Saturday, 27 December 2008

succulent treasures

Today is my husband's birthday (happy birthday my love), but I got some pretty nice presents too. You see, I've been looking into succulents recently. They're great for this climate - they don't give a stuff about drought. And they come in a variety of interesting colours and textures. you know they also put on quite a show of flowers? I didn't know that, not until I saw a bunch being sold by an old lady who sells plants at work. I saw these bright yellow-orange flowers and thought they'd be lovely for the office ... then looked down and realized they were coming from a succulent! This one is home for the holidays but it'll go back to work, at least until the flowers fade.

I already had two succulents in the yard, and was recently surprised to find them putting out flowers. This one has a few flower stalks coming out on the right-hand side. I think it's a type of echeveria but there are dozens of types so I don't know for sure.

This one is a type of aloe - aloe aristata I believe. As you can see, they all have lots of little clones of themselves sprouting out the sides. If you snip these off and put them in a bit of sandy soil, you'll soon have more and more succulents. In fact the clumps are happier if you snip them out, it lets the main plants spread out more. fact there were so many babies on the aloe I took out all of these and you can't even tell the difference.

But enough about my old succys. Tom's mother has been taking cuttings from her succys for a while now, planting them around her garden and in pots. So I walked around with scissors and a bag and came home with all of these cuttings (though this photo also has cuttings from my succys in it). I love all the different shapes, colours and textures. of my favourites are these Sedum rubrotinctum, the "jelly bean" plant or "pork and beans". I'm not sure how many different types I have here because my Mother-in-law was already spreading around cuttings and they probably turn different colours if they get more or less sun. I love those tiny, bright red ones, I hope they survive because they don't look very happy. love these ones too, they're like big fat rocks. I think they're Pachyphytum. I'm not sure if these are the same kind of plant or two different plants because they were in different pots.

So, how do you propagate succulents? I mixed together propogation mix with sand and filled up a bunch of pre-used plastic punnets. You're meant to let the cuttings dry out for a day or two so they don't rot, but I was too impatient - mine all went in today. And by the end of a month they should have roots of their own, ready to be transplanted.

Where will I plant them? No idea yet. Some tolerate shade so I think they'll do OK here and there. Others need full sun so they'll probably go in pots. And others are destined to be given as gifts. That's part of the fun of succulents - they're free, so why not pass them along?


Julie said...

What a nice source for your future pots!!!