Cromlech
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Question about transplanting my house-leeks

Hi everyone!

I went ahead and decided to make a new-topic for this, breaking away from my "introduce myself" thread, and all that.

I have recently got some cobweb house-leeks and the pot is WAY too crowded!

I'm a bit hesitant to cut right off the base of the offshoots, only because there are no roots there... as far as I can tell!

Can I get a very concise, and clear explanation of how I should transplant these offshoots?!

Thanks everyone!
- Cromlech

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Kisal
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You have the Cobweb houseleek, as I recall ... Sempervivum arachnoideum.

Once the offsets have grown roots of their own, the stolon connecting them to the parent plant withers away. At that time, it is easy to gently pull or pry them apart from the parent plant and pot them up individually.

Sometimes, it's easier to separate the offsets if the entire mass of plants is first removed from the pot. Then, the parent plant can be repotted, adding fresh soil around it, when all the offsets have been removed. :)
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Cromlech
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thanks kisal!

Quick question:
How can I tell which is the parent plant?
Here's an image for you:
[img]https://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l1/Sherab0/2B03D.jpg[/img]


I was thinking about taking the one right near the top - the one where, in the middle, there is 3 in a row. Closest to you is a large one, and then going to the top left. Something like that, just to free up some space! It appears like there are two dead offshots coming out the side of the plant. they have brown near on their leaves...

EDIT: actually, repotting the whole thing sounds great! Questions:

- Can I use the same pot?
- should i fill the bottom with gravel?
- Will Cactus soil (commercial) be okay for them?
- Should I water them after repotting the offshots?

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Kisal
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I would guess that the one in the middle is the parent, because it's most common to place a plant in the center of a container when potting it up. Just a guess, though.

The two rather unhealthy looking offsets may be suffering because the plant is root bound. I'm not positive of that, but there are a lot of plants in that one small pot.

Commercial potting mix is fine. It's what I always use for cacti and succulents.

Yes, water the offsets after you pot them up, but let the soil dry before watering again.

I never put gravel or anything in the bottom of my plant containers. I use a piece of non-metal screening ... the kind they use for screen doors and windows ... in the bottom, so the soil doesn't get washed out of the pot and to keep insects from crawling in. Rocks actually don't do anything much to improve drainage, and in some cases can be detrimental to the plant. Their only real value would be to increase the weight of containers if you live in a very windy area.

Just for fun ( :) ), I thought you might like to see a picture of the flowers your Sempervivum will produce when they're about 4 years old. Unfortunately, they only flower once, then die, but you'll have new offsets every year.

[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3280/2673084640_c7366b518b.jpg[/img]
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Awesome, thank you!

I should be getting all this fixed today...

Where can i get some mesh screen like that?

thanks :)

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Kisal
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Any hardware store or big-box store, like Lowe's or Home Depot. Basically, any store that sells home-repair kinds of stuff will probably have it. The screening comes in rolls.

I had to replace the non-metal screening with aluminum screening in all my doors and windows, because my cats and dogs damaged it. I just saved the screening I removed, and use it for my plants. It's easy to cut to size and shape with a scissors. One roll will last forever. :)
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Cromlech
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Kisal wrote:Any hardware store or big-box store, like Lowe's or Home Depot. Basically, any store that sells home-repair kinds of stuff will probably have it. The screening comes in rolls.

I had to replace the non-metal screening with aluminum screening in all my doors and windows, because my cats and dogs damaged it. I just saved the screening I removed, and use it for my plants. It's easy to cut to size and shape with a scissors. One roll will last forever. :)
Okay, I think that's all the questions I can think of...

I'll let you know how it goes. I'll get a second(maybe a third) pot the same size of the one there. :)

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Kisal
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Great! Sounds good! And I love updates, so I'd enjoy seeing some pics of your babies in their new homes. :D
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Kisal wrote:Great! Sounds good! And I love updates, so I'd enjoy seeing some pics of your babies in their new homes. :D
Haha, i just wish that more people posted images! It seems that everyone posts once or twice then leaves.. I'd like to stay for a bit!

Anyways, going to get pots now...

EDIT: ugh, rain got to us first...

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Okay, so I managed to go get the pots... and we also got some Miracle gro "cactus soil". Thinking all was well, I pulled out my plant from it's pot, a few dead offshoots, but it was expected.

the soil we got is not very gritty as compared to the cactus soil!

Will this matter at all? also, the soil is not draining very well... it barely hits the bottom. I decided to stop for fear of over watering my new plants.

Any advice, please? and quick... I don't want my plants to die for not taking roots...
pics coming tomorrow!

EDIT: Pic!

[img]https://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l1/Sherab0/Mobile%20Uploads/0613101807.jpg[/img]

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Kisal
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About the soil, I don't use Miracle-Gro products. Not because I don't approve of them, but as a result, I don't have any first-hand information about the quality.

I think yours will do fine. The critical thing will be for you to remember that the soil might not drain as well as a better, grittier cactus/succulent mix, so you'll want to be very careful not to overwater.

I don't know where you're located, so be aware that direct sun all day in very hot weather can burn these little succuents. Morning sun is always a safe bet. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Cromlech
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Kisal wrote:About the soil, I don't use Miracle-Gro products. Not because I don't approve of them, but as a result, I don't have any first-hand information about the quality.

I think yours will do fine. The critical thing will be for you to remember that the soil might not drain as well as a better, grittier cactus/succulent mix, so you'll want to be very careful not to overwater.

I don't know where you're located, so be aware that direct sun all day in very hot weather can burn these little succuents. Morning sun is always a safe bet. :)
I've been keeping them in shade. I'm in south eastern PA :)

What grittier soil can you suggest?
(for next time)

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Kisal
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I don't use anything fancy. There's a locally-owned sort of department store near me, that sells a little bit of everything ... hardware, packaged foods, clothing, etc. I go there often for other things, so I just use the brand they sell, which is called "Nature's All Natural Cactus Mix." The label says it contains pumice, compost, and forest humus. It has a nice, very coarse texture. I use it for all of my plants that need rapid-draining soil. They seem to do quite well in it. I use this company's products for all of my ornamental plants.

The company is Sun Gro Horticulture, and they make a lot of organic planting mixes, as well. The Nature's line isn't organic, though, despite the word "Natural" on the label. :)
Last edited by Kisal on Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Thanks!

Another question just hit me - when should i check for the roots to have taken to the new soil?

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Kisal
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That's something I rarely do. I usually just wait for signs of new growth.

Some people give a gentle tug on the plant, but with cacti and succulents, the soil is usually dry and loose compared to regular potting soil. I'm always afraid I'll disturb the plant too much, or pull it right out of the soil. That would just be a set back for the plant, so I just bide my time and wait.

Don't water the newly planted rosettes ... including the parent plant ... for quite awhile. The dryness encourages root growth, and helps them become established. That's about the best I can tell you. :)

ETA: You could just buy a bag of perlite and mix a bunch of it in with the Miracle-Gro soil you have. You could also add some sand, or some aquarium gravel. If you choose the latter, see if you can find some that is a medium-fine texture.

This is another good brand. I forgot that I have a bag of it, too:

[url=https://img20.imageshack.us/my.php?image=soil1h.jpg][img]https://img20.imageshack.us/img20/883/soil1h.jpg[/img][/url]

The image below is what a good cactus/succulent soil mix should look like. The large white 'rocks' are about 1/4 to 3/8 inches in diameter. All the white/grayish things are perlite, so that will give you an idea of how much to mix with the soil you have.

[img]https://desertgardencare.com/img/desertmix.gif[/img]
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Awesome, thanks!

Sadly i watered them right after transplanting... :(

EDIT: Most of the water seems to have been pulled down towards the clay pot... the sides look much darker and the bottoms are rather dry... water seemed to not drain rapidly at all, and when i stuck my finger in the soil, most of it was lightly damp until about a few inches down

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Kisal
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It's okay to water them once, right after being potted. This initial watering helps settle the soil in the container and remove any air pockets. You just don't want to water them daily or weekly. If they are outdoors, since they're in clay pots, you may need to water them every couple of weeks, but maybe only once a month, depending on how hot the weather is in your area. Periods of windy weather may increase the need for water, too. The clay pots will absorb the water out of the soil, so you need to give the plants enough to compensate for that. At any rate, don't tease them with water, give them a good drink. Just don't do it too often.

If you feel the soil isn't draining sufficiently, get some perlite and mix it with the rest of the Miracle Gro, if you have any left. Or, just buy some different cactus mix. Then repot the plants using that. If you do it right away, it won't cause them any problems.

These plants don't need much water, but they aren't desert cacti, either. They are alpine plants, which in the wild, grow at elevations of 3,000 to 8,000 feet. :)
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Cromlech
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Kisal wrote:It's okay to water them once, right after being potted. This initial watering helps settle the soil in the container and remove any air pockets. You just don't want to water them daily or weekly. If they are outdoors, since they're in clay pots, you may need to water them every couple of weeks, but maybe only once a month, depending on how hot the weather is in your area. Periods of windy weather may increase the need for water, too. The clay pots will absorb the water out of the soil, so you need to give the plants enough to compensate for that. At any rate, don't tease them with water, give them a good drink. Just don't do it too often.

If you feel the soil isn't draining sufficiently, get some perlite and mix it with the rest of the Miracle Gro, if you have any left. Or, just buy some different cactus mix. Then repot the plants using that. If you do it right away, it won't cause them any problems.

These plants don't need much water, but they aren't desert cacti, either. They are alpine plants, which in the wild, grow at elevations of 3,000 to 8,000 feet. :)
Awesome, thank you.

I may add in some more perlite and replant - it shouldn't hurt!
I'll go in a few days, if I can. If not, I'll just let it go.

thanks for all your help, and i'll keep you updated!

By the way Kisal: I just wanted to add that you are many people's saviours, and I would like to thank you for being so selfless and helping everyone out! I just though I'd mention this since i feel as if no one appreciates you. I'd like to add that I do. That's all.

Okay, so, what do you think about making my second succulent a Notocactus?

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Quick question, yet again!

my mom mentioned to me that moving the succulents around could give them "shock". I leave them indoors most of the time under artificial light (lightbulb) and then in the afternoons take them outside to lay in some partial shade for a few hours.

Is this okay to do?

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Hmmmm. I don't know. I move my cacti outdoors in the summer, but once they're out, I leave them there. The ones I have can't take temperatures below 65º, so once our nights are staying warm enough, I put them out until the nights get too cool in late summer. I would only bring them in if the weather got too chilly.

What kind of light are you using? Regular incandescent bulbs won't do any good. There's a pretty good discussion of lights [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26620]here[/url].
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Kisal wrote:Hmmmm. I don't know. I move my cacti outdoors in the summer, but once they're out, I leave them there. The ones I have can't take temperatures below 65º, so once our nights are staying warm enough, I put them out until the nights get too cool in late summer. I would only bring them in if the weather got too chilly.

What kind of light are you using? Regular incandescent bulbs won't do any good. There's a pretty good discussion of lights [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26620]here[/url].
The only reason why I do not leave them out is worrying about rain.. :\

EDIT: I placed them on a west-facing window sill, and the only other window in that room is south-facing. I guess I can keep them there until I'm sure there'll be no rain...

EDIT@: the lightbulb is a 20w appliance bulb over the stove.

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That little bulb isn't doing your plants a bit of good. Sorry about that. If you want to provide supplemental light, you'll need a florescent fixture like a shop light. The light must be just a few inches above the plants. It's explained in that lighting thread I linked to earlier.

I wouldn't put your newly potted plants in direct sunlight, until the roots have become established in their new homes. And beware of the heat that can develop on a west- or south-facing windowsill! I won't even leave my desert cacti there in hot weather. Remember, your little plants evolved to grow very high in the mountains, where it doesn't ever get very hot.

Would it be possible for you to place a table or bookshelf in front of the window, so your plants can sit at least a foot away from the glass?

Thank you for the kind words. :) :oops:
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Kisal wrote:That little bulb isn't doing your plants a bit of good. Sorry about that. If you want to provide supplemental light, you'll need a florescent fixture like a shop light. The light must be just a few inches above the plants. It's explained in that lighting thread I linked to earlier.

I wouldn't put your newly potted plants in direct sunlight, until the roots have become established in their new homes. And beware of the heat that can develop on a west- or south-facing windowsill! I won't even leave my desert cacti there in hot weather. Remember, your little plants evolved to grow very high in the mountains, where it doesn't ever get very hot.

Would it be possible for you to place a table or bookshelf in front of the window, so your plants can sit at least a foot away from the glass?

Thank you for the kind words. :) :oops:
Yes, I think it can be done, but the neighbhors high hedge might make it a bit hard. I'll take a picture of the setup for you so you can critique it and offer advice.

That will be the fastest and best way of doing this.

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Here's the wets facing window at 8:36 PM, with lights off and flash off:

https://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l1/Sherab0/P6200805.jpg

https://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l1/Sherab0/P6200806.jpg

Here's the south facing window in relation to my plants:

https://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l1/Sherab0/P6200807.jpg

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Looks good! They should be fine at that distance from the window glass. :)
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Kisal wrote:Looks good! They should be fine at that distance from the window glass. :)
Awesome!

I'll take a picture around tomorrow to show you what it looks like with the sun at south, so you can tell. I think the spare front kitchen will work well fof my pineapple also!

Do you know much about pineapple...? I hear they need misting?

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Kisal
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Sorry! All I know about pineapple is how to eat it. :lol:
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Kisal wrote:Sorry! All I know about pineapple is how to eat it. :lol:
haha, it's okay!

and i hear the offspring from home grown pineapple is sour anyways, but i still want to grow a few! they'll make everything look a bit more tropical/desert-y... or something. haha.

EDIT: I'm making all of this a big fuss because these house-leeks and my pineapple are the first plants i'll ever grow on my own... and i want to do well the first time :)

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Kisal
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You will lose a few plants along the way, but never let it discourage you. It how we all learn. :)
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Kisal wrote:You will lose a few plants along the way, but never let it discourage you. It how we all learn. :)
I just don't want them all to die, that's all! :)

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UPDATE:
A slight tug on all the plants ensure that 3 are rooted (they resist my tug) but two have not. The loosest one (far right in the pictures) was replanted and the one on the far left... (left in the one thats far left) isn't as bad. Should I water these two again or just one, or...?

Sadly the one that hasn't taken root is also one of the one's that retained it's offshoot... about for of the other offshoot's just fell off when i pulled them out of the container.

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Don't give any of them more water. Dryness encourages root formation in these plants. The ones that have started to form some roots don't have a fully developed root system yet. Give them some time. :)
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Kisal wrote:Don't give any of them more water. Dryness encourages root formation in these plants. The ones that have started to form some roots don't have a fully developed root system yet. Give them some time. :)
okay, thanks. just a bit worried here!

off-topic, but where do you think my pineapple thread could be moved to? I'm not sure where it should be placed, or if it should stay here.

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The section on [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=20]Growing and Caring for Fruit[/url] would be best, IMO. :)
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