Does my succulent have root rot? Help!

mariascalaApril 10, 2012

I've never been able to keep a plant alive for very long, (black thumb) and I've had some luck with this little succulent I have but now i think i may have root rot! See the picture below.

do I? should i cut the roots off and replant? I want to try to save this little guy!


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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

Hi Maria. Yes, indeed, that is rot. Cut it back until you see healthy green stem. If you have Rootone, dip the cut end in it and allow it to callous for about a week in a warm area out of direct sun. The Rootone is not absolute, so if you don't have any don't run out and purchase it. When you replant, you'll be further ahead if you find some less organic potting mix. What I see in your picture is very wet and looks like ordinary potting soil; not what you want to be using. You want something that is more gritty, will drain quickly and dry in a relatively short period of time, especially if you're going to use plastic pots. After planting wait several days before you water and allow it dry out before watering again.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:24PM
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Biker doc, thank you SO much!
I don't have rootone, so I guess I'll be trying to save this plant the old fashion way.

This may be super obvious but, as i've never done anything like this before, I'm kind of clueless. Once its calloused all that is needed of me is to place it in better soil? The thing i have it resting on is actually a plastic saucer, the pot itself is clay (with a small whole on the bottom) is that a good pot to be using for this?

Also super clueless, what goes it mean exactly to have "gritty soil"

Last question, how often should i be watering this? and do I drench it when I do water?

thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 1:33PM
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No Rootone? No Problem! Use sulfur powder (flowers of sulfur) if you have it, and if not, use cinnamon.

Howard brings up an important point - your soil needs to get more porous. Use perlite / pumice / other drainage material, in a 50/50 mix, and half those problems are gone, gone, gone.

Lastly, since your cutting won't have roots, do not water the soil. Mist the plant every day / every few days, and keep it in semi-light until signs of growth are evident. Then you'll know that it's rooted and that it's safe to start watering the soil again.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 1:57PM
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In addition to what has already been said, when you cut leave only about 2-inches of stem. It will root faster that way, and will probably leave the fungal infection far behind, negating the need for any anti- fungal treatment

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Thank you all for replying! I cut it yesterday and left it drying overnight. When I checked it this morning it was hard, i'm guessing it calloused?
This is what I saw

Does this look correct? Did I cut enough/correctly? Should I now put it into dry dirt?

Thanks again everyone

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:44AM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

No Maria, you've got to cut back more until you have good green viable stem. And as Jeff (CactusMcHarris) has said you don't need anything on the cut end. I leave cutting in warm indirect light sometimes for weeks and they just root from the natural humidity in the air. Having said this, it might not happen in very low humidity areas, but here in Michigan we almost always have 40% ~ 50% RH. I just cut this from one of my Echeveria to demonstrate what you want to see after cutting. I would allow my cutting to callous for at least a week until I see the cut end dry and looking like a callous on your hand or foot; it will look hard and dry and somewhat rough. The mix is something I make but you don't have to have the same thing. Again, as Jeff has said, Perlite is readily available at any Big Box store or Garden Center. Do NOT use regular sand because it packs down too much and dries slowly. If you have a problem finding something course or gritty, go to a pet store/Walmart/Target and ask for bird gravel; the stuff used on the bottom of a bird's cage that they eat to help digest food. It will be a bit pricey but if all you need is a small quantity, it will work. I'm personally not a fan of "Topsoil" as a portion of my mix because it won't dry quickly for me.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Ok I just cut it back more, this is what I see now, i do think this is healthier, i hope healthy enough! (there's not much stem left!)

Do i need it cut it back even more?
I'll go out and get some of the Perlite, do I mix it with regular soil or just use that alone?
thanks so much (again)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:53AM
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I would cut more until you see pale green tissue without any brown specks(rot).

Howard provided an excellent picture how cut should look like.

Don't worry about stem, this can root even from leaves. Use steril knife. Sprinkle w/ cinnamon. let dry several days.

very often I root in pure perlite until roots are established. easy to repot after.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:56AM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

Inna is right on... you've got lots of stem left. And to give you some more confidence, these are some leaves I'm rooting. I just put them up this week and hope to see some roots in the next 2 weeks, if they stay warm enough.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Whats in your mix? Do you use any organic part or its soil less mix? Also do you just mist these leaves or water slightly? your plants just pure perfection

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 3:06PM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

Thank you, Inna. They look nice but far from perfection. I used to combine turface, with a pre-mix called Black Magic Cactus Mix. This is no longer available. Now, I mix turface, diatomite, small amount of crushed sea shells, small amount of Miracle Grow Orchid mix. I tried Miracle Grow for Cactus but it is way too much humus and never dries out.... lost several plants recently because of my foolishness using this stuff! The other thing you can use as I mentioned above is large parakeet gravel; comes in two sizes for large or small birds. You want the large bird size but it is costly; about $2.00/24oz at K-mart.

I allow the leaves to callous for a few days then just insert the ends under the mix and keep it moist, never real wet and usually I will be able to root about 85% of the leaves this way. It takes some time before you have a large plant.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 3:51PM
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