Inherited Some Plants and Looking for Some Advice


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Hello!

I recently took over care for a few indoor potted succulents, and am looking for some advice on how to best take care of my new friends. For some context, I have some experience caring for plants over the years - I know the staple basics, and have re-potted before, but don't have a true green thumb (yet)!

The plants in question were left by the window of a cabin with no A/C, and were regularly subjected to hot summer temps (the cabin gets really hot during the day in the sun). In addition, they weren't watered regularly (maybe once a month?). I also believe they have been in the same pots for nearly four years, and am relatively confident the soil has never been changed. My initial instinct is that they need a soil change, maybe supplemented with some additional nutrients, as well as upsized pots. There are a couple of additional things that I'm not quite sure what to do about, which I was hoping I might be able to get some help here!

From what I can tell, the plants are likely (1) a Lace Aloe, (2) an Echeveria or Graptoveria of some variety, (3) a "Bunny Ears" cactus, (4) I think a ball cactus, and (5) an unknown "green bean" finger-like plant. I've included photos below.

My main questions are:
  1. I believe the lace aloe needs a bigger pot, but otherwise it looks healthy to me. It actually flowered last summer apparently quite tall, which I think is a good sign? It also has three babies sprouting out the side of the pot, which I'm not sure whether to try and separate or just let grow with the larger plant?
  2. The echeveria or graptoveria plant has grown like I've never seen. It looks more like a palm tree now, which I don't understand how it got there! It was also leaning quite a bit, perhaps searching for something (it had plenty of light so I don't thiiink it was chasing the sun). It's not very stable in its soil, so I staked it in an effort to keep it vertical. Not sure how to get it to be "firmer" in the soil with a more solid grasp from its roots. I'm thinking new soil for sure, and possibly a bigger pot for this one?
  3. The triple planting of the two cactii and the unknown bean plant I think looks nice, but not sure if it's ideal for the plants. Unfortunately I don't know how easy it would be at this stage to separate them. The bean plant and the larger cactus seems healthy, but the Bunny cactus I'm not 100% sure. It seems to have grown many tall and thin sections, which have not widened out like the flat bunny ears that are normal. I'm not sure what this is indicative of, if anything. There also appears to be some burning, which I think is due to either too much heat and/or not enough water, and perhaps a lack of nutrients in the soil.

Keen to get your thoughts on all this! Photos below for reference. Thanks very much in advance!

Lace Aloe
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Echeveria / Graptoveria
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And with the stake brace:
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Cactii
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Happy planting!
 
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Hello, welcome to the Forum,

The first plant looks like X Gasteraloe beguinii or a similar cross. This is an intergeneric hybrid between Aristaloe aristata and Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa. The parent Aristaloe aristata is what is usually called the Lace Aloe. It was formerly known as Aloe aristata, but is now segregated from that genus.

The second plant looks is an Echeveria or a hybrid involving Echeveria. It is showing signs of being grown in too little light, more would be better.

The planted succulent arrangement includes the following plants: African Spear (Sansevieria cylindrica), White Bunny-ear Cactus (Opuntia microdasys fma. pallida), and a Golden Barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii). The Golden Barrel is also showing etiolation from being grown in too little light, more would be better. There are a number of culltivars of Also know that current taxonomy often places Sansevieria within Dracaena, but I will leave them separate for now, since there appearance and care are different.

As for care, bright light and good drainage are the most important elements. Put these plants in a sunny window, south-facing is best. When moving a plant from less light to more light, do it slowly or during cool conditions to avoid leaf scorching. Some will tell you that succulents can't take full sun. This is not true, most can do very well in full sun conditions, but they do need time to build up sunscreen in their tissues if they have been growing in shade. Also do fertilize occasionally, succulents will respond well to fertilizer, as do most plants.

Re-pot if you feel the plant is crowded or prone to tipping over, but re-potting is not crucial unless there is a drainage problem. In that case, repot with fresh soil. A sandy or rocky mineral-based potting soil is best, though it is good to have some organic matter in the mix too. In cases of poor drainage, it is may also be wise to add or enlarge the drainage holes on the pot. Never let succulents sit in a suacer of water after being watered. Either water them at the sink, or drain the saucers after watering. When you do re-pot the x Gasteraloe you can divide it into several plants if you like. The three plants in the planted arrangement will very grow well together since they all want the same conditions.
 
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For long-term growth it would be best to separate the plants in the bowl. While they all like the same conditions, every one of them will get too big for that planter. If you separate them now it will be easier than when they get real crowded.
 
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Mixed succulent plantings are very popular and can thrive for a long time. It's also a good way to grow more types of plants in a limited space, i.e. a window sill. You can literally wait until the plants are spilling far out of the pot to replant, or cut back if they branch.
It all depends on whether you like the look or not.

Succulents do particularly well in crowded conditions because their ability to store more more water in stems and leaves allow them to survive with a reduced root system. Of course, if you were propagating the plants or trying to achieve maximal growth, then you would keep re-potting.

By the way, a few tips for handling/re-potting spiny plants. In addition to gloves, you can also use tongs and other tools to lift a plant.
Also wrapping a spiny cactus in layers of old toweling, newspaper or cardboard while you are moving it can be a great help.
 
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Mixed succulent plantings are very popular and can thrive for a long time. It's also a good way to grow more types of plants in a limited space, i.e. a window sill. You can literally wait until the plants are spilling far out of the pot to replant, or cut back if they branch.
It all depends on whether you like the look or not.

Succulents do particularly well in crowded conditions because their ability to store more more water in stems and leaves allow them to survive with a reduced root system. Of course, if you were propagating the plants or trying to achieve maximal growth, then you would keep re-potting.

By the way, a few tips for handling/re-potting spiny plants. In addition to gloves, you can also use tongs and other tools to lift a plant.
Also wrapping a spiny cactus in layers of old toweling, newspaper or cardboard while you are moving it can be a great help.
Styrofoam has been a lifesaver before for me while repotting cacti. Gently dig any vicious spikes into the Styrofoam, and you suddenly have all sorts of possibilities regarding how to handle or manuveur the cacti.
 
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