Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’

Peter, from Vancouver tells this strange story via email:

Why did my succulent plant Echeveria Runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’ die within 2 days?
Wondering if you can help??
I had a Echeveria Runyonii Topsy Turvy Crassulaceae. I had one of these plants for 4 months in my office at work. It was doing very well then suddenly within 2 days it had totally turned dark purple from the base and center outwards and dried up and died very suddenly.

Do you have any idea what may of caused this? It was not treated any differently than normal prior to its dying off. It looked very healthy 2 days prior with new buds coming out in the center..I have pictures I took of it before it died in perfectly healthy state and pictures during the two days it changed dark purple
and dried up and died.

I have no idea who to ask to find out why it died so quickly after looking so healthy the past months..Any idea what could of caused this? or where I can find out? Many thanks, Peter

Drought Smart Plants reply:

Hi Peter,
Thanks for your inquiry!

I’m sorry that you lost your plant, but here’s how to prevent that from happening again.

Have your seen my page on How to Grow Echeveria? See if anything you did or did not do is mentioned there.

First, the problem with growing plants in an office, is generally, there is not enough light, especially for succulent plants. Can you get a small light especially for your plants – I think Lee Valley has one in their catalogue so that might be an option.

See also the page on grow lights for more information.

Second, succulent plants do not like too much water. They like to totally dry out between waterings. It sounds from your description that your plant got root rot,which can be caused by too much water staying in the soil, so possibly the soil was not the right kind (ie: too much peat moss, not enough drainage material like pumice or large sand)

I hope this helps with your next succulent plant – don’t stop now! Also, don’t take it personally, sometimes plants die for absolutely no reason.
Best regards,
Jacki Cammidge,
Certified Horticulturist and owner

See the pages on succulents and succulent care for more.

Comments for The Strange Tale of the dying Echeveria

May 01, 2010

Peters Response
by: Peter

Hello Jacki,
Thank you for your prompt reply and sound advice, I do appreciate it.

Strange for it to go so bright purple from the bottom up as if it had
absorbed something from the soil. I’ve never seen a plant die like that -(I thought that maybe someone at work might of put something in
the soil to kill it) but I guess not, which is a good thing.

Anyway thanks again 🙂

May 01, 2010

I think it’s ‘worse’
by: Jacki

Hi Peter, after seeing your pic, I wonder if it’s someone in your office putting hot coffee on the plant? It really looks quite strange, and not at all how I had imagined. I’ve had plants that looked fine, but the stem at soil level was rotten, and although the plant lived for a long time, it gradually succumbed. This damage does not look like that!
Hope you can figure it out, and that it was not just random stupidity/vandalism.
Take care, and let me know if you find out what happened.

Jul 29, 2011

by: Anonymous

It could be a fungal infection due to bad drainage. I have lost some Haworthias in just a few hours – not even a day – with an orange fungus. They were in just peat so I had to change to a mineral substrate and soak them in water with chlorine. At least the fungus stopped anyway. Other Haworthias and Aloes are happily growing in just peat with the minimum of water. Maybe the plants were sick or infected at the time they were bought.