Othonna carnosa problems

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jay3
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Othonna carnosa problems

Post by jay3 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:23 pm

So I bought an Othonna carnosa over the summer and recently all the leaves suddenly shrivelled up and died. Not entirely sure why – is this a biennial? It was after the plant had flowered, so I have a few dried seed heads (kind of dandelion-esque fluffy balls).

How difficult is it to grow Othonna carnosa from seed and how would I go about doing it? What time of year is best to sow? I have never grow any succulent from seed before.
Last edited by jay3 on Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Aiko
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Re: Othonna carnosa from seed

Post by Aiko » Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:02 pm

jay3 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:23 pm
I have never grow any succulent from seed before.
Othonna is a winter active species.
It is not hard to grow, but you need to know the basics of winter active succulents. I don't know if you have mastered this.

It can take a long time for Othonna seeds to germinate. You can sow them in spring or in the autumn (a month or more?). If in spring, you need to keep watering them through their first summer and only to allow them to go dormant in the second summer of their lives. If sown in the autumn, you need to keep them dry in their first summer.
jay3
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Re: Othonna carnosa from seed

Post by jay3 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:36 pm

Aiko wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:02 pm
jay3 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:23 pm
I have never grow any succulent from seed before.
Othonna is a winter active species.
It is not hard to grow, but you need to know the basics of winter active succulents. I don't know if you have mastered this.

It can take a long time for Othonna seeds to germinate. You can sow them in spring or in the autumn (a month or more?). If in spring, you need to keep watering them through their first summer and only to allow them to go dormant in the second summer of their lives. If sown in the autumn, you need to keep them dry in their first summer.
Thanks, I suspect the dying leaves on the plant might be related to underwatering in winter. I was watering about once every 2.5 weeks, not sure if that was enough for a winter active succulent (I definitely have not mastered them, given this is my first winter as a succulent grower). There is a thick, somewhat woody stem. I am not sure if that is still alive, though. Have these plants been known to come back from the stem after losing leaves in this way?

As for the seeds, I will try in the spring. Should I just go by the BCSS general seed growing guide or is there anything specific about Othonna seed sowing?
https://society.bcss.org.uk/images/Cult ... atemix.pdf
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Re: Othonna carnosa from seed

Post by Tina » Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:50 pm

Give it a good soak now just in case its still alive and place in a sunny position.
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Re: Othonna carnosa from seed

Post by MikeDom » Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:54 pm

jay3 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:23 pm
So I bought an Othonna carnosa over the summer and recently all the leaves suddenly shrivelled up and died. Not entirely sure why – is this a biennial? It was after the plant had flowered, so I have a few dried seed heads (kind of dandelion-esque fluffy balls).

How difficult is it to grow Othonna carnosa from seed and how would I go about doing it? What time of year is best to sow? I have never grow any succulent from seed before.
If you have fluffy seed heads, you probably don’t have viable seed unless it was pollinated by another plant and the seeds are rigid as the plants are self-sterile - about a quarter of the thickness of a matchstick. They should be sown barely covered in fine sand at a daytime temperature no more than 20 deg C and a nighttime drop down to 10 deg C or less. Also, the plant needs to be grown in cool conditions of 5 - 15 deg C otherwise it will drop it’s leaves. Under those conditions, I water mine as little as once a month and they thrive.
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Re: Othonna carnosa from seed

Post by jay3 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:52 pm

Tina wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:50 pm
Give it a good soak now just in case its still alive and place in a sunny position.
Will do, I did water immediately after noticing it was dying, but after doing so, it seemingly got worse, lost a lot more leaves on a stem where previously there wasn't leaf loss.
MikeDom wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:54 pm
jay3 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:23 pm
So I bought an Othonna carnosa over the summer and recently all the leaves suddenly shrivelled up and died. Not entirely sure why – is this a biennial? It was after the plant had flowered, so I have a few dried seed heads (kind of dandelion-esque fluffy balls).

How difficult is it to grow Othonna carnosa from seed and how would I go about doing it? What time of year is best to sow? I have never grow any succulent from seed before.
If you have fluffy seed heads, you probably don’t have viable seed unless it was pollinated by another plant and the seeds are rigid as the plants are self-sterile - about a quarter of the thickness of a matchstick. They should be sown barely covered in fine sand at a daytime temperature no more than 20 deg C and a nighttime drop down to 10 deg C or less. Also, the plant needs to be grown in cool conditions of 5 - 15 deg C otherwise it will drop it’s leaves. Under those conditions, I water mine as little as once a month and they thrive.
The plant was by a window in a heated outhouse that is normally around 8-15 deg C; been there since around late November, before that it was outside and growing fairly well outside. The window is west facing though so the problem might be lack of light. I've since moved it into the house (around 15-22 degrees C) by a south-facing window, but that's also where the situation seemingly got even worse, so that might have compounded the issue.

Unfortunate to hear that about the seeds. Some of the flowers were open when I bought the plant, so I suppose there's a very small chance it was pollinated. But if it can't self-pollinate, the odds seem quite low.
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Re: Othonna carnosa problems

Post by MaciejW » Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:41 pm

That is interesting to hear about seeds taking long time to germinate. I think they must be going into dormancy after a short period - perhaps like mammillaria theresae, which was recently discussed on the Forum. Over the last 2 months I have managed to successfully cross-polinate some of my othonnas and got some viable seeds. I have sown these between 2 and 14 days after collecting them and I had 100% germination of them with some coming up in less than 48 hours.

Yes, you definitely need to plants to be able to polinate them successfully.
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Re: Othonna carnosa problems

Post by Tina » Sat Jan 23, 2021 8:05 am

My own seed germinated really quickly too, they grow quite fast as well as long as they are kept moist
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varied collection of succulents and cacti but I especially like Euphorbia's and variegated agaves.

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Re: Othonna carnosa problems

Post by jay3 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:44 am

Unfortunately, it looks like the Othonna plant is done for. The leaves all died within a few days of it being brought into the house.

That said, yesterday I brought a pickle plant (Delosperma echinatum) into the house (due to concerns about forecasted frost compounding existing slug wounds) and pretty much every leaf shrivelled up within a day, including ones that seemed perfectly healthy a day prior. I understand this plant is from a similar habitat to O. carnosa. The pickle plant had been planted in the ground, so had no problem with receiving frequent watering (unlike the O. carnosa, which may have been underwatered). It was growing outdoors in mostly sharp sand, which was slightly moist to the touch but very well draining, so I don't think it was existing root rot.

The temperature in the house is about 21 degrees C, dropping to 16 at night.

I was wondering if there is such a thing as temperature shock for winter active plants. I routinely move summer-growing cacti and Echeverias in and out without problems.

If not, it may be transplant shock in the D. echinatum's case, since that was taken out of the ground and put in a pot. However, I had not repotted the O. carnosa, so I'm not sure that'd apply there.

The only other issue I can think of is that once moved indoors, both plants were receiving tap water instead of rainwater and there's a pH difference there. But I also water many other plants with the tap water with no problems.

Maybe it was just different issues in each case, but it just seemed quite similar how they perished within days of being moved in the house.
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Re: Othonna carnosa problems

Post by iann » Sun Jan 24, 2021 9:10 pm

The Delosperma isn't a winter grower and I doubt you gave it too much water, although it wouldn't like really waterlogged soil. Maybe didn't like being transplanted, probably lost too many roots at a bad time for it.

Everyone seems to be assuming Othonna carnosa is a winter grower. Is it really? Many other Othonnas certainly are and would be very unhappy indoors at 21/16C, but I'm not sure about this one.
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