Cactus and Succulents forum→Senecio kleiniiformis - dying?

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Name: Melissa
Bainbridge Island, WA (Zone 8b)
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msandsm
Apr 21, 2018 3:50 PM CST
I have what I'm 99% sure is a Senecio kleiniiformis. But I can't find any data or images that tell me whether this one either looks the way it's supposed to, is thirsty, or is dying. The leaves - new growth? - have looked like this for a few weeks, neither dying nor leafing out fully.

I'm not sure what to think or do. Any help would be great!

Thanks


Thumb of 2018-04-21/msandsm/32238d

Melissa
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 21, 2018 8:21 PM CST
The Echeveria behind it doesn't look good either. The problem is that we can't tell from a photo whether its too much or too little moisture. Its a photo of a point in time without any references. The problem is that overwatering and under watering look exactly alike as they both have the same result: dead roots.

So let us know what kind of care and light you are providing. Do you water when the soil feels dry or every Monday (or whatever day of the week)? When is the last time you watered? What kind of soil is it in? Is there a drain hole in your pot?

What direction does the window face? Is it an unobstructed view of the sun?
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Name: Melissa
Bainbridge Island, WA (Zone 8b)
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msandsm
Apr 23, 2018 9:46 AM CST
Daisyl

Thanks for your interest. To answer your questions,

1) Care: the zone I live in does get below 40 deg., but this winter never went below freezing. For the winter, I moved my succulents onto a covered landing where they'd be protected from rain and wind, but still got at least a little sun. If the night was going to be below 40 deg. I covered the succulents with a light sheet, although I admit I didn't do this regularly.

2) I water, fairly lightly, about every 2 weeks. I've read that succulents and cacti need very little water in the winter.

3) I last watered about a week ago, again not very heavily. They are planted in a good soil meant for cacti and succulents (they were only planted last summer, and I'm new to succulents except Jade plants). And yes, there is a good drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

4) I have them outside (I have such a tiny apt., with not much light, that I didn't have room to bring them in).

I've included (probably too many) photos of the whole succulent bowl. Taking a closer look at it, none of them look great. My guess is too much cold, and not enough sun or water. I think it's warm enough now that I can put them out in full sun and give them more water, but I don't know if it's too late. I also have a regular jade (whose leaves are starting to look puckered), two miniature jades, a ripple jade, and one other whose name I can't find: straight leaves are 3-4" long and are curved in on themselves. Other than the Crassula ovata, they are doing well. I've also included another picture of a succulent (whose name washed off my makeshift plant identifiers). I think it also looks pretty good.

Lastly, can you identify the taller plant, and is it getting too leggy?


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[lightbox]2018-04-23/msandsm/89e5e3[/lightbox


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Melissa
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 23, 2018 10:22 AM CST

Moderator

I would guess that your plants need more water. Try watering well, to completion, so water comes out the hole in the bottom of the pot. Then wait until the soil is dry at depth to water again. If the soil never gets properly wet, your plants will have less of an opportunity to rehydrate before it goes dry again.

Did you recently move the plants outside? Did you give them a gradual adjustment period in bright shade before you put them in the sun?
Name: Melissa
Bainbridge Island, WA (Zone 8b)
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msandsm
Apr 23, 2018 10:38 AM CST
Baja,

I never brought the plants inside this winter - I just don't have the room or the light. I think it's ok to take them off the landing and put them in full sun now - days are in the high 70's, and nights are around 50. And I agree that they look as though they need a thorough watering - I've just been going by the "rule" that succulents need very little water in the winter. I'll move and water them today, and see how they look in a week or so.
When you say "wait until the soil is dry at depth to water again," does 'dry at depth' mean until the top 2" of soil are dry, as I've read elsewhere? If not, what do you mean?

Thanks for your help,
Melissa

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Melissa
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purpleinopp
Apr 23, 2018 12:23 PM CST
Did your area have any frost this past winter? That could also cause damage to the taller, more exposed parts of the Senecio plants. From what I can see of the other plants, they can take a hard frost without damage but I don't think the Sen can handle that.

I follow that rule too, and if your winter weather is as wild as it can be here, there should be times when it is warm enough at night for a few nights in a row to give the succulents a good drink in time to become relatively dry again before the next predicted run of colder nights.

Unglazed clay pots make the likelihood of roots rotting greatly diminished. The roots can breathe all around the root ball, not just at the top or drain hole. This porousness also means that soil dries much more quickly in them.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 23, 2018 12:24 PM CST

Moderator

OK, the main thing is to avoid sudden drastic changes in light. If the plants have been outside in the sun, they will have some tolerance built up. But don't put them in full sun when they are looking cranky.

As for the advice to water less in winter, here are a few comments to put that in perspective.

Since you live in a location with actual cold (near freezing or below), you should take that advice very seriously with your outdoor plants, because the combination of cold and wet can spell disaster for some succulents. Also, it takes longer for wet soil to dry out when temperatures and light are low, just as part of the physics of evaporation.

On the other hand, I live in a location with very mild temperatures (winter minimum 45°F) and I do not water most of my succulents any less in winter. In fact nearly all of them get more water in winter due to our seasonal rains. So depending on temperatures, you may not need or want to water most succulents less in winter. Succulent house plants in a bright, climate-controlled situation do not necessarily need less water in winter. I water mine the same year round.

The question of how to arrive at "less water in winter" means different things for different people, and whatever works for you is good. I would take the word "less" as it applies to frequency ("less often") rather than actual quantity ("less water"). In other words, I would continue to water well but wait longer in between watering. If you really want your plants to go dormant (some people put them in a cold basement and apply this logic) then you can withhold water and only provide enough to keep fine root hairs from dying off completely.

The soil dries out from the top down (the top dries out first) so try to check a couple of inches down or lower. You don't need to check every time, once you get an idea how the soil behaves. It will dry out at a similar rate given similar conditions, but also dry out faster if the air is warm, dry, and windy (or dry out slower if the air is humid and cool, or if the sky is overcast). After a while you'll get a better sense of how all this works through experience.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 23, 2018 12:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Melissa
Bainbridge Island, WA (Zone 8b)
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msandsm
Apr 23, 2018 1:02 PM CST
So the consensus seems to be that they need a thorough soaking. Since they've been on the landing all winter, they have been exposed to some sun, at least when it's not overcast, so I feel safe putting them in full sun now, before the temps get high and the sun gets stronger. They face WNW, which is quite a bit of direct sun. They don't get rained on in the winter because of where I've got them, and it doesn't rain here at all from about April to October. They get a good watering every few days when the temps are really high, but this year I'll try feeling how dry the top few inches are before I water them.

Thanks to everyone for your great advice! Thank You! Hurray!
Melissa
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 24, 2018 9:46 AM CST
As this will be your first thorough watering of the season, right after you water check for soil moisture. If the soil is still dry, you will have to rehydrate it. The easiest way to do that is stick the whole pot in a basin of water and let the soil soak for awhile. It needs to be wet after you water.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
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
Apr 24, 2018 12:30 PM CST

Moderator

Or you can water more than once, separated by 5-10 minutes each time, to allow the dry soil to hydrate gradually over time.
Name: Melissa
Bainbridge Island, WA (Zone 8b)
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msandsm
Jun 9, 2018 11:29 AM CST
Hi all - a little late, but I wanted to show what some water and sun did for my S. kleiniiformis Hurray!

Thumb of 2018-06-09/msandsm/66ff0e

Thanks to everybody for your help!

Melissa
=^..^=
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
Jun 9, 2018 11:30 AM CST

Moderator

Very nice! Smiling
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
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plantmanager
Jun 9, 2018 11:37 AM CST
It's looking very happy now! Enjoy!
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jun 9, 2018 3:42 PM CST
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 21, 2018 10:45 AM CST
Glad to see it recovered! But do watch out this weekend starting tomorrow, we are going into a heat wave, position the plant in part shade till Monday. Water the root zone thoroughly now to give it time to absorb more water and be prepated for the heat wave onslaught.

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