Poorly cactus/succulent :(

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by MattyBur, May 22, 2020 at 2:19 PM.

  1. MattyBur

    MattyBur Apprentice Gardener

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    Hello,

    I've had cacti for pretty much all my life and had one, in particular, for 40 years before it finally popped its spiky clogs a couple of years ago (I think I overwatered it....).

    Since then, I've had a few more with varying success and seem to find it hard to keep them alive and healthy.

    At the moment, I have what I think is an Aloe Juvenna (see pics - mug included for scale!), which I know is technically a succulent, not a cactus, but anyway, it's not looking too happy.

    I bought it from a garden centre about 6 months ago, and after a while, carefully repotted it using cactus compost, in an earthenware double-pot - ie the inner pot (brown) has a drainage hole, and it sits in the outer pot (beige) which can collect the little bit of drained water at the bottom, if necessary.

    I thought this would be a perfect solution to the problem of overwatering or water not being able to drain freely enough.

    The plant has been sitting on my coffee table near to a patio door which, during this fine weather, is getting a lot of sun in the afternoons, so I'm wondering if it isn't liking that?

    It seems less 'plump' than it used to, as if it's shrivelling up slightly, and there are dead brown spots on it.

    I've moved it to an area that doesn't get the direct sun, to see if that will help.

    I've hardly been watering it, and gave it a little bit last week, with some cactus feed, and the excess drained off into the outer pot successfully.

    Any advice please? I've lost all confidence in keeping cacti/succulents since a few have died on me recently... :(

    Thanks
     

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  2. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    It actually looks okay to me in the pictures.
    If it seems a bit soft there might be some root rot going on.
    Have you tried giving it a gentle tug.

    If it is root rot it would need drying off and rerooting .
    The pebbles look nice on the surface but do make it difficult to work out how damp the compost is before watering.
    Also I assume you empty any water out of the outer pot immediately after watering.
     
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    • MattyBur

      MattyBur Apprentice Gardener

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      Hello, thanks for your reply!

      Yes, it doesn't look terrible - it just doesn't seem very happy either and I'm concerned about the brown spots and the slightly shrivelled appearance of the whole thing...

      I did give it a gentle tug and it seems ok, and I have a compost sensor thing which says 'Dry', so it's not too wet in there or anything. I've been careful not to water it much, as that's where I've gone wrong with other ones...

      As for the water that collects in the outer pot - to be honest, I haven't tended to empty that out after watering as it's only a little bit at the bottom and is nowhere near the base of the inner pot or any compost/roots, so I let it evaporate naturally. Could that be a problem then?
       
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        Last edited: May 22, 2020 at 3:18 PM
      • pete

        pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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        Well outer post are the death of most house plants :biggrin:
        But who knows.

        I'd just keep it on the dry side.
        I can't see any brown spots on my stupid little phone screen, I'll have a look later. :biggrin:
         
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        • MattyBur

          MattyBur Apprentice Gardener

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          Oh God, really?

          I thought it'd be perfect as the water can drain through the hole in the inner pot and not waterlog the roots! Also, both inner and outer pots are porous, which I thought would help too....

          The probe says the compost is dry, which makes me want to water it, but I'm always cautious now about overwatering these things....

          I've attached a couple of closeups of the brown worrysome bits, which I don't know whether they're a sign of trouble, or just natural ageing....

          Also, do you think moving it out of direct afternoon sunlight would be good for it?

          Thanks

          M
           

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        • pete

          pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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          Has it been moved, is it getting more sun now than it did before?
          Even plants that come from hot places can suddenly shrivel if they are not used to hot conditions and have been growing in the shade.

          Plants in green houses all year round acclimatise to the changing seasons slowly and naturally.
          If you just pick a pot up and move it, like lots of people do with house plants the different conditions come as a bit of a shock.
           
        • MattyBur

          MattyBur Apprentice Gardener

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          No, it was always on a table right near some patio doors, and as the weather has improved, it's getting a lot of direct sun during the afternoon and early evening, sometimes quite intense, which I wondered might be causing it distress, so only today, I have moved it away so it doesn't get sun directly shining on it anymore, in the hope that it might recover.....
           
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          • pete

            pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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            I think the brown bits are possibly insect damage, or just damage of some kind, not a problem regarding growing condition as such.
             
          • MattyBur

            MattyBur Apprentice Gardener

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            Ok, I'll keep an eye on it....!

            Many thanks, Pete!
             
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