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by Mallory
(Chicago )


Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read my question. I live in the midwest, just outside of Chicago Illinois. Right now my succs are still inside because temps at night can still dip below freezing. I keep them outside in the late spring,summer and early fall. While indoors,I keep them under grow lights. Even with the lights, some are starting to stretch out! I have 3 sets of lights and I still find it hard to get adequate coverage….suggestions? My MAIN problem is that several of my succulents have what look like scars….I’ve attached pictures. Some scars run across the top of the leaves, while others are on the top by the brand new baby growth. One plant has the scars at the base of the petal on the underside close to the stem….what’s going on…please help!!

Comments for Scarring/Tracking on my succulents

Apr 19, 2020

by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

This damage all could be caused by different things.

Let’s start with the Sedum ‘California Sunset’. This is old damage, if you look closely, it’s healed up (or as healed as it can get) which indicates to me that it happened a long time ago, possibly even before you brought it indoors. Do you have a cat? Maybe something was dislodged onto it, and you didn’t notice the damage at the time as it didn’t show as much. There’s not much you can do about it now, except wait for the plant to grow a bit more, then behead it and propagate the undamaged part.

The Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nurnberg’ is a bit of a different story. I agree with you that it’s stretching out, but it’s possible there’s something more sinister going on. I think it’s worth looking at under high magnification to see if it’s got any creepy crawlies on it. Mealy bugs can cause it to look like that, and they’re almost invisible in the juvenile stage. At the very least, you could cut that section off, in the hopes that the next new growth will be more normal as spring arrives.

The scarrs and spots on the leaves of the next plant could be caused by water dropping onto them. The water you used might have been too cold, or sit on the leaves too long.

I make sure to use a long spouted watering can, if I water in winter, getting down between the plants, not on the leaves. Make sure the water is tempered (or warmish) and try to use water that doesn’t have minerals or chemicals in it (buy filtered water from the grocery store for your plants – they don’t drink much, so it’s a sound investment).

The final one is odd, and doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before. It has the look of mechanical damage (kind of like the first plant) but it’s in a really odd place, not somewhere that would normally get the hit if something fell on it. I would watch that one, and see if it progresses or stays the same. If it gets worse, get it propagated, asap.

Now the lights. The lights are pretty much just a stopgap until spring arrives, and as succulents evolved in a really bright area, it’s unlikely that a domestic light situation will be enough for them.

As soon as it’s warm enough and bright enough, move them into a south or east facing window, along with the lights, then outdoors if you can manage it when it warms up and isn’t freezing at night. You may have to move them out then in again in the meantime.

Apr 19, 2020

by: Original Poster

Thank you! Your comments were so helpful! I have looked for bugs and haven’t found any, but I will keep looking!!

I don’t have cats but I’ve occasionally found a stink bug lodged into my succulents…they are very common here, hiding inside over winter. Maybe they caused some of the older damage. The last picture you addressed, the damage is on older leaves and I haven’t seen any towards the top…hopefully it stays that way. I’ll keep an eye on it. Thanks for the watering tip, I’ve been doing it wrong! Hopefully in another week I can get my plants back outside. Thank you!!!