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The sick plant

Help! I think my succulent is dying. It is, I believe, an Aeonium/Irish Bouquet. It gets filtered light through a north-facing window. I’m giving it the same treatment as my other succulents, which are all thriving and include aloe vera, string of pearls and burro’s tail. They’re all planted in containers with good drain holes and potted with cactus potting mix. I give them water about once a week, less often if they feel wet.

The Irish Bouquet was purchased from a big-box home improvement store and didn’t seem to be doing too well when I brought it home. Within a few months, in the summer, it seemed to be doing great – it was all green and looked beautiful. At the end of the summer it started getting a few yellow leaves here and there, and now, in January, it seems like it might be dying. It looks fairly healthy on top, but on the inside many of the leaves are drying to a crispy brown, and more are turning yellow. I recently repotted it in a last-ditch effort to try to give it life – as I repotted it, I noticed that small white, hairlike tendrils were growing out of it.

Can it be saved? What should I do? Thank you!

Drought Smart Plants reply:
This is an Aeonium, which have a few distinctive traits.

Over time, the main rosettes will elongate, and the lower leaves will die off, leaving a bare stalk.

This is what your plant is doing, and as they originate in a really bright environment, the filtered light it’s getting from the north window is likely not quite enough. A grow light directed at it will boost the light levels.

The roots emerging from the stems is an indication that it needs re-potting, so you’ve done the right thing, although my preferred method of ‘fixing’ these types of issues consists of remaking the plant entirely.

The problem with Aeonium is that they are ‘monocarpic’ which means that they will go into a bloom cycle, after which the rosette dies.

If you don’t have a baby or two to take over, you’ll have lost the plant.

I recommend ‘beheading’ the plant – or at least a couple of the rosettes, and that might prevent them from going into the bloom cycle, and also promote the buds below the top rosette into bloom, making more smaller ones to cut off.

Happy Succulent Growing!

See these pages too:

Succulent Care

Succulent Plant Propagation