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Thread: You people are enablers (Pleiospilos)

  1. #1
    bladespark's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    You people are enablers (Pleiospilos)

    I went for a walk today and dropped into Home Depot as I was passing by, just to have a look at the plants, and what should I spy there among the succulents, but a pleiospilos! Two of them, even. I thought the one that swords had shown the other day was pretty spiffy, so I just couldn't resist buying them.

    They're here now, and they'll be the easiest plants I ever cared for, I think, since they're currently growing the second pair of leaves, so I figure all I have to do is let them sit in the windowsill without watering.

    Edit: Got a photo. It also shows some of the aloe vera pups that I'm trying to get to root so I can pot them up and hopefully trade them to somebody for something nice.

    I'd wanted to top them with gravel and a few rocks, but I didn't have any gravel. Then I remembered that I had a whole heap of pietersite gravel left over from something else, and, well... I'm probably not the first person ever to have a top layer of semi-precious stones, but I gather it's not all that common. :P Since it was so shiny, I went ahead and added some larger tumbled stone chunks, there's everything from meteorites to sapphires on there now. I'm probably very silly. And I will probably eventually pull it all off and put regular gravel on. But I like how it looks.

    I make fuzzy things.

  2. #2
    swords's Avatar
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    Cool! I was at Lowe's looking for lighting to put on my new plant shelf setup on Wed and I wound up with half a dozen new succulents too. I had to force myself not to get the other six or seven I also wanted!

    Let the plant absorb the old pair of leaf bodies but since summer is coming keep an eye on the new one, if it wrinkles or "closes" it's halves then it's likely needing water or the sun is too hot or possibly both. If this happens you can water even if the old leaves aren't totally absorbed, once they really start to absorb and collapse they won't come back but if they only shrink a little they'll puff right back up with the first watering. Once the old body is a shriveled papery husk then give it nice big flood of nutrient water and then just watch for wrinkling to indicate watering. If you feed with each watering they will get bigger and bigger. Some people don't like that because they're small and rock hard in the wild but they'll grow big if you feed them. Some say that makes them more susceptible to water damage by growing them big with lots of fertilizer, just be careful with soil choices and watering and you can do what you want grow them hard (no food=small) or soft (lots of food=big).

    What kinda soil are you using? If peat I'd suggest changing it out to something based on fine gravel, clay bits or large grit sand (not HD playsand). If you have access to fine pumice or fine decomposed granite that's great but it seems to only be available in a few areas and mine aint one of them. I bought some by mail but shipping on stone products is insane. A great pre-bagged soil for cacti and succulents is Shultz Aquatic Plant Soil and is what I use now, it's just perfect for me. Here it runs $5 per 10lb bag at HD - look near the pond supplies.

    It's just baked clay pieces like beige kitty litter not really "soil" at all but holds lots of water but only for a few days then dries completely which is what you want. Succulent roots that stay moist for longer than a couple days will often become targets for infection and then "meltdowns" occur where the plant becomes a puddle of green jelly. This "jellyfication" happens overnight so there's no recourse once it starts. I've no idea how nurseries can get the plants to where they are in plain peat like they do. If I don't repot on arrival (or soon after) the plants are dead before long (2-3 months max). Don't waste your cash on the "Cactus and Succulent" or "Cactus and Palm" soils, they're based on organic media (peat and bark) not minerals like rock and clay so they do the same thing as plain peat. I learned that by melting down a few big Crassulas but at least the Cactus and Palm stuff did give me a huge swam of fungus gnats!

    Organic soils and overly large containers for cacti/succulents are generally bad news. When I repot my new goodies I wash off all the soil from the roots and usually chop 1/3 of the roots off if they're a huge fiberous tangle - don't chop any tubers if you find them on certain plants. I feel that forcing new roots is better than trying to nurse old broken and weak roots which could be harboring diseases from the nursery pot. I fit them into as small a pot as I can get away with based on the root size so the soil stays dry and I can water just a little more often. 99% of my collection lives in 2", 3" and 4" pots I even have some 1"ers! I had a rather sizable Ariocarpus fizzuratus in a 6" pot but it hardly ever dried out, even in the all clay gravel. Once I moved it down to a 4" pot it has perked up considerably. Succulents are weird, keep them dry (but not too dry) and constricted and they're happy...

    The topdressing of gravel is just to keep the bodies of succulents and cacti from touching wet soil/grit where disease vectors can enter or just plain discolor your plant by going "yellow" where it touches wet soil. It's weird how tough these are in the sun, yet when it comes to water-born viruses and stuff they're super weak.

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