Some of you may remember that more than three years ago or so, I converted this fireplace table to a succulent planter with the expectations that Crassula platyphylla ‘Burgundy Valentine’ will grow over the edge of the container to cover the gap between the tiles and the container. This is the photo when I first planted them. They all look strong and healthy. Along the lower edge are Crassula platyphylla ‘Burgundy Valentine’, next up are Echeveria ‘purposum’, and top mounted portion is covered with Sempervivum arachnoideum. They should have grown faster in over 3 year period being that they are in the right exposure. The Crassula platyphylla ‘Burgundy Valentine’ should have covered the gap between the tiles and the container by now. Not only that the Semperpevivums planted in the middle are getting smaller rather than larger and spreading, they seem to be having a real hard time growing. Read on to see my findings.
It is now getting closer to its’ 4th year and declining. Let’s take a closer look.
Not only that it is growing super slow, it is developing signs of stress and getting diseased. I also notice a lot of irregular growth pattern in the overall plantings. No, it is not sun burned. Something else is causing the browning, and the very slow and abnormal growth. The Sempervivums are slowly deteriorating and the babies seem to die although they are still attached to their mother and has taken hold of the soil. It is my understanding that they do well growing on cliffs in their natural habitat so, I planted them higher on a mound. I decided to start digging to try and figure out what is going on. First I removed the Sempervivums and the Echeveria purposums. Then, I started to dig out the soil. Yikes! Grubs! They are all fat and happy.
If you are not familiar with grubs, here’s a bit of info for you. Grubs are larva of a beetle. They live in the soil feeding on plant roots which if ignored, will eventually kill the plants. The beetle fly in and emerge in the soil late spring to early summer. The female beetles can lay up to 60 eggs in the soil and hatch. After they hatch, these eggs turn into these nasty pests known as grubs. Those little baby grubs will start feeding on the roots soon as they are hatched. From late summer and into the fall, grubs molt into second and then a third stage. As they grow, grubs consume more roots. As temperatures drop in the fall, grubs move down in the soil. They overwinter as third-instar grubs. In the spring, they move up in the soil to feed on roots for a very short time. In late spring, grubs stop feeding and turn into pupae. In late June or early July, beetles emerge from the pupae and crawl out of the soil, completing the cycle. Then starts all over again.
After carefully removing all the plants materials and all the visible grubs, I treated the soil withe Benefecial Nematodes. that I purchased from http://www.rinconvitova.com/nematode.htm . These nematodes will feed on whatever grubs maybe left in the soil.
I replanted the Crassula platyphylla ‘Burgundy Valentine’ in the same spot to give it another chance. For contrast, I decided to plant one of this Agave desmantiana ‘joe hoaks’ that I have been babying in a pot for a long time. It will eventually get bigger and at some point, will need to be transplanted in the ground. The good thing about this is that it is slow growing so there will be plenty of time to enjoy it in its’ new home.
There you go. I hope you find this information helpful.
~ Till next time.