to some experts. I’m sorry, but I’ve breached that rule.

Succulent plants are weakened by excessive fertilizer, and any additional growth is likely to be flimsy and possibly spindly, which promotes the dreaded etiolation that we all work so hard to prevent. Other experts remind us that nurseries feed during the growth period with each watering using a technique called fertigation, in which a tiny amount of food is introduced into the watering system. A monthly feeding regimen is advised by some.

Take into account this knowledge as you discover when to feed succulents and cacti. Giving your succulent plant food immediately before and during its growing season is the goal. This is early spring to late summer, according to experts. Give fertilizer to any plants you have that grow in the winter. Since the majority of us lack knowledge of that sort about all of our plants, we tackle the fertilizer needs of succulents and cacti in a generic manner, such as a spring feeding for all.

This regimen is suitable for the majority of plants. Early in the summer, fertilizer cacti and succulents again may help plants that aren’t growing or aren’t looking good. And if you choose to try a monthly feeding, find out the growing season of the plants you have chosen and check if there is any credible information regarding which feeding schedule is appropriate for them.

How can I speed up the growth of my cactus?

Cacti, often known as cactuses, are fairly slow-growing plants that can take years to exhibit noticeable growth. Is there anything you can do, though, to help your cactus grow more quickly? You’ll discover general care advice and advice on how to make your cactus grow quicker in this post.

You must maintain a regular watering schedule, enable adequate air exchange, and water cacti with soft water if you want them to develop more quickly. Additionally, nurture your cactus while they are growing and let them inactive throughout the colder months.