Ask a Question forum: Echeveria leaves shriveling

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New York City
Jan 19, 2018 8:56 AM CST
Hi everyone!

I recently (in October) got an echevaria as a gift. It has been doing well until recently , I saw one of the leaves shriveled up. It did not change color just looked like it was a raisin with all the water missing. I watered it a little, since it has been about a month from last watering (instructions that came with it said to water every 3-4 weeks). It also came in a ceramic pot but with rocks glued on top for decoration? I thought it was silly for someone to do that but I couldn't get the rocks loose without damaging the plant so I gave up.
The pot has no drainage hole either. So I'm worried the water was retained. Today more leaves are shriveling up but they also changed color to more purple.

I'm pretty new to succulents like echevaria. Growing up I had all sorts of house plants from orchids to cactus and had pretty good luck with them.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
I would like to keep this plant alive as long as possible especially since it was a gift.
Thank you!
Thumb of 2018-01-19/Ssca07/9b4779

Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Jan 19, 2018 9:26 AM CST
More than likely, it's drounding. Get out of pot, to inspect rootball, and break those damed glued rocks off.
If rootball soggy, let it set out of pot till it dries out well. When dry, pot it, in pot with drain hole, and just barely damp, well draining soil.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
Jan 19, 2018 9:33 AM CST
I really hate seeing those rocks. Near impossible to remove and they inhibit proper growth and care. As Phillip says, get them off, if you can. Inspect the roots. The problem could be not enough or too much water. Is it getting sun?
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
Jan 19, 2018 9:39 AM CST
Get the plant into a pot with holes at the bottom, and remove the rocks glued on top. The plant looks like it's rotting from too much water, and it's probably lost at this point. The affected leaves are soft all the way to the base, which means that the rot probably extends into the stem.

Without holes at the bottom, and without an open route for the water to evaporate from the soil at the top, the water just piles up in there and eventually the plant has enough of it. Ideally you want the soil to go dry in between watering. More info here.

The Echeverias Database
New York City
Jan 19, 2018 10:53 AM CST
Thank you so much for all the feed back!
I guess my fears are confirmed.

It is an office plant but I sit maybe 10 ft from the window and we have windows all around. So I thought it gets enough light.

I'm gonna try to take it home and take apart the pot. Since the rocks are glued it's hard to take it out.

Is there a chance I could use a cutting and try to propagate? Or is it a bad idea if the plant has root rot?

Thanks again!
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
Jan 19, 2018 11:12 AM CST
The ideal scenario for an indoor Echeveria is where it can "see" the sun for hours a day. Usually that means a windowsill facing east, south, or west (here in N. America). The closer to the window the better, generally, unless it's so cold outside that this area would present a problem.

Like most succulents your plant will tend to thrive most when the soil goes dry or mostly dry in between waterings. This continuous cycle of wet and dry provides the roots lots of air and tends to keep the micro-organisms at bay, while delivering water and nutrients the plant needs.

I suspect that you are not alone and every Echeveria sold like that, with glued on rocks in a pot with no hole, would live only until its first winter. The combination of those two things spells bad outcomes.

By all means attempt a rescue if you want. Take your time breaking the plant out of its shell, with the right tools. See how wet the soil is, check out the roots, see if the softness has spread into the stem. I'm thinking you might be able to salvage a few leaves if the stem is gone, and attempt to propagate the plant from those leaves. They have to be healthy (no softness or discoloring) and intact all the way to the base.

To propagate from leaves, just lay them on top of well draining soil in a relatively shallow pot (wider than deep, not extremely so). Provide strong light (windowsill with daily sun) and water the soil only when it has dried out. You will notice a tiny new rosette sprouting at the base of the leaves if you are successful, and at the same time roots will drop down from the same spot. The leaf will provide water and energy to the new plant until it has its own functioning roots, so it tends to shrink up and disappear over time.

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