Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: any thoughts? my plants are dying off bit by bit

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ericabag
Jul 3, 2013 9:34 PM CST
I live in Yuma, AZ, avg temp now is 110 daily. I chose succulent plants for this region. I planted outdoors, ice plants and Baby Sunrose (I believe they are called). They are a form of iceplant. They were planted mid to late april. When planting I did put potting soil in with them. The baby sunrose seemed very happy, but the iceplants kind of just hung in there. I don't believe watering is the problem I am having. For about 2 months now, my plants have been dying off stem by stem. (the baby rose). The ice plants never did well to begin with. Problem is this, at the ground there are 4 main stems coming out of the plant, 1 is completely dead at the stem, dried out.... the other stems are fine and look good.. As for garden pest, I see occasional ants and an occasional lizard. nothing else. There is no rhyme or reason. watering issues would be more obvious. Thumb of 2013-07-04/ericabag/d2b37f
Thumb of 2013-07-04/ericabag/2e9fbe
Thumb of 2013-07-04/ericabag/3f194f
Attached are 3 photos. 1 happy plant, 1 kind of hanging in there barely and 1 that the stem died and I removed. The happy plant can look like the unhappy and dead one almost overnight. It happens that fast. All Plants get watered the same amount and at the same time of day. Early morning or Evening.
help please if anyone has thoughts. city water? need nutrients? Lizard chewing on plant. Bugs that are to small to see
thank you for any help
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Jul 3, 2013 10:05 PM CST
First, Erica, let me give you a hardy Welcome! !! And Happy 4th to you.

Now regarding your plants and pics: I notice that one of your succulents has been planted in a bed that is covered with rocks that has black plastic underneath. I am wondering how much air flow and heat retention is affected by all the rock and black plastic, not to mention the daily 110 degree which would add to the problem. I would imagine that the soil underneath is not so optimal for water movement, water drainage, exchange of hot and cold, etc. Your plant roots may be overheated and/or waterlogged?

Your Baby Sunrose is Aptenia cordifolia
[Last edited by webesemps - Jul 3, 2013 10:14 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jul 3, 2013 10:16 PM CST
Hello ericabag Welcome!

My understanding with ice plants they are dormant during summer time, especially with excessive heat going on. Some of my succulents that are like ice plants are actively growing during winter time to early spring, the rest of the year, they just do nothing really.

I am thinking the plants may be overheating and are just slowing down their growth because of the heat in your area.

Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
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GigiPlumeria
Jul 3, 2013 10:19 PM CST
I agree with Bev, I have these Baby Sunrose (the green and I have the variegated ones) and they like well draining soil. I was given a couple tiny cuttings a couple years ago (same size as the first picture) and they have since multiplied. They grow on their own despite my neglect.

What I love about these plants, they are very easy to propagate and they have beautiful pink or red blooms. Mine are on the ground and I rarely fuss over them. On that note, don't give up on the cuttings on the first picture, you can put them in a well draining pot and they should grow roots and spread.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
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Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Jul 3, 2013 10:20 PM CST
Ooopppss we cross posted Tarev. I on't know much about ice plants.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/

ericabag
Jul 3, 2013 10:53 PM CST
webesemps said:First, Erica, let me give you a hardy Welcome! !! And Happy 4th to you.

Now regarding your plants and pics: I notice that one of your succulents has been planted in a bed that is covered with rocks that has black plastic underneath. I am wondering how much air flow and heat retention is affected by all the rock and black plastic, not to mention the daily 110 degree which would add to the problem. I would imagine that the soil underneath is not so optimal for water movement, water drainage, exchange of hot and cold, etc. Your plant roots may be overheated and/or waterlogged?

Your Baby Sunrose is Aptenia cordifolia


Thank you for the happy bday and proper name

That is a thin gray weed cloth you are seeing, not black plastic. I have the plants planted in 2 different areas. Some have cloth, some don't. I did open the cloth around the plants. The cloths are only about 2' x 2', just to keep weeds from growing in the plants where i cant get to them. . I have pulled back the cloth quite a bit. Only 1/3 of the plants have the cloth around them. The plants that don't have the cloth around them are having problems as well. I am not overlooking this, as I can pull it back even more, but the issue definitely seems to be something more.
Another question you or someone else may be able to answer is, Can the water here be killing them. Yuma is all farming and the water that comes back to is has so many chemicals. you can not drink it without a reverse osmosis system. Regular filtering does not help. Is it possible with the water we have, that the plants are starving? If possible any thoughts on what to give them
I should mention, I would love to go to a local garden center and ask these questions, but no one gardens in YUMA. The kids at lowes and home depot is as good as it gets. I really appreciate everyone's help.


Could overheating affect only a single stem at a time?
Can gravel cause an issue?
I don't know if you can answer this, but would it do damage at this point if i went in and moved the earth around underneath the plants without uprooting them, or would this be to much of a shock?

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jul 3, 2013 11:48 PM CST
I normally do not disturb my rooted plants anymore once the blazing heat of summer is here. It will just be too stressful for them.

I do not know why only one stem at a time got affected with your plants, maybe one has a weaker root system Shrug!

Are your plants in full direct sun all day long? Maybe they need some shade cover, that may help them too during this hot summer, aside from watering them as needed.

ericabag
Jul 4, 2013 12:05 AM CST
the ones that look better are only in direct sun for a few hours, maybe 4 but they are having issues too. the cut off piece you see was from that side of the house
The other side of the house has direct sun all day..
ok, sounds like this will be trial and error.
#1, should i give them any kind of nutrients?
#2 from what i have read for yuma, ice plants in the summer should be watered every 2 maybe 3 days, does that sound right for 110+. I have been winging it. depending on temp. but we have been up around 115-119 some days and i have watered every other day. some days daily to at least keep the soil frm packing from the heat. i do water slowly in circle to let it soak or it all runs off.
#3 this is the tough one. the side of the house that gets the most sun. any thoughts on how to shade them. is there a commercial cloth that will let them breathe?
#4. I dont think its an issue, but can gravel (light in color) cause heating issues. i have one plant that loves the concrete. it keeps going back to it. go figure Confused
i think i will be having a lot of cutting growing in the back room. i am going to start clipping them right away if i am going to lose them so i have the cuttings. should help the plant as well

happy 4th everyone
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jul 4, 2013 1:01 AM CST
ericabag said:

Can the water here be killing them. Yuma is all farming and the water that comes back to is has so many chemicals. you can not drink it without a reverse osmosis system. Regular filtering does not help. Is it possible with the water we have, that the plants are starving? If possible any thoughts on what to give them
Some water that has leached into the water table can have high concentrations of minerals that can be harmful to plants. A neighbor of mine never used her acreage's well water because of the high salinity. You may consider having your water tested. Your plants may not necessarily be starving as it may be getting too much of something.

Could overheating affect only a single stem at a time?
I can imagine that a stem laying across hot gravel in 110 degree weather can get fried or stems one at a time rotting in soil that has poor drainage.

Can gravel cause an issue?
It may help to maintain too much moisture in the soil which may cause rot to the plants. You did not mention nature of damage to stem: rot or dried out?

I don't know if you can answer this, but would it do damage at this point if i went in and moved the earth around underneath the plants without uprooting them, or would this be to much of a shock?
If you are moving the earth around to amend for better drainage or aereate or weed around the plants, it would probably be OK but uprooting the plants may be too much of a shock in the hot weather.


Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Jul 4, 2013 4:42 AM CST
Welcome! Erica!!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jul 4, 2013 10:20 AM CST
You may want to read this other thread, discussing what they do to protect semps from the heat of the sun. You maybe able to apply it to your plants as well:
The thread "Protecting sempervivum from excess sun or rain." in Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum

ericabag
Jul 4, 2013 2:36 PM CST
If I haven't said it, thank you so much for your time
When i initially planted all the plants i dug into the, probably crappy, Yuma soil. About 12 round x 9 deep at least. The soil I used should allow for good drainage, but as the plant grew it may have outgrown that area. I will get in there from an angle and see if i can do more without unearthing. There is a lot of gravel in the dirt under what i put in so that hopefully will help drainage some.
I think the heat as well as the sun may be the combination, but then again, why 1 stem at a time? Very frustrating. I will get a better look tomorrow, but it seems to be, right at the stalk where all the branches come out of, shrivel up and just all go brown. Just 1 I will also see if i can get some more pix. I dont know if you call them leaves, but the branch that is going to go bad, the leaves go soft first ( i don't want to say limp, just not firm like when they are healthy).
I do think getting the water tested is a must.
I will make some calls Friday to see where i can get it done.
I will see tomorrow if i can get a light airy mesh fabric to maybe make a "lean-to" to offer some shade during the peak sun hours
I will get some better pix tomorrow

good night for now
erica

ericabag
Jul 4, 2013 10:44 PM CST
the thread was great I picked up some stuff today and will make some things to cut off the direct sun
may even post pix if you promise not to laugh
i did some better pictures with notes on them. this will give you a good idea to what i have been saying. i think the shade is going to help a lot, but these pix may tell you something else
the pictures loaded sideways Thumbs down but if you click to enlarge you can see what i wrote on pictures and see close ups of the areas
Thumb of 2013-07-05/ericabag/dc65c7
Thumb of 2013-07-05/ericabag/635af4
Thumb of 2013-07-05/ericabag/761bf9
Thumb of 2013-07-05/ericabag/cd2217
Thumb of 2013-07-05/ericabag/663a31
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jul 4, 2013 10:53 PM CST
ERica, just noticing you have duplicate posts twice already...Have you been pressing "finished' button twice for each of the last two posts you finished?

ericabag
Jul 5, 2013 2:06 AM CST
could be. i am new to this
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jul 5, 2013 4:33 AM CST
I fixed it. Not to worry Erica!

ericabag
Jul 5, 2013 8:58 AM CST
thank you for the fix dutchlady1
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Jul 5, 2013 1:28 PM CST
Hope the shade will help your plants Erica.

I also grow my succulents outdoors, but all in containers. During this recent heat wave, I had to adjust my watering, I did everyday watering before the sun hits the plants. Usually I also do intervals in watering, but this time around, we had really dismal rainfall during Spring and this heat wave was just hot and stressful for my plants, I see some stems bending already, so adjusted the watering. My plants get part sun in the morning, some full sun till noon and shade again in the afternoon. Ambient-wise the temps during our heat wave went to 109F at times, though still cooler compared to your temps. From what I have seen temps over 100F really takes a toll on them.

From your photos where you show the wilting stem..it somehow reminds me of some succulents that are either in heat stress, or could be succulents that go monocarpic and die after it blooms, or it can also be trying to conserve its succulence and energy by focusing its growth to a few stems, and with the heat they go semi-dormant. You can try and get cuttings and grow them indoors for now to save your plant if it continues to go downhill.

Good luck! Hope to see updates later on! Our heat wave has ended so back to our high 90's and at times windy, will again adjust my watering to intervals. Smiling

ericabag
Jul 5, 2013 8:43 PM CST
bought a big pot for cuttings today. all are shaded from direct sun. they get the indirect. i think thats fine for now until the temps drops some. i am wondering about what you said myself. it had crossed my mind that the plants may be giving up its stems to save itself. if they continue downhill, cross my fingers that they dont, i will cut them way back. its off to water i go. we dont worry about mold around here. lol
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Jul 5, 2013 8:52 PM CST
Wishing you all the succulent luck! Angel Angel

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