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Succulents: propagation leaves shriveling.

Joy Anderson
5 years ago

Hi,

I know there is already a thread on this topic but it's older so someone suggested I start another thread. Essentially, several of the leaves I am trying to propagate have turned black or have shriveled up. This is my first time growing succulents. I also

have to explain that a critter is eating some of them - I think it's a squirrel. So in the pics you'll see that the ends of some have been nibbled on - but the rooting end wasn't damaged.

You see the leaf withering in the top right? That's a graptoveria and that's what all of my propagation attempts have done. The other plant cuttings callous over but won't root - or haven't so far. I would guess for some of those it's been about 3 weeks.

Now the interesting thing is the stems I stuck in the dirt are growing. The bottom right was a sempervivum baby that the squirrel broke off - but it has grown. The other stem is what's left of a Sedeveria and it has a teeny baby on the side.

So here's my question. I'm in Oklahoma and it's very humid in this part of the state. Do you think they are withering because of watering? I've been barely drizzling drops of water into each little compartment. So I thought maybe misting them would be better? They are laying on top of succulent mix - in a window sill and the soil is totally dry when I drizzle it.

I'm experimenting with sticking the rooting end in the dirt as I've seen some do, to see if that works better here.

Sorry for the novel - I appreciate any suggestions you have. Until this year I have killed every plant of any kind that I've ever tried to grow. I got serious about it this year and all of my plants are thriving - so I *really* want these succulent babies to grow. Bottom picture is my little garden. :)

Comments (32)

  • Kara 9b SF Bay Area CA
    5 years ago

    Whenever I propagate succulent leaves I never water or even mist. I only start misting until I see little roots. Most of the time I don't even put them in dirt I just lay them on the countertop in my garage. From what I can see it looks like your soil is to water retentive. First thing I would do is stop watering especially since it is humid where you live. I know it can be frustrating when waiting for little roots to shoot out, but the best advise I can give you is to forget about them. Also, try to keep your little leaves away from squirrels if you can. If you have any questions feel free to ask :)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    You are watering way too much, there are deposits on the container telling me so. I see that you are using plastic container - are there any drainage holes?

    Those leaves are rotting. If you want to root some leaves, get shallow container with drainage holes, fill it with some grit and perlite or some cacti & succulent soil - no dirt please (dirt is something to be put in the garbage...). Just lay the leaves on the surface and do not water or spray. Leaves have lots of water stored in them and until they dry up & shrivel there is enough to feed the roots. Leaves need to be healthy to begin with. They shouldn't sit in full sun and if you have problem with critters, cover them with some fine mesh - something like a food tent would do nice.

    Many leaves will start growing without any soil. But you need to leave them alone and no drizzling-spraying-watering. In this case less is really more.


    You have nice garden, I like plants in the logs. But again, too much water. Logs will likely hold quite a bit of water, so easy on watering. Rains and humidity could be almost enough without you adding more water.

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  • Joy Anderson
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    Thanks for the tips. They are all in succulent mix and it is dark so it looks wet - but it's very, very, dry. But even the ones I leave sitting on the counter shrivel up like that. That why I went to putting them on top of the dirt - which also didn't work, and finally in the dirt. The ones in the dirt have not shriveled up.

    The logs I use have hollowed spots in the back so it drains off immediately. But I had to move them from the porch further out in the garden to keep the squirrels out. :( other wise the big plants are doing great.
    So no misting until they have roots? I'll try it. Thanks for the tips. I'll keep you posted. It is unbelievably humid here right now so I think they should be getting more than enough from the air. Is it possible for it to be too humid for succulents? Or some types of them?
  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes, many succulents don't like humidity, some even die from it.

    Sorry to say, but even if you saying that mix is very, very dry - at one point or another it may have been too wet; deposits on the container are tell tale. And the condition of your leave and cuttings too.

    In 1st photo I posted, you see some leaves drying up (which is normal), but not rotting (soft, dark, mushy). Next 2 pics showing leaves of different succulents, you don't see any rotting in the leaves either. If so humid where you live, do not water at all - no spraying or drizzling. There is plenty of moisture in the leaves to 'feed' the emerging babies - when no more left, the leaf will naturally dry up. In the photo below, there are some new babies being potted - you still can see leftover mother leaf on almost all of them. I leave them until they detach themselves.Plants are in a mix of gravel+perlite+turface:

    I would seriously consider drier medium - gravel or such, that
    doesn't retain too much water (this is not to criticize, just a helpful
    -hopefully- suggestions).

  • always_sunny_in_sotex
    2 years ago

    So I'm a few years late to the party, but this topic is one I'm currently dealing with. Is Rina still available for comment??

    Are these dark ends shaping up to be the same situation? I know your stance on dirt but I work for a commercial plant nursery so thought our prop media would work. I now see the error in my ways. But, is it too late to salvage? Would there be a way to save them ? Thank you in advance if you're still out there in cyberspace!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    2 years ago

    always_sunny

    Leaves look ok at this point, and dark ends look like they are callused. How long are they there? Are you watering? Do you know what is the plant?

  • Karen S. (7b, NYC)
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Can I add to the discussion? I don't do these often, but happens I collected these leaves from the ground beneath a Vendor at the 14th St. Green Market. I grow indoors, set these on my kitchen table wks ago, western exposure, good light.


    It's 2 wks today & look what I found, lower 2 leaves at 5-6 o'clock position in the pic.


    Note btwn the 2 leaves w/ new growth, here's a dried up leaf. Since I'm not watering these, that dried leaf is just dried up. can be left w/out endangering the other leaves as it's just dry, not rotting. I've since removed it, just 'cause it looks better ;>)


    Closer up:


    I don't cover this; my mix is homemade, pumice based. I had lightly misted the mix when I first made the set up 2 wks ago.

    Pls note the commonality btwn my mix & Rina's: they're both coarse, large particled.

    That's what your soil tells us Joy, not from its dark color, but from how fine the particles are, that they'll tend to retain water, rather than allow it to drain off quickly which is preferable for succulents.

    Now the hard part for me to leave them alone!!!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    There is often leaf or few that will just refuse to grow :) It either just sits there and does nothing, or dries up too early, and in 'worst' case will rot. They likely will root in just about anything including no substrate at all, as long as they are not overwatered to death. I usually start very light watering when plantlets/roots are growing and mother leaf starts getting depleted. Careful spraying is recomended by some, personally, I do not. I would, possibly, water or spray lightly if leaf is shrinking too fast, looking dehydrated, and if I had very few leaves to root. Foud that I have much better results if I just 'ignore' them, haha...as Karen said, it may be hard to leave them alone!

    There are some succulents that will not grow from leaves, and some that will take months and months. I believe ones in pics posted by OP root/grow easier.

    It may be helpful to spread them apart a bit - easier to pu when transplaning, and they could be left to grow bigger for longer time in order not to disturb roots too much. But they could be handled either way - perhaps using tweezers if too crowded :)

  • Katrina Magalotti
    last year

    I know that I'm even later to the party, but I did have a similar situation that I would like to talk about. I bought a pack of leaves ready to propagate (as I didn't currently own any succulents, and this is my first time working with them). I watched a few videos and did some research, which told me to lay them on top of cactus and succulent soil and mist them every morning. (I'm keeping them inside by a window, where it's not very humid.) I also have a grow light on them and other plants 12 hrs/day. Most of the leaves have sprouted roots and about half now have leaves too. However, out of the ones that have leaves (and I thought were doing well), some of their roots are starting to shrivel. I am suspecting that this is also a problem of overwatering. I have stopped watering them as frequently (even though it pains me so). But, I just wanted to ask if there's any way to salvage the ones whose roots have started to shrivel and turn brown. Thanks for any advice that you could give! At the very least, it was a learning experience and I know how to do better next time!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last year

    I never mist leaves - some ppl recommend misting. I think, even if you believe in misting, every day is far too often. Having to root literally dozens, I do not see reason to supply so much moisture. Succulents are plants with natural habitat being quite arid, and they store lots of moisture for later use. Too much constant moisture promotes rotting. May I ask why you said: ..."(I have stopped watering them as frequently)even though it pains me so"...?

    Most roots will 'find their way' into potting mix. Sometimes, I sprinkle little bit of mix over exposed roots, but generally do not worry much. You can try that and see if it helps. How far are the grow lights, and what kind is it?

  • Katrina Magalotti
    last year

    I mostly said that it pains me as a joke. I see them and just want to give them love, which in my mind is watering. Yes, I read in your previous comments that you don't believe in misting, but at this point, it's already been done and I can't take it back, so I'm asking for advice on what to do from here.


    The lights are probably 1-1.5 feet above the plants. They're these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082DGMC9F/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_wnJgFbTB9PPGM

  • KarenS, NYC
    last year

    I'm inclined to say do nothing.

    Sorry, but w/out a pic I don't know what kind of suggestions you think we might make.

    I don't wish to sound rude, but we've both (Rina & I, even 1/2 jokingly) said that the hardest part of this is to just leave them alone.

    I don't grow w/ lights & have never seen your type before, but have always heard/read that lights needs to be as close as 6-8" from the plants, not feet away.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last year

    Many of us learned the hard way about 'loving' our plants too much, and giving them too much of everything, including attention. Some attention is needed for sure, I am just talking about being helicopter mom, lol.

    I asked about the grow lights, wondering if needed. I usually start leaves in any spot - not where there is lots of sun. Once plantlets start growing, I try to remember to move them into adequate light, or they start to etiolate.

  • Katrina Magalotti
    last year

    Haha yeah, now I'm just confused why multiple sources that I had researched said to water them every day, and apparently that's completely wrong!


    Yeah, I thought that as they were just starter leaves, they didn't really need too much light, which is why it's a bit farther away for now, so it can get them all at once.


    If a picture would help... I've done my best. Kinda hard to get a close up cause they're so small. In the first one, you can see that a nice rosette has formed, but now all of the roots have gone brown and shriveled. The second one is a little less drastic with some roots still looking white and healthy and some have shriveled. Since the second one has some good looking roots, I have some confidence that it will recover if I leave it alone. As for the first, do you think there's any hope of recovery? Is there anything that I can I'd to help it other than just leaving it alone?


    Thanks for all your replies!




  • Katrina Magalotti
    last year


    That might be a bit better on the second one...

  • KarenS, NYC
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Sorry, it didn't occur to me you would LIFT them UP & OUT to take pix. I meant in place pls.

    Lifting them up, off the mix, can break the tiny root hairs you're trying to grow in the first place. Pls put than back, maybe sprinkle a tiny bit of soil over the roots & the leave them alone again.

    For any future pix, just take the pic in place &/or lift up the whole container.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last year
    last modified: 12 months ago

    Try what I already suggested: sprinkle just a bit of mix over the end where the plantlet is forming. Even for 2nd leaf: sprinkle a bit, if roots are not completely covered, it shouldn't matter.

    BTW, there is lots of confusing info on net...some may worked sometimes for different ppl so they assume it always works, and is best for the plant. Lots of it isn't best for plants, but it is being pushed anyways, as the best method. Some of it doesn't make sense at all: for example, watering succulent leaves daily in order to grow roots - that is just too often for a succulent. It may be too often even for some other plants...creating soggy soil, that is not suitable for most but bog-loving plants. Certainly not succulents.

  • Katrina Magalotti
    12 months ago

    Sounds good. I'll sprinkle some mix over the roots and leave them alone. I'll know better for next time! Thanks for your advice!

  • HU-50875444
    12 months ago

    I am having trouble as well. I have tried several different methods and they either get black or shrivel. I have left them on the window seal, on the countertop, in sunny spots, in indirect sunlight, in shady spots. I watch videos and try what they say and each batch I have tried, no matter the technique is not working. I have a succulent that is not doing well so I would love to propagate it before I have no more healthy leaves and I have a plant that is doing extremely well but those leaves have not been able to propagate those either. Any suggestions?

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    12 months ago

    What is the succulent you want to propagate?

    Are you watering the leaves while waiting for them to sprout?

  • KarenS, NYC
    12 months ago

    Pls show us the plant(s) you're talking about. Otherwise we can't begin to know how to try & help you.

  • Jo
    10 months ago

    Hello... I am sorry to comment here just now but I have this question about a calloused end. And I can't found any article or forum about this.

    My question: Is there a possibility that the end of the leaf is too calloused? These leaves sit already since 14th August for propagation, so it is about 22 days today. I didn't mist them and they get proper light everyday. I place them infront of a north east facing window, no direct sunlight. The temperature now here where I live can drop to 10°C in the morning and it will increase to 20°C in the afternoon. Is these maybe cause them not to root?




  • Jo
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    Thank you so much for your reply.. and wow.. I want to have that many roots in that amount of time too 🙈 that is so great. I actually purchased this leaves from nursery. I only have sempervivum (with a lots of chicks) and would like to have another variant too. Of course I can always buy a full plants but I think this propagation method is a lot of fun (at least at first 😆) I do get some roots and new tiny leaves from some cutting but from some it just look like the wound is sealed and no sign of roots.


  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    If you look thru this thread, there are many pics of leaves of different succulents rooting. I would send you plenty for free (just pay for shipping), but I am in Canada and everything is much more complicated today by the covid.

    It is fun to propagate plants from leaves. I have some doubts that those leaves will sprout roots after such long time, but who knows. Do you know what they are? I usually just leave them on the surface of potting mix, but would try one more thing: sprinkle just a bit of soil mix over the ends. If nothing grow in about 10 days, they probably won't.

    What is your general location?

    Sempervivums are hardy succulents. They will survive winters outdoors in quite cold zones. I have number of different ones, mostly grow them in containers. They do very well in ground. If the pots get too crowded, I pot up offsets into new pots. Did you have any blooming? How long have you been growing them?

  • Jo
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    Ohh, thank you.. that is so kind of you 🙏🏻 But I am in Germany. It will be too complicated to send the leaves via mail.

    I believe they are Echeveria (elegans, dernbergii, gibbiflora) I am not sure thought, I only search it with google lens 😁 the leaves looks like this kind of Echeveria. I will do your suggestion to sprinkle some soil over the end and will see what will happen, thank you. Some of them have roots but no leaf yet, but it is better than nothing at all.


    I am truly new of this succulent world 😁 a friend of mine give me some, back in June. So I don't think it will bloom soon.



  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    Those bowls are nice. It doesn't matter if they don't bloom - actually, it may be better. These are monocarpic plants - if rosette blooms, it dies after. I had quite a few blooming this year and disposed of them after into compost. There is lots of them in red pot, and you may have to separate some next year. Plant grow bigger, and have many chicks. There is good chance you will not see the 'gravel river' :) But that is no problem, they look nice in big clumps. Here are some baby chicks I separated (top 2 pics):


    Bottom photo is about 5mo later, and this one below is approx. 4 more months later (so just under a year since they were potted):


    You can see how much they grew.
    Sempervivum arachnoideum (with 'web', in the dark container) will stay quite small, but will have offsets and will clump just the same. Blooms are same too:


  • Jo
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    Gasp!!! They are beautiful 😍😍😍😍

    Oh and one puzzle I still have ... (sorry I ask too many question 🙈) one of my sempervivum was red as I get them... but it turned green even if I placed it outside under a full of sun on a southeast balcony. Is it because I give it a lot of water? It was really hot last month and we had a lot of sun.. but they still turned green. At first I don't understand that they need to stressed out (small amount of water & a lot of sun) to bring the color out. I only thought a lot of sun will be enough so I keep watering it as soon as the soil dry. Is my prediction right?



    And after some time it looks like this:



    I have no idea at first. I thought because it had too much sun, it lost it red color. And I ended up pulling it out and placed it in a small pot to keep it inside. Only after I read more I put it back in the red pot and they are back in balcony now.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    Most succulents get darker color in appropriate amount of sun.

    There are many different sempervivums, more than 3000 named cultivars. Some are very similar looking. They are Alpines, and grow in mountains at approx. 3000-8000m. Maybe you would find some if you went for a hike in the mountains :)

    Plant that was red may have not get as much sun as it can take. SE exposure sounds good, but if there are any trees or buildings, they could filter some of the sun. Even some railings on the balcony could be obstructing the sun. Morning sun is usually not as intense. Ppl in warm zones have sometimes problems because of the heat, and keep them in shadier spots. I have them probably in too much sun, it is open area with E,S and west unobstructed exposure. I hardly ever water them, usually if it doesn't rain for about a week. Maybe you are watering to much? In Germany, the climate is good for them. I would keep them on the balcony whole year round.

    I see from the photos that they are growing well, and there are many offsets/chicks. In 2nd photo, many are very open: if plant wants more sunlight, it opens up - flattens, so there is bigger area to get the sun. Colors also lighten up, gets greener if plant was darker, or even very light green. This happens with many succulents. Here is photo of the same plant in poor light and in lots of sun:


    They should be acclimatized to stronger sun, or they get a sunburn. But now days are getting shorter, and sunlight is not as intense.

  • Dijana Sipka
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Hello! I’ve received a mix box of cutting and planted them in a mixture of course potting mix, perlite & course sand. In saying that, some of the bottom leaves are turning yellow and shrivelling quite quick on some other cuttings I have. Does this look normal? I’m worried they are rotting.


  • Dijana Sipka
    4 months ago

    They were planted 4 days ago if that helps and I haven’t watered them. They had Been sitting for 3 days prior to planting to callous over.

  • Dijana Sipka
    4 months ago

    I’m not sure if the photo posted above, it’s not showing up for me.

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