Ask a Question forum: Succulents: slow leaf growth and little thread-like things growing off stem

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Lafayette, Colorado
Nov 22, 2017 12:59 PM CST
I have many succulents that seem to be doing well because they continue to grow taller and make new leaves. But they lose leaves at the same rate they grow new ones, which means they don't appear bushy or full. They also have these little things growing off the stem that look like roots, but I'm not sure. See photos for what I mean since I lack the vocabulary to accurately talk about this.

I don't think there's anything "wrong" with the growth, but I'm not sure what I should do to help them flourish better.

Thumb of 2017-11-22/muddygreenthumb/337c92
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Nov 22, 2017 1:17 PM CST
Some lower leaf loss is normal, but yours has more than it should have. The likely causes are not enough light and improper watering. Succulents kept indoors do best with lots of direct sunlight right on a sunny windowsill.

The consistency (porosity) of the soil appears a bit strange, but it is hard to tell from photos. The soil should be very porous with lots of perlite mixed throughout. A porous potting mix will prevent moisture staying around the roots for too long. With succulents, it is better to err on the side of dryness, but avoid letting it get completely dried out.

Those are aerial roots and can be ignored.

To eliminate the legginess, I suggest that you prune the leggy stems back to a height an inch or so above the soil. That will allow you to remove the sticks. New growth will then emerge on the pruned stems just below where you make the pruning cuts. The pruned off tops can be propagated in damp potting mix or water.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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