Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Could someone help with my succulent?

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jerroldlaw
Aug 24, 2017 10:31 PM CST
Hello,

I need help to ID my succulent on the right and also hopefully find out why it doesn't look like its growing healthily ):

Its now in my office with a north facing window. It is mostly air-conditioned at about 22-24 degrees celcius during the day and at room temperature at night. I water it fortnightly. There is no drainage for this pot and i'm unsure of the soil type.

It seems to be losing leaves much faster than it grows new ones. The leaves also started becoming very soft and droopy. I really can't tell if it is underwatered or overwatered. On top of that the stems are starting to turn purple (as you can see in the first picture).

Thanks!


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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Aug 24, 2017 11:00 PM CST

Moderator

I will let others help you with the ID, but here are a few general observations about indoor succulents and terraria.

Light is often limiting indoors, and I would expect a north-facing window does not get much sun for half the year. Generally that's not a great place for succulents. What's important for the best health and form of your plants (and will help with watering) is actual sunlight through the window hitting the plants, not reflected or diffused light. A south, west, or eastern exposure (assuming you're in the N hemisphere). Ideally S orientation for the most light in winter. When they can see the sun for a couple of hours a day, they should be okay. Smiling Less than that and you start to experience problems depending on the plant. Hours of daily sun is what you should shoot for, to the extent your situation allows that.

When I water my succulents, I like to get the soil completely wet (to saturation) and then allow it to dry out most or all of the way before watering again. These plants tend to like it when wet and dry conditions alternate, and they can break down because of changes on either side of the spectrum. When things are too wet (that is, when they don't get a chance to properly dry out between waterings, so the soil is always soggy) there is a risk of rot. When things are too dry (too much time elapses after the soil has gone dry, or the soil does not get wet enough when you do water) then succulents will usually work through their water reserves (shriveling, wrinkling, and dying leaves) to deal with the situation. That is what your second plant seems to be doing.

The problem with terraria and succulents is twofold. First, it's hard to get the soil properly wet without a drain hole, that is without creating a small lake at the bottom. And second, it's hard to get a handle on when it dries out (relatively closed system, often very shallow and sandy) so it's really easy to starve plants of water. Over time there is a sort of gradual attrition until only survivors remain. Succulent terraria look cool when they are first set up, but are not that easy to keep going long term in practice. An overgrown succulent terrarium is evidence of dedicated care. Smiling

Here is a recent thread on a related situation.

The thread "Terrarium issues" in Cactus and Tender Succulents forum
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Aug 24, 2017 11:00 PM (+)]
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jerroldlaw
Aug 24, 2017 11:05 PM CST
Hi Baja_Costero,

Thank you so much for your response. It is deeply appreciated.

Would you have any advice on how I should repot it? I'm sorry I'm absolutely new with this. Should I "behead" it out of the current soil or just simply pull it out? Will it be able to use its old roots on the new soil if I bury the bottom of the stems on the soil?

Also, should I water it immediately after repotting?
[Last edited by jerroldlaw - Aug 24, 2017 11:09 PM (+)]
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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
Aug 24, 2017 11:28 PM CST

Moderator

You can probably get a spoon in there under the roots. Try to disturb them as little as possible. Basically extract the package, root ball more or less intact, and set it up in a pot with holes (or whatever its final destination may be). You can behead the plant but that introduces a mandatory lag and really why bother if the other route is possible.

The roots will be fine if you don't rip at them too much. And definitely wait to water after repotting. A week is good. Try to position the base of the plant (where the stem hits the ground) flush with the soil level, which is to say neither above nor below soil level. Do not bury the stem beyond where it is now, that just invites the possibility of rot. Actually the way they are now, it looks like the original root ball was placed too high relative to the soil around them. (Or is there soil around them?) Anyway, you want that all flat and even in the final setup.

And try to use an airy mix (cactus mix or regular potting soil with some perlite, pumice, or whatever mixed in). When the plant is in a pot with holes and fast draining soil, watering becomes much simpler and easier. Especially with strong light.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Aug 24, 2017 11:29 PM (+)]
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jerroldlaw
Aug 24, 2017 11:37 PM CST
That's great Baja_Costero! Thanks a lot for your help. Will keep you updated on its progress. Certainly hope it isn't too late to save it.

Thank You!
Name: Sue Taylor
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kniphofia
Aug 25, 2017 12:25 AM CST
These common types of succulents are very easy to pick up for a couple of dollars. I'd start again with some new plants.

jerroldlaw
Aug 25, 2017 12:31 AM CST
kniphofia,

They were given to me as a gift and have sentimental value to me.

jerroldlaw
Aug 25, 2017 2:27 AM CST
Alright. Just repotted them. Hopefully they do better now!

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