Ask a Question forum: Several plants not doing well (Sago palm, succulents, kalanchoe..)

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Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Dec 31, 2016 12:12 PM CST
I water them every week. Water the succulents "a little bit" and the rest thoroughly.

Hobbit:
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A type of Kalanchoe
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[Last edited by Rez - Dec 31, 2016 12:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Dec 31, 2016 12:42 PM CST
to much water. Suculents need to go dry. The others to much water also. Things dont dry out as fast in winter. Id take em all out of pots. Let em dry some. Succulents longer.
Also ! they getting good lite ?
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 31, 2016 3:20 PM CST
Watering once a week could be just fine, depending on the temperature and the light. Are the plants indoors? At room temperature, or subject to the cold this time of year? Ideally you want to wait to water the succulents until the soil is going dry, and that time interval will depend on the conditions where you are.

My advice for all succulents would be to water thoroughly, to completion, every time, while the plants are in mild conditions (like indoors, reaching at or near room temperature for some of the day). When you water short of that amount, you don't flush the soil, and salt tends to build up over time. Maybe if it's really cold (like winter cold) then you would want to hold back on water to keep the plant in a sleepy state. Cold and wet is a bad combination. Otherwise, give your plants regular water when they have good light and mild temps, and they will grow year round. The key is to wait for the soil to dry out, but avoid leaving it sitting there for a long time bone dry.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Dec 31, 2016 3:20 PM CST

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What kind of soil are the succulents in? Look like too much of a moisture retaining type with small wood chips and grit on top. They need a fast draining cactus type mix.
The last two plants look like they are dried out perhaps from the dry inside house, if you are running your heater, it really dries out the air. Maybe too near a heater vent? The last image, those leaves will not green up, might as well cut them off.
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sallyg
Dec 31, 2016 5:12 PM CST
And, not to pile on even more, but except for Hobbit (Gollum jade) and the last two, they have been needing more light. The stems are thin and leaves should be closer together.
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Jan 1, 2017 11:26 AM CST
One more question. Just to be sure, do the pots all have drainage holes?
Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
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madcratebuilder
Jan 2, 2017 8:15 AM CST
Allow the soil to be completely dry for a few days before watering, this could be a few days or weeks depending on the environment. They are crying out for more light.
Spectamur agendo
Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Jan 2, 2017 8:27 AM CST
OK I put them in a westward window. When you say completely dry does it mean I stick my finger deep into the soil and see if it is dry?
My money tree and golden euonymous need more light too but they are too big to put in a window.
Most of my plants are in my living room that has east and north facing windows so do not get much light at this time of the year.
The mix is a typical one which is of low quality with a lot of pieces of wood in it. Water pools on top for seconds when I water them.
All have drainage holes and all indoors.

A problem with putting them in a window is that they get the heat from the heat pump. Windows are drafty too so the poor plants get exposed to both cold and heat.
[Last edited by Rez - Jan 2, 2017 8:31 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jan 2, 2017 9:19 AM CST
You can also lift the pot to asses its weight except with the very big ones - if they're too big to lift I just tip them slightly. If they feel light then they can be watered. When you water does any water come out of the drainage holes? I've had outdoor situations where once a wood chip mulch gets too dry it absorbs any rain or irrigation water and none gets to the roots underneath.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 2, 2017 10:12 AM CST
It could be a problem to be close to the window where the plants are exposed to cold and heat. You will have to keep an eye on that situation to see what develops.

To tell when the soil dries out, you can put your finger in there, also a chopstick or a moisture meter. Try not to do this too often, to avoid damaging the roots. Each time you collect a data point you'll have a better idea about how the soil behaves over time. Given predictable, regular conditions, the soil will take about the same amount of time each watering cycle to dry out.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 3, 2017 7:27 PM CST
Hello Rez, I have some reservations on the media you use. I don't really like using bark mix on succulents, except if they are tropical succulents. Of the ones you showed, none is tropical in nature, so it maybe making root zone too wet. Once a week watering I think, with that type of media is too often at this time of the year, and with containers that deep, it is taking time for media to dry out at root zone indoors, so you get overwatered plants.

I would use bamboo skewer or toothpick, stick it in the soil and if it comes out damp/wet, delay watering.

Some would augment the lighting needs indoors with artificial lights, to help the plants. And if that window area is too cold, the plants suffer too.
Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
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madcratebuilder
Jan 4, 2017 8:47 AM CST
I go by the weight of the plant, it's obvious when it dry. This works good with smaller pots, not so much with really big ones.
Spectamur agendo
Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Jan 14, 2017 8:07 PM CST
tarev said:Hello Rez, I have some reservations on the media you use. I don't really like using bark mix on succulents, except if they are tropical succulents. Of the ones you showed, none is tropical in nature, so it maybe making root zone too wet. Once a week watering I think, with that type of media is too often at this time of the year, and with containers that deep, it is taking time for media to dry out at root zone indoors, so you get overwatered plants.

I would use bamboo skewer or toothpick, stick it in the soil and if it comes out damp/wet, delay watering.

Some would augment the lighting needs indoors with artificial lights, to help the plants. And if that window area is too cold, the plants suffer too.


Could you recommend a good cactus mix? Or can I make one myself (say by adding some usual potting mix to gravel)?

My peperomia has started to wilt too. Jade plant mostly dead too. (Strangely its stems dry up before the leaves. I planted some of the leaves but most of them died too.) Sad
Different succulents seem to have different tolerances for the cold. My agave and flapjack are doing well on the window ledge but my aloe vera didn't like it there.

The golden euonymus has lost most of its leaves but I guess this is because it is a deciduous plant?
[Last edited by Rez - Jan 14, 2017 8:12 PM (+)]
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Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Jan 14, 2017 8:10 PM CST
I also found a different method to see if plant needs watering: I stick my pinky into the holes on the bottom!
Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Jan 14, 2017 8:15 PM CST
One more thing. I have a little ivy which has a few branches. The leaves near the ends of the branches look good but the ones near the stems keep turning yellow. So the branches are getting bare near their stems. I don't understand it. Confused It's probably in too big a pot.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 15, 2017 12:19 AM CST
Rez, for my succulents oftentimes, I just use cactus mix and add some more pumice or if you do not have access to pumice, then some more perlite. Got to make that media grittier and top dress with chicken grit (crushed granite) or maybe small lava rocks or clay rocks.

Yes, different succulents have varying tolerances to cold, and also to heat. But whichever way cold temperature goes, media has to be drier as much as possible when it gets cold. Too wet and too cold = dead succulents.

Just a sample of my one of my containers here, as you can see you cannot even see the soil with the very gritty top dressing, that way base of the plant is not sitting in damp soil.
Container is shallow but wider.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
Jan 16, 2017 7:24 PM CST
Rez said:I also found a different method to see if plant needs watering: I stick my pinky into the holes on the bottom!


I don't know if it would work for potted plants, but I do something like that with seedling trays. I put an absorbent pad under them, in firm contact with the holes in the bottoms of the cells.

Then I know that the bottom of each cell is about as wet as the absorbent pad.
Since each cell is only a few inches tall, the tops are only a little drier than the bottoms.

If there is good contact from the soil mix to the pad, and the soil mix wicks well, that bottom pad ought to (in my opinion) reduce the amount of perched water in the pot, if the pad can evaporate itself dry, or if it hangs down and can drip-dry.

Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 25, 2017 12:17 PM CST
Hi there Rez !!!
Finger in bottom of pot ! GOOD ANSWER ! GOOD ANSWER !😁
If hole is big enough.
I have a stiff wire. The size of a pencil lead. That i use. I stick it in pot fairly close to edge of pot, so least root damage.
Do you have a south facing window you could use ?
Now is time to get them into right size pots and right soil mix. Since there in bad shape.
SOIL MIX !!! I use one part potting soil to one part washed sand. Works great. Or you could do as my brother, and use aquarium gravel.
When i water , i bottom water. Put pot into large bucket. And fill bucket with water up to almost top of pot. Leave soak 20 or 30 minutes.
My cati and suculents. Both inside and outside are on a 6 week schedule. Yep ! Soakin every 6 wks.
You'll figure out your own schedule.
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Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Jan 25, 2017 12:35 PM CST
6 week? Grumbling It seems I water mine too often then (once a week). The bottom of them is still wet when I water them.
I've put most of them in west facing windows which I think get most sunlight at this time of the year.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 25, 2017 1:20 PM CST
Yes, that is quite too often for you Rez for indoor watering of succulents. We have varying temps and humidity maintained indoors, so you got to adjust watering regimen with the seasonal change.

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