I love to garden and I do all I can to keep my shrubs and plants healthy and strong. When it comes to houseplants, however, I just can't seem to keep them alive for more than a few weeks! You know the little card that comes with them, with the care instructions printed on it? Well, I promise I follow those instructions to the letter but it doesn't matter what I do, the poor thing is still dead within two weeks!
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There is one type of houseplant though, that seems to be able to cope with my botanical incapacities of the indoor kind! Succulents! I love Succulents! So far none of them has died. In fact, they seem to flourish with very little care at all. I only wish I had more windowsills so that I could have more.
The good news is though, that succulents are easy to propagate. All you need is a bag of cactus earth and a container to spread the cuttings out on.
Removing The Leaves From Succulents
First, you need to separate some of the leaves from the main stalk. Do this by taking hold of the leaf where it meets the stalk and gently moving it from side to side until it comes away in your hand. If some of the stalk comes away with it that's fine. If a part of the leaf stays on the stalk, you can throw that one away because it won’t root.
You should have more than enough though, so it doesn’t matter if some of the leaves break. I use a craft knife to slice the rosette from the top of the plant because this will also grow into a new plant.
Let Your Succulents Dry
Next spread the leaves and the rosette out on a piece of paper or on a tray and let them dry. The part where the leaf was joined to the stalk has to dry up and form a callous. If you plant it before this happens, the leaf will just shrivel up and die.
Once the cuts have healed over, take a container and fill it with cactus earth. Lay the leaves over the top of the earth and leave them alone until you notice roots starting to form. Now you can start spraying them with a little water every day just to keep them moist. Too much water will cause them to rot so be careful with that. Place the rosette from the top of the original plant into a separate pot. It should soon grow roots and start to flourish again.
Potting Up Succulents
Very soon your leaves will start to sprout little rosettes and you can plant them up in small pots of their own. Using the same method as mentioned above, pull the parent leaf gently away from the baby plant. Succulents like lots of light but not direct sunlight. Move them during the hottest part of the day if needs be. Let the earth dry out completely in between watering.
You’ll be very lucky if all of the leaves sprout roots, mine never have so far. That’s why it’s a good idea to take more than enough leaves from the stalk in the first place. Any extra plants would make lovely gifts even for people who don’t have green thumbs!
I bought a whole load of mini terracotta pots and saucers and painted them with some leftover chalk paint. They are still only very tiny but I'm confident they will do well – at least I haven't managed to kill one yet so even if you're no good with houseplants, there's a great chance you won't either. Like I said above, these are great for gifting to friends, family, teachers, unexpected guests or just for fun!
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