Ask a Question forum: Houseleek has brown spots at the bottom of the rosette, also rotten leaves

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Gabe1982
May 10, 2015 12:08 PM CST
Hello everyone,

I have a common houseleek I got from my mum and kept in a yogurt plastic container (tiny thing with no holes at the bottom) for 2 months, and regularly watered it. Like once a week. Now it is in a big flower pot and I have removed all the rotten (and dry leaves). There are still brown spots on the lower leaves (hardly visible in the photo, but they are there) Will they disappear and the plant survive?

I assume (from what I have found on the internet) that I over-watered it and didnt provide a good enough flowerpot with waiter-draining soil in it.

Now...the plant is in a big flower pot, with regular black flower soil (that might not be ideal since it doesnt have the ability of draining water quickly, but I will stop watering it). The question is simple: will it survive? Will just the new leaves replace the ones that are rotten?

In the image the white, dry things next to the plant are the dry leaves I pulled out of the base. There are still a few, but they are still half alive. I dont want to rip that out of the base like this. Rather just wait till they dry off.

Thumb of 2015-05-10/Gabe1982/870f2f

[Last edited by Gabe1982 - May 10, 2015 12:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
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plantladylin
May 10, 2015 2:51 PM CST
Hi Gabe and Welcome!

I'm not real knowledgeable about Sempervivum (Sempervivum) but I think you might be right and that the problem could be from too much water. From your photo, the plant looks very healthy so I'd think as long as the base of the plant isn't soft and mushy (rotting) it should recover. If you feel the soil it's planted in is too water retentive you could un-pot it and add perlite or something to aid in drainage. Also, be sure the container it's planted in has drainage holes in the bottom.

Our member @valleylynn grows lovely Sempervivum's so maybe she will be able to offer some tips and advice.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
May 10, 2015 8:14 PM CST
I'm definitely not an expert on Sempervivum either, but it definitely sounds like overwatering to me; succulents do pretty well for me because I'm, shall we say, less than diligent about watering my houseplants Whistling You might want to try repotting it with some "succulent potting mix," which pretty much won't let you overwater as long as your pot has drainage. Smiling
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Gabe1982
May 11, 2015 1:51 AM CST
plantladylin said:Hi Gabe and Welcome!

I'm not real knowledgeable about Sempervivum (Sempervivum) but I think you might be right and that the problem could be from too much water. From your photo, the plant looks very healthy so I'd think as long as the base of the plant isn't soft and mushy (rotting) it should recover. If you feel the soil it's planted in is too water retentive you could un-pot it and add perlite or something to aid in drainage. Also, be sure the container it's planted in has drainage holes in the bottom.

Our member @valleylynn grows lovely Sempervivum's so maybe she will be able to offer some tips and advice.


Weedwhacker said:I'm definitely not an expert on Sempervivum either, but it definitely sounds like overwatering to me; succulents do pretty well for me because I'm, shall we say, less than diligent about watering my houseplants Whistling You might want to try repotting it with some "succulent potting mix," which pretty much won't let you overwater as long as your pot has drainage. Smiling


Can I just simply leave in the soil mixture it is at the moment and stop watering to solve this problem? It is in a massive flowerpot alone and I really dont want to move it again. (been moved twice in less than 6 months).

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greene
May 11, 2015 6:30 AM CST
"Can I just simply leave in the soil mixture it is at the moment and stop watering to solve this problem?"
Yes, you can, but it would not be the best thing for the health of the plant. Better to buy/make/create the correct soil mix and repot. Here are some ideas for soil mixes and some unusual containers.
http://garden.org/ideas/view/goldfinch4/1211/Growing-Semperv...
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 11, 2015 7:02 AM CST
Gabe, is this just a small plant (you mentioned that it had been in what sounded like a small yogurt container) that's now in quite a large pot all by itself? If that's the case, I think that might be contributing to the problem as well and I'd definitely put it into a pot more appropriate for the size of the plant.
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Gabe1982
May 11, 2015 8:22 AM CST
Weedwhacker said:Gabe, is this just a small plant (you mentioned that it had been in what sounded like a small yogurt container) that's now in quite a large pot all by itself? If that's the case, I think that might be contributing to the problem as well and I'd definitely put it into a pot more appropriate for the size of the plant.


Thanks for the reply. Originally it was in a small yogurt container. Now it is in a big pot (that people use for small trees or several tall plants with normal plant soil).

Please tell me how the big flower pot is not adequate for this plant? I am trying to understand what I should be doing with this plant.

By the way...it is all alone in that big pot..and it will stay this way. I wont plant anything else next to it. Originally there were some plants in there, but my housemates didnt water them...so they died. When I moved to this new house, the pot was already empty.

[Last edited by Gabe1982 - May 11, 2015 8:35 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
May 11, 2015 12:20 PM CST
Again, I'm not an expert on Sempervivums, or house plants in general (although I do have quite a few of them), so I hope someone with a more definitive answer can weigh in on this subject -- but it's always been my understanding (and experience) that houseplants, especially succulents, don't like to have that much "elbow room." I really think you'd have a better chance of success by putting it in a pot that's just a bit larger than the current root ball, and use a succulent-type potting mix.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 11, 2015 7:23 PM CST
Succulents have smaller root ball, finer root hairs, and the roots grow closer above at times, so if it is in a bigger container with soil that is not fast draining, it will rot the roots. They are not like typical tropical houseplants that relish being moist at the soil level.

If you see them in their natural habitat, they are in sandy, coarse, gravelly media, sometimes growing in between rocks. The area being drier most of the time. Even if there is sudden rainfall, the water drains out very fast. So similar set-up has to be done growing them in our gardens.

So if that is my plant, I would get some pumice or perlite, unpot it and mix in the pumice and perlite into the soil and then repot it back. or if you can get a succulent/cacti mix that should help too. Also the container has to have drainage holes. Clay pot is best, but if you like to use plastic containers, just make sure it has drainage holes. I usually use shallow containers too, not deep sized ones.

Typically these succulents enjoy cool to warm temps, but media has to be well draining and put them in appropriate sized container. Some would combine them with other succulents that have similar growing conditions. The lower leaves, naturally brown and dry off, so it is okay to remove, new leaf growth comes from the center. And if the plant is ready it may have offsets so it will increase your collection. If it starts to cone and grows a bloomstalk then it is approaching the end phase, after it blooms it will die. So you can still harvest seeds after that. With succulents, cool/warm and drier is better. When temps go into the extreme heat range, most succulents will just shut down. That is what I have observed. No amount of watering will really make them grow better. It will wait till temps go more comfortable. Similarly if temps go way too cold and wet, rotting ensues faster, so they die.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
May 12, 2015 12:24 PM CST
To give you an idea of size of pot, this plant is happy in this little pot. I will change it to a decorative clay one, but like the others said, in its native home, it is crowded amongst rocks.

Thumb of 2015-05-12/CindiKS/4be836

Here's an off the wall idea...could you take out soil and add rocks and gravel to the pot it is in? Crowd the base with rocks?
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Name: Cindi
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CindiKS
May 12, 2015 12:31 PM CST
Just a thought...i had a few semps in a planter with tropical sedums, so I brought the whole thing in to the sunroom for the winter. The semps HATED being indoors and lost quite a few bottom leaves. Is your plant indoors? If so, set it outside. That alone should help with soil issues. That is, unless you live in a rainy place, in which case you need to set it on a porch.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 12, 2015 12:39 PM CST
Trimming of the old lower leaves will be an ongoing maintenance too that you will be doing when you grow Semps.

Here is how my Semps are planted: whichever way, has to have good drainage.
small and shallow containers
Thumb of 2015-05-12/tarev/866885
long and shallow containers
Thumb of 2015-05-12/tarev/ab9358 Thumb of 2015-05-12/tarev/7c714e
moss ball set-up
Thumb of 2015-05-12/tarev/71cff3
bonsai containers
Thumb of 2015-05-12/tarev/24630f Thumb of 2015-05-12/tarev/7af9db


[Last edited by tarev - May 12, 2015 12:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Cindi
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CindiKS
May 12, 2015 12:50 PM CST
Oh Tarev, that moss ball is cool! Is there another thread somewhere explaining how to do this, and where to buy the balls?
What a great way to grow semps!
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 12, 2015 1:50 PM CST
There was! But I started this moss ball in 2012, with a different set of succulents, which grew tall and leggy, so had to remove those and start anew with semps. I forgot already which thread it was in, whether in the Succulent and Cacti forum or in the Containers forum.

But basically I just used two half wire baskets, got them from Big Lots I think, then lined each half it with sheet moss and then added my succulent mix. To help hold the mix in each half, I just used cut out of weed fabric and sewn it on the edges of the half baskets. Puncture holes on to the moss to insert the semps. I also had to enlarge some of the wire holes, so cut some wider opening to better put the bigger semps. Had to wait a bit for the semps to set root and I also used those flower pins to help hold down the semps. It took awhile then I just put both halves together. Just have to spray a bit more often here, since our area is just too bone dry and we get too hot so, I have the ball in part shade. I keep this ball outdoors year round since our winter is mild enough. I am still experimenting which semps do well here.
[Last edited by tarev - May 12, 2015 2:04 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
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Weedwhacker
May 12, 2015 2:56 PM CST
Cindi and Tarev -- I'm so happy that someone that actually knows what they're talking about with these plants has found this thread!! Thank you both for sharing your photos and knowledge Thumbs up

And Gabe, if you haven't already done so, you might want to check out the "sempervivum and jovibarba" forum http://garden.org/forums/view/chooks/
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[Last edited by Weedwhacker - May 12, 2015 2:58 PM (+)]
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Gabe1982
May 13, 2015 8:15 AM CST
Weedwhacker said:Cindi and Tarev -- I'm so happy that someone that actually knows what they're talking about with these plants has found this thread!! Thank you both for sharing your photos and knowledge Thumbs up

And Gabe, if you haven't already done so, you might want to check out the "sempervivum and jovibarba" forum ]http://garden.org/forums/view/chooks/


Thanks a lot for the help guys. The plant was indoors for some time...that's when things started to go wrong, plus it was in a small container with no holes, plus I watered it weekly. I live in Barcelona, Spain and it is in the balcony, so rain wont be an issue. I'll try to find a new flower pot already filled with gravel or get a soil mix apt for houseleeks.

Cheers.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 13, 2015 9:01 AM CST
Have fun Gabe! Yes, the semps grow much better outdoors, lots of light. Just observe your balcony sunlight. Semps like it cool to warm, but not too hot. They will tolerate the heat if there is some part shade.
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Gabe1982
Jul 19, 2015 7:48 AM CST
tarev said:When temps go into the extreme heat range, most succulents will just shut down..


Hi there

Thanks for the info.

I have moved it to a tall plastic pot which is in another bigger pot (with cactus soil and some volcanic stones). There are holes at the bottom but I hardly water it and it hardly rains here.

Actually we have a heat wave in Europe (and in Barcelona too). We have reached 30ºC/86ºF...but that's from the internet. I think we are somewhere close to 38-40ºC now. It is unbelievable.

Now....all the leaves of my houseleek started to lose water. It was in the direct sun and I think that could have been the problem. Here is a photo of it:
Thumb of 2015-07-19/Gabe1982/166c84

I have just removed it from the balcony and left it in the kitchen where sun wont reach it (I just want this heatwave to be over and then place it back on the balcony).

All the leaves are becoming soft and many of the leaves at the bottom are drying off. I water it a little bit (just a tad bit of water) every 2 weeks and now have removed it from direct sun. It should be coming back to life with all the changes I have made (soil mainly), but it is just not happening.


[Last edited by Gabe1982 - Jul 19, 2015 7:50 AM (+)]
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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 19, 2015 8:34 PM CST
Hello Gabe,

As I have already mentioned, when it gets too hot and dry, these succulents will be like on self preservation mode of sorts, shutting down or slowing down growth and moisture intake till conditions improve. So in essence your plant is doing a hot weather siesta right now.

I would not have moved them to a deeper container. Shallow and just smaller width would have been better. Too deep a container will not improve drainage so any remaining roots will just be drowning taking a long time to dry up. Even in hot weather, looking at your media mix, it seems too wet to me, unless it has just been watered when you took the photo. But it is good you have moved them to shade, they need the shade if temps are intensely hot and dry.

Our summer temps are swinging high and low as well, have gone to the triple digit a couple of weeks back and now settling in the low to mid 90's so it is intensely hot here too. So just have to provide them shade and wait for temps to improve, and that would still be around mid September.

When temps are forecast to go high, I just go around to mist these succulents, while it is still not getting hit by the sun early in the morning. But my containers are shallow so even if it gets wet, it will dry up nicely as the day goes on, so it is not getting soggy.

Now if it gets too hot, at times these houseleeks may just try to do a last ditch effort to survive and bolt, so it will cone at the center and start making buds and its fade away blooms. If it does not make pups, then you can just try and harvest seeds and replant them later. Good luck, hope your plant endures summer. Smiling
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Gabe1982
Jul 20, 2015 1:53 AM CST
tarev said:

I would not have moved them to a deeper container. Shallow and just smaller width would have been better. Too deep a container will not improve drainage so any remaining roots will just be drowning taking a long time to dry up. Even in hot weather, looking at your media mix, it seems too wet to me, unless it has just been watered when you took the photo. But it is good you have moved them to shade, they need the shade if temps are intensely hot and dry.


Thanks for getting back to me.

It must survive...it was a present from my mum. Lol.

So, I took the photo the moment it was watered. I'd replant it again, but it's been replanted like twice in the last few months. I guess I need to wait with that and find out when it is okay to replant houseleeks (I mean which time of the year and how often they can be replanted).

I have moved it to the kitchen and it is now out of direct sunshine all the time.

How important is it to spray water on it? I might just get a spray bottle and start doing that if that helps.

Oh and I only water it like every 2 weeks with about half a glass (0.15 liter) of water. Is that okay?

Regarding the drainage: it is cactus soil with a few volcanic stones, but I guess the pot is too deep...so water doesnt reach the bottom and stays in the soil. I guess that's a bit of a problem too, right?

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