Cactus and Succulents forum: Help! Some of my succulents are dying!

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Name: monique
New Zealand
Oct 1, 2016 10:29 PM CST
Hi there! I am a newly obsessed succulent lover. I have just started collecting a few, and having ran out of room I brought a mini glasshouse (plastic) until I can purchase a bigger one. It is spring here at the moment, so I can't leave them outside.

So I put all my succulents in this glasshouse, left them for the week after watering them completely. I have just looked at them when returning home to see that some are dying! so sad/disappointed Sighing! .!

It is strange because some seem to be happy and my leaf cuttings are taking off. I am wondering if the soil hasn't dried out fast enough because there is too much condensation, because there is no air flow. So the soil isn't drying out? Should I put some holes into the greenhouse? Or is is the damage from direct sunlight? But i thought spring sun would be no issue.

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Thanks for the help Thumbs up
Name: monique
New Zealand
Oct 1, 2016 10:30 PM CST
I should mention that although it is spring, the temps are still quite cool and lots of rain. So can't leave them to hang outside.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Oct 2, 2016 9:03 AM CST
Welcome! πŸ˜«πŸ˜• im guessing to much water. They need good draining soil and to get dryed out before (bottom) watering. Soil i use is one part potting soil to one part washed sand or aquarium gravel.
They'll let you know they want water when leaves look a little shriveled/wrinkled ! My inside ones only need water every 6 weeks.
They can take being dry torchered.
Butt chinese water torcher....
Well !!!! kills them πŸ‘ΊπŸ˜«
You'll figure it out. 😎
In my learnings.
I've drounded many 😫
In mean time. Take them out of greenhouse and put them somewhere preferably warm an dry.
Till they dry out. Then go back to greenhouse if you have them in some good soil. 😎😎😎 I tip my hat to you.

Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Oct 2, 2016 11:00 AM CST
Welcome, @Moniquenz

I am as green as can be with succulent propagation. Confused

The only thing I know for sure: Protect from direct sun until established, and...soil must drain very very well.

If you have a cutting with no roots at all, let the cut area scab over or harden off. Some say a day or two, some say longer.
Longer is safer than not long enough.
Then, just set in or on soil that is not as dry as a bone, and wait. Turn a blind eye and wait. Some give a spray bottle squirt of water, some do not. For me, with experience with houseplants but almost no succulents, the instinct to give a bit of water was strong,
and wrong.....

If you have roots, completely different. Do not leave dry for too long. We all have such different environments, we have to figure out watering for ourselves. Watering in the growing season and watering when the plant is dormant are totally different, and some succulents grow in winter rather than summer. You have to know what category your plant is in. Lots to learn with these plants. I watched every Youtube video there is to get the strange propagation of succulents thru my thick skull.

Good Luck, and Welcome!

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Oct 2, 2016 5:15 PM CST
I would remove them from the glasshouse. It traps humidity so it makes the media dry out slower. Succulents want to dry faster and not remain too soggy, and good airflow helps too.

Also, the older, lower leaves normally do drop off as the plant ages. If those plants are already rooted, then maybe it is just dropping the old ones. At times, it is dropping them off as it slowly tries to redirect its resources to new growth, so give it time adjust and hopefully newer growth will form at the nodes, at the base or near the tip.

If these are new cuttings, warm temps with part shade conditions will work good for them as it tries to form new roots.
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
Oct 2, 2016 5:39 PM CST


Yes, take them out of the glasshouse. You want free flow of air around the plants for health reasons, and free flow around the soil so that it dries out over time. If you're wanting to provide some protection, try a structure made of shade cloth. Very small plants are not going to deal well with direct overhead (midday) sun, but they will enjoy filtered light or morning sun, with bright shade for the rest of the day.
Name: monique
New Zealand
Oct 2, 2016 9:43 PM CST
I feel like I had a 'duh' moment. Makes complete sense now about the greenhouse, specifically the humidity slowing down the drying process. Thanks for the help!

@Philipwonel - Yes I need to definitely kick the watering habit! I was only drenching them once a week when they were indoors, but have read that is probably too much. It is going to be a learning process no doubt, just hope I don't take down too many of my succulents with me Crossing Fingers!

@Baja_Costero - I am going to go to the hardware store and purchase some shade cloth. Don't know why I didn't think of that instead of the glass house. Might even get some plastic so that when it rains I can put it on top so they don't get drenched too much. Unfortunately it rains so much here in NZ that I don't think the succulents will be happy without a cover, even if I have good draining soil.

@Lauriebasler - Thanks for the welcome and watering tips Laurie. I too watched all the youtube clips, but because there are so many different techniques I got confused about what I should or shouldn't do. I think I will stick to a watering process similar to yours - minimal water when no roots, and then once roots form a bit more squirty bottle action.

All succulents are out of the greenhouse and back on all my windows sills! Here's hoping they recover!
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
Oct 3, 2016 10:47 AM CST


If rain is the issue, try to take advantage of overhangs (like the eaves around your house, a covered porch, etc.) and that can score you valuable protection without interfering with the exposure these plants like. My favorite overhangs face E (for my young plants that get only morning sun) and SW (for my adult plants that might be sensitive to rain at certain times of year).

During the winter (our rainy season) I make strategic use of the eaves to protect a few plants that go dormant then and don't like to get soaked during their sleepytime. They might get hit by a few ricochets or whatever, but the real risk is mitigated by a quick 2 or 3 foot shift in location under the eaves.

Your basic N-facing overhang (ours of course would face S) is ideal during the dark days of late fall/early winter because the sun comes more from that direction and less from overhead, so the overhang cuts the water but not the light. Indoors the sunniest window in winter will probably face that direction as well (depending on what kind of obstructions might be outside).
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Oct 3, 2016 1:49 PM CST
I believe that @Baja costero, @Lauriebasler, and myself gave you just about all that there is to know about growing cati/succulents. I want to thank them for giving you the extra details.
Grow on !!! 😎😎😎
Ps: @tarev. Also ! 😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
[Last edited by Philipwonel - Oct 3, 2016 1:52 PM (+)]
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Oct 29, 2018 1:21 PM CST
Please help. These two were thriving this summer, I repotted them separately to bring them inside for winter. I watered them afterwards and left them outside to drain. Now they look horrible and I don't know what I did Sad I'm not sure if they are the pencil variety but I went off a post of how to repot them and yeah, they look so sad now.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Oct 29, 2018 1:55 PM CST

Yes, they have rotted. Sighing! You should have left them together. By separating them, you damaged a lot of roots. Watering immediately after re-potting has caused the damaged roots to rot.

Those pots look really big and the soil very wet. That is another problem that only added to the re-potting problems.

There's no saving the roots but you may be able to take a cutting from the top and start again.
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


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