Ask a Question forum: Accidentally watered succulents immediately after repotting, among other things.

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Tampa, Florida (Zone 10a)
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jolibean
Feb 16, 2018 4:23 PM CST
Hello, I posted this question originally on Reddit's succulent page but never got a response. I brought home two kalanchoe tomentosa / panda plants from IKEA on Sunday 2/11 and repotted them on Wednesday 2/14. Removed as much of the old soil as gently as I could with a chopstick and then moved the two into a larger pot with a 50/50 mix of fresh MiracleGro cactus soil and perlite. This is where the huge mistake comes in. I did not know that succulents should be left alone for at least a week after repotting. I soaked them for a minute or two and then did some googling on the matter before yanking the pot out of the water. The soil is definitely damp now though and I think they're still in shock from bringing them home last Sunday and all the other changes to their environment. Their leaves have started to spread outward and right before repotting, I did notice on one of the pandas that one leaf in particular was limp and brighter green than the others. They have been sitting about 4-6 inches below a Philips CFL bulb with 1600 lumens and 6500 K in the color temperature spectrum since Wednesday, which I've been trying to leave on for about 8 hours since. They don't seem to be getting any worse, but I would like for their leaves to perk back up!

My questions are:
1. Should I repot them into new soil that I haven't (stupidly) watered, and would it be safe to do so without shocking them further or outright killing them?
2. Is the terracotta I placed them in too large? I read succulents don't really enjoy too much space in their pots, and these guys did have what seemed like shorter roots when I pulled them out of their plastic cups.
3. Is 8 hours of light per day adequate for kalanchoe tomentosa, should I increase or decrease the time? Move the bulb further away or closer to the plants? Are they more sensitive to light after repotting?

I would be extraordinarily grateful to anyone who can provide any answers or guidance.

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Feb 16, 2018 5:30 PM CST
Leave them be. It's way too soon to make a judgement that any of this has harmed them.
Your soil mix seems reasonable to me, and terra cotta helps drying. And the light seems decent. Maybe more hours though.
Certainly wait for more informed opinions, but about repotting again already, I'm fairly sure that would be bad.
I would not water these by 'soaking' the pot (yanked them out of the water?) but when they are good and dry again, just pour through and let drain well.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Tampa, Florida (Zone 10a)
Rabbit Keeper
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jolibean
Feb 16, 2018 5:46 PM CST
Okay, hands off then. I'm going to extend their light to 12 hours and see how they do. By yanking, I mean I removed the pot from the water bowl immediately. I was recommended letting succulent soil soak in water for about 20 minutes and then letting water drain through the hole at the bottom, is that incorrect? Thank you so much for replying!
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Feb 16, 2018 7:18 PM CST
I believe that would be correct for an established succulent that has become root bound, but not a newly planted one.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Feb 16, 2018 7:27 PM CST
1. I agree that you should leave them be for now.
2. The pot looks like the right size to me. Usually I like them wider than tall, but when it's a clay pot the moisture distributes more evenly throughout the soil, so there's less of a risk of rot (which would normally be the issue with an overly deep pot).
3. I have never used artificial lights because we get good natural light, so I leave my succulents on a sunny southerly-facing windowsill and they "see" the sun for hours a day. That would be an ideal location if it's available. Otherwise the day length should match the natural day length, if I had to guess.

The best way to water is to do it from the top gradually in multiple passes until the soil is fully saturated and water comes out the hole in the bottom. Then wait however long it takes for the soil to go dry or nearly dry at depth before watering again. More about this here.

The thread "Sunday afternoon experiment: watering in multiple passes" in Gardening Ideas forum

The time to dry out will depend on local conditions (light, temperature, humidity) and will be easiest to manage in a very bright location. If you water too often on a regular basis there is risk of rot.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Feb 16, 2018 7:28 PM (+)]
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Tampa, Florida (Zone 10a)
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jolibean
Feb 16, 2018 7:53 PM CST
We live in a townhome so the only light we get is from the east or west, my windows face west and that's where they were. They received lots of bright light, but I felt like they weren't getting enough direct sunlight (leaves were starting to spread out and down) so I bought them a lamp. I'd like to try re-introducing them to the natural light once I see they're doing okay. Thanks for the link, this forum is newly discovered so there's lots of reading for me to do! ^u^
[Last edited by jolibean - Feb 16, 2018 7:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Feb 16, 2018 8:10 PM CST
Explore and enjoy! There is something for everyone here. I'm also in zone 10, but on the other side of the country. Lots of difference, but lots of people on each side that are knowable.
Tampa, Florida (Zone 10a)
Rabbit Keeper
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jolibean
Feb 16, 2018 8:44 PM CST
Thank you! Plants and gardening have only recently enchanted me, so there's a ton of learning to do!
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Feb 16, 2018 8:53 PM CST
Never too old to learn! I've always been exposed to gardening, but I'm still learning.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Feb 16, 2018 9:15 PM CST
It's great you are being so careful, but you have had them only since 2/11- one week tomorrow- one thing we all learn with plants is patience- don't be trying to analyze every day for minute changes. These really look quite nice in their clay pot and light above. I think they would like a chance to adjust and stabilize.
Baja's advice is all good.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Tampa, Florida (Zone 10a)
Rabbit Keeper
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jolibean
Feb 16, 2018 9:39 PM CST
Thank you, all the advice that's been given is an incredible relief, knowing it's okay to just leave them alone for a while. I thought I seriously screwed these little guys over with water but perhaps they'll turn out okay after all!
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
Feb 17, 2018 9:31 AM CST
I think the advice not to water immediately after repotting is excellent as a general rule, but it matters much more for some plants than others... yours is one of the more resilient types so it will probably be just fine if you give it good light and don't overwater from here on out.

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