Thursday, November 20, 2014

Propagating Succulents in Fall/Winter

Did you know that succulents are the easiest plants to propagate?  It is true!  You can propagate them many ways but I mostly propagate them by either removing the "chicks" or by leaves that have fallen off.  You let them dry for a week or so then place them in a well drained soil and voila! you have baby plants.  It does take a little bit of time for them to reach a large size-especially from a leaf.  But I believe that it is well worth the wait.  Heck-if I can wait three years for seeds to germinate I can definitely handle waiting for a succulent to grow to a good size.  Of the succulents the easiest to propagate is the famous hens and chicks or Sempervivums.  You pop the babies off and plop them in soil and you have a good size plant in no time.  When I propagate my hens and chicks I usually do it in the fall or winter when I have a little time on my hands.  That means I have them inside-even the hardy Sempervivums (they will grow inside!)  I collect little chicks off of plants that I have or someone gives me and I set them in a tray of sandy soil.  I do this all summer and by the time it gets cold I have a few to bring inside with me to grow.  Here are some I will propagate over the fall/winter:
My system is relatively easy-you only need a few things:

1.  Pots or seed starting trays
2.  Some sandy/fast draining soil-make sure it is sterile (you do not want any bug or disease issues)
3.  Succulents
4.  Plenty of light-at least 6 hours (just a note-I do not have a lot of direct sun so I use shop lights with T8 bulbs and have excellent results.  There is no need for fancy grow lights)
5.  Rooting hormone (not necessary  but some people like to use it)

That is it.  So here are the steps I take to root these babies:

1.  Find your trays or pots (make sure they are clean) and fill them with the sandy/well draining potting soil (that is sterile).
2.  Dip the bottom of your succulent in a little water (this helps it to make contact with the soil)
3.  Just lay the chick onto the soil-mine has his "cord" so that is inserted into the soil.
4.  If you have ones that have dead leaves around the base of the plant-pull them off:
All clean:-))
In his new home:
I even have a few that almost died-I remove all the dead parts and stick them in the soil too.  As long as there is a green spot on it I try to save it:-))
Here is a tray that I have planted:
5.  If you have any leaves that have broken or fallen off all you need to do is let the end dry up for a few days then when it is dried up just lay it on top of the soil.  It will root and form a plant.
Here are my cuttings and leaves that I am rooting:
I will mist the soil when it gets dry-never soak the soil.  It can cause the plants to rot instead of root.  I will also run a fan a couple hours a day to keep the air circulating and to keep any issues of bugs or diseases at bay.  The fluorescent lights are on for 15-16 hours a day-mostly because I have other plants under them.  Succulents do need at least 6 hours of light in order to "survive" and grow.   By spring most of them will be ready to pot up into a bigger container or out in the garden.

This is such an easy way to get more plants that I do it every year.  Doing this in fall/winter works best for me because I have time in the fall/winter to take better care of them.  In the summer I have a tendency to forget about the little things.  Doing it when it is cold also gives me an excuse to "garden" inside.  When I don't have any "dirt" to play in I get a little restless so this ends up helping me with that.  It also keeps the "winter blahs" at bay.

Just remember-don't be afraid to propagate those succulents!  You will find out like I did that they are the easiest plant to propagate from cuttings.  They are also extremely hard to kill.  All you need to remember is that water is the enemy-too much will kill them.  If you are not sure when to water just remember to let them completely dry out.  That is all there is to it.  I hope you try growing your own and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.  So-until next time

Happy Planting!

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