Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: How do I save my echeveria?

Views: 488, Replies: 12 » Jump to the end
Name: Francis
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Image
bouncyshamrocks
Sep 20, 2017 9:39 PM CST
Thumb of 2017-09-21/bouncyshamrocks/039998

I got this succulent a little over a month ago and it seemed to be doing fine. I've been watering it very sparingly, maybe like three times since I've gotten it, so I'm really alarmed to see half of the plant today appear to be rotting (?) from the base of the leaves. I touch them and they all broke off. The stem is exposed and white, so the stem doesn't appear to be rotted, but I can't tell about the crown. The stem looks very wet, though it could be the succulent's fluid. What possibly caused this, and what can I do to save it? I've never propagated a succulent before, so if that's an option here, please give me instructions, though I'd really like to be able to save as much of the original plant as I can.

EDIT: here's the stem

Thumb of 2017-09-21/bouncyshamrocks/4cdf01

Soil is dry to the touch, so I don't know what's going on.
[Last edited by bouncyshamrocks - Sep 20, 2017 9:43 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1552024 (1)
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
Image
Baja_Costero
Sep 21, 2017 11:07 AM CST

Moderator

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think the plant is lost and there's not much chance of saving even a part of it. Normally you might try to propagate a plant which rotted out at the base using leaves, but from the looks of things the leaves are also all affected. The key part of the leaf that has to be intact for propagation is the base, and it looks like that part is gone everywhere.

There may be something to learn from this experience going forward, in terms of the care of the plant. Or it may have already been started down the wrong road when you got it, hard to know. Was it getting sun? I'm assuming it's an indoor plant. Usually Echeverias are not great house plants if they aren't right by a window getting hours of sun every day. The sun also helps guard against overwatering because it directly and indirectly promotes the drying out of the soil.

Also, not knowing the ID of your plant, it does seem to be rather large for the size of the pot. Normally I would repot a new Echeveria like that into a container that is just wider than the size of the rosette. I think that also probably helps guard against overwatering because it means there is always some soil exposed around the margins of the plant to evaporate freely. Maybe when the plant totally covers up the soil, it does not behave the same. Just trying to think of things that might make a difference if and when you try again. These plants should be pretty reliable long term once you figure out their basic needs, so don't give up. Smiling
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 21, 2017 11:11 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1552294 (2)
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
Image
tarev
Sep 21, 2017 11:19 AM CST
Hello Amanda, it does look bad. Base rot really goes through the core, so oftentimes it is like a death sentence. nodding

But in the interest of experimenting, don't know if it will yield any favorable result since the rotting is just so pronounced, you can try unpotting it, and remove all the leaves with rotted ends, cut off the rotting portion of the stem till you get to a good fresh part. Set it aside to dry out, apply some cinnamon on the cut end, position in part shade, and wait. Sometimes, though not always successful, the plant may still try to callus the cut area and regrow new roots and then slowly new leaves. Don't put in soil right now, just let it air dry and wait. The seasons are changing now, getting cooler. Some of my echeverias are actually happier at this time of the year than in summer when it is baking hot here.

Now if it does start making new roots, then you can put it back in soil, but make that media grittier, the roots system of this plant grows so shallow and quite thin, so it really hates staying too wet. That is why I add more pumice or perlite in the cacti soil I use and I further top dress with poultry grit (insoluble crushed granite) to protect the base of the plant from staying too moist.

Good luck on your plant! If you lose it, don't feel so bad, sometimes it is a learning curve so you can avoid the same pitfall next time.
Name: Francis
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Image
bouncyshamrocks
Sep 21, 2017 2:29 PM CST
@tarev , I'm left with just the stem. If the stem is healthy enough, will it be able to start without having any leaves on it at all?
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
Image
tarev
Sep 21, 2017 2:33 PM CST
Hello Amanda, to be honest I do not know...usually it is either a stem with some roots left, or a stem with at least a pair of healthy leaves, or just the leaves itself. Depends also how short of a stem is remaining, there just might not be enough energy left. I guess better start a new plant.
Name: Francis
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Image
bouncyshamrocks
Sep 21, 2017 2:37 PM CST
I don't really know what to do here, I might just have to give up because the stem is literal mush. It doesn't *look* that rotted, but it feels it. It's impossible to cut like this.

I gently agitated the plant as I removed it from its pot and ~90% of its remaining leaves just fell off. The crown damage was visible today when I checked on it, as well. If I were to cut off damaged tissue on a few leaves, could I possibly be able to save something? I just feel so bad.

Furthermore, I acknowledge that the plants leaves covered the brim of the pot when I got it. That stressed me out to start with and maybe I should have just passed it up before I got attached. It made watering difficult, and I imagine that suggestion of the water attempting to evaporate and the leaves being in the way was a potential cause.
Name: Francis
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Image
bouncyshamrocks
Sep 21, 2017 2:56 PM CST
Update: I decided to try a few individual leaves as well as the lower stem with the roots. The lower stem wasn't mushy, though it looks a lot darker, so it may be affected by rot as well. The tissue when I cut it looked fairly healthy though, I guess I just have to wait and see.

It's kind of sad, I got this little guy with another succulent, a kalanchoe, and it was that one I was worried about being sick. But that one is doing really well right now, so I guess I should be grateful for that.
[Last edited by bouncyshamrocks - Sep 21, 2017 2:58 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1552522 (7)
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Dog Lover Cactus and Succulents Hostas
Tropicals Tomato Heads Houseplants Foliage Fan Sempervivums Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Frenchy21
Sep 21, 2017 3:00 PM CST
Amanda if the stem is "literal mush" than the plant is a goner-sorry. Sad To use the leaves, the part attached to the stem needs to be healthy. Maybe you could get another one, smaller, to start again Smiling
Name: Francis
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Image
bouncyshamrocks
Sep 21, 2017 3:06 PM CST
Yeah, I'm gonna see what happens with the lower stem, because that was intact and as far as I can tell, majorly unaffected by the rot. It's just so close to the roots, that also appear healthy, so I didn't really tamper with the roots at all. If you think I should remove the roots, let me know.
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
Image
Baja_Costero
Sep 21, 2017 3:18 PM CST

Moderator

There's nothing to be gained from removing healthy tissue. Try to remove rotten (soft, discolored) parts carefully from the healthy part that's left, because the rot will tend to spread otherwise.

For what it's worth, this is pretty much the prototypical Echeveria meltdown, which can come about for different reasons. Pretty advanced. I say this based on growing a couple dozen different kinds and some mistakes I made early on. If you do try again (do!), now you know exactly what to look for and you will catch it much sooner, while the plant can still be saved by leaves or cuttings or whatever.

As I suggested before, you just have to be consistent about a few things (soil, light, water) and Echeverias can have long and prosperous lives. Usually with colorful hummingbird magnets for flowers. Smiling

Thumb of 2017-09-21/Baja_Costero/12215b

The Echeverias Database
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 21, 2017 3:33 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1552534 (10)
Name: Francis
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Image
bouncyshamrocks
Sep 21, 2017 3:36 PM CST
I'll assess the roots maybe later tonight, but I'm trying to mentally prepare myself that the plant will likely not come back. I already cried over it because I'm a big baby and my plants are my little babies.

But thank you. I'm really empathetic with my plants, so I get really upset when they get sick and/or die. I think I lose more plants in their break-in period than ones that have been living with me long-term, so I mean, I guess it would have hurt a lot more if it were a plant that's been with me for years, like my shamrocks, that got sick like this.

I'll probably try again with echeveria eventually. But I stayed away from succulents altogether after I lost my tiger aloe that I had for three years to sudden root rot. I was excited about how well it was doing and then the next thing I know it's on the floor and out of its pot. Turns out one time I watered it, I accidentally gave it a larger quantity than I normally did, probably in my excitement, to be honest, and that was enough to get it's roots mushy. I felt awful. Every time I've revisited succulents since, something bad has happened to them within a few months. I'm a bit discouraged, but I'll have to see what happens. Hope my panda plant stays with me at least.
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Dog Lover Cactus and Succulents Hostas
Tropicals Tomato Heads Houseplants Foliage Fan Sempervivums Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Frenchy21
Sep 21, 2017 4:31 PM CST
Amanda please keep trying - you wouldn't believe how many succulents and cacti I have killed accidentally D'Oh! I guess I'm an optimist cause I keep getting more Sticking tongue out
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Deebie
Sep 22, 2017 10:20 AM CST
Amanda, if you recently bought that succulent, maybe you should try taking it back to the seller and see what they offer. They may give you a replacement.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Cactus and Tender Succulents forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by TBGDN and is called "Glory of the Snow"