Ignore succulents

Successful propagation with practically no effort!

I happened to notice the succulent plant on my window sill as I was washing the dishes the other day. To my delight, I noticed the leaves I had propagated started to grow! I believe I planted these cuttings about two months ago, and with all the outdoor gardening I’ve been doing, I just forgot about it.

I knew that succulents can be propagated by one leaf so I ran the water over the flat edge and buried it barely below the surface of the soil, not expecting much. I dribbled water over it maybe once or twice. Easy as that.

What happened to begin with was a classic mistake. I overwatered the plant and many leaves fell off. The term “succulent” comes from the latin word sucus, meaning juice. This plant stores water similarly to cacti , both in the leaves but in the stems, which can make finding the proper watering regimen a tricky matter. There’s two ways to go about it.  First, you can do a single heavy watering, draining any excess water. Then water again when the plant is completely dried out. I’ve had trouble with this method. Maybe it’s because my soil mix is too absorbent.  The other way is to dribble water on the plant every 1-2 weeks. What I do is a combination of both but very modestly.

Over watering causes leaves to drop off
Over watering causes leaves to drop off

Tips for succulent care:

  • Minimal watering and water even less in the winter as the plant goes dormant – once a month
  • A gritty soil mix is best. Think chunks of small rocks, not soil per se. If you’re creating your own arrangement with different varieties, garden centers will sell a premix for these plants specifically.
  • They love sun. A south facing window sill is perfect. If there isn’t enough light in your home, you’ll notice the plant starting to stretch and get leggy. You may want to supplement with a grow light if this is the case.
  • Succulents grow to the light very quietly, so rotate your plant for an even look
  • Ignore them!

Succulents are found all over the world except Antarctica. They thrive in semi-desert conditions but are versatile enough to live around lakes and rock beds as well. Some are even considered epiphytes – organisms that live on surfaces such as bark, trees or rocks that gain water from the air and rain.

My friend’s Alex and Chirs gave succulents as their wedding favor. I’ve managed to keep this one thriving for almost two years
My friend’s Alex and Chris gave succulents as their wedding favor. I’ve managed to keep this one thriving for almost two years 

These plants have become so popular because  there are many varieties, colors and attractive shapes. Their unique appearances are truly stunning. I actually purchased the one currently on my kitchen window sill at CVS on sale a while back. Find them in your local supermarket or more unique varieties, at the garden center. Once you get the hang of caring for them, they will become quite rewarding and beautiful ornamentals in your home.

If you want to learn more about succulent care, this is a great resource.

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tagged in houseplant