Can anyone identify this succulent?

Caro_HV(5b - 6a)December 27, 2012


I found a plant at my mother's house (she is retired and travels a lot, so her plants don't get individualized attention - most of her plants were gifts) it was in really bad shape, but I decided to try and salvage it. It is definitely a succulent (there were 4 small plants in the pot) 1 was totally dead and the other 3 were alive (1 of the 3 living plants was in pretty good shape, but the other 2 were not). I've uploaded a pic of the best one.

It was potted in a decorative pot w/ virtually no drainage (Miracle Gro potting soil) and it was definitely overwatered. Also, the pot was too big. I only have a few plants myself and have followed instructions on this site to care for them, but this is the first time that I've tried to save a plant that's in bad shape.

Initially, I thought it might be a Sansevieria and I followed some of the instructions on this thread

It is not a Sans, but I'm still not sure what it is. I dug out the 3 surviving plants (they had almost no roots, but were better than the image of the Sans in the thread I posted above) and rinsed the roots w/ room temp. distilled water (my tap water is treated w/ fluoride, so I use distilled on a lot of my plants). I sprinkled some cinnamon on the roots that were left and re-potted in fresh cactus mix and they're in mesh containers (the large clay pot is just to keep the table clean). They are in bright, indirect light. My Sans and Dracaena have done well in this window, so hopefully these plants will too.

Hopefully someone can identify the specific type of plant. My mom said that when she got it (back when it was healthy), they looked pretty much the same only not leathery and slightly greener (I did clip away the yellowing parts).

Also, approximately how long before I'll know whether or not they're dead? Will I have to wait until the spring or will they die right away?


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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Would you be terribly disappointed to learn that your plants ARE Sansevieria?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 6:44AM
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Caro_HV(5b - 6a)

Nope, not disappointed at all. I thought they were Sans, but my mom and aunt insisted otherwise. Do you know how long before I'll be able to tell if they're gonna make it or not? I have some rooting powder, should I try that or leave them alone?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 2:43PM
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I would leave it alone I have gotten worse ones than that and they are huge now. :) good luck

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 4:12PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

A very peaty looking soil you have there.

I would recommend a mix of coarse perlite, small fir bark, and some sort of porous grit
like turface, pumice, scoria, et cetera. I re-rooted a Sansevieria last Winter in just
such a mix and the plant put down roots and healthy new growth.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 4:22PM
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Caro_HV(5b - 6a)

Thanks! I've completely left them alone and they look about the same. The worst of the 3 seems like it may actually survive! Almost all of the leaves are dead except the smallest ones in the middle, but they look better than they did on Dec. 26th (when I re-potted). There was very VERY little viable root left with that one, but hopefully enough that it'll come back in the Spring.

The other 2 look about the same, except they're not as leathery and they seem to be standing up more (not flopping over), so fingers crossed...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Caro_HV(5b - 6a)

Hey Josh,

It's not a very good picture (I used my cell phone camera and it's an old cell), so I get what you're saying about the soil looking peaty.

I used fresh cactus mix and sand - also, the plastic container they're in is mesh (it's what I had handy and I didn't want to spend too much $ if the plants were too far gone).

If they make it through the winter, I'll get smaller clay pots and mix in some perlite and fir bark. I lost my job recently, so (as much as I love my houseplants) I can't spend too much...

Anyway, I'm curious how long I will have to wait (3 months? 6 months?) to see if they're gonna make it or not. I have another Sans that is healthy (it's in cactus mix + sand w/ 2 inches of clay pebbles in the bottom - clay pot w/ large drainage hole). I only water it once a month in the winter and it looks the exact same from late Nov - April, but does well and grows the rest of the year.

I guess I'm just wondering if these 3 little Sans will more or less stay the same until April.... I wish there was some way to tell if the roots are growing or not.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 4:53PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Caro, I'm sorry about the job :-(

As for the time it'll take to see improvement...well, you should know by mid-Spring, I'd say.

About that mix. It probably is mostly peat, or I've missed my guess. Most C & S potting mixes
start with peat and then add other ingredients that don't actually improve drainage or aeration.
Sand is one of those ingredients that most folks avoid now, and discourage others from including
in container mixes. Also, layers of pebbles or other material impede drainage and create what is
called a "perched water table" in the potting mix directly above the layer of pebble/gravel substrate.

So, for the best possible outcome with your plants, please take this into consideration.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 7:21PM
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