chuck_greenthumbFebruary 5, 2011

i've had a cotyledon orbiculata for almost a month and it's started to kick the bucket. i dont know what im doin wrong. the stems have started to wither :( i really wanna see this little guy bloom.

tips please.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The usual suspect would be over-watering if it's in trouble so soon after you acquired it. During the winter, you should water very sparingly - only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling. There are other possibilities, but over-nurturing is favored heavily by the odds.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:50PM
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Chuck..I have Coty orbiculata variegata..It's not the easiest succulent. Got it 2010. It did great in summer and autumn, but once winter arrived, problems.

What temp and how much light is your Coty getting? I tried warm, 'not hot,' then a cooler room; it could look better.
They need light, and soil should dry before adding more water. Not as dry as a cactus, more crumbly-looking.
Soil should be well-draining, potted in a container with drainage holes.

What type of evironment was it in before you brought it home, and how are you caring for it now? Toni

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:58PM
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tapla: it's what i was thinking too. im gonna let it dry out for a couple days and mist every so often and see what happens. thanks for the tip btw :)

Toni: i got mine round winterish too. it was doin pretty well from what i observed. i watered it alot :P that may have been the problem.

i set the thermostat round 70-75 so not too hot and hopefully not too cold. that's what the instructions stickered on the pot told me. i've been giving it pretty good light. it's sitting on a table facing a south window, it gets pretty bright indirect sunlight.
im gonna dry it out and see what happens.
concerning soil, if i decide to change it out, is there a particular soil or the way it should be prepared to better suit the coty?
i bought it at a store, then moved it to the 2nd story northern bathroom. i started to notice that it wasnt doin too good up there so moved it down to the south window.
i guess i've been waterin it abit much :P

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 5:03PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Chuck - I wouldn't be thinking about changing the soil now. Let the plant dry down and see if it makes it through the winter. If it gains strength when summer comes, you can think about repotting into a fast draining soil (if it needs it). There will be plenty of help with that when the time comes.

Please don't mist the plant - especially while it's resting (sort of a consequential dormancy). It won't like it (misting), and the plant is very well-suited to low humidity. You need to be patient with the plant and resign yourself to the fact that if it makes it, you're not going to see growth until it wakes up. Don't be tempted to 'water it to make it grow'. Water only enough to keep the leaves plumped up. This could be as infrequently as once per month, depending on how water retentive your soil is, how large the pot/plant is, and how much water you supply. I normally wouldn't suggest that you water in small sips, but since you'll be watering so infrequently, I think it's better to not worry about the small amount of soluble salts that might build up from the infrequent watering, and provide no more water than necessary.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:56PM
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tapla - thank you. i was misting it since sun. haha. hopefully it'll make it. if it makes it, can these guys be fertilized?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 11:00AM
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chuck..first, turn down the heat to mid 60's.
70-75F is way too warm for a Cody and most other succulents.

Although I mist religiously, spraying only applies to tropicals and sub-tropicals. They get misted daily throughout the year.

Nope, don't fertilize yet, either..Chuck, I can tell you're in a hurry to get that plant growing. lol.
Be careful. It's better to neglect 'a little' than over-pamper. That's how plants end up dying..Too much TLC.

There are two reasons to withhold fertilizing.
The first is, unless you see new growth, your plant is still dormant. 'sleeping.'
When you're asleep, do you want to be fed??? Unless you're a sleepwalker, end up at the fridge, and eat, I doubt you'd want dinner while in a dream state. lol. Same applies to plants.

Plants fertilized in winter, especially when days are cloudy, will grow spindly. Artificial light helps, but truthfully, caring for plants naturally is the best way. I'm guilty of using plant lights, too.
This is just my opinion, but in a way, forcing light on dormant plants is similar to fertilizing dormant plants.
The good news is now that daylight is longer, many plants have woke or are waking.

The second reason:
The second reason withholding fertilizer is, 'if you follow rules,' often, plants are fertilized at the main nursery/growers. (Not the store you purchased your Coty, but wherever it was shipped from originally.) I doubt nurseries use liquids/powders these days, most probably either Foliar fertilizer or use Time/Slow-release. If you see tiny pellets/balls in the soil, you're looking at time-release fertilizer.

But, when your Coty sends out growth, you can start fertilizing at a low dose. 1/4 dossage.
If your fertilizer states, 1 teas. per gallon of water instead use 1/4 teas. per gallon of water, etc.

BTW, what type of fertilizer do you have? Toni

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 3:32PM
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i'm currently using osmocote on my other plants. so it's time release, and thank you for the follow up, i'll try to let it dry and water sparingly.
is there any chance i can propogate cotys? (two stems are already droopy and look pretty whithered.)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 11:35PM
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Hi Chuck. Chuck, don't 'try' letting it try, force yourself by hiding the water jug. lol.

You can propagate stem or leaf cuttings. Stems are faster rooting. Or try both.
Remove the stem and a couple leaves..both should be placed in soil.
Remove bottom leaves before placing the stem in soil.
Leaves can be placed on top of soil, try not to move the container. Leaf ends root, so if it's moved around the leaf can tip or move, sometimes disturbing tiny roots.

Moisten soil carefully.

Some suggest placing the container in plastic. Keep ends opened for ventilation. Soil should be moderately moist, not wet.
It's best to root cuttings in spring, but if your plant is on its way out, perhaps you should start now.
Will the two stems that are drooping reach inside the pot w/mom plant? If so, place stems on the soil..They might root. Toni

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 2:04AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Chuck - If it makes it, 'yes' - it can be fertilized. How and when it is appropriate to fertilize depends in very large part on the relation between your soil and your watering habits. I won't get into that too deeply unless you want a better understanding about what I said, but w/o knowing a few more details it's better for you and your particular circumstance if you withhold fertilizer and almost all water, and wait to see if the plant makes it. It sounds as though it might be a little too late for intervention, but hopefully not.

If it does pull through, your cuttings will have a much better chance of striking after they have gained some stored energy. Cuttings from weak/stressed plants are often problematic, but if you think the plant is going under, there is certainly no harm in trying.

Let me know if you want to talk about that whole soil/watering/fertilizing circle so you can hopefully prevent the same problem from occurring with other plants.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 11:27AM
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hopefulauthor: i'll give it a shot and see what happens.

tapla: it looks as though one of the stems might make it :)
about how long should i go without watering it?
it's been about a week or so since i stopped and the soil is getting spacey inside of the pot. (pretty dry as well)
btw, that 3rd picture with all those succulents growing on the rock (as well as some other kinds of plants) pretty awesome :)

on a side note, how are you growing them inside of a container without a draining hole?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 11:12AM
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Chuck, btw, even if you take cuttings, don't discard the mom plant. Days are growing longer. Place place in a sunny location, and water only when soil is dry..'it should look and feel crumbly. Toni

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 1:45PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Don't fret. ;o) It's ok if it goes dry and stays dry now. Water a little when you see the leaves start to wrinkle from dryness. If the plant starts to grow after you water it, continue to water conservatively. If it makes it to summer & gains some strength, you might wish to repot into a fast draining medium with a gritty texture. I can help when you get there.

"How are you growing them inside of a container without a draining hole?"

Water just flows right through the lava; the little bonsai pot (sedum) came with a hole; and the little 'salter' is something I bought at Big Lots for a buck. It didn't have a hole when I bought it, but does now. ;o) Actually, I bought about a dozen of the little salters. They make way cool gifts for garden visitors when you start little succulents in them in the gritty mix. It's hard, even for novice growers, to over-water plants in it.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 3:20PM
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Cotyledons as a rule, AFAIK, are in their growth period now - they are a shorter daylight/cooler-temp growing plant, much like its relatives the Kalanchoes and Crassulas.

If you think you're overwatering it, it's likely because your soil isn't porous enough.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 1:50PM
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tapla: i've been thinking about the best way to make a hole for an echeveria i have and the material looks like porcelain, but im not totally sure how to go about it. any tips? alrighty i'll keep you posted on how it's doin.

cactusmcharris: i'll post a pic of the soil and lemme know if it looks too porous or not. im unsure about soil and all that. (i've only recently started collecting succulents)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 2:10PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Copy pasted from something I left on another thread, about drilling holes:

I have considerable experience drilling hard materials, with 30 yrs in the glazing contracting business (glass company). We regularly drill all sizes of holes in glass/mirrors, granite (shower door installations) and other vitrified materials (the objects people bring to us to drill holes in).

Ease of drilling varies with the hardness of the material, of course, but terra-cotta containers are not hard at all. Most containers you'll encounter can best be drilled with a "spear-point" drill. I'll link you to a picture from one of our suppliers. The drill is also called a '3-point' or 'spade' drill. Highly vitreous containers (glass, or glass-like - ceramic - clay fired at extremely high temperatures) may even require a diamond impregnated "core drill", but it's uncommon to find containers like this.

These drills (spade/spear-point) can be found at big box home improvement stores. They should be cooled with water or a 50/50 mix of water/antifreeze as you drill. An excellent strategy is to immerse the container you're drilling so it's upside down in a tub and add enough water to just cover the drilling surface as you drill. Rotating the drill clockwise, keeping it at a slight angle while drilling, will greatly increase the ease of the whole operation.

Alternately (I use this method), fill a squeeze container (contact lens solution bottle is stellar) with water or 50/50 water/antifreeze & squirt it at the drill/material interface as you drill. If you can't find the drill you need, you can contact me off forum & I'll be glad to help you.

See a picture of what the drill looks like below. They are made of carbide and designed to drill very hard materials. They're not too expensive, fortunately.


Here is a link that might be useful: Spear-point drill

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 2:35PM
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tapla: could i get a tap and hammer it into the bottom of the pot? (money is abit tight :P) i believe my brother has one of those. we couldnt drill a hole while it's flowering. and we had to consider the terror of having an accident with one of those. i did move it into a bigger pot so i'll probably get on that.
btw the coty is doing much better and one of the propogated ends have started to get alittle healthier :) will post pics soon.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 3:13PM
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Don't use a tap and hammer - 99 times out of 100 you'll break the pot.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 8:47PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

..... and that is probably charitable.

I agree with CMH.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:42PM
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haha k. btw, would it make more sense to drill holes into the sides of the pot or at the bottom? (saw some clay orchid pots at lowes that had holes in the sides, for the roots to go through and wondering if that would be better)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 11:10AM
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Drill the bottom and put a piece of screen or clay shard over the hole to keep the soil from washing out. You don't want to have holes in the sides if you are using soil. Orchid pots are designed for plants growing in bark, rock or bare-rooted.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:40AM
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