Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Help- what's wrong with my succulent?

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Romamami
May 21, 2017 1:10 PM CST
Hi everyone! I'm new to the succulent/cacti world and am having a few issues with my plants, such as this afterglow that has wilting in the bottom leaves and I don't know what I'm doing wrong, I would love some advice! TIA
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 21, 2017 1:38 PM CST

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Judging by the plants in the background, you certainly dived in deep if you're new to succulents. Thumbs up

The wilting in the bottom leaves may be natural senescence, a process that takes place in all Echeverias where older leaves in the rosette dry up and die as newer ones are created at the top. It may be a sign the plant is thirsty. How often are you watering? It could be some response to heat stress. Is it hot there? What is your location/climate? I wouldn't worry terribly much about lower leaves dying off as long as there are new ones coming to replace them. This is what my "Afterglow" looks like after years of sitting in one spot.

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Above and beyond those possibilities, you should consider a bigger pot in the near future. You will never need one more than 8 inches/20cm wide for that plant, but try something larger than what it's in currently. And try to make sure it gets good light.

And Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 21, 2017 1:40 PM (+)]
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Romamami
May 21, 2017 3:51 PM CST
Thank you so much baja_costero! Ya I definitely went alittle overboard with the buying before the mastering lol.
I'm in zone 9b, sacramento specifically. It's been in the 70s for weeks till the last couple days it's been in the upper 90s. My patio only has sun available from 12pm to 5:30pm, so I put a netting up after I cut a tree down that was blocking all sun, but then some of my echies started to burn. Now I wonder if the netting is blocking too much sun (it's 50%), it seems a lot of my succulents have lost some of their vivid colors.
Anyhoo, this afterglow is actually in a pretty shaded area so maybe that is a factor as well.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 21, 2017 4:09 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, that plant really develops its distinctive features (the intense pink, the powder coat) when it gets some direct sun.

Upper 90s is starting to get into uncomfortable territory for Echeverias. I can't say exactly at what temperature they start complaining (we have no heat here) but there are not a lot of Echeverias which can take desert type heat. The ones that do better in hot summers are usually surviving because they are not getting a lot of direct overhead sun, and/or are benefiting from the use of a swamp cooler, or some favorable cool microclimate which is just kind enough to get them through. You may want to experiment with different locations if you have options, just to see how they affect the plants.

50% shade ought to be good during the peak of summer, given half a day or more. I start my baby Echeverias under 50% shade. The one in the picture gets a few hours of sun, but is shaded for the rest of the day by walls nearby. They will lose some of their colors under shade cloth but not as much as if you were growing them indoors (right by a sunny windowsill, even). That because regular window glass blocks most of the UV and a lot of the stress response seems to be related to UV.

In general you can put your Echeverias in a container that is just bigger than the width of the rosette, and they will do well that way. Some of the plants you see for sale are all hopped up on vitamins and greenhouse tenderness and will not tend to retain the same pumped up look under normal home care, but they all benefit from regular attention once they get too big for their pots.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 21, 2017 4:10 PM (+)]
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Romamami
May 21, 2017 7:43 PM CST
@baja_costero
That makes sense, I've read that along of echies can be coastal so even tho they receive full sun they have cooler temps to help.
So what other ways can I boost their color? And do they become more vibrant again in the colder months? I'm hoping my echies are ok thru the summer cuz we definitely hit triple digits if not sitting in the upper 90s most of the summer. Ah I'm nervous now.. what about agavoides?
And maybe you can help me with this other plant, the first couple of pics, it's bottom leaves keep doing this to me (dying off) but I don't feel like it's the natural process of dying leaves... I feel like the stem is just losing more and more leaves... but I'm no expert.
And then the aloe pups that I separated... I don't know why they are looking like this and what I can do to help. I don't know much about aloe care. Any help with these would so appreciated!!!
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 21, 2017 8:31 PM CST

Moderator

Don't be nervous, your 50% shade setup should be good. Ideally you could take the shade cloth away at the start of fall so the plants get good light during the darker months.

Ech. agavoides is a really tough plant which survives incredible abuse. That said, just don't go crazy overwatering your Echeverias when it gets hot like that. The critical time to watch is when nighttime temps stay high. That's when they really just shut down, and you don't want to water them then.

The first plant looks like it got bumped and dropped a couple of leaves. I wouldn't worry too much about that, it will grow a stem over time and that's a pretty normal part of aging.

The white powder goes along with sun exposure and there is no other way I know of to make it happen. The blushing ones also do it with sun, maybe also with cold stress? No experience with that here given our mild climate. If you want good colors on your Echeverias, give them the most sun they can take without dwarfing or collapsing in the heat. There is some trial and error involved but filtered/diffused light is kindest of all. (Like when we get our usual coastal fog, the intensity is about half normal and it comes from every direction in the sky. Just exactly what my succulents like. Smiling )

The bumpy aloes (and a lot of aloes actually) will tend to curl up their leaves when they are experiencing heat or drought stress, sometimes they might do this right after transplanting when the roots have been injured or they are not able to uptake water. The aloes here tend to do this every summer during our annual drought and after the first few times I decided it wasn't a big deal, because they come right back every fall when it rains. Reversible usually. Your plants may be in crisis or they may just be pouting. Smiling I suspect the latter.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 22, 2017 2:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 22, 2017 9:37 AM CST

Moderator

To answer your question about aloe care, I would treat them exactly like the Echeverias. Which is to say good drainage (I like 50% pumice), a pot generally wider than deep, water when the soil is going dry but not much sooner, strong light. Here are intro pages on the two genera with text that I recently put together, maybe you find something useful there.

The Aloes Database
The Echeverias Database

If you have any feedback on that text which we can use to improve it, please speak up. Smiling
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 22, 2017 11:03 AM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 22, 2017 6:34 PM CST
Romamami, when our temps here starts hitting 90F and higher most succulents will slow down, as it tries to conserve its resources. Especially this week, been one baking heat wave. It will start dropping the lower leaves, start closing down their rosettes to protect itself. I do very careful watering. like if I know the higher 90F's are coming, I start 3 days earlier giving them a good drink, so by the time it comes, the roots are cooled down. making sure they have pumice or insoluble crushed granite as top dressing. Then just have to let them endure the heat wave. They are going semi-dormant till the better 70F to 80F temps returns.

Or I do one last thorough watering early in that very day of hot day forecast, before the sun hits them, then wait it out till conditions improve.

My saving grace here is the shade of our city trees, otherwise I will get many toasted succulents here. Good you have installed some shade for them.

Romamami
May 23, 2017 1:24 PM CST
@tarev thank you! Looks like your familiar with my kind of weather, being in the San Joaquin county. So if they shut down at 90F n above, does that mean this whole coming summer they'll be wilted? I haven't grown succulents in the summer so I'm not at all familiar with what to expect out of them or to care for them. If there's going to be days and weeks straight of high temps, should I water at evening/night?

Romamami
May 23, 2017 1:25 PM CST
@tarev @baja_costero
Does this mean that this imbricata is doing something normal or is there something actually wrong that I can remedy or change?

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
May 23, 2017 1:52 PM CST
Yup just doing it normal, older lower leaves dropping. As long as your center rosette is staying green, no mushiness, and the stems no soft/mushy part, it is doing okay.

If you can find chicken grit (insoluble crushed granite) to top dress your containers, it also helps keep the soil in place during watering, so it does not expose the tender roots below from excessive heat, and protects the base stem from wet soil.

Btw, I only water early in the morning before the sun hits them, never at night. Night time watering might just invite undue fungal rotting. Also I water directly the soil, not the plant. The stomates of those leaves are closed during the day.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 23, 2017 2:47 PM CST

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I would second Tarev's advice about the best time of day to water. I just finished watering my patio plants, and I like to get it done before midday. Watering at night is risky business. And watering at night when it doesn't cool down, you are more or less guaranteed to trigger collapse of sensitive plants.

Also the other point: try to water the soil, not the plant. Another reason to leave your plants in pots that are just wider than the rosette, because then you can water around the edge and not have to hit the plant in the process.

Depending on your mix and how dry the air is (hot and dry is a recipe for fast evaporation), your soil may go bone dry every so often between watering. Not a big deal, probably healthy every so often, but be aware that bone dry soil does not absorb water very well, and you may benefit from watering a second time, say 5-10 minutes later, to ensure it's properly saturated again.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 23, 2017 2:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
May 23, 2017 11:30 PM CST
I agree, Echeveria agavoides is a very tough plant. One of my favorite echeverias! Mine takes cold into the low 20s without a problem (I don't water mine at all in winter) and our intense sun on all but the hottest days.

My care for Echeverias is a little different in my climate. I am in the Mojave and our days are hot but our nights are almost always cool and wind is common so I always water mine at dusk when the winds come up, and I water them directly to wash off any sand and dust to keep the spider mites at bay as much as possible. The wind dries them off quickly and I have never had issues with rotting. Fortunately spider mites don't seem to care for Echeveria all that much Green Grin! in summer I water mine every two weeks or so - I drench the pot, then once I have watered them all I go back and give everyone a second drink to make sure the soil is saturated and their roots don't die back from being completely dry for too long. They are all in terra cotta and with the wind and warm days the pots dry out quickly. They go semi-dormant here in the summer heat, but wake up for a few weeks around late August or so.

Mine are under 50% shade cloth in the summer and do fine, I also have some under the dappled light of a tree and they do fine as well. Full summer sun here will cook them. Once the weather cools off they can be gradually placed into full sun again until I plunk them into a sunny room after they have had a few cold nights outside to let them know it's time to go dormant. So long as they are completely dry and sheltered from frost, they can survive the low temperatures.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
May 24, 2017 12:01 PM CST
I found this nice article talking about how much heat succulents can take. Interesting to read, especially if one is still trying to get to know their new plants: https://www.succulentsandsunsh...

Romamami
Jun 2, 2017 4:13 PM CST
Thank you all for the advice and info!
Auburn CA 95603
Micaelarashell
Dec 3, 2017 4:06 AM CST
I've noticed that when purchasing new echeverias, their leaves are usually upright, forming a tight rosette. After a few weeks at home, with full sun during summer and even now under the grow lights during winter, the rosettes totally lose their shape and go completely flat. Any ideas what I can do differently so that they keep their shape? Thanks :)

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Referencing the little green ramillette:
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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
Dec 3, 2017 10:28 AM CST

Moderator

I'm guessing the upright plants were in very small pots to start with (true?), and they responded to the extra space after you repotted them at home by stretching out a little. As long as it's not the wrong kind of stretching out (in response to low light) then I don't really see a problem. Your plants look quite healthy and thriving. Thumbs up

In theory you could put them in a really small pot and get them to point upwards again (if that's what caused it) but I don't think that would be great for the plants. Strong light is what you want for the most compact and healthy form... so provide the best light you can during this time of year, when natural light is weaker and the days are shorter.

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 3, 2017 10:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Dec 4, 2017 1:21 AM CST
Baja_Costero said:... I wouldn't worry terribly much about lower leaves dying off as long as there are new ones coming to replace them. This is what my "Afterglow" looks like after years of sitting in one spot.
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Great picture. Talk about a plant with character! Is there a hole on the hidden side where you can stick the end of a hose in?

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
Dec 4, 2017 10:00 AM CST

Moderator

There is an opening where I can aim my squirt bottle... so I decided not to try and correct the lean.

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