by Trina
(Lakeland, FL)


What’s left of the plant


Got this variegated echeveria from one of the box stores.

I made sure I got the perfect shaped rosette before buying.

This was 4 days ago and today, I discovered dark spots on the leaves – they are rotting!

The leaves just kept falling off at the slightest touch especially the ones with the dark spots so that was easy (but painful for me).

I then checked the lower stem to make sure there is no root rot. I think there is none.

I do not know what to do and I do not know the name of the plant to do research on it. Help!

Oh, Trina, that’s awful! And in 4 days?

Well, okay start at the bottom; that soil looks like it’s mostly peat or manure based, so you’re doing the right thing by getting the plant out of it.

Repot into DRY sandy or gravelly potting soil, such as what you can buy pre-packaged for cactus. Don’t water it, just let everything dry out.

I’m thinking that you may be able to salvage it, just be aware that the original plant will never look as nice as it did unless you ‘behead’ the top part of the rosette, and just set that on top of the dry cactus mix too, where it will most likely root – don’t water it until you test it by tugging on it; if it doesn’t give, then it’s rooted enough to water.

However, you have a lot of leaves to work with. Discard any of the discolored leaves, they most likely won’t do anything.

The others, that have just recently fallen off are salvageable.

Just set them on top of the same kind of potting soil, the cactus mix, and wait for them to show signs of either rooting (little pink roots) or a tiny little blob of leaves. Then carefully spray a tiny bit of warm water on the surface of the soil to encourage the roots to seek it out.

I don’t know the exact kind of Echeveria this is, but it’s very pretty and well worth trying to salvage.

So sorry that you’ve had this experience; box stores buy their plants from suppliers that have no interest in the plants staying alive any longer than a few weeks. They simply grow them as quickly as they possibly can, in completely unsuitable soil.

The staff in the box stores don’t have the inclination or the skill required to resist the urge to water succulent plants in the same fashion as other house plants, with the resulting mayhem.

If you insist on buying them, do yourself a favor, repot the main rosette immediately, and then just let it dry out completely.

Good luck with your beautiful plant – I hope it recovers quickly,