Succulents | In The Garden

A few years ago we lived in California, a place where there’s more succulents than grass.  Since it’s not the softest plant to walk on, I grew to hate these rubbery plants.  Fast forward to living in a greener place, I was re-introduced to succulents in a Master Gardening class and I’m starting to fall for them.

Wikipedia defines succulents as a term botanist use to describe plants that have some parts more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain moisture in arid climates or soil conditions.

Succulents are a popular plant for households because they are beautiful and practically indestructible.  I am drawn to these plants by their quick ability to grow new roots and propagate.  Propagating a plant simply means you’re helping it to breed new plants through a natural process from the parent plant.  This can be done in a couple different ways.  The image below is a variety of succulent called ‘Dragons Blood’ that I propagated from just a 1 inch cutting about 2 months ago.  I obviously need to split it a couple more times now.

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Recently my mom sent me some succulents from her own pots that she thinned.  Since my family lives in Michigan she had to mail these plants to me over 700 miles.  Yes friends, these hardy plants can even be sent through the mail and I’m going to give you a quick walk through of how we did that.

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When mailing succulent cuttings or when you wont be propagating them right away, store the plants covered loosely in soil.  They could be placed in a bag, my mom recycled and sent them in a disinfected take out container.  It took approximately three days in the mail and they showed up still looking healthy and vibrant.

I carefully pulled all the cuttings from the shipping dirt to separate and see what I had to work with.  When choosing pots for your succulents, keep in mind they do not need to be very deep and you can plant several varieties together.  Pots and soil should have very good drainage; succulents do not like to sit in very wet soil.

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Now we’re ready to transplant the cuttings.  Trust me, this is so easy you’ll probably think you’re doing it wrong.

I first like to lay out the cuttings in my pot to figure out the best placement.  Once you know how you’d like to arrange them simply poke holes with your index finger and place the root in the hole.  Pinch dirt around the base of the cutting and that’s it!  I told it was simple!  Succulents grow and spread like wild fire so in a month or two you’ll be able to thin and repot even more until you’re so sick of succulents everywhere [as if that will happen].

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Some simple care tips for succulents are:

  1. Use a well draining potting mix.  Succulent mixes are available but not necessary.
  2. Water once a week.  Give the soil a good soaking so water runs through the drain holes.
  3. Succulents need a lot of light, but most do not thrive in direct sunlight in the heat of summer.
  4. Propagate your plants!  They’ll thank you for the space and will continue to grow.

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The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.

– Alfred Austin


 

 

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