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Please help a succulent noob

PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 6:45 pm
by billyWhite

About a month or so I ordered some succulents online. I transfered them to some orange pots using succulent/cactus soil and they've been sitting on my back deck ever since. I've only watered them once since then, about 2 weeks after I received them, but after that they've gotten rained on a few times. I didn't fret too much about the rain (knowing they like to be more on the dry side) because the back deck gets hosed by the sun so I knew they'd dry out quickly, especially being in the clay pots.

The problem is almost all of them are looking just plain awful :( Most of the 'fatter' ones are looking soggy and mushy, and the thinner ones are looking crispy and dried up near the bottoms.

I'm wondering if I'm missing something super basic, or if I should bring them inside the house (I live in the south Chicago suburbs). I don't really have any windows that get as much sun as the back deck, though. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

(I have plenty more photos if anyone thinks they'd help - I hit the 5 photo cap)


Re: Please help a succulent noob

PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 7:02 pm
by John
My guess is that they are sun-burned, as well as baking in those clay pots, which hold the heat. Could they have been greenhouse grown, before you received them? and not acclimated to being outdoors in full sun.

It would seem to me that you've provided perfect drainage, with the succulent/cactus soil, and with the clay pots, so even if they were rained on, the combination of soil, container and sun should see them dried out rapidly.

What to do now is the question. I'd probably try to remove the worst of the damage, and move them to somewhere less sunny, perhaps an eastern exposure, ideally with some protection from rain.

Hope this helps!

And welcome to the Forums!


Re: Please help a succulent noob

PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 9:05 pm
by billyWhite
Thanks so much for your reply, John.

I'll move them over to the east side of the house for sure. I didn't know that the clay pots could store heat like that. Do you think that putting them into larger pots would help dissipate any extra heat? I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that they like to be in 'tighter' spaces, though; that's why I went with the small pots.

One more question - the Crassula in the 4th picture, do you think it would be a good idea to cut the 'stalk' above the burnt looking part, then re-plant it? The bottom is the worst part of that plant. I'm not sure if this will do more harm than good, though.

Thanks so much! I hope they pull through!


Re: Please help a succulent noob

PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 9:31 pm
by John
I'd definitely NOT replant into larger pots... then there would be too much soil for the amount of roots, and therefore more chance of rotting from excess moisture.

I don't know what to tell you about that 4th picture... maybe start some new plants as back-ups? Each of those 'leaves' should root rather easily, don't you think? I'm not an expert, just applying what I've learned from general gardening.