Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Foliar-feeding of succulents

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Name: KadieD
Oceania, Mariana Islands (Zone 11b)
Wet Tropical AHS Zone 12
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Rainbow
Aug 12, 2016 2:15 PM CST
I am wondering whether succulents are foliar-fed as well as root-fed with fertilizer. Could someone enlighten me on this subject? I'm all ears!
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Aug 12, 2016 2:19 PM CST
I have no absolute knowledge about this and am also not sure my experience applies generally, but in my experience they do not likely high concentrations of chemicals in the water that touches their skin/leaves, especially if that is followed by exposure to strong sunlight, which leaves very dramatic 'chemical' scarring. I have seen it pretty badly on Agaves, Aloes and some cacti.
So I would say that root fed is what goes on most of the time.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
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Hamwild
Aug 19, 2016 7:26 AM CST
I don't believe that they absorb nutrients from their leaves like epiphytic plants (Bromeliads, Orchids).
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Aug 19, 2016 10:49 AM CST
There are plenty of epiphytic succulents and they would be the only candidates where this approach might be useful, but I would never consider feeding anything except the roots.
Name: KadieD
Oceania, Mariana Islands (Zone 11b)
Wet Tropical AHS Zone 12
Adeniums Tropicals Morning Glories Container Gardener Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Rainbow
Aug 19, 2016 11:21 AM CST
I agree with all, and thank you for your input. Smiling

There are a few adenium enthusiasts that spray boron and some other micronutrient on the leaves believing it is beneficial. However, I think the nutrients run down off the plant/leaves and into the soil, and it is there that the roots take up the nutrients.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
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Hamwild
Aug 19, 2016 12:37 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:There are plenty of epiphytic succulents and they would be the only candidates where this approach might be useful, but I would never consider feeding anything except the roots.


I am just familiar with the "run of the mill" succulents, so I am curious/interested... what are examples of epiphytic succulents? "Tropical" ones such as Rhipsalis maybe?
Name: Bob
The Kau Desert, Hawaii (Zone 12a)
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OrchidBob
Aug 19, 2016 2:33 PM CST
Obviously it would take a large and complicated study to determine the advantages of one over the other.
Since I also grow Orchids, we are obviously foliar feeding our plants. When we water we are drenching the entire plant with fertilizer water. There are dozens of other Orchid growers on my island and experimenting with fertilizer and discussing it is common among us. For Orchids it has been determined that a combination of time release granules in the media and watering with a weak solution of soluble fertilizer gets the best results. Important to water with plain water at least one out of four waterig cycles to rinse the salts out.
Believe it or not, Orchids are Succulents. Orchids store water in their psuedobulbs, leaves and/or roots for survival during the dry season. They are not dry growers like cactus. They can live in rain forests where they get daily watering, but they must dry out. 90% of home grown orchid plants are killed by too much watering (the roots rot from being kept too wet) Does that sound familiar? Green Grin!
I seem to jumping off subject. I do believe succulents can benefit from foliar feeding when done as a drench. As with any chemistry the watering should not be done during the hot, bright sun times of day. The droplets can magnify the intensity of the sun and cause phytotoxicity with your added ingredient, whether it is a fertilizer, pesticide or fungicide. Thumbs down
I use the same combination of fertilizers on my succulents as on my orchids. I do use less fertilizer on the succulents than on the orchids since I believe that rapid growth in succulents is a bad thing for it creates soft growth that can be easily damaged. Sticking tongue out
Of course, if what you are doing now works for you, stick with it. Adding trace minerals to your fertilizer program is a good thing. Most fertilizers do not come with trace minerals and your potting soils do not have any either. Read the label next time you are buying fertilizer and get the package with trace minerals listed. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Aug 19, 2016 4:30 PM CST
To learn more about epiphytic cacti try googling the text or visiting this page.

http://mattslandscape.com/species_info/
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 19, 2016 6:51 PM CST
The only way foliar feeding would work on succulents (not the epiphytic types) is if the fertilizer dripped off the leaves and landed on the ground. Smiling I think only epiphytes absorb nutrients through their leaves. They aren't rooted into anything - the roots photosynthesize and the leaves absorb nutrients.

Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Aug 19, 2016 8:29 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:To learn more about epiphytic cacti try googling the text or visiting this page.

]http://mattslandscape.com/species_info/

Thanks for posting this link. This was one I've never seen, and it looks like I'll have to put in an order!

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