Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: My succulent is turning bright red/orange???

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Bayleafchristine
Sep 13, 2017 2:46 PM CST

New Member

I got the succulent about three weeks ago and it was a beautiful dark purple- almost black with some green near the stem. Two days ago I noticed one leaf has turned a bright red/orange. Now almost the entire outer ring of leaves is that color and wilty! Is there anything I am doing wrong? Or is this just the late shock that succulents have?
Thumb of 2017-09-13/Bayleafchristine/9e82aa

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Sep 13, 2017 2:58 PM CST

Moderator

Does the container have a hole at the bottom? How often have you been watering?

Bayleafchristine
Sep 13, 2017 5:00 PM CST

New Member

It doesn't have a hole in the bottom, but there are several sizes of stones and pebbles in there and a cut piece of sponge to absorb anything left over. I water about every week (when the soil is completely dry).
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 13, 2017 8:35 PM CST
Hello Bayleafchristine, your plant is getting overwatered, I would suggest you repot in a container with drainage holes and use well draining media, no sponge etc.

Succulent roots grows shallow often, hates sitting too long in wet media. There is hope for your plant, it is dropping the older leaves, but it will be best to correct your set-up to have a better growing plant. Protect the base of the plant, you can put pumice or poultry grit (insoluble crushed granite) around it so there is no wet soil settling against the base.

It needs to have drainage holes too to be able to flush out excess salt and hard water deposits.
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
Sep 13, 2017 11:01 PM CST

Moderator

I don't know how tarev came to the conclusion your plant is overwatered but it will be much easier to care for in a container with holes at the bottom. The rocks in there are not doing much for you unless they are the size of fine gravel and mixed in evenly with the soil.

The issues related to water concern two things. First, it's really hard to water to saturation (what you should aim for) when you can't water until it comes out the holes in the bottom. There is a real danger that if you attempt to water well, it will pool in a lake at the bottom of the container, and persist, causing rot. Most likely you are not watering enough when you do water, if I had to guess.

The second water issue relates to when the soil dries out, which is when you want to water... In a closed system with a narrow neck it may take longer to dry out. Be aware that the surface layer will dry out much faster than the soil at depth, which is what matters, and if you are unable to get a sense of when that is, you may end up watering more or less often than necessary. A regular wide mouthed pot gives the soil lots of surface area to evaporate and gives you easy access to put your finger (or a bamboo chopstick or a moisture meter) in to check the moisture.

Watering once a week may be fine if the plant is getting strong light and the soil is exposed and able to evaporate. It's hard to specify an ideal time interval from a distance because it very much depends on local conditions. You want the soil to be going dry when you water, but there is no advantage at all in leaving the soil bone dry for any extended length of time. You will need to water more often in hot, dry, bright conditions compared to cool, humid, cloudy ones. More often in summer than winter, probably.

Hopefully that makes sense. Smiling
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 14, 2017 12:38 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Sep 14, 2017 10:11 AM CST
Hello Bayleafchristine, I can say your plant is getting overwatered, even at your once a week interval in watering, by the way the leaves are drying out, it seems a lot at the same time and you did mention your container has no drain holes.

Your photo also shows it is being grown indoors, when grown indoors, there is lesser activity for some succulents unlike the interaction they have outdoors with brighter light, air and temperature. Indoors it goes a bit flat, so your plant is ending up somewhat dormant, slowing down its growing activity. Not recognizing that aspect of its growth, oftentimes some growers would end up having an over watered succulent, simply because the plant is not actively utilizing the water it gets.

They do also go on a phase when it drops its older, lower leaves, so when I see that, I try to observe how the new leaves are growing, if there is any new growth at all from the center. If there is no new growth, I just let the plant rest, the succulents do that, just depends on one's growing area. Not all of us gets to have the most ideal of growing locations, mine included, so at times allowing them to stay dry but in shade works better than to do schedule of watering them every week. It just varies from one growing area to another. We have such varying temperature and humidity conditions.

But one thing is for sure, use a well draining container and well draining media, no sponge. Your plant still looks okay, center/crown area still looks green.

Just wait for the orangey leaves to dry out, clean it up, repot. Good luck on your plant! Smiling
[Last edited by tarev - Sep 14, 2017 10:17 AM (+)]
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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
Sep 14, 2017 11:38 AM CST

Moderator

Wait until the normal interval of a week (or whatever) has elapsed and then carefully check the moisture in the soil (as I described above). That will tell you if you are overwatering.

Bayleafchristine
Sep 14, 2017 8:52 PM CST

New Member

Thank you, everyone! I've went out a bought a better pot and will replant it tomorrow!

Bayleafchristine
Sep 16, 2017 4:01 PM CST

New Member

Thank you, everyone! I've went out a bought a better pot and will replant it tomorrow!

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