Many succulent owners are looking for natural ways to supply nutrients to their plants. You may have heard of using coffee grounds, eggshells, or banana peels. But have you ever wondered is wood ash good for succulents? Well, the secret might just lie in an unexpected place – Wood ash.
By the time you finish reading, you’ll have a clear understanding of how wood ash can potentially enhance the health and vitality of your beloved succulent collection.
In the article below, I will elaborate on the pros and cons of using wood ash for your succulents. Let’s get right into it!
Wood ash is the powdery substance that’s left behind after burning wood. Many people will simply throw wood ash in the bin. But you may be surprised to learn how you can use wood ash to feed your plants!
Also Read: Do Succulents Like Eggshells?
But is wood ash actually good for succulents?
Is Wood Ash Good For Succulent Growth?
Wood ash is naturally high in essential nutrients, including potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and boron. Just like humans, your succulents need nutrients to grow big and strong!
Instead of using chemical fertilizer, natural wood ashes can be a great way to present some extra minerals and nutrients to your plants.
But, it is important to note that although wood ash is rich in potassium and other minerals, it does not contain nitrogen, one of the most important nutrients for succulent growth!
To ensure that your succulents remain healthy, I advise you to provide them with a slow-release or liquid succulent fertilizer and wood ashes to prevent any deficiencies.
Added Benefits Of Using Wood Ash
Apart from containing many important nutrients in vast amounts, wood ashes can help you in many ways.
Wood Ash Can Help Repel Pests
Succulents are prone to many common pests, such as mealybugs, thrips, scale, and fungus gnats. If you’re dealing with a pest outbreak, sprinkling a small amount of wood ash on top of the soil and the plant itself can choke the pests out!
Alter pH Levels Of Garden Soil
Using wood ash in your succulent’s soil is a great way to lower the acidity while providing nutrients to your plants. Altering the pH is especially useful for an outdoor rock garden with succulents. Garden soil tends to be more acidic than potting soil.
Is Wood Ash Acidic Or Alkaline?
Wood ash is a very alkaline product. It has a pH of 10 to 12! For this reason, it’s important to be very cautious if you use wood ash in your succulent collection.
Adding wood ash will increase the pH of the soil, which could lead to issues for your succulents.
Like many other plants, succulents need a soil pH of roughly 6.5, which is slightly acidic. Adding too much wood ash can throw off the pH balance to the point where the soil becomes too alkaline (above pH 7.5).
Too alkaline soils can inhibit the absorption of many essential nutrients, causing your poor succulent to weaken slowly. If you’re wondering how much wood ash is ‘too much’, keep reading!
I’m going to explain how much to use for your succulents below.
Which Succulents Like Wood Ash?
Not all succulents will thrive if given wood ash. Look for varieties that tolerate neutral to alkaline soil. These include Kalanchoe Daigremontiana (Mother of Millions), Opuntia (Prickly Pear Cactus), and Haworthia. These plants can handle soils with a pH as low as 7.5!
Phosphorus, which wood ash is particularly rich in, is an important nutrient that aids in producing flowers. Flowering succulents, like Euphorbia and Christmas cactus, have a higher need for phosphorus, meaning they will love some wood ash in their soil.
Which Succulents Don’t Like Wood Ash?
Succulents are not ‘acid-loving’ plants and do not need extremely low pH levels to flourish.
As long as the pH of your soil does not become too alkaline, you can add wood ash to any plant in your collection!
Is Wood Ash Good For Potting Soil?
Amending potting soil with wood ash is a good way to increase the alkalinity of the soil and provide nutrients for your succulents.
But, to ensure the soil is at the right pH level, use a pH tester. This test will tell you the acidity of the soil quickly and easily. Succulents need a pH between 6.0 and 7.5, so if your pH is already above 7, wood ash may not be the best option!
How To Use Wood Ash In Potted Plants
If you want to add wood ash to your potting soil, please start by sifting large chunks of charcoal from the powder. Once you have a uniform substance, sprinkle a small amount of ash over it and slightly mix it in the top layer using a chopstick.
You can also add your wood ashes to your compost. Due to its alkalinity, wood ash can help neutralize overly acidic compost piles. This makes it more widely applicable in your plant collection, as many plants can be sensitive to excess acidity.
How Much Wood Ash Do You Use For Potted Plants?
Use roughly a teaspoon of wood ash for a succulent in a 6” pot. To prevent issues with alkalinity, please do not do this often. Once a year will be sufficient!
Using the correct amount of wood ash is incredibly important to prevent harming your succulent’s health. If you use too much, the soil will become too alkaline, and your succulent cannot absorb the nutrients it desperately needs.
Using Wood Ash In Your Succulent Garden
If you use wood ashes in your garden, sprinkle a thin layer on top of the soil and mix it in the soil using a hand rake. Be careful not to damage your succulent roots in the process. Again, using the right amount is important to prevent turning the soil too alkaline.
Conclusion – Is Wood Ash Good For Succulents?
Using wood ash in your succulent’s soil is an organic and natural way to fertilize them. However, it is important to know that wood ash is very alkaline and can increase the soil’s pH level if used excessively. But as long as you stick to the recommended amount, wood ash can be a smart and effective way to improve your succulent’s health and growth.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
Is Wood Ash A Good Fertilizer?
Wood ash is rich in potassium, phosphorus, boron, magnesium, and many other micronutrients. It’s a wonderful additive to your plant’s soil if you use it sparingly. Using too much wood ash can make the soil too alkaline and inhibit the absorption of nutrients.
It is worth mentioning that wood ash does not contain all essential nutrients. This is why I suggest feeding your succulents additional fertilizer alongside wood ash.
Can I Put Wood Ash In Potting Soil?
Yes, wood ash can be added to potting soil as a fertilizer. To do this, sprinkle a teaspoon of wood ash on top of the soil and gently mix it in. You only need to repeat this step once a year at most because wood ash is very alkaline and can cause issues for acid-loving plants.