Trying to be a Good Plant Parent
You may remember that the other month I purchased a new succulent plant when I met up with Anna and Charlotte for our Knitmas exchange. We joked about who's plant would be the first to die. I think I might have won that one, as sadly my beautiful little succulent has left me to join other shrivelled up plants in the great compost heap in the sky. I don't really know what happened, one minute it was fine and then the next it was starting to look a little odd. I did some intense succulent care googling and the internet suggested that maybe it needed watering. I knew succulents didn't like getting drowned so followed the instructions from various sites to not go overboard with it. This didn't work, my little succulent continued to look sadder by the day, so I thought that maybe our living room was too warm and moved it to the kitchen window instead. That didn't help either. In the process of moving it one of the stems lost all of its leaves. They just flopped right off. This obviously led to some more intense google usage, 'OMG Why am I such a terrible houseplant mother?!' I could find no answer that seemed to fit with the succulents symptoms. The bare stem didn't look particularly happy and was a bit brown and eventually turned a gross shade of dried-upness. My only hope of survival for this poor little plant rested solely on the second smaller stem which looked healthy and the leaves stood up to some gentle poking to ensure they wouldn't end with the same fate as it's brother.
Unfortunately it was not to be. My poor little second stem's leaves started looking a bit shrivelled, which according to my research suggested it was thirsty. Cue me giving it another watering to give it something to drink. *Amy exit stage right to do some more extensive succulent mothering research.*
In my third research attempt I finally found a site which suggested what the problem was. Black Stem Rot. It sounded severe and scary, so I reassured my succulent friend I would do all I could to save it. This involved cutting off the healthy looking part of the plant and leaving it somewhere to dry out and for roots to grow over the cut edge so it could be re-potted. Alas, however, I acted too late and the stem of my cutting has continued to shrivel up and change colour. Maybe my succulent friend was feeling the political despair? I think it is lost forever.
I really don't know what happened or why it developed black stem rot. I hadn't watered it until it started looking sad and brown, so it wasn't because I had been a bad succulent mother by over-watering it, if anything I had been neglectful in it's lack of hydration. I guess my only course of action is to try again and have my fingers crossed that the next succulent that enters our house isn't quite so complicated. I can assure you that the weird furry green and red plant I picked up from the local florist for a pound is still going strong almost a year later and my dieffenbachia is looking glorious! So clearly I need to improve my succulent specific green thumbs.
Have you got any good succulent parenting tips for me? Maybe some good sources to tell me what I'm doing wrong?