Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:35 am

New Grower - Many succulent questions!

Ok, so I've recently amped up my indoor gardening. It kinda just all happened at once! I was tending the couple old plants I had, and decided to buy a few new ones, then one thing led to another, and next thing I know, there's a jungle in my kitchen! And I love it!
But anyways.... there's a wealth of information to be collected about plants, and growing them, here online, but sometimes ya just can't find what ur lookin for, no matter how much surfing you do.... that's why I've chosen to sign up in a discussion forum! There's no better knowledge & advice (IMO), then that of the very people who have first hand experience on the subject.
- So my first question must be REALLY DUMB, cuz I couldn't find anything online, where anyone has asked, or discussed the same question... here goes! I can't help but wonder, if the "pea gravel/pebbles" on the top layer of my aloe/succulent medium, could hinder or prevent the growth of "pups/offsets"??? Is there nothing to be concerned over in this? My offset producing succulents will make babies just fine, even with a layer of pebbles covering the entire top of the pot???
And secondly, I've just tonight, mixed my own succulent medium, in preparation for the various succulent cuttings I have coming in the mail. My concern is in the fact that I don't have any perlit. Due to matters beyond my control, I've recently become primarily "home bound", so a trip out most likely won't come for a bit.... I've got potting soil, good sand, and a whole lotta pea gravel/pebbles tho, so what I've done is: 50% soil, 50% sand, and a bit of pea gravel/pebbles listed throughout. Also a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot, and a final layer on top. Does this sound like it will suffice in carrying out healthy succulents, which remain ALIVE? Lol!
And last but not least..... Are "sedum spurium / voodoo" plants a true succulent? I had a few given to me today by a nice old man w/ a nursery nearby, and would like to try my hand at growing them... however that may be.. hopefully indoors, and either treated as a straight up succulent, or pampered a lil more if necessary, just depending on what it needs. I found very little about these guys online.......
Thanks in advance, for taking the time to read and respond! I'd also love some "regular contacts", who enjoy and/or have experience w/ succulents, and houseplant growing in general.... hint hint (if possible)!! ;) Thanks again, Erika

Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:35 am

Re: New Grower - Many succulent questions!

oh! And my most important question! Can aloe pups and plants which the entire root systems have been cut off, grow new roots again? The first 3 aloe plants I ever had, were given to me about a year ago... I blindly assumed that since their leaves are so juicy, they MUST need, LOTS of water!!! Guh! After about a month of waaaay over watering, I found that these poor aloe plants never did make a recovery... I recently learned that over the last year, they've been developing root rot... instead of tossing the plants, ive cut the roots off, and am letting them calouse over a bit, in hopes to find a way to help these guys grow some NEW HEALTHY ROOTS.. ;) They'll be much better off now, if I can restore them, as I actually know a little about caring for aloe plants properly... :)

Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:31 pm
Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: New Grower - Many succulent questions!

Hi there!
I've found that the perlit is not necessary, as I have many succulents and cacti in and around my home as well! My succulent mix is composed of sand, some potting soil, and a bit of charcoal and small pebbles on top. I've also found that pulverized eggshell makes them happy as well. Succulents are built to endure pretty harsh environments with less nutritional/mineral value so don't stress about your soil mix, it sounds like it will do just fine. Some of my healthiest plants started off in dry dirt, ash and rocks from my backyard (before I really knew what I was doing) and they are all still happy today. If I couldn't kill them with that awful dead soil I was using, I don't think you'll have a problem!

Aloe is a really resilient plant! They can take a lot of torture, i.e., accidentally overwatering for long periods lol! Let the plant callouse over for at least a week or two and then lay it on top of your soil mix until it starts to reroot. If the plant is too badly damaged, there's a chance the mother plant will die but let off a bunch of pups beforehand. The other option is propagating the leaves, which is a little harder and takes more time but if you think the plant is in really bad shape, it may be the best way to go. Also be patient! I thought there was no hope for my little aloe when it got root rot. I waited for months before anything new sprouted, as the weather was chilly and it was not growing season, but alas after much waiting, the roots grew back and it sprouted new shoots! Aloe does really well in rocky soil, the pups will sprout happily there as long as the rock layer is thin and not more than an inch or so deep. Don't get discouraged if it takes a while, like I said, Aloe grows PAINFULLY SLOW sometimes. My only caution about the pebbles is, if they are indoor plants, make sure the moisture levels around the plants are low because the small pebbles do hold humidity and I have experienced some powdery mildew problems from not having good airflow in my home in the past. I hope I covered most of your questions, good luck!

Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:35 am

Re: New Grower - Many succulent questions!

To start, THANK YOU for attentiven and thorough response! I didn't really expect anyone to actually have the patience to sit and address all this! So really... this was very nice of you... :)

And so.... it took me a bit to get back here... I was super blessed by all my family who came together and helped provide the needed (but extremely difficult and stressful) child care assistance that's needed in order for me to be able to do things. It is far more difficult then one could ever expect of someone else, therefore, when it does happen, i feel soooo incredibly thankful and blessed!!!! We took a little mini-vaca, out camping on an island off the lake here in TN..... :) So beautiful it was! The first think I noticed when we hopped off the pontoon there, was the brilliant looking crushed... meh, how do I describe this? Uhhh, like flat, slate-ish, sedimentary-like rock covering the entire shoreline... I can crush it with my hands, it's very crunchy and gritty.... the only think I can't do, is identify what kind of rock this is! I filled a beach bag with it, thinking that my aloe and other succulent plants might benefit from it, but... I'm nervous to use it without knowing whether or not it could possibly HARM them.. Not tryna do all that.... The feeling of it definitely resembles the "crushed egg shell" texture you speak of, so at least I know I'm on the right track as to what this "succulent mix" should be composed of! :)
P.S. No dead aloe's yet! I got this!!! ;)

Posts: 11365
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: New Grower - Many succulent questions!

You could plant succulents in rocks. Pea gravel compacts a bit and it is heavy, so it would not be my first choice. Cactus mix has a little bit of organic matter like potting soil and a lot of drainage. Make sure your pot has a drain hole. And avoid saucers. If you have to have them, place them upside down on the shelf so they will keep your shelf clean but won't hold water. Water the succulents with drain holes well in a sink and drain them before putting them back in their place. Many succulent bowls are sold without holes and you need to be very careful watering those to prevent over watering. I am not familiar with the type of rock you have but I live in Hawaii and we have very different rocks.

I have most of my succulents and orchids planted in black cinder. Crushed lava rock is very easy to get around here, granite not so much.

The main qualities in a rock you will be looking for is that it is not too heavy, better rocks will be coarse. When the rocks are put in a pot there should be lots of air spaces left so you want pebbles that will do that.
If you get a clear container and put the rocks in it you should be able to see air gaps between the pebbles.
When you put your pebbles and potting mix in a pot and water it, it should drain freely.

Cactus for the most part like slightly alkaline soil.

If a succulent is happy in a pot and is producing pups, the pups will find their way above ground, the pebbles should not get in the way and removing pebbles at the base of the succulent might make the succulent unstable since most succulents have no necks, below the basal leaves there is usually just roots.

All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti

Cactus are like bonsai, use the chopstick test. Stick a chopstick down to the bottom of the pot or two inches deep. Most succulents are in shallow containers. If the bottom of the chopstick feels damp it does not need water yet. The chopstick also performs another function as well. If you check in different places it will help to aerate and loosen up the soil to improve drainage.

When you propagate a succulent, the cut end needs to callus off first a few days up to a week before re planting to prevent rot.

Cactus actually should be fertilized but they don't need much. I use osmocote, a slow release fertilizer. It is good for 3-6 months depending on the type you get ( It comes in type 100 and type 200, most are type 100 or 100 days)

Good luck
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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