Paddle plant drooping help

by Risto
(Finland)

Paddle plant drooping

Paddle plant drooping

Hi,

What should I do with it? I live in Finland, the plant has been on south window and I try not to over water, but the lower leaves are kind of mushy. When I lift the plant it comes off from the plastic pot, so it's really dry, but feels somewhat heavy. New grown leaves are as they should be. Last summer it enjoyed staying outdoors. My other succulents and cacti seem to be doing fine. The plant is about 3-4 years old.

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Feb 16, 2020
Yikes!
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Poor thing! That looks really bad... however, the inner leaves at the top look fine. Which leads me to think that it's in need of some TLC.

What I would do is remove those lower drooping leaves, leaving the top growth that looks normal and healthy.

Then, I would repot it into some better soil. I'm thinking that the soil is most likely some kind of peat and perlite mixture which is what most plants coming from a greenhouse are planted in.

Use my favorite soil, Sunshine Mix #4, which contains a water holding polymer, making it much easier to re-wet - the soil will actually absorb water instead of it just running out the bottom of the pot. If you can't find that locally, use half cactus soil and half pumice or gravel. This is good because it's got a bit more weight to it.

The most important point here is to get it out of the plastic pot which is a) too small, and b) too light. These plants get BIG and need a heavy pot (like clay or hypertufa) to keep them upright.

More on containers here, and succulent soil here.

Let me know how it goes - and be patient! Hopefully by the time your weather warms up enough, it can go back outdoors for the summer.

Feb 16, 2020
Thanks!
by: Risto

Thanks for your reply, Jacki!

I found a photo from late August, and it seems the flapper has grown all the green leaves pictured (without any red) during the winter and almost doubled in height. Would it be possible that it's just dry?

I took a very close inspection and noticed there is a tiny new growth (5 mm) at the bottom of the stem that looks healthy and firm. I was planning to repot it this spring anyway, but I propably should have done so a year ago! In it's prior life it was happy staying on East facing window for 2 years but it barely grew at all. I know light is an issue, still 3-4 months until it can go out again...

Feb 16, 2020
Definitely dry
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

If you can pull it right out of the pot, I'm going to say it's very dry.

However, without enough light, which is the other crucial factor, simply watering it won't help all that much.

The red coloring is due to light. More light makes them turn red, less light and they'll be green.

It won't matter a whole lot if you repot it now, or wait. But doing it now will give it enough time to get established.

The other thing you could do to get a jump on the season is to use a grow light.

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