Oh, Aloe there! I'm not too sure how you got here, but whichever way, welcome. Maybe you're a regular Plants by Wendy customer. Maybe you've just seen us. Maybe, just maybe you are here because you too can not get your head wrapped around succulents. Don't worry, I've been there, done that, and have come out on the other (mainly safe) side.
You're at the nursery, or Woolworths or Coles (anyone who doesn't at least suss out the plants are lying). What should I choose? you think to yourself. Something easy. Something I can't kill. Then suddenly stringy things or succulent things or cacti basically jump out at you. Ah-uh! You thank the universe. You start out with one because you're easing yourself in.
The first few weeks are a breeze. I've got this down pat. I am a Plant God/Goddess. But then the things of plant-parent nightmares happen. *Choose your reality below*:
The main stem is going brown: It just about happens overnight. You wake up to check your baby and expletives start coming out. Have I killed it? I'll ask for help. You put an SOS signal upon the plant pages on Facebook. The replies are confusing. One person says you have overwatered it. Another person is saying it hasn't had enough water. Don't worry dear one, I am here to break it down for you. Questions I will always ask without fail: 1) Is the brown stem soft? 2) Does it look rotted? 3) Does it look like it can almost cave in on itself? If you answered yes to these, I say this with the most loved and caring side of me, your loving was probably best spent somewhere else. You've overwatered it.
If you answered no to the above: More questions I will ask: 1) Have you watered it in the last 2-3 weeks? 2) What kind of light is it getting? Lots of direct sunlight?
3) Do you love it? At all?
4) Is the brown bit crispy?
It's hard to diagnose properly but you probably should actually water and care for
your plant child. Give it a nice big drink and maybe move it where it gets a tad bit
more shade. Even though they are meant to be hardy and unforgiving, they are still a
living thing that requires water and food (fertiliser FYI).
It's going squidgy: Suddenly your once handsome, rugged, firm succulent/hanging thing (Senecio)/cactus is going squidgy. Like one of those gooey, jelly balls that you squeeze and they bulge out. I can tell you right this second, that ain't good, girlfriend. That's waaay too much over-loving. This is pretty much relevant for any part of the plant that is squidgy: stem, tips of leaves, random spots on foliage. Move it to a nice warm, sunny spot and pray to the plant Gods. Also, maybe just don't water it for a while. We want the soil to go nice and dry. Well, mostly dry. The roots still need some water.
It's wilting/being floppy: No one likes a floppy anything. Especially when it comes to your pride and joy - your plants. The thing with plants is that they *usually* aren't meant to be floppy. I mean, unless you have purchased a hanging plant. But why, Plants by Wendy, why is my cactus/succulent literally sideways? Let's go back to some questions, shall we? Questions I will always ask without fail: 1) Is the plant getting enough light from all angles? 2) Has the plant been tipped over? 3) Has the plant died and you've just not realised? Okay, so maybe I only have 1 question to ask but I needed to fill the other 2 questions. If your plant is floppy or "leggy" to a particular side, this is usually indicative (wooo fancy word usage) that your poor child is not getting enough sun all around them. We know that we can't actually do anything about the sun or environment or whatever, but we can cheat the system. It's actually rather easy. To even up your plant (or to avoid this mishap) we recommend rotating the plant around every 4-7 days. Just enough time to avoid any side-favouring position and the perfect amount of time to not let it get moving stress (btw transplant or moving stress is a real thing!). Voila. Before I hear so I'm doing that and it's still touching the floor, I would like to stress that this is more so of a preventative measure. If your child is flat, why not resurrect him/her with a mini totem/stick? This will probably also help with the health of the plant in general if it is standing up. You know, for nutrients and growth and flowering and all that jazz.
Well, this has been fun. I much rather writing mini-essays (if this is even one) on things I like and actually know (plants, duh!) rather than how to calculate the x=6f(32)/5 or about the conspiracy theories of the assassination of John F Kennedy (apparently a sandwich was involved). Anyway. Slide back into my DMs for any more questions or concerns.
TTYL, Soph (plant emoji)