How to care for this succulent?

shoefiendFebruary 20, 2013

I am a newbie gardener and love succulents for indoor plants.

I bought this plant from Home Depot a few months back and have been watering it sparingly (letting the soil dry before I re-water). Last month I was out travelling and came back after a few weeks afraid the plant might have died.

Instead, I was surprised to find it alive and well - with these new small sprouts.

1. What is the name of this plant?
2. What do these sprouts mean? Can I clip them and grow them into their own plants?
3. I am now watering it once a week. is that good/bad?

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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

Well, sadly, succulents are not indoor plants for the most part, so you don't have one that looks are nice as it could. I believe this plant is desperately struggling for more light. That would be the main reason the sprouts you note (which are the "pups" of this Sempervivum) are stretched out like they are. If you look up Sempervivum, you'll see what the offshoots should look like and see what I mean by these not looking as they should.

Normally, you could clip the offsets and set them in dry soil to root, and they'd become their own plants. Or, you could leave them be and the plant would form a clump of rosettes. But with how stretched they are now, I don't know quite how well the normal process of clipping them and rooting them would work out for you, or how healthy the plant would eventually look if you left the offshoots be and let them develop. What's looking stretched can't be reversed, and the plant is meant to become a nice compact clump. Because these offshoots you have are so flimsy, I don't know if it'd look great to keep them. I personally would clip them, and then if you'd like to try to root them on their own for experimentation, cut off only the very ends of the offshoots and stick them in dry soil (rather than the whole lengthy segment).

These guys are easy, easy plants, and hardy as can be, so it's no problem to have them outside for the winter most places. They thrive on neglect. They are very tolerant plants, but they don't need much water. You could get by watering only when the soil is bone dry, and I just wouldn't up the watering to any more than that. I think the light issue is the main problem. They'd like bright indirect light. What they don't want is hot sun (80 degrees+)--that will melt these plants to mush.

This post was edited by teatree on Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 14:59

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Wow. I had no idea these could survive the DC winter (not harsh, but it is cold out here). Did some reading up to learn they can handle the weather. Will be moving them outside pronto.

I have a jade plant sitting right beside and its growing well (I think!). So I assumed all succulents make good indoor plants. :(

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 3:34PM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

Well, shoefiend, as Colleen has said, most succulents DO NOT make good indoor plants without LOTS of really GOOD light. Even your jade, if it does not receive sufficient light will become etiolated; tall, thin, wimpy growth. If this happens to your jade, just pinch the poor growth off and the new growth with good light will begin.

Sempervivum, survive even our Michigan winters with no harm. Put them outside in a rock garden and they will do well. Just don't over water them because they are succulents.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 4:31PM
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rosemariero6(z10 /ss24 So. Calif.)

This looks like an Echeveria to me. Sempervivum, if sending out shoots, would be their inflorescence...meaning it was going to flower. Those don't look like flower stalks to me. Now, having said that, I haven't had any Semps for quite some time, so I could be wrong. They do look like they are desperate for more light.

Are there any cilia on the edges of the leaves (like little hairs)?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 5:56PM
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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

You could be right, RoRo (it's not as though that doesn't happen 99.999 percent of the time, har har). I thought for sure it's a Semp, almost without thought. I must just have extensive personal experience on inadequate-light growing, lol. If you do let these guys get light-deprived, they look like this. I too don't think the shoots are an Echeveria inflorescence, but rather Semp pups.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 7:16PM
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rosemariero6(z10 /ss24 So. Calif.)

=) Like I said, I haven't had Semps for a long while, Colleen...and they lived outdoors, so I would have never seen them in this condition. It was just my initial reaction that had me thinking of Echeveria. I need more info to ascertain. :P AND...I could have COLT on the brain...since he was born this morning...& we were there 6 hrs...and I took over 600 pix that I'm trying to process!!! So...I could be saying all this for naught!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:48PM
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that plant is not really flowering like an Echeveria and certainly not a Sempervivum... could be a Crassula (Crassula obicularis looks sort of like that). Cultivationally about the same as an Echeveria, but not anywhere near as cold hard as a Sempervivum.... just guessing, though

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:32PM
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I wouldn't move your plants out just yet. They need to be acclimated, or you will definitely kill them! Try getting them under the brightest lamp you have that can be left on for several hours every day. Once the weather warms up, say, into the 60's, then I would start putting them outside in the shade. As the temps get warmer, you could then begin moving them into brighter shade and then let them be.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:09AM
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Best of luck with that plant, Shoefiend!

Congrats, on the birth of Colt, Rosemarie!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:16AM
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