(Photo: Raymond Heng)

The Aloe species (above left) is the Aloe peglerae.

The other plant (above right) is botanically known as Echeveria and this is the Perle Von Nurnberg variety.

In both cases, the plants look stretched – this is an indication of a lack of light. Both plant species need at least six hours of direct sunlight to keep their compact, attractive growth forms.

The Aloe is probably suffering from crown rot due to wet growing conditions. In the case of the Echeveria, both good light and cool growing temperature are required for the plant to thrive and retain its vivid coloration.

Local gardeners advise growing the two plants in a well-drained mix and keeping them sheltered from rain. Most growers will remove the highly moisture-retentive mix that often comes with the plants.

They are then grown in a mix containing coarse volcanic sand or pumice. Such a mix will dry out quickly and is more suited for these plants in the tropics.

Depending on your growing conditions, plants need to be watered thoroughly, but the roots must dry out before the next watering to reduce the likelihood of root and crown rot.

First published in The Straits Times