This guide is a "How-To" for Planting, Cultivation and Propagation of Succulent Plants, Offsets or Pups etc to assist those trying to establish a drought tolerant, low maintenance garden.
How to plant new cuttings and propagate
POTS...You can use many different methods, ranging from any old container that previously contained seedlings or simple square or round small pots and of course the multi plant trays holding from 10 up to 24 cuttings. These are all available from Big W, Bunnings or any local nursery.
You are probably thinking why not just one large pot or just stick them in the garden? The problem with just one large pot is that it holds so much soil that the water tends to stay put and can sometimes rot the cuttings before they get roots. They do prefer small storage containers at this stage so that the water can freely drain away: They need to be kept damp but not saturated wet all the time.
Stick them in the garden straight away? Well apart from the risk of drying out or getting sunburnt, you can get away with this with some of the plants but in most cases it is better to start them small until they get roots and to keep them in a bright, but shady spot for at least 6 weeks. Let's say under a bright verandah or similar area.
How to plant them? In most cases if you get a 50mm cutting then try for at least 20mm of the bottom section to be underground or approx 50% for most small cuttings.
For larger cuttings you can simply cut them into 2 or 3 parts and get more plants or if you want to keep them large then the 20mm rule will be OK, but do make sure that the plant is deep enough to support itself.
Plant medium? You can buy special Cactus and succulent mixtures or some people use 50% sand with any potting mix however we have found that the normal cheap potting mix works just as well.
Most succulent cuttings require a few days for the wound to heal over and form a callous otherwise they may rot instead of forming roots. The postal system is great for this as it normally takes a few days for delivery and it stops us over enthusiastic gardeners from planting too early.
When you are ready to plant them out in your garden or in larger pots then don't forget to water them... As a general rule if you look after succulents for the first 3 months then they will be able to look after themselves with natural rainfall from then on. Of course if you want incredible specimens then please do treat them with a little love and attention with water and fertilizer but don't overdo it.
Probably when you are handling the pack a few leaves will fall off... You can either throw them away or if you want to have fun, take an egg container, half fill it with potting mix and rest a leaf in the position where each egg used to be. Don't cover the leaves simply stand them firmly on the top of the mix... eventually they will form roots and little baby plants will appear and the parent leaf will die... Don't over-water.
Fertilizers? Don't use them for at least 6 weeks then only half strength liquid fertilizers. Any of the non-burning fish mixtures are really good if you can stand the smell. Once they are established in the garden then we have found that the normal pellet 3-6 month types work just as well as any other. Don't go to any trouble just use whatever you normally use on your garden, these are not fussy plants.
Note: You may receive plants from sellers that appear identical: These will either be extra bonus plants or plants that are overall a different color in different seasons e.g. some green leaves turn deep red in winter others are green in winter and turn reddish brown in summer etc., plus some simply have different color flowers.
This doesn't cover all the tricks of the trade however I will endeavor to update as I learn more.
Succulent Care & Propagation
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6 April 2008
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