Cactus and Succulents forum→Poorly cactus/succulent! :(

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London, UK
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MattyBur
May 22, 2020 7:24 AM CST
Hello,

I've had cacti for pretty much all my life and had one, in particular, for 40 years before it finally popped its spiky clogs a couple of years ago (I think I overwatered it....).

Since then, I've had a few more with varying success and seem to find it hard to keep them alive and healthy.

At the moment, I have what I think is an Aloe Juvenna (see pics - mug included for scale!), which I know is technically a succulent, not a cactus, but anyway, it's not looking too happy.

I bought it from a garden centre about 6 months ago, and after a while, carefully repotted it using cactus compost, in an earthenware double-pot - ie the inner pot (brown) has a drainage hole, and it sits in the outer pot (beige) which can collect the little bit of drained water at the bottom, if necessary.

I thought this would be a perfect solution to the problem of overwatering or water not being able to drain freely enough.

The plant has been sitting on my coffee table near to a patio door which, during this fine weather, is getting a lot of sun in the afternoons, so I'm wondering if it isn't liking that?

It seems less 'plump' than it used to, as if it's shrivelling up slightly, and there are dead brown spots on it.

I've moved it to an area that doesn't get the direct sun, to see if that will help.

I've hardly been watering it, and gave it a little bit last week, with some cactus feed, and the excess drained off into the outer pot successfully.

Any advice please? I've lost all confidence in keeping cacti/succulents since a few have died on me recently... :(

Thanks Confused
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Name: Steve
Stoke-on-Trent, UK
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ketsui73
May 22, 2020 4:03 PM CST
@MattyBur
Hi matt
welcome to the forum. curling /weak leaves on aloe is a common issue and is often an indicator that either the plant is thirsty or the roots have been compromised in some way. The complications arise from the fact that both too much or too little water can result in this problem. Too little water and the plant will use the water in its leaves. Too much and the roots will rot and die back which causes the plant again to use water in its stores.
You are going to have to work what is going on here in your case.

If any part of your plant is brown, mushy or soft then you are into rot and might have to take drastic action to save the plant.

The basic strategy is to plant is a very free draining potting mix in a container that has a whole in the bottom. When you water you need to really give the substrate a good soaking (certainly more than i think your outer pot could collect) and then let the soil dry out at depth before you water again. You need to find a way to determine when you soil is dry. Either use a wooden stake, a water meter or some other method. When you have some experience you with know by just picking up the pot. be careful with aloes not to get water into the rosettes. As i said if you are soaking the substrate properly then too much water will gather in the outer pot for sure. The solution is not to cut back on water I would take your inner pot out of the container when you water and ensure it has drained completely before you put it back.

Put your plant in a sunny location. If indoors in the UK i would go for your sunniest window.

If you follow the right cycle it should recover . It is better to under water rather than over water as you have already found out. Hopefully others with more experience than me might chip in. I have been keeping aloes for a couple of years now and still have situations where my plants don't look optimal. Some of the hybrid types I think are prone to root loss. I would encourage you to keep trying . The learning curve can be frustrating sometimes but nothing in life that is truly rewarding comes easy in my opinion. Here is a pic of a typical window sill in my house.

keep us updated on your progress and good luck Thumbs up
Steve

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[Last edited by ketsui73 - May 22, 2020 4:04 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 22, 2020 4:06 PM CST

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On top of that most helpful advice, I'd recommend moving the plant much closer to the window, ideally right in front of it. You cannot provide too much sun to this aloe indoors. And make sure the cache pot has no water left at the bottom of it after you're done watering.

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 22, 2020 4:07 PM (+)]
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