I recently lost one of my favorite succulents to black stem rot. This is an infection that can be caused by overwatering. I found this guide from SF Gate that has steps on how to treat it.
Basically, these plants are used to a dry arid climate and they need enough water to sustain themselves, but not so much that they are humid. Anything you can do to simulate their natural environment the better.
Signs of overwatering:
1. puffy leaves (they look bloated)
2. dry/shriveled roots (the plant actually needs less water in this case)
3. blanched looking leaves (the coloring is faded because there is too much moisture)
It’s pretty sad looking! 🙁
It turns out if you find small black spots early you can treat your succulents and save them from turning entirely black.
Here’s a quick how-to for planting a succulent terrarium. I used a hanging terrarium for my plant.
pebbles / smooth stones
I used this kit from H. Potter, it came with these adorable bags.
1. Add charcoal. This prevents gross things. (it’s also used in aquariums)
2. Add pebbles. (I put the pebbles on top of the charcoal because it is such a small terrarium and I wanted to keep the charcoal from the plant as much as possible.
3. Add sphagnum moss. This is a filtration layer, also helps soak up excess water.
4. Add cactus mix (dry so you can dust it off your plants). I recommend using a straw to gently blow off any excess soil, careful not to unintentionally cover your plant in soil in the process.
5. Put in Succulent. After the plant is in place you can wet the soil. Be sure that the plant is straight up and down. This plant has already started growing sideways. It’s best if they are symmetrical that way the plant does not expend excess energy to receive sunlight.
6. Decorate!!! I used small seashells and a seashell pieces. You can use tweezers to place shells or items in hard to reach places. Have fun!
I found this great article about caring for succulents. It’s quite a read, here are the highlights:
1. Water succulents 1x per week, or when soil is dry. Harsh sunlight = bad.
2. Fertilize plants during the summer. (winter is down time for plants most growth happens during summer months with the most sun)
3. Be careful of tap water. Mineral build up can hurt plants. The fix is to repot them and change the soil.
4. If you are making a terrarium of succulents or a glass container with no bottom, you’ll want to layer your soil.
I also use the JuicyKits fertilizer. I keep a diluted version in this neat blue bottle and then pour a bit of it into the spray bottle to spray my plants.
This fertilizer also contains a pest control which actually works. One of my succulents came with mealy bugs and it solved the problem.
I bought this great toolkit from JuicyKits, here are some of the tools. (check the link for the full set.)
The straw helps to blow the dirt off your succulents without touching them. Certain types can be harmed by handling them directly.
The tweezers are useful for plucking out dead leaves without damaging the plant.
The odd spoon thing is for scooping soil and padding down soil. It helps for planting a terrarium.
I really enjoy having succulents near my works pace. I have huge windows and it’s nice to have a little greenery. Plus they are adorable.
^ With my Dungeons and Dragons figurine & oragami bunnies. Shout out to the Knoxville Area Mini Painters for the awesome figure. 🙂
^ This one is called a “Panda Plant” it’s really sweet & fuzzy. You can buy them online at JuicyKits, or at a local store. I bought mine today at the local farmer’s market.