gardening newbie - help me get started with my succulent gifts

selkMarch 31, 2014

Hi All,

Yesterday I got a few plants from a plant donation event in my neighborhood. I am a complete newbie to having a garden and just joined the forum. I looked around to see if there is a how-to-get-started type of guide but couldn't find any...would you all have any recommendations ?

Here are the pictures of what I have.

1. Plant 1:
2. Plant 2:
3. Plant 3 & 4:

4. Plant 5 & 6:

I went and got some cactus soil, 8.5inch and 6.5 inch terracota pots and some ceramic plates to keep under the pots. All the pots have single holes. I am in zone 9. (Northern california east bay).

I have posted a msg on the ID form to determine what the names of the first 2 succulents are. I don't know the rest too - but didn't want to send out too many messages.

Thank you for any pointers on getting started. Cheers!

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Clickable links:

1. Plant 1:

2. Plant 2:

3. Plant 3 & 4:

4. Plant 5 & 6:

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 2:23AM
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Welcome to the forum! The first thing I would recommend, if you bought a commercial cactus soil, is to cut it in half with perlite. That will increase air circulation and decrease water retention, both of which are very important. You can get into more advanced soil mixes, but that's how I started out. Terra cotta pots are a great choice, just be careful with the saucers that they aren't holding on to too much water or your plants will rot. If they're going to be outside, I would recommend not even using them.

It's hard to tell the exact size of your plants, but your pots sound a little large. Just be sure the plants are snug in their pots with not too much extra space.

For the plants without roots (1 & 2, maybe 3, 4) you'll want to start differently than with the others. You can either leave the cuttings out of soil for now until they develop roots, or just barely bury them. Do not water until you see the plant growing, which means roots have formed, or the plants may rot. Also, shelter these ones a bit from the sun since they are prone to burning.

For the plant(s) with roots, plant them as deeply as you would any other plant. You can water these ones right away. Water all of your succulents very sparingly until you figure out how much they can take. I water about every 3 weeks. Be sure your plants get lots of sun -- if they start to grow tall with lots of space between the leaves, they are not getting enough.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have other questions!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 4:46PM
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Hi missingtheobvious, Thanks so much for the clickable links of my images. Appreciate your time to make my message more readable.

Hi spapa: Thanks a lot for the detailed explanations. This sounds great for now. Yes you are right I got some cactus soil from Walmart. I will go right away and get some perlite too. I would have never imagined the pot should be snug fitting. I assumed anything "bigger" should work out - but now I know! :-) I have some other older pots that are smaller and will use those for 1 & 2.

Also the fact that the first 2 should be barely on the surface or even outside - I would have just buried them like any other plant. Thanks a bunch!!!

Regarding the sizes
Plants 1 & 2: The flower like portion without the root is between 5 to 6 inches
Plant 3 & 4: Both are about 12 inches long. Plant 4 is much larger because it has many branches.
Plant 5 & 6: These are 20 inches or 20 from the tip to the root.

Based on this, would you say that these sizes are OK?
Plants 1, 2 and 3: 6.5 inch pots.
Plants 5, 6 and 7: 8.5inch pots.

But from pictures being posted by others, should I get wide pots rather than the typical standard pot shape ?

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply!


(thanks for the bringing up the question about their sizes. Next time I will take pictures with a coin next to them)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:42PM
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Hi selk,

Plants 1&2 appear to be aeoniums, 3&4 are jades and 5&6 are aloes, probably aloe vera.

Others will chime in to give you the exact cultivars, I'm sure.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Hi Nancy,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply and help in identifying my plants!!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:26PM
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Thanks for the size info, they are much larger than I thought from the photos so that's good to know! I think your pot sizes will be okay. The main reason for keeping pots small is so that the roots are able to absorb the moisture from watering; if the soil stays moist too long the plant could rot (I know, everything leads back to rot!) So, just keep an eye on your soil moisture. It is much more difficult to kill succulents from lack of water than too much, something I learned the hard way. That's probably the reason you see wide, shallow pots, but standard pots should work just fine. I use them for my plants quite often.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:26PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

selk, IIRC, if under Photobucket's "share this image," you copy the "html code" link, GW will recognize that as a clickable link. [Or maybe that's been changed in Photobucket since I last used it.]

What I did was to use a free Firefox add-on, BBCodeXtra, which adds the html code to make things italics, underlined, bold -- and also adds the html code to make an address a clickable link or to insert a photo into a post. Another GWebber told me about it years ago.

So I copied your links to my post, then one at a time, highlighted a link, right-clicked to open the box where you find "Copy" and "Paste," chose "xhtmlXtra" to open another box, then clicked on "URL."

Here's the BBCodeXtra add-on:

Whatever appears in Preview is what folks will see in the final post. So if the photo's not there in Preview, or a link doesn't work, or something else isn't what we expected, it won't be correct in the final post. (But luckily now we can edit our posts.)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Hi spapa: Thanks for the clarification about the pots. I will continue to use my standard pots.

Hi missingtheobvious: Thanks for the detailed explanation on how I can do this myself. Will definitely use this procedure when I post next with multiple pictures.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:08PM
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