Ask a Question forum: Hens and chicks have brown streaks down the middle of the leaves

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Name: Joscelyn
Denver, Colo (Zone 5b)
ColoBride
Jan 12, 2014 11:54 PM CST
I am desperately trying to save this Hen and Chick from my wedding bouquet that was used from a friend's garden. I know nothing of plants and was told just to put it on potting soil and water every once and while. Evidently that was not correct, as it has now lost a lot of the under leaves (they got dry and crispy and fell off). The top leaves now have brown streaks through the middle of them. The leaves are still sturdy and firm (except for the dead ones).

I live in Denver, Colo. This guy has been kept inside near a window, but out of direct sunlight. I was concerned that it was sitting in soil that didn't drain well as I had it in a bowl with no way to drain, so the pictures are after I took it out, rinsed the roots to get the soil off and let it sit on a paper towel to dry. That was earlier this afternoon.

Help I don't want to lose this little guy. Thanks!

Thumb of 2014-01-13/visitor/122f75


Thumb of 2014-01-13/visitor/334a69

Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jan 13, 2014 1:48 AM CST
Hello Jocelyn and Welcome!

Looking at your photos, I wondered whether the center, where the new leaves grow from, is still intact and viable. It if is brown and no intact leaflet(s) are seen, the center may be damaged to the point where you will not get new growth. It looks like the other leaves that should be curling out have all curled down covering the roots? It looks like it hasn't been happy or been in shock.

I would pull any dead brown dry leaves that can be gently pulled off from the underside of the head. Then with your fingers gently hold the leaf tips from the bottom slightly up so that you can position the roots back into dry soil with good drainage (use cactus soil if you can or use potting soil amended with coarse sand or gravel to improve drainage). If the bent firm leaves prevent the roots from being buried then just rest the head on top of the soil and the roots will eventually move down into it. Spray with a water bottle to dampen the soil just a bit, not too much. Hopefully new leaves will emerge from the center as the outer bottom leaves age and die off. Don't forget to use container with drain hole.

The gouges on the leaves look like birds sampling the leaves or some sort of physical damage done by dropping or scraping? New leaves from center will take the place of the damaged leaves eventually when plant gets going again.
Good luck!
Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Jan 13, 2014 12:49 PM CST
Your plant is in desperate need of better light.
Name: Joscelyn
Denver, Colo (Zone 5b)
ColoBride
Jan 13, 2014 2:34 PM CST
Thanks for the responses! This plant has only ever been inside so birds aren't an issue, and the plant has not had physical damage (I don't have kids and my husband doesn't touch the plant). I will try the new soil ideas and put it somewhere with more light.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 18, 2014 6:24 PM CST
I agree with growtail and webesemps.
Clean it up and put it in a protected area outside. Place on dry soil and mist lightly only when dry. It may still form roots and take off growing as the weather warms.
The leaves curling back to the stem/roots is from lack of sufficient light. Keep us updated on things go. Smiling
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Jan 19, 2014 5:24 PM CST
Hi Joscelyn, Welcome! to ATP!

I don't grow Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) so I can't offer advice but I just wanted to link you to a great forum here on ATP specifically for these lovely plants: http://garden.org/forums/view/chooks/

There are lots of hens and chicks listed in our database too: The Sempervivum Database
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 19, 2014 5:33 PM CST
Joscelyn, I hope you find your way back here. And I just realized you are new to ATP. A great big Welcome! to you.
We would love to have you come on over to the Sempervivum Form. Thank you so much Marilyn for posting the links. Group hug
Maybe Joscelyn is busy looking at all the threads and sempervivum photos. Green Grin!

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