Barkleythadog
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:21 am

Keeping succulent plants looking good help

Has anyone noticed when u buy succulent plants from Home Depot lowes or local nursurys, they look good for a little while but that next season they start to look bad, now matter how well they were taken care? Especially hybrids? I'm not THE best gardener in the world, but it's my passionate hobby so yea I'm know what I'm doing, but its been difficult keeping them looking good, no probs whatsoever with cacti, but echeveria, it's another story. They are Very healthy but just don't look good. Any suggestions?
Attachments
image.jpg

valley
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1335
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:25 am
Location: ranches in sierra nevada mountains California & Navada high desert

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

Hi, They can live as captive in small pots but like more room, if in a pot you can bottom water, than allow to almost dry. Once in a while feed them with a not to strong mixture in the water. Some people refresh the soil, remember many times they are kept in little more than a hand full or soil.

There is a succulent growing in the mountains above our mountain ranch, sometimes hanging on in cracks in the granite, it dries up to nothing then and comes back when water is available, if kept in good soil it looks so different it's hard to believe it's the same plant.

Succulents like you have shown if happy will put out pups, they like plenty of light too, most do great in direct sun.

Remember, this is a classy place, we all dress for dinner. Have a good day.

Richard

purpleinopp
Green Thumb
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:28 am
Location: Opp, AL zone 8B

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

It's not the amount of soil or the watering method, it's the texture of potting soil. Roots need oxygen while they are moist to be able to function, to use the moisture without rotting, then dry quickly. Switching to something much more chunky should help a lot. A mix that is able to wick water upward via bottom watering is likely inappropriate to keep succulents (or any potted plants) growing as healthy as possible. If the pot does not have a drain hole in the bottom, it's nearly impossible to not rot the roots with too much water, and/or a build-up of tap water chemicals and fertilizer salts.

Sweyn
Senior Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

purpleinopp wrote:It's not the amount of soil or the watering method, it's the texture of potting soil. Roots need oxygen while they are moist to be able to function, to use the moisture without rotting, then dry quickly. Switching to something much more chunky should help a lot. A mix that is able to wick water upward via bottom watering is likely inappropriate to keep succulents (or any potted plants) growing as healthy as possible. If the pot does not have a drain hole in the bottom, it's nearly impossible to not rot the roots with too much water, and/or a build-up of tap water chemicals and fertilizer salts.
Having a drainage hole in the bottom of a pot does not always matter, if you use an unglazed, clay pot. I have used such pots that don't have any holes and have not had any problems with cacti and aloes that were put in them.

Soil should at least have sand mixed in a ratio of one part to one part of soil. The sand needs to be the coarse, large grain stuff used for building work and gardening.

If chemicals in tap water are a concern, you can use stored rainwater or, water from a dehumidifier machine. Those sources don't have any impurities.

Barkleythadog
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:21 am

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

The ones u buy at box stores don't seem to stay beautiful no matter what kind of soil or how much oxygen, but the ones at mom&pop nurseries will thrive even if neglected. I wish I could say this about altman plants succulents. We've thought about getting succulents set up to grow in our business, horticulture on the skids, but for now orchids and papaver somniferum is our mainstay. Thnx for your input. Bark.

purpleinopp
Green Thumb
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:28 am
Location: Opp, AL zone 8B

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

It can definitely be difficult to successfully transition those tiny plants, which usually have a rock-hard ball of peat in/around the roots, to a permanent home. Regardless of the type of store that sold it, if that's the condition of the plant, it's off to a bad start. When buying plants anywhere, inspect the roots. I couldn't agree more about preferring to patronize owner-operated stores! But don't automatically assume every plant at a BBS is incapable of living a long life. They often come from the same suppliers. Owner-operated does not necessarily mean anyone there propagates anything, but does usually mean the plants are much better tended while at the store. For that reason, it's much more likely to get a plant from an o-o store that hasn't been exposed to some kind of extreme that's actually common at BBS's (too dark, too sunny, too wet, too dry, too cold.)

There is no one ingredient one can put IN to make a better 'potting soil,' but one thing can be removed to do so. That thing is tiny particles, as Sewyn touched on. Tiny particles of anything - sand, silt, peat, clay, decomposing organic matter - lodge closely together, eliminating all tiny air spaces. While this is happening, roots also grow into the spaces, which is the path of least resistance AND where they find oxygen. Over time, this means that roots do not have access to oxygen. To combat, put whatever you want IN, except tiny particles of anything. Don't pack tightly in the pot, water gently the first few times to avoid mechanically compacting the mixture with the water. Over time the roots will fill the spaces again, the organic bits will decompose into smaller bits, so repeat as necessary.

Once you know the roots aren't rotting, your attention can turn to finding the best exposure, amount of light that your plants really enjoy. But sometimes a home or office environment, and/or locations outside where people put various plants can be so different from a plants' requirements that it can't do well. Other factors such as humidity levels, day length (latitude,) elevation, wind, rainfall, can apply (positively or negatively, depending on the particular plant,) in various locations.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11269
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

Most of the time, succulents just are not getting enough light. They grow slow and can stay in a pot for a long time, but they can get leggy. Most succulents that are sold are fairly young and not really mature specimens.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Sweyn
Senior Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

purpleinopp wrote: There is no one ingredient one can put IN to make a better 'potting soil,' but one thing can be removed to do so. That thing is tiny particles, as Sewyn touched on. Tiny particles of anything - sand, silt, peat, clay, decomposing organic matter - lodge closely together, eliminating all tiny air spaces. While this is happening, roots also grow into the spaces, which is the path of least resistance AND where they find oxygen. Over time, this means that roots do not have access to oxygen. To combat, put whatever you want IN, except tiny particles of anything. Don't pack tightly in the pot, water gently the first few times to avoid mechanically compacting the mixture with the water. Over time the roots will fill the spaces again, the organic bits will decompose into smaller bits, so repeat as necessary.
I have found that coarse, large grain sand helps soil to drain properly. Ready made soils often have other things added, like grit and bark. All of them help.

Sweyn
Senior Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

Barkleythadog wrote:Has anyone noticed when u buy succulent plants from Home Depot lowes or local nursurys, they look good for a little while but that next season they start to look bad, now matter how well they were taken care?
Not only that, but, when you buy cacti with flowers, they last for a while and then shrivel away. After that, they never grow back, no matter how many years the plants are kept and regardless of them staying healthy?

Does anyone know why?

purpleinopp
Green Thumb
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:28 am
Location: Opp, AL zone 8B

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

Are you talking about the cacti with glued-on strawflowers?

Sweyn
Senior Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

purpleinopp, I've heard of them but, no. I've bought some cacti in the past that had flowers, which did not seem artificial. I always wondered why they never grew back, in following years.

Rairdog
Green Thumb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:46 pm
Location: Noblesville, IN Zone 5

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

I was looking at some succulents the other day that said "grafted". They had flowers hot glued on them...

Sweyn
Senior Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Keeping succulent plants looking good help

Rairdog wrote:I was looking at some succulents the other day that said "grafted". They had flowers hot glued on them...
That's not nice. Did they look like the real thing?

Return to “Cactus Forum - Cacti Including all Succulent Plants”