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So, you bought a Korean Succulent? What’s next.

Fairy Garden October 29th 2021

You, yes you.

Did you buy that Korean import? Did you get caught by the allure of key words like “rare” and “chonky”? Were you capture by bright colors, interesting shapes, and dainty cuteness?
Well, of course you did! We all did!

Here are my collated notes on what to do once you receive that toilet paper wrapped poly-fill cushioned cube enclosed joy in the mail.

  1. Gently unwrap and stare at it for about 5-15 minutes
  2. Go to your plant area and decide where you want to place your new precious
  3. Do not water
  4. Place it in bright indirect light (on soil is ok so long as it is not wet or moist)
  5. DO NOT TOUCH FOR AT LEAST A WEEK
  6. Do not water
  7. Do not water
  8. Do not water
  9. Be Patient

Case Study: In approximately 2 days, I root rotted this beautiful speckled agavoides. :'(

Echeveria Agavoides
Echeveria Agavoides

Mistakes were made.

Trying to save the leaves from root rot
Trying to save the leaves from root rot

I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear! I was being impatient. And impatience with succulents is the demise of said succulent. The sad part about all this, aside from plant death, is that this is not my first Korean succulent and/or succulent purchased online bare root (as it should be). My very very first is a chonky Potosina, and omg did I baby her to heck and back. It’s a miracle she didn’t root rot on me! I always try to make sure to check for new root growth before I introduce any moisture to the soil. This ensures that the plant is active and can absorb the moisture instead of the dried stem getting smushy and rotting. These are desert plants and they don’t like being moist. Lots of people suddenly in 2012 discovered that they don’t like the word “moist”, but succulents were there first.

My potosina took nearly 2 months to root up and stabilize. Part of the problem goes to step No. 5 above. I kept touching it. I kept picking it up to check if there was root growth. I kept moving it. I know it’s super tempting, but don’t do this!

Echeveria Potosina August 21st 2021
Echeveria Potosina August 21st 2021
Echeveria Potosina and Graptopetalum Mendozae Variegata September 12th 2021
Echeveria Potosina and Graptopetalum Mendozae Variegata September 12th 2021

 

The moral of the story: be patient.

In all likelihood the Korean succulent you purchased for it’s beauty will still be super cute when it arrives.
So you can just plop it somewhere safe where you can see it and let it do its thing!

Fairy Garden October 29th 2021
Fairy Garden October 29th 2021

 

In the Fairy Garden: (links to where I bought from, non-affiliate)

Echeveria Potosina
Echeveria Starmark triple headed
Graptopetalum Mendozae Variegated Cluster
Graptopetalum Medonzae double headed
Graptopetalum Mendozae Mirinae Variegated Cluster
String of Buttons
Two ceramic mini-mushrooms
A quartz crystal
Tiny bread robot ala Castle in the Sky
Purple Yarn Bowl

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Initial Notes on Indoor Plant Parenthood

Shelfie October 2021

I live in a valley next to a temperate rainforest. If you don’t know what that is, think cold and rainy. Moist, even.

Succulents? They’re from Mexico, Central America, South Africa: hot and dry places. And why did I decide this was a good idea? Because. Officially I live in a zone 9b climate and my┬áhouse is facing East with a set of nice big windows facing South. And I’m lucky enough to not have a house right up against another building so I actually get light!

What has grown well for me so far indoors with natural light:

  1. String of Turtles
  2. Random plant my grandmother gave me 3 years ago that props from cuttings like a champ.

What has not grown well for me so far indoors with natural light:

  1. Jade plant (etoilatioooonnn!!!)
  2. Calathea (goes super dark green and doesn’t produce new leaves much)
  3. Parlor Palm (brown, and uh, brown)
  4. Cotyledon Tomentosa Bear Paws (etoilatioooonnn!!!)
  5. Graptopetalum Paraguayense Ghost (doesn’t like my draft window sil)
String of Turtles September 2021
String of Turtles September 2021

What is the climate like in my house?

Often: dry, dry dry dry dry dry. How? I don’t know, this house is hella old.

This is one of the factors I used to decide if I could raise and keep succulents inside the house. They are not huge proponents of humidity. All the pro-tips I have been reading online and on the r/succulents subreddit harp on deep watering when the plant looks like it needs water and not on a tailored schedule. So really, I’d say if you have a place with light or access to a grow light, you can TOTALLY have a little succulent buddy.

What’s my setup?

With winter well on it’s way over to say, “Hello”. I have set up a few bookshelves with grow lights I bought on Amazon to keep my collection and propagations going strong. Which grow lights? Yo, honestly I didn’t do much research beyond making sure they weren’t too cheap. My pro-tips here are to read reviews with a grain of salt. I’m a big believer in the LED light range and that you don’t have to spend $$$ on grow lights unless you’re doing so for business purposes like for growing succulents to sell.

Like with any hobby, it’s up to you how you budget your funds. I’m not here to tell you to not buy the super awesome MARS lights, just that, maybe try a cheaper alternative for now until you know for sure this is a hobby you’ll keep up in the long run? This advice applies for any hobby I try to get into. I never start off blowing $$$ on top quality equipment until I know I actually like the thing I’m doing.

Ok, if you really want to know. I have two sets of this one:

Dommia 20W Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights – https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08NX1N3YJ?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details (not an affiliate link).

The price seems to bounce between $16 and $30. I’m assuming the price is higher right now than the last set I bought for $18 because it’s turning winter here in the northern hemisphere and demand for the light panels is much higher than in August/September. It has a built in timer and sticky pads and twist ties for versatile attachment options.

Soil?

Yes, I mix my own soil. And No it’s not anything special.

1 part cactus or quality potting soil (I use Black Gold)
1 part maifan stone of various size ranging 1mm-10mm
1 part horticultural pumice

IMHO – the most important piece of this is drainage. If your soil mix is holding onto water and soggy, your plant will rot. It. Will. Rot. Use a pot with a drain hole, use terra cotta, use well draining soil. On it’s own, cactus mix soil out of the box from the big brands imho is not going to cut it.

And yeah, that’s basically it.

Deep water your plants when they feel slightly squishy and enjoy the variety!

Happy collecting!