14 Feb Growing and Propagating Succulents
Why do I love succulents? They’re easy and forgiving! I bought some last winter and they kept me happy through those long, dark days. I tended them lovingly all winter and then abandoned them in the harried growing days of summer. They forgave me and I am happily growing more babies this winter. In the depths of a northern Michigan winter, little green plants can save one from deep depression. I’m grateful and humbled by these sweet little beings.
Succulents are easy, profitable, and popular. It seems everyone loves them.
Most of the year, I grow succulents under fluorescent grow lights in my basement. They thrive on a little neglect, but do like it warm and bright. Most are planted in a cactus soil/sand mix in 4 inch pots, but I am thinking of putting them in soil blocks because their roots are shallow. I water them deeply when they dry out- every week or two. It’s important they dry out between waterings. That’s it. I’ve yet to fertilize them, but I’m sure I should , although they don’t seem to mind.
Sometimes, a succulent will stretch out or even flower, which is not a bad thing. Most people who propagate succulents don’t want them to flower, but I love it! They’re exotic and a very welcome addition in January or February. It also signals an opportunity for you to start propagating them!
What to do if your succulent gets leggy or flowers? Behead it! Yes… think Anne Boleyn… but with a better outcome. Cut the succulent where it begins to stretch and plop it in some soil in a new pot. It’s that easy. The leaves on the remaining stem can also be planted. Wiggle each leaf back and forth. Let them dry for a couple of days and then just bury the tip of each leaf in soil. I mist them every few days for several weeks.
Eventually, you’ll notice tiny new babies emerging. My success rate with this technique is about 50% – not bad! I haven’t been able to figure out why some make it and some don’t, but that’s a lot more succulents! Also, the beheaded stem will also produce a new baby plant. So from one plant, you can get 5-10 new succulents – and it’s easy!
Often, succulents will produce clones at their bases. This is the easiest method of all! All you have to do is hunt around the base of the momma plant, dig in a little and remove the largest clone(s) with a few roots attached. Pot them up and watch them grow!
Finally, what can you do with all of these succulents? Make hypertufa containers and sell them or give them as gifts. But that’s a subject for another blog post!