As it turns out, I want to document the progress of the succulents that I have been trying to grow indoors at my apartment. Photographing them is something I do on a regular basis. But I’ve never attempted to make them look editorial. There’s dust and water stains on the leaves. A few of the plants have died too. As with everything else, it is nice to be aware of the progress of growth, backed by photographs and other visual proof.
I ended up making a 3 minute video as well, with a combination of photographs and videos. Posted it on my YouTube channel and embedding it below.
Succulents Under My Desk
This was received in the last week of September. The main parent plant, unfortunately, did not survive. It was delivered intact, thankfully, but it had an infestation. I’m not what the insect was but I sprayed the plant and the soil with Isopropyl Alcohol and the infestation went away. The main plant survived for almost 3 months before giving up entirely. I pulled out / separated 9 pups from it and 8 look to be doing well. One died early on. The others have sprouted tiny new roots. I’ve potted all 8 pups in one 5-inch diameter ceramic pot, which has one big drainage hole at the bottom. Soil is mostly gravel with very little organic soil sprinkled through. I water once in about 7-10 days. Having done some research on this one online, I’ve seem some people mist these with water and claim that this succulent variety likes humid air. I have not been able to ascertain, till now, what preferences my Haworthiopsis Cooperi has. Hopefully the pups will grow and point me in the correct direction.
Between this one and the one below, I’m not entirely sure which is which. I’ve looked at leaf markings and the girth of the leaves and I think I’ve gotten the name right but I’m not an expert. This one is the oldest succulent I have. Because this one lived for so long, I was encouraged to get more. It has always lived in a 3.5 inch top-diameter ceramic pot. Soil is mostly mossy and organic, super well draining. Some coco peat in there too. When I got it initially, it had 8-9 leaves. Today, it has 15 spiky leaves! I’m thrilled with the progress on this one.
The leaves are a lot more fleshy than Attenuata. This was sent to me as a gift. ( Hello! Succulents as gifts are the best gift! ) It had a few pups sticking out of it, which I separated immediately. They didn’t have roots but seem to be doing ok, till now. The main plant took a while to grip the soil, it had ok roots. Soil is mostly gravel, very well-draining, in a 5-inch top diameter ceramic pot.
Below is a photograph of some of the succulents when they were delivered. To re-pot them from the water-saturated soil, I gently took them out, cleaned the root ( some didn’t have any roots ), let them dry for a couple of days and then re-pot them in well-drained, mostly dry soil. Some of the succulents visible in this photograph, like the Split Rock and the String of Pearls did not survive.
Haworthiopsis Coarctata or Reinwardtii
After reading up and looking at dozens of photographs of both species online, I am still unsure which this is. It grows in clumps. I had ordered this and received one clump with one little nub of a root. It seems to be doing ok. Has stayed alive for more than two months. It is currently in a 2.5 inch diameter plastic pot with very little soil, mostly organic. Drainage is ok. Since it is such a tiny pot, I keep track of this a little more closely to see if it requires more water. I will re-pot it into a larger pot before summers. Otherwise, there is danger that the soil, roots and plant will get too hot to handle and it might die. It should grow more such pillars at some point.
When it arrived in mid-October, it was in over-watered soil AND it had an infestation. I don’t know what the infestation was but I sprayed the plant and soil with slightly diluted Isopropyl Alcohol and the infestation seems to have gone. But the plant has not done well. Earlier, it was rotting. It had no roots. It has shed leaves and I separated some that were rotting. Two of those leaves propagated tiny plants as well, surprisingly. There also seem to be tiny roots sprouting from the middle of the plant – from the section above the soil. I’m not entirely sure what’s happening but fingers crossed. This is currently housed in a 2.5 inch diameter plastic pot with decent drainage. Mostly organic soil. Watered maybe once in 7-10 days.
This too was received sometimes in mid-October and was in water-saturated soil. It was not looking good. I pulled off one of the leaves and it has propagated, again, surprisingly. The rest of the plant is also doing well. It seems to be growing in two separate sections. I might attempt to separate them once I feel more confident about their growth after another 3-4 months. Succulents grow slower than what I’m used to being patient for. This sits in a 3 inch diameter plastic pot. Mostly organic soil. Well drained. Little soil means it dries quicker. I have a feeling this one might like more water than the other succulents.
Queen Victoria Agave
Order was received in the last week of September. This one is a beauty – it doesn’t look like it in it’s current state but when it is a healthy, adult plants, the white markings on the leaf-edges are stunning. This poor thing hasn’t done anything since it arrived unfortunately. As with all succulents, as long as it isn’t dead, it is great. Spiky leaves means I will have to be careful when handling it when it is more mature. It currently sits in a 3.5 inch diameter terracotta pot. Soil is mostly mossy with some organic material. Well-draining. And quick draining. No new growth. Some of the older leaves are dried and shrivelled.
Plant was received in the last week of September. This one is also known as a “mini Rubber Plant” and I love the shape, texture and color of the leaves. It didn’t grow as expected initially but seems to have sprouted a couple of shiny new leaves recently. I’ve read that this requires more water than the other succulents. It is currently planted in a 5-inch diamter top ceramic pot and has a mix of moss and organic soil. I water it once every 5-7 days but I think I should do it more often. This is going to require a larger pot soon.
I seem to have an affinity towards Haworthias. I also like Crassulas but I’m not getting any new plants at this point. There are far too many beautiful succulents and some of them are absurdly priced. My goal with trying succulents or creating a #SucculentsUnderMyDesk garden is not to compete in a “who has the best succulents” or “the rarest of the rare” at all. This is a personal project and I love plants. If I come across a cutie, regardless of the price tag, and if I really want it, I’ll get it. At this stage, I’m still learning.
Pups are like mini-plants that can be separated from the main plant. They are easy to detect because they look like a mini-version of the mature plant. Usually appear at the bottom edges of the main growth. Sometimes they have roots, sometimes they don’t. If you’re able to separate a pup with a root of its own, the chances of its survival in a new pot are higher. But, even without a root, pups can grow, eventually. I have two pups from my Agave, three from the Haworthiopsis Limifolia and eight from the Haworthiopsis Cooperi. Let’s see how it goes. Since succulents take months and years to grow and show their beautiful selves, I’m in no hurry. I have no choice actually.
Some succulent leaves fall off naturally – after they dry up. Some plants that I ordered, were rotting when received, so I pulled off some of the leaves. As a precaution, sometimes, I’ve removed leaves that were not rotting but seemed like they were. Leaves can turn mushy if a plant has been over-watered, but they might not necessarily be rotting. I read about propagation and some succulent leaves can sprout completely new plants. Not all succulent leaves can do this. Many factors are at play. The size of the leaf, the soil, water, sunlight etc. I’m always up for a trial, so I never throw away leaves. I always plop them onto this flat and shallow terracotta pot I have laying in the corner under my desk. It is thrilling to discover that a leaf has sprouted after laying around for 2 months and seeming to do nothing. Neglect seems to be the key. I water this pot rarely. Maybe once in 10 days. And I water it with a syringe, only at specific spots, never near the leaves. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do next or when but I’ll learn.
The most surprising propagation growth was the tiny leaves that sprouted from the leaf of the Haworthiopsis Cooperi! It’s not supposed to do that AT ALL from whatever I’ve read. Yet, here it is! Hooray!
Where I Have Ordered Succulents From
RootBridges via Amazon
The Peperomia Obtusifolia and the Haworthiopsis Cooperi were ordered from here. I also ordered a Sedum Jellybean succulent but that never made it and they refunded the amount. The first Cooperi shipment was in tatters – the plant had broken into many pieces. One reaching out to them with photographs of the damage, they were prompt in shipping a replacement. They don’t pack their plants as well as NurseryLive does.
I ordered the Queen Victoria Agave from NurseryLive and it was packed very nicely and sent. Some of the leaves had broken but the plant was healthy over all. I have ordered other non-succulent plants from this website and they always come very well packed.
I do not recommend buying from them. All succulents ordered were sent in water-saturated soil. Most of them died even though I re-potted them immediately on receipt. There was no way to track how many days the plants spent in transit. While the plants were packed well, I will not be ordering from them. I am unaware if they have changed for the better but I am not going to spend time or money in an attempt to figure this out. My interaction with their Instagram handle via DMs was also unsatisfactory. I was told that I should have reached out to them prior to telling my followers not to buy from them. My counter to that is that they should have known how to ship succulents before taking my money.
Other Places You Can Order Succulents From
Seems to have a limited selection of regular succulents at extremely reasonable prices. Very cheap. It has some expensive varieties as well. If you’re thinking of getting into succulents, I would suggest you start with them. I have never ordered from them and don’t know how they package and ship.
I haven’t ordered from them either. Worth a shot when you’re digging around looking for options.
They have plant pots as well. Again, I haven’t ordered from them.
Another option to look at during your research.
Speckled white ceramic pots with a drainage hole at the bottom, 5 inches diameter at the top. I was look for a specific size and type and I was able to locate these on PepperFry.com. The other websites that I look at for ceramic pots were WishingChair.in, Airifier.com and even Ugaoo.com but I did not make any purchases.
Terracotta pots can be good too because they are breathable. An over-watered succulent will have a better chance of surviving. Ceramic doesn’t have breathable walls. Neither does plastic. I’ve kept some plants in plastic because they are smaller, have less soil and dry up faster, so it doesn’t matter at this point. I will eventually re-pot into ceramic. Smaller pots can also mean that in very hot sunlight, the roots can dry up and die. Plastic pots can also be squeezed lightly to make the soil more breathable for the plant’s roots.
The gravel that I ended up ordering online was the one I found on Amazon. There’s a lot of options and price points and you might be better off going to a local nursery and planning your purchases in such a way that you can avail bulk pricing. Pre-mixed cactus soil packs are also available although I have not purchased those and I don’t plant to either.
For my non-succulent plants, I have been ordering organic soil also via Amazon. If there’s a succulent that requires a little bit of organic matter, I mix a bit of this with the gravel.
Are there any other websites where one can order succulents and pots from in India? Please share in the comments and I will add them to the above list. The above is how things stand at this point in time for me, personally. Websites can change, quality of plants can change, customer experiences can change. Feel free to experiment based on whatever you prefer. If you have a question, Google it! So many people have shared their experiences online freely. That’s how I’ve been learning and experimenting.
One thing I noticed, when I killed a plant, an Echeveria was that I saw the leaves had water droplets on them when I had not watered the plants. I thought rot was setting in so I did not water them. Eventually, after the same thing happened to the Split Rock and was happening to the Sinocrassula, I figured that the solution was the opposite. The plant WANTED water, which is why it was consuming its own leaves rapidly – I think. The Sinocrassula bounced back a bit after I watered it. The water droplets stopped appearing on its leaves. This is purely anecdotal from my experience. Sharing it in case it helps someone out. Or, if you know better, please share.
Please also keep in mind that the names of succulents are all over the place. I’ve tried to be accurate but I have no idea if the names above are correct. There are far too many variation of succulents and too many people have a say in naming varieties. I don’t know when “Haworthia” became “Haworthiopsis”!
Hope you enjoyed this peek into my journey with succulents so far. Let’s see what happens next. I will try to do quarterly updates.