Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Can These Babies Be Saved?

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Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
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Garden10
Apr 18, 2017 12:09 PM CST
@gg5 and everyone else who could help -- when I went to buy my Christmas tree, the nursery had these little guys in individual pots for 99 cents each, the things, and here is where I begin to impress you, that come out from the sides were brown, but the rest hearty. Only houseplants I ever have are succulents, everything else seems to attract those little fruit flies, and I felt sorry for them. Well, I DID! So I bought three, planted them in organic soil in a good pot, then saw on the plastic thingy that was with them that they are outdoor plants. In New York. In December. So they put one over on me, but I put these in the window with the strongest sunlight, and I've gotten new growth, even though the brown thingies that I trimmed off when I first brought them home seem to have grown back and turned brown again. Now that spring is springing, is there anything I can do for them, will they survive outside in NY year round, if they were meant to be outside, I'd hate to keep them in the house, so please, all advice very much appreciated. Thank You!
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"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Apr 18, 2017 12:35 PM CST
Hi Abbey Smiling these plants are sempervivum and can stay outside all year long where you are. They don't do well indoors, they can be covered with snow outside and be perfectly happy in temperatures well below 0 F (where I live, temperatures above the low to mid 80s stress them). The brown things you are talking about are probably the offsets growing in - they are baby plants so don't snip them off Smiling put them in cactus soil mix and add extra perlite, or pumice or chicken/poultry grit if you can find it. Since yours have been inside, put them into dappled sunlight in a sheltered spot for a week or so to let them adjust to being outside and so the new light green growth can harden off and not sunburn.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 18, 2017 12:40 PM CST
Hello Abbey, what you have are sempervivums. You can do some clean-up on each rosette. Get some tweezers and gently remove the browned, dried out leaves below so you can visually see if there are some nasties hiding underneath. New leaves form at the center and it is natural for the older lower leaves to dry out, so just remove them to keep them clean.

These succulents are alpine growing succulents meaning it loves cool conditions. As you can observe on your plants some have started to make new babies with the stolons still attached to mommy plant. Those new babies will eventually make its own roots, but for now just allow them to grow to about half the size of mommy plant.

With succulents, I use cacti mix and I add pumice or perlite to really make it well draining, planted in containers with drain holes or you can plant them also inground. They do not like too much rain so if inground, best to plant like in a mound. In containers, I also top dress it with poultry grit (insoluble crushed granite) so the base of the rosette is not sitting in wet soil.

You said you have planted them in organic soil, so you may want to improve the draining aspect of that soil, by adding more pumice or if not available more perlite, really got to make them as gritty as you can. They do like lots of bright light so they are really best grown outdoors. Try to use shallow and wide containers rather than too big and deep containers, their root systems are quite shallow.

The thing to understand too with sempervivums, they are monocarpic plants, meaning when it starts to bloom it is the start of the mommy plants' last phase. It may try to make new offsets or if not, you can harvest the seeds of the flowers. Usually too much heat may induce that with these plants too. At times, I have to reposition my semps in more part sun area once our super hot and dry summer arrives.

Here is how one of my semp containers looks like:
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Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Photography Garden Art Birds Region: New York
Herbs Container Gardener Annuals Dog Lover Butterflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Garden10
Apr 18, 2017 2:48 PM CST
Wow, you're terrific, can I hang out here sometimes??? Smiling I have this saddle planter, it seems to make sense given your instructions, am I right, is this a good place to plant them?


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So I'll just dump the potting soil and plant them in a mixture of cactus soil mix, mixed with chicken grit -- I was thinking of buying chicken grit anyway for the benefit of the wild birds I'm trying to attract here -- is that OK? I'll trim off everything that's crisp. There is one green baby on a brown stem -- just so you know, the woman I bought these from TOLD ME to cut those off. Oh boy! Water sparingly, and then just leave them in peace until they look like they need something from me.
Do I have it right? Thank You!

"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
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!
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tarev
Apr 18, 2017 3:06 PM CST
That's a good container as long as it has good drain holes, and not the type that is meant to be self watering containers. When you add chicken grit as top dressing, make sure it is the one with insoluble crushed granite. Some chicken grit have oyster shells, don't use that type. Perlite or pumice are the ones I mix into the cacti mix. In itself, cacti mix has perlite already, but I want the soil very well draining since it rains here on our side during winter, and my semps stays outside year round. I don't know how the rain situation is on your side, so to be safe keep it as well draining as you can.

Well ideally, you don't cut the stolon with the baby semp from mommy plant right away, but if it is really brown and done for, then no choice but cut it. Hopefully little semp has enough energy to grow on, just be careful with watering.

The usual way I water my semps, I water them thoroughly early in the day, going around the plant till water drains out, and leave them alone. Got to allow watering intervals, so it does not make the soil below soggy so the roots won't rot. Outdoors there are lots of things that will influence its dry out time, wind, sun, humidity and the media you use. If you are in doubt if your soil is still wet, stick a bamboo skewer in the soil. If it comes out wet, delay watering.

Btw, we also have a specific Sempervivum forum here in NGA. Lots of helpful growers there, feel free to ask them too for their inputs, especially from the growers there with similar gardening zone as you do Smiling
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Apr 18, 2017 3:30 PM CST
I agree
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Photography Garden Art Birds Region: New York
Herbs Container Gardener Annuals Dog Lover Butterflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Garden10
Apr 18, 2017 3:34 PM CST
No, it's not self watering, and the drainage is excellent, especially with it on the railing, so we're OK there. I'd be happy to check that forum, now that I know what they're called, thank you both again Smiling
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
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!
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tarev
Apr 18, 2017 5:10 PM CST
Have fun! I tip my hat to you.
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Photography Garden Art Birds Region: New York
Herbs Container Gardener Annuals Dog Lover Butterflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Garden10
Apr 23, 2017 11:36 AM CST
Well, here's the finished product, hope I did it right, after all, it only cost me $20 to transplant $3 worth of succulents!! Rolling on the floor laughing


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Thank You! again for your help!!

"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
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plantmanager
Apr 23, 2017 11:38 AM CST
It looks great, Abbey! It won't be long and you'll see offsets. It will look awesome when your pot is full of them.
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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
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tarev
Apr 23, 2017 1:20 PM CST
Very nice Abbey! Thumbs up
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Photography Garden Art Birds Region: New York
Herbs Container Gardener Annuals Dog Lover Butterflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Garden10
Apr 28, 2017 4:12 PM CST
I wanted to add this because I'm impressed with the company and how they handled this -- I bought Espoma organic cactus soil to pot these, two bags, and when I got home, I realized one bag was only half-full. I thought the nursery might have used it and then put it on the shelf in error, but it was sealed, so I called the company. Very personal approach, no disembodied voices wasting your time with prompts and nonsense, very nice woman, asked me to email a copy of the receipt, which I did, along with photos showing the difference in the bags, my idea, thought it only fair. They not only sent me a new bag, but free samples of three of their other products that I can certainly use, all organic, and a lot of literature on everything from having a chemical-free lawn to a safe paws lawn for the dogs and cats. Like the way they do business and wanted to share. Smiling
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Apr 28, 2017 4:15 PM CST
I love it when I find a good company like that. There are so many poor ones now with bad customer service.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Photography Garden Art Birds Region: New York
Herbs Container Gardener Annuals Dog Lover Butterflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Garden10
May 10, 2017 11:37 AM CST
I wanted to provide a progress report; I am getting new growth, especially the one of the right, amazing what happens when you take an outdoor plant outdoors where it belongs instead of keeping it in your house for four months Rolling my eyes.

How does it measure up, everything going as it should, should I be doing something else for it, please let me know Thank You!
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"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
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
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tarev
May 10, 2017 4:33 PM CST
They are looking quite good! The next thing now is to take note of your temperatures, as we start to head to much warmer/hotter conditions soon. The plants are alpine succulents, so often as temps soar they may go semi-dormant to protect itself and save moisture loss. So adjust watering as needed.

In my area since our humidity is so lousy and our temps do soar very high and dry, the rosettes will tighten up in its growth so I often have to reposition them in some part shade to protect them from being roasted by the heat. I water directly the media carefully, not the rosettes. It is different with light rain, they love rain, but we don't have them anymore by summer, so I have to use our tap water. When they are in semi-dormant mode, they will not consume much water either, so you can still actually overwater them, so adjust/lessen watering as needed. They still need some water so the roots will not dry out.

But this will vary, your area may have better conditions than we do.

Here is an example:
My semps last 14June 2016 - see how tight the rosette growths are; at that time I remember we are experiencing about 95F to 100F temps and humidity was extremely low at 25% to 20%
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29Mar2017- Compared to this early Spring, after our winter rains, and then the Spring cool down, daytime temps at high 50F's to low 60's and humidity at 40% to 60%, our lows at 45F to 50F, the semps truly enjoying cool weather, offsets are growing, and leaves looks more alive:
Thumb of 2017-05-10/tarev/d1af6e

Sometimes when it just gets too hot, semps may also bolt, meaning it will start making bloomstalks. When they start doing that, it is the end phase of the plant since they are monocarpic plants. I just let the plant do what it does, enjoy the blooms and hope it tries to make more offsets. You can harvest the seeds later. Some does surgery when they see it is bolting, but I don't do that. I just let nature take its course. No amount of fertilizer will stop it from declining after it blooms. Mommy plant will just dry out eventually, but pretty much it tries to make some offsets, so it is not a total loss yet.
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Photography Garden Art Birds Region: New York
Herbs Container Gardener Annuals Dog Lover Butterflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Garden10
May 11, 2017 6:20 AM CST
Thank You! Tarev! Our warm temps are, allegedly, starting next Tuesday, with highs in the 70s and a couple of days, the low 80s. Meanwhile, I stopped by the nursery yesterday and they were talking about this storm that's supposed to hit us Friday night and all day Saturday, with showers on Sunday, maybe 2 inches of rain, second weekend in a row, so I'm going to put them under an overhang tomorrow afternoon, they can still enjoy the cold without floating away on me. Thanks again for all that good info and instruction Smiling
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
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
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tarev
May 11, 2017 9:28 AM CST
Lovely temps Abbey! That is just okay with them. Yes, do protect them in case your rains will be too much, and knowing it is Spring, at times it is not remote to have hail events. Just make sure there is good airflow around. Smiling
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
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tarev
May 11, 2017 10:12 AM CST
Abbey, do visit also the Sempervivum Forum, lots of enthusiasts there for the semps. I learned a lot from them as well. Smiling
N. Ohio (Zone 5b)
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Tisha
May 11, 2017 10:46 AM CST
Abby, nice planting Thumbs up
Are these little guys also called Hens and Chicks?
Here when I moved in. Cleaned out the bed a little yrs. ago and haven`t touched them since. They do very well here, zone 5b.
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
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tarev
May 11, 2017 10:50 AM CST
Yes, they are commonly known as hens and chicks Smiling

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