Ledebouria socialis growing advice

Leo A. Martin leo@possi.org
Sat, 03 May 2014 22:20:08 PDT
This plant hates our summer heat. It isn't even summer here, by the way; nights are
still cooling down, and it just hit 100 F / 37.5C for the first time, so we're in late
spring. (For those of you still experiencing frigid winter conditions, it's not all
peaches and cream here: with the wind chill it's only around 95 F / 35C. The palo verde
trees are covered in yellow flowers throughout the lower Sonoran Desert and the ironwood
trees are just opening their pink and purple flowers.)

Not many people grow L. socialis outdoors here successfully until they learn the
microclimates around their house. It is very much easier to keep alive indoors during
our warm seasons. It cannot take any amount of sun with heat. I find it needs a potting
mix with a very large proportion of organic matter, different from what our Wiki
suggests, and as a result it needs to be repotted frequently when the mix breaks down.
This also means it needs regular fertilizing, since potting mixes contain next to no

If it is too hot for too long, or if the soil has not been changed for too long, the
roots rot, and it will not grow again until it grows new roots. Many people assume a
declining plant is underwatered and provide extra water, which further damages roots.

Our water has a large amount of dissolved minerals and this is often a problem with some
plants. I cannot say whether your leaf tips are browning from high mineral content in
the water, from root rot, or from underwatering.

I might suggest using a good brand of loose potting soil, a smallish and relatively
shallow container, and a kitchen window. Unpot your plant and clean it of old brown bulb
tunics, dead leaves and dead roots. If it has nice white roots, repot and put in a
cooler position. If there are no or rotting roots you must decide whether you have kept
it too warm, have overwatered, or have let it sit in a decaying potting mix.

The Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society has many members who grow this plant
much better than I do. http://www.centralarizonacactus.org/

If you brought any ferns, fuchsias or piggyback plants (Tolmiea) I recommend a quick

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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