So very dramatic. Enjoy, and realize how seriously I take the smallest, two dollar things.
I’m never too sure why a plant decides to croak when it does.
I’m no horticulturist, and whatever green thumb I have is only based on genetic luck-of-the-draw. When a healthy plant suddenly goes sour without obvious cause, I’m usually mystified.
Earlier this summer, I brought home a new succulent (the shot glass-sized plant dwarfed by a leafy, thriving monster that I highlighted over in this post):
Shadowed, it stayed in it’s tiny plastic Home Depot container for a month (or more) after I bought it. Tight-rooted, but it was watered normally and thriving. I recently upgraded it’s housing to a custom-made portland cement planter that was deeper, wider, and all-in-all, gave those baby succulent roots some room to spread out and get comfy. (You’ve seen this picture before, over yonder.)
It was only within a few days of the transplant that I noticed that it had crashed and burned. Every leaf had tumbled off, still green. It was like nothing I had ever seen before from the ordinarily rough-and-tough breed (Or species? Or genus?).
I thought succulents could withstand anything from the blazing Texan sun to nuclear war.
So… what was going wrong?
1) It was receiving the same amount of sunlight it had before,
2) It was in fresh potting soil,
3) It was potted in portland cement, which every other DIY tutorial had recommended,
4) And that planter had several holes drilled in the base to allow for drainage.
5) I hadn’t over-watered, I hadn’t under-watered, I hadn’t given it any beverage beyond water.
Despite reading endlessly that succulents and concrete go together like peanut butter and jelly, circling in my mind was something my Dad said recently, about how if a plant isn’t classified as a foundation plant (a plant that would thrive living nearby the perimeter, the foundation, of your house), it might get all choked up with the lime in cement. (And right there’s some of the genetic green thumb I attained.) With that thought, I’ve been watching the mighty mighty leafy plant for signs of unhappiness, not considering for a minute that the youthful succulent would be the one who got axed.
Clueless, I’ve been reading up on succulent root rot with as much interest as I read The Baby Sitter’s Club circa 1994, and decided to try a few things.
I’ll tell you now, it’s too early to know if any of this is going to actually work. Suggestions based on similar experience are appreciated.
In the instance that the potting soil I used was aggravating the plant, I carefully removed the succulent from the cement, inspected the roots (which appeared healthy), cleaned them thoroughly with water, and repotted in the same cement planter with some of the clean topsoil that was delivered a few days ago (and mixed it with a little bit of beach sand for good measure as advised by many of the succulent specialists).
Note: I photographed the weakling next to a thriving succulent in the house, one which appears to be dropping a leaf; this is the more common succulent death I’m familiar with, but every leaf had fallen from the baby succulent green as could be.
I also potted it a bit deeper this time; word on the internet is that succulents are really quick to re-root, so I attempted to get the base of the plant deep within so that it might root from the existing stems.
Two-thirds of the stems show little potential; I’m only mildly optimistic because there are also a few little pops of green at the tip of each.
The third stem still shows promise, with at least an inch of greenery and a single leaf appearing stabilized.
Thanks for hearing my side of the story.