Succulent Plants

Potential Succulent Concern

Vcantrell58 added on July 22, 2016 | Answered

A few days ago I bought a small succulent from a natural foods store, took it home and potted it after I had researched it a small amount. The soil it was in, as seems typical, was a bit soft and fine, but still had a good amount of decent bark pieces and lava rock. I tried to use as much of the rock and rougher parts of that as I could in its new container. But still didn't get the plant (which I believe is a sedum angelina) into the more permanent-for-now container until I redid the soil mixture and container choice a couple times. Unfortunately, on the first attempt, after removing it from the teeny store pot, I may have ran my fingers over the clump of soil that was trapped in the roots, but not wanting to cause more stress to the whole plant, I tried to leave them alone and just surround it with well draining soil, I think this was my first mistake. I learned to screen the soil to improve drainage, which I think has been maybe the only reason it might have a chance. I also crushed a bit of a pumice stone I had at hand, for the same reason. I got it set into the mixture, directly on top of a few small pumice chunks to help water run off the roots. Once I felt it was settled and adequately supported, I lightly watered it and watched it pass easily through and start to stream out the bottom a bit. Since then I put it outside, not ideally timed, it got a bit of sun but not a bunch. Brought in back in, near the window for the night and back outside in the morning. I put it in a good spot to get morning sunshine, maybe even shade, but then i was out of the house until late afternoon, so it ended up in full sun for hours on an 86 degree day. When I went to check on it, the soil (of it and my catnip plant, plus other tiny re-homed succulent) was bone dry, and they didn't look happy. So I watered again until the soil was soaked and drained most of it back out. My concern has shifted from it being too dry and hot, to maybe not dry enough. The leaf I included a picture of was clearly suffering when I first checked it outside, it was distinctly wrinkled and drooping. I thought it was dehydrated so watered right away, but now after further research, I can't tell what it indicates. Is it maybe rot? Maybe dehydration? The soil is still wet at 5 am, not as wet as 5 pm, but it's been wet since then at least, so I doubt it's thirsty. Is this maybe from damage? It has no clear mark that indicated a crack or physical damage at all. One leaf broke off before it even got home, thanks to me. I wasn't sure what to do about it, but it seems to be healing alright, it looks better than the withered one that's still intact. Is there anything I should do? Other than stop watering it? How do I know if I'm not watering enough? Is it bad to move it in and out? I did it to give it sun and fresh air but keep it out of the cold night (northwest Oregon). Also I included a picture of the soil I used which is what I sifted out of the general organic mix I bought, intended for a range of potted plants. I ended up with mostly bigger pieces of bark, little pebbles, and perlite, most of that previously coated lightly with diatomaceous earth, though I think in this case it was fairly negligible. Should I amend? Is it bad to use a metal container even if it's almost made of only holes? Please if possible as much DIY and home material tips as I can get! Really appreciate the help, I like this little succulent and don't want to give it up to the grips of root rot like I conceded to with my Calla lily! Pictures Include the leaf in question, from two angles, the leaf I broke, the healthy parts, and the side with the withered leaf also has a couple turning that reddish tint. Is that normal? Is it bad? Also one of the container specifically, and the last one was meant to be the soil, it's hard to see from the outside but it's rough and rocky, clearly wet. Please throw any suggestions you have at me, I would love to save it, if needed.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 23, 2016

Succulents are great plants and fun to grow!
One of the best parts about this plant is how easy they are to care for.
Though the pot may have seemed small for the plant, you may have noticed its roots were not very large.
Make sure to not use to large of a container when repotting. Only go up 1 size.
You can purchase premixed soil for cactus and succulents or mix your own.
Use 3 parts soil, 2 parts sand and 1 part perlite for proper drainage.
Using too large of a container will lead to overwatering and root rot.
The color change on your plant is indicating over watering.
I would carefully repot the plant into the suitable medium and pot size.
Avoid overwatering.
The links below will refresh you on the care requirements.

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