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Help! My Agave attenuata(?) is looking a little jaundiced/chlorotic.

Leaves have a slight yellowish hue, veins are visible, and leaf tips are drying out and curled downwards.

It’s grown in a clay pot, Eastern sunlight.

I water only when the soil is almost dry. No fertilizer. Maybe she’s just hungry?

You’ve hit the nail on the head! I would say the same thing; a bit of feeding with some water soluble fertilizer might be just what the horticulturist ordered; keep in mind that you don’t want the fertilizer to dry on the roots, so maybe a couple of extra waterings while the plant uptakes the nutrients will be best, as all fertilizer (even natural ones like compost tea) are salt.

Sometimes, all I do is sprinkle some work castings around the plant on the surface of the soil. Watering then releases tiny amounts of nutrients over a longer period, with much less risk of creating the same issues of burning the roots.

Judging from the size of the plant, and the size of the pot, it’s probably time to transplant this guy; keep in mind that this will most likely trigger a growth spurt, which may or may not be a good thing.

The smaller the pot, the less growth they will put on, and cramping their toes can make them a little less unwieldy.

Just an observation, but if the soil you are using is organic, as it appears to be (what is that, bark mulch??) then stop this cruelty immediately!

Succulents of all descriptions don’t have the ability to thrive in organic potting soil, they need lots of aggregate. Mix your regular potting soil half and half with pumice, gravel or perlite, or use a soil specifically for cactus.

Depending on where you live, and if you have access to an outdoor space, these plants thrive on a summer vacation outside.

Be careful introducing the plant to brighter conditions; although they originate in very hot and bright situations, suddenly exposing them to direct sunlight after being only in an eastern facing window can give them sunburn.

Happy Succulent Growing!

Comments for Jaundiced Agave

Apr 26, 2013

Thank You!
by: Julie

Thank you so much for the advice! The top dressing isn’t an organic mulch but I think it’s some kind of inorganic material like lava rock but isn’t porous like lava rock (came that way from the garden store, maybe so it looks nice).

The soil itself does look to be a cacti/succulent mix (no large aggregates but definitely sand mixed in). I’ll repot her sans the top dressing, let her get settled in, and then give her some food. Hopefully that’ll do the trick! Do you at all recommend products like Superthrive to prevent transplant shock?

Hi Julie, Superthrive won’t hurt, but succulents generally don’t require much help when you transplant them. Be ruthless, and if the roots are winding around the pot, it’s best to cut them back or at least untangle them a bit.

They will recover and grow new ones quickly.

The pot you use should be only a bit bigger than the original; the risk is that the soil will hold too much moisture if the pot is too big, and cause root rot. Plus, the plant will grow to fill the space, and then it will be enormous, probably too big to go back to its place in your display.

Happy Succulent Gardening!