Ask a Question forum: What's wrong with these baby toes?

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Chicago, Illinois
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Heatherb413
Mar 3, 2018 11:36 AM CST
I recently bought these baby toes and they aren't looking so good now. They arent right next to a window and are under just a regular lamp on the table. Is it a light or watering problem (too little or too much?). Thanks!
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Mar 3, 2018 11:58 AM CST
They need more light. Right next to your sunniest south-facing window, ideally. If they can "see" the sun for hours a day, perfect.
Chicago, Illinois
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Heatherb413
Mar 3, 2018 1:07 PM CST
Ok thank you! I only have East and west windows. should I place on the west window (longer afternoons than mornings) or place under a growlight?
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
Mar 3, 2018 3:51 PM CST
I don't have any experience with grow lights but your west window should be fine, or worth a try before you get into grow lights. You should see very different growth once your plant is getting more exposure. If temperatures are below room temperature (60-70°F) during the day you should also be careful not to water too often... low light, low temps, and excess water can all contribute to the demise of your plant. I'd recommend watering when the soil is dry at depth, which should be every week or two given what looks like an unglazed clay pot.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Mar 3, 2018 4:14 PM (+)]
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Chicago, Illinois
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Heatherb413
Mar 8, 2018 12:55 PM CST
I put these guys in a western facing window and they look like they are getting worse. I live in Chicago, could the window be too cold? There moisture level is "moist" not "wet" or "dry". What should I do differently?
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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
Mar 8, 2018 1:24 PM CST
I'm not sure they're going to make it. Just guessing, and don't give up. Smiling

It's possible the spot right by the window is too cold. Do you have a thermometer you can put by the window where the plant is? That will tell you if it gets too cold. As long as it reaches near room temperature during the day (60-70°F) and doesn't get below about 45° at night, you're probably fine. Less than that during the day is okay if you're really careful about watering. Less than that at night is not good.

If your plant gets too cold by the window then you should definitely consider artificial light. That area right next to the window is prime real estate for succulents like yours. The further away you have to put your plant, the less natural light it will get.

Regarding water... be careful to water very deliberately until your plant recovers.

With a healthy succulent, my advice would be to water well (until water comes out the hole at the bottom of the pot), and make sure the pot doesn't sit in standing water afterwards. Then wait until the soil is dry at depth to water again. A cycle of properly wet and properly dry will give most succulents the moisture and aeration they need.

Now in a crisis situation (or whatever kinder word you'd prefer to use for your plant) Smiling you might back off on the water. Maybe only water to 50% saturation (that is to say moist but not actually wet) and only when you're sure the soil in the pot (and not just the layer at the top) is properly dry. The actual wait after watering will vary depending on the light, temps, humidity, soil, and container so I can't give you a precise amount of time. Probably longer than a week, maybe less than a month.

Assume that your plant is not consuming any water when it is this stressed. The water in the soil will mostly leave through evaporation. So it will take longer to dry out than it might if the plant was actively drinking. And evaporation has a lot to do with light and temperature and humidity. Winter is generally when it is the very slowest. Now if you like to keep your house warm and toasty during the winter, and the heater is making that warm air very dry, that's another story entirely. You'll find that evaporation will speed up 2-3x.
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[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Mar 8, 2018 2:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 9, 2018 5:00 PM CST
The problem might have started when this plant was brought home, if it got really cold during that. Or while it was being unpacked from a truck, or driven to the store. Even as far south as I am, it's rare that I can buy a tropical plant over winter w/o having serious concerns about its' exposure to cold. This can be very hard to assess, damage to some plants can take weeks to manifest in an obvious way, especially if it's a plant with which one is not already familiar.
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