Cactus and Succulents forum→What is actually wrong with my echeveria?

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Name: Elena
(Zone 7b)
Container Gardener
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sech
May 21, 2020 10:24 AM CST
Hi all,
I've been having the following problem for the past two months:
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Background: This is an Echeveria Psyche I bought some time ago off amazon. When I first got it, it was in great shape. Plenty of roots (although some damage was sustained as I cleaned them to re-pot into my own grittier mix--the mix that was being used was what looked to be regular potting soil with 50% perlite). I also trimmed the roots slightly then left them to heal through the night before finally planting.

Care routine: It gets about 10-12 hours of light per day and gets watered bi-weekly, maybe. Usually less frquently or when I need to water my other succs. My growing medium is Jack Bonsai's gritty mix 111 + a tiny bit of systemic Bonide (the granule type) sprinkled in the top 1-2 inches of soil + some root hormone powder applied to the roots.

Ok, now for the problem: This succulent has been stressing pretty nicely. But, apart from that, growth is completely stagnant. No new center growth. And this despite the many healthy roots it has. The main issue though is, the roots do not seem to be pulling any water at all (or at least this is what I assume since the leaves are getting super wrinkly and soft to the touch). The leaves are not plumpening and the plant doesn't seem to be hydrating itself at all. What is the reason for this? I've tried everything to improve the situation, including water therapy (where I usually see immediate results, there was no change with this plant), watering less frequently, watering more frequently, bottom watering, top watering, cutting the old roots completely and waiting for new roots to grow (current roots). Absolutely nothing has worked. I am truly stumped as to why this baby isn't drinking any water.

If anyone has had a similar problem and can offer any advice, I would love to hear. Any help would be appreciated.
I just need this plant to survive. Sighing!

Thanks in advance!
[Last edited by sech - May 21, 2020 10:30 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2246570 (1)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 21, 2020 10:57 AM CST
Welcome!

The only thing you haven't tried is patience. Plants don't react immediately. They sit and stew, then grow roots, then sit until the timing is right... Completely cleaning the roots was a major shock, then trimming, re-rooting, rooting hormone... shock, shock. (Why rooting hormone on an already rooted plant?) A plant with damaged/compromised roots can't take up water. Put it in some cactus soil, water when needed (don't water on a schedule) and be patient.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Elena
(Zone 7b)
Container Gardener
Image
sech
May 21, 2020 11:30 AM CST
DaisyI said: Welcome!

The only thing you haven't tried is patience. Plants don't react immediately. They sit and stew, then grow roots, then sit until the timing is right... Completely cleaning the roots was a major shock, then trimming, re-rooting, rooting hormone... shock, shock. (Why rooting hormone on an already rooted plant?) A plant with damaged/compromised roots can't take up water. Put it in some cactus soil, water when needed (don't water on a schedule) and be patient.


Thank you for the welcome and for your reply Smiling

I guess it's just that my other succulents react just fine to root cleanings and trimmings and I've never once before had a problem like this, so, I didn't think this would be the reason this plant is doing so poorly.
That said, I feel like you're right since a majority of the succulents that I buy are imports and arrive to me bare-root, and I don't normally have to sit there meticulously cleaning the roots like I would with rooted plants.

Although I really do try to be extra gentle during root cleanings and mostly only use a soft brush to break up the soil around the roots.

I'll keep an eye on things and do my very best to be patient.

The only question I have now is... how do I know when to water? Should I be giving them water at all during this period if the roots can't take up water? And if I don't won't the leaves just eventually shrivel up completely and fall off?

[Last edited by sech - May 28, 2020 6:56 AM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
May 21, 2020 11:42 AM CST

Moderator

Do not clean or trim the roots of an Echeveria unless you have a good reason to do so. They and their close relatives do not react well to this sort of treatment. I would recommend not meticulously cleaning the roots ever unless the soil they're in is very different from the one you prefer to use, and even then it's more a matter of 90% replacement than total replacement. Skip the rooting hormone and avoid the bonide (unless you have reason to believe there is an insect problem).

Did you water right after planting it? Your watering schedule should be based on soil moisture more than any particular feature of the plant. Water well (until water comes out the bottom, and maybe come back a second time 5-10 minutes later to better saturate the soil) and then wait until the soil is going dry at depth (not just at the surface). Which might take a week this time of year in strong light, but only you will really know.

I agree with Daisy that time and patience are the best prescription.

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 21, 2020 11:46 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2246641 (4)
Name: Elena
(Zone 7b)
Container Gardener
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sech
May 21, 2020 12:57 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:Do not clean or trim the roots of an Echeveria unless you have a good reason to do so. They and their close relatives do not react well to this sort of treatment. I would recommend not meticulously cleaning the roots ever unless the soil they're in is very different from the one you prefer to use, and even then it's more a matter of 90% replacement than total replacement. Skip the rooting hormone and avoid the bonide (unless you have reason to believe there is an insect problem).

Did you water right after planting it? Your watering schedule should be based on soil moisture more than any particular feature of the plant. Water well (until water comes out the bottom, and maybe come back a second time 5-10 minutes later to better saturate the soil) and then wait until the soil is going dry at depth (not just at the surface). Which might take a week this time of year in strong light, but only you will really know.

I agree with Daisy that time and patience are the best prescription.

Welcome!


Thanks so much for the advice. I didn't think the root cleaning would be so traumatizing for these plants so I'll definitely keep this in mind going forward. The reason why I clean so thoroughly is because my gritty mix contains virtually no soil, and because I want to avoid any potential contamination. But it looks like in this case me being overly cautious and meticulous is not doing this poor succulent any favors.

I've recently started incorporating Bonide to remedy some gnat problems I've been having. I'm not really sure whether these insects are detrimental to my plants though because most of them don't seem bothered..but I thought it couldn't hurt to prevent further gnat infestations.

I usually wait at least a week before watering my plants for the first time. With subsequent waterings I pretty much always check the dryness of the soil prior (using the toothpick method).

Thanks for your help; I'll try to be as patient as possible Smiling
[Last edited by sech - May 21, 2020 1:01 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2246704 (5)
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
May 21, 2020 9:11 PM CST

Moderator

Yeah, the gnats are probably not harming your plants, but they can be super annoying. I would think they require actual soil to reproduce... but apparently they can grow in your gritty mix too. Well, do what you need to do, but be aware that all they need is one plant left untreated to establish a reservoir and persist indefinitely. My preference is to put sticky flypaper near the surface of the soil to trap the flying adults, which reduces the problem to a dull roar, and I'll run a drench of insecticidal soap or imidacloprid in liquid form if they seem to be getting out of hand.
Name: Bob
The Kau Desert, Hawaii (Zone 12a)
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OrchidBob
May 21, 2020 10:07 PM CST
Sticky fly paper...nothing works better. The organic method. Thumbs up
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 22, 2020 12:36 AM CST
You have gnats? Or you are afraid you will have gnats? Gnats should not be a problem with cactus and succulents.

I do use Bonide but only after I've had an infestation of mealybugs or scale.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Bob
The Kau Desert, Hawaii (Zone 12a)
Image
OrchidBob
May 22, 2020 2:00 PM CST
Bonide sells many different products.
Mealybugs are my main enemy along with the ants that farm them around.
Ultra-fine Horticultural oil spray works on the ones you can see.
Bonide makes many versions of oil spray but I think you a referring to something else.
@Daisyl What product do you use?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 22, 2020 2:57 PM CST
Bonide granules. I get rid of as many bugs as I can see then use Bonide to get rid of the rest.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BWZ9U8/
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Bob
The Kau Desert, Hawaii (Zone 12a)
Image
OrchidBob
May 23, 2020 12:15 AM CST
Thanks Daisy
I have been using Merit granules as the last ditch control.
Same chemical and delivery system.
I was hoping for a different mode of action.
Name: Elena
(Zone 7b)
Container Gardener
Image
sech
May 28, 2020 6:59 AM CST
Baja_Costero said:Yeah, the gnats are probably not harming your plants, but they can be super annoying. I would think they require actual soil to reproduce... but apparently they can grow in your gritty mix too. Well, do what you need to do, but be aware that all they need is one plant left untreated to establish a reservoir and persist indefinitely. My preference is to put sticky flypaper near the surface of the soil to trap the flying adults, which reduces the problem to a dull roar, and I'll run a drench of insecticidal soap or imidacloprid in liquid form if they seem to be getting out of hand.


Yep. They just seem to be everywhere! I'll try the sticky flypaper. Thank you Smiling
Name: Elena
(Zone 7b)
Container Gardener
Image
sech
May 28, 2020 7:01 AM CST
OrchidBob said:Sticky fly paper...nothing works better. The organic method. Thumbs up


Seems to be the majority's preference! I'll give it a try; thanks Smiling
Name: Elena
(Zone 7b)
Container Gardener
Image
sech
May 28, 2020 7:05 AM CST
DaisyI said:You have gnats? Or you are afraid you will have gnats? Gnats should not be a problem with cactus and succulents.

I do use Bonide but only after I've had an infestation of mealybugs or scale.



I currently have them unfortunately. At least now I know they won't harm my succulents. Thanks! Smiling
Name: Elena
(Zone 7b)
Container Gardener
Image
sech
May 28, 2020 7:12 AM CST
OrchidBob said:Bonide sells many different products.
Mealybugs are my main enemy along with the ants that farm them around.
Ultra-fine Horticultural oil spray works on the ones you can see.
Bonide makes many versions of oil spray but I think you a referring to something else.
@Daisyl What product do you use?


When I had a mealybug problem I sprayed alcohol on my succulents and moderated the amount of time they were in the sun to prevent sunburns. It worked really well but then I was fortunate to catch everything early on.

Otherwise, for everything else, I use the same granulated bonide as @Daisyl.

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