Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: New member - intro, some pics, and help request please

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Name: Sweetwind
SF Bay Area (Zone 10b)
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Sweetwind
Jul 25, 2017 9:14 PM CST
I've just joined the forums after reading some of the awesome threads here. Love the plant pictures and discussions and am excited to learn and participate. I live in Pacific Coast area (SF Bay) and have had some types of succulents (Aeonium was my first) for about a decade but a recent trip down to the Central Coast has reawakened my love when I took home a new friend, a ruffled echevaria. I've been working on my patio container garden and a garden in San Francisco, near the Golden Gate Park microclimate (right now it's been very sunny).

Unfortunately, one of my aeoniums is not doing well - it is a small one that I got that had mealy bugs when I bought it. I treated it with alcohol as I was told it would kill the bugs and not harm the plant (this seems true for the other one I got, but it took the farina off the leaves! Still, better than a dead plant and it seems fine now). I am not sure if it has too much water, not enough, the soil is too dry or what is going on but it's suddenly got squishy droopy bottom leaves and it doesn't look good for my intrepid Kiwi. It gets morning sun and then reflected sun in the afternoon, but it's been hot and so I have been keeping an eye on the water and moving them to see if it helped (it hasn't). My other aeoniums I am rooting don't seem to like the potting soil and this confuses me as I've dropped some of them in any old dirt and they grew (B Stone organic for succulents, which is 4x heavier with more perlite and grit than Miracle grow).

Any thoughts on what might help this fellow? I moved him to get less direct sun, just in case it's too much. I'm not sure if I should try repotting it in this state. Crossing Fingers!

Many thanks!
Thank You!

Thumb of 2017-07-26/Sweetwind/769a66
Thumb of 2017-07-26/Sweetwind/51ca80
Thumb of 2017-07-26/Sweetwind/3267b2
Thumb of 2017-07-26/Sweetwind/5acdda

[Last edited by Sweetwind - Jul 25, 2017 9:19 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jul 25, 2017 11:29 PM CST
Welcome! Sweetwind! Nice collection you have there!

As for your Aeonium, maybe it is just adjusting from the treatment you gave it? Typically SF Bay area is so good for them compared to our very hot inland location. In my area they naturally go semi-dormant due to the excessive heat and dry conditions here. In your area you get cooler conditions and better humidity than we do. Since your typical temperature levels are much better for it, try to position your Aeonium slowly to full sun. It can take it very well there. It is also normal for most succulents to drop the lower older leaves like what your Aeonium is doing. As long as the center rosette is forming new leaves and no part/stem of the plant is going mushy, then it is coping well.

I use cacti mix with my succulents here, but I avoid Miracle Gro, then I add some more pumice or perlite and top dress them with poultry grit (insoluble crushed granite). I try to make sure the base of the succulent is protected from sitting too wet on the soil, so I have pumice or poultry grit at the base. You will really need to make your media as gritty as you can since we get rains in winter, and SF at times gets it way ahead of us and with greater intensity at the onset. At least you get better weather so you will not need to be watering frequently. When you water, do it thoroughly till water runs out of the drain holes,, around the soil but not on the rosettes and you got to wait till it goes dry again.

I see you have some cacti there. During winter you may have to bring them indoors to protect them from the rains. They will go dormant in winter and would need to be kept dry.
[Last edited by tarev - Jul 25, 2017 11:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Sweetwind
SF Bay Area (Zone 10b)
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Sweetwind
Jul 26, 2017 5:30 PM CST
tarev said: Welcome! Sweetwind! Nice collection you have there!


Thank you! and thanks for the thoughtful reply!

tarev said: As for your Aeonium, maybe it is just adjusting from the treatment you gave it?


It could be that - I hope so!

tarev said:Typically SF Bay area is so good for them compared to our very hot inland location. In my area they naturally go semi-dormant due to the excessive heat and dry conditions here. In your area you get cooler conditions and better humidity than we do. Since your typical temperature levels are much better for it, try to position your Aeonium slowly to full sun. It can take it very well there. It is also normal for most succulents to drop the lower older leaves like what your Aeonium is doing. As long as the center rosette is forming new leaves and no part/stem of the plant is going mushy, then it is coping well.


That could be it, since I got that one it could have gotten a double shock by putting it out in more light than it was used to before. It was one of the smaller ones - but I do think something is unhappy with him, the leaves were the outside ones, but still it felt kind of damp and all at once so I hope it's not going to get mush.

tarev said:I use cacti mix with my succulents here, but I avoid Miracle Gro, then I add some more pumice or perlite and top dress them with poultry grit (insoluble crushed granite). I try to make sure the base of the succulent is protected from sitting too wet on the soil, so I have pumice or poultry grit at the base. You will really need to make your media as gritty as you can since we get rains in winter, and SF at times gets it way ahead of us and with greater intensity at the onset. At least you get better weather so you will not need to be watering frequently. When you water, do it thoroughly till water runs out of the drain holes,, around the soil but not on the rosettes and you got to wait till it goes dry again.


Miracle gro isn't the best, agreed. The one I got does have a lot of perlite and some sandlike stuff, perhaps it's a meal. If I had more room I'd mix more of my own but maybe when I reclaim the small garbage can I will end up trying that!

tarev said:I see you have some cacti there. During winter you may have to bring them indoors to protect them from the rains. They will go dormant in winter and would need to be kept dry.


I have some Euphorbia, couple cacti and I think it's an agave of some kind - I am not sure. I have left them in the rain, before. Those poor plants have been through a lot and lived. One of them, the zipper plant got lichen on it, then mealbugs and infested with grass. I repotted it, took some of the offsets and planted them : ) it was once a majestic looking plant and now it has corking and damage, battle scars, but it is beautiful to me. Still a reminder I should try to keep an eye on the weather. I usually put them under the porch in the rain and it spares most of the damp.
[Last edited by Sweetwind - Jul 26, 2017 5:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jul 26, 2017 5:48 PM CST

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That is a nice collection of succulents, especially the Echeverias. Thumbs up

Depending on how much light and warmth you are able to provide in winter, none of your plants will actually go dormant... there is no need to reduce watering frequency in winter if your plants are experiencing mild temps and hours of daily sun. I water my indoor cacti the same year round.

Summer is not a good time for Aeoniums... as a general rule, they are going to look their worst and be their slowest at this time. I also find that summer is when the bugs move in (probably because of the increased ant activity). So keep an eye on your plant, but realistically it is not going to look much better until September or October. During this time there is no benefit to watering more often than normal. They're just kind of shut down as part of their natural cycle, and you'll have to wait it out.

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jul 26, 2017 5:51 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jul 26, 2017 7:44 PM CST
I like two succulent nurseries there in the Bay Area, Cactus Jungle in Berkeley and the Dry Garden in Oakland. Fun to visit them when you have time and see how they grow their various succulents.

Just always remember Sweetwind, cold and wet will be the worst enemy for the succulents especially around winter, so watch your temps and weather forecasts, protect from too much rain as needed during that time.

Love the temps there by the bay, easily 30 to 40 degrees cooler than our side, I always admire the Aeoniums growing around there, less ratty looking than the ones I have during summer season.
[Last edited by tarev - Jul 26, 2017 7:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Sweetwind
SF Bay Area (Zone 10b)
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Sweetwind
Jul 26, 2017 9:29 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:That is a nice collection of succulents, especially the Echeverias. Thumbs up


Thank you! I'm still learning more about them, I just found that some things I thought were echevaria aren't, they're hybrids. Or a totally different thing xD

Baja_Costero said:Depending on how much light and warmth you are able to provide in winter, none of your plants will actually go dormant... there is no need to reduce watering frequency in winter if your plants are experiencing mild temps and hours of daily sun. I water my indoor cacti the same year round.


It's been warm for the Bay Area, usually we get morning fog, then sun breaks through but it can also rain a lot in the summer - it hasn't been that way since the last El Nino though, and we're recovering from drought. So, mostly it's watching Feburary rains.

Baja_Costero said:Summer is not a good time for Aeoniums... as a general rule, they are going to look their worst and be their slowest at this time. I also find that summer is when the bugs move in (probably because of the increased ant activity). So keep an eye on your plant, but realistically it is not going to look much better until September or October. During this time there is no benefit to watering more often than normal. They're just kind of shut down as part of their natural cycle, and you'll have to wait it out.


Ah, good to know about their growth, I'll be patient. Maybe it will pull through after all.

tarev said:I like two succulent nurseries there in the Bay Area, Cactus Jungle in Berkeley and the Dry Garden in Oakland. Fun to visit them when you have time and see how they grow their various succulents.


Ooh, next time I get over the bridge I will see if I can find them : ) A special trip might be in order later, after these have established themselves. I saw some interesting ones today at the Farmer's Market at Civic Center, no tags or anything lol.

tarev said:Just always remember Sweetwind, cold and wet will be the worst enemy for the succulents especially around winter, so watch your temps and weather forecasts, protect from too much rain as needed during that time.


Truth, I've killed a couple of things from them getting damp roots or something preyed on them when they got weak from being rained on. I don't know why but lichen and Spanish Moss has shown up lately on some of my cacti : (

tarev said:Love the temps there by the bay, easily 30 to 40 degrees cooler than our side, I always admire the Aeoniums growing around there, less ratty looking than the ones I have during summer season.


It is very hot over there in the SJV - we drove through it a few weeks ago and it topped at 109F!! I bet your cactii do really well though and can be planted right into the ground. I like to keep mine in pots to move them around cuz of the rain, like you warned about!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jul 27, 2017 2:58 PM CST
HI sweetwind, I only do container gardening for my plants, my gardening area being so limited, and my cacti are in containers so I can easily move them indoors during winter time. There are some cacti that likes more frequent watering and a bit shadier area..always a learning curve with these plants.

We head to your side there to escape form the summer heat at times during weekends Big Grin Oh, there is another store I frequent there, if you are familiar with Japantown, there is a garden shop below one of the buildings, I always visit it too. I like getting their kanuma and akadama media, I add that to my cacti mix, I like how chunky it is so the root zone remains gritty and porous. But my main add on to my cacti mix is pumice.

Your area will be very good for the alpine succulents like Sempervivum, they like the cool, bright light conditions. Sempervivums suffer on my side due to the intense heat, so I have to reposition them to a shady area. Echeverias do moderately well here, but like the Aeoniums they slow down a bit too when the heat is getting too intense here.
Name: Sweetwind
SF Bay Area (Zone 10b)
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Sweetwind
Jul 28, 2017 10:29 AM CST
tarev said:HI sweetwind, I only do container gardening for my plants, my gardening area being so limited, and my cacti are in containers so I can easily move them indoors during winter time. There are some cacti that likes more frequent watering and a bit shadier area..always a learning curve with these plants.


That's true. Sometimes I read a plant tag and then when it gets settled I find it likes things a bit shadier or sunnier. I do mostly container gardening, but there are also build raised beds that have housed roses for a while now and a bird of paradise and some ornamental gingers. I used to have a bunch of African daises but now there are a few hangers on stuck in random places in the yard. They need to be rebuilt or something soon though, they're falling apart after ten years. Planning to do! The squirrels like to relocate my dahlia bulbs and I got some freesias somehow xD

[quote="tarev"We head to your side there to escape form the summer heat at times during weekends Big Grin Oh, there is another store I frequent there, if you are familiar with Japantown, there is a garden shop below one of the buildings, I always visit it too. I like getting their kanuma and akadama media, I add that to my cacti mix, I like how chunky it is so the root zone remains gritty and porous. But my main add on to my cacti mix is pumice.[/quote]

Karl the fog is back today! Oh I'll have to check it out, I like going to Japantown once in a while.

Your area will be very good for the alpine succulents like Sempervivum, they like the cool, bright light conditions. Sempervivums suffer on my side due to the intense heat, so I have to reposition them to a shady area. Echeverias do moderately well here, but like the Aeoniums they slow down a bit too when the heat is getting too intense here.


I've gotten some hybrid graptosedums that are doing really well too. I had a cobweb sempervivum but it suffered from mealybugs ( D'Oh! ), it might make it Crossing Fingers! . I repotted some of them.
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
Jul 28, 2017 12:21 PM CST
Oh Karl the fog!! Love how you have named it Hilarious! Hilarious! Delta breeze is nowhere in sight so we are just in oven heat here...just too hot here right now.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jul 28, 2017 12:34 PM CST

Moderator

Karl the fog!!

Here we might talk about June gloom, or no-sky July, or Fogust, but I've never considered naming the thing, that's great.

Karl is your friend during the hotter, brighter months. The difference in light is not just intensity (Carlos here cuts it in half) but diffusion (light comes from all around the sky instead of a single glowing orb). Kinder all around this time of year. Nature's greenhouse, as it were. Just watch out for the rebound come September when Karl goes on vacation. Smiling Or maybe he never does where you are.
Name: Sweetwind
SF Bay Area (Zone 10b)
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Sweetwind
Jul 28, 2017 10:33 PM CST
Yes, Karl even has his own Twitter account nodding (you can look it up if you wish to be amused). It used to get really hot (for here) in September, now we've been seeing it reach those temperatures throughout the summer and even in May as well, though broken up by fog lately (which is more as it should be, versus the heavy drought years). Fogust xD I like that one Hilarious!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jul 30, 2017 1:16 PM CST

Moderator

Ooh Karl on Twitter is one handsome fog. Thumbs up

Pictures of Aeoniums on the patio showing typical midsummer behavior...

First a striped plant turning brown (this is normal). In the fall it picks up a lovely pinkish color, in the winter it's mostly green with a stripe.

Thumb of 2017-07-30/Baja_Costero/b167fe

Second a reddish plant showing the difference between summer leaves and regular leaves. It still has not lost the leaves it had in spring (the longer ones at the bottom) but the summer leaves are noticeably shorter and the rosette will stay shrunken up like that until September or after. The summer leaves will not get much longer. In the second picture (same variety, just with branches, and obviously in need of some grooming) it's apparent how many leaves are being lost. This plant is not sick though the mealies will be making moves if I let down my guard. Smiling A full-size rosette during active growth is the width of the red pot, or a little more.

Thumb of 2017-07-30/Baja_Costero/a2a41c Thumb of 2017-07-30/Baja_Costero/8e1aae

This plant will be mostly brown by fall.

Thumb of 2017-07-30/Baja_Costero/279b12

And the variegates are extra sensitive to sun, though I have discovered that the discoloring that's starting on these leaves (see second picture for a more advanced version) is a purely cosmetic defect which will fade when they drop in the fall.

Thumb of 2017-07-30/Baja_Costero/1aa4d2

One more pair here... first shot is current (midsummer) and second shot is mid fall last year.

Thumb of 2017-07-31/Baja_Costero/6a66c8
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jul 30, 2017 7:48 PM (+)]
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Name: Sweetwind
SF Bay Area (Zone 10b)
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Sweetwind
Jul 31, 2017 6:45 PM CST
Update: sadly the Kiwi shed all its petals - I have not thrown them out in the hopes they will propagate or the stem might produce another. It's too bad but the plant came with mealies from the store and it was a small one so I suppose it just might not have had a good start. Considering that others had it and they lived, and were bigger plants I might get a larger size if I see that one again so it's more established. It is a lovely variety though so I may try again! Also now that I know that Aeoniums dormant over summer I will wait till later to try to establish them, though I've had pretty good luck so far.

Baja_Costero said:Pictures of Aeoniums on the patio showing typical midsummer behavior...


Those are lovely. I have a sunburst as well, it finally put an offset so it's (hopefully) going to root. It's never been a huge plant, yet anyway, compared to the Zwartkops and red aeoniums.I almost can't believe the last pair are the same plant!

And, though I said I would not replace kiwi with a different plant... Whistling I found a tiny cute 'Irish Bouquet' that seems quite healthy. My hubs wanted to make ring-holders for plant pots and it looks very cute there and should get a good amount of sun. Thank you for all your help, I guess the weather has been so odd that I haven't even noticed when the Aeoniums went dormant or not - just when they flowered. Group hug
Thumb of 2017-08-01/Sweetwind/9538b2

[Last edited by Sweetwind - Jul 31, 2017 6:51 PM (+)]
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