I have never been a huge cactus fan, mostly due to the crazy amounts of spikes and prickly fuzz.
However, I recently began to enjoy the beautiful blooms and flower-like shapes of the succulents at a home on my running path. The garden is full of poke-free, drought-tolerant, beautifully colored plants. They arranged in such a nice manner that the yard looks absolutely stunning. Expensive, even.
I had the opportunity to speak with the home owner, who was extremely kind and gave me a quick tutorial in succulent growth and propagation – even sent me home with a few leaves in my running shorts pockets to give it a try! I have since been hooked!
The greatest thing about succulents is the minimal amount of water they take. I currently water 2 times a week, depending on the heat. This is because most succulents grow more in the spring and summer months. In the winter, I have read that you should water just once a week, maybe even every other week as the plants go into a dormant phase during colder seasons.
I have had mostly great luck in propagating from leaves. I started with the few I was given, then got more from a couple plants I found outside a few restaurants and homes I run by. If I see the homeowner, I be sure to ask first… but if I don’t, I guess I figure they won’t mind me taking just one or two leaves, so long as I don’t damage the plant and it is large enough they won’t miss 1 leaf! Give me your opinions on this, as I don’t know the proper succulent-leaf-taking etiquette!
To refresh my memory, I found a very simple tutorial (see image link above) that has a method I have found to work very well with most plants. I find that some leaves like more water than others (or maybe I am giving them too much sun, so the soil just dries faster?), and some that prefer to have more sand in the mixture. Visit Needles + Leaves for the great tutorial.
One type of succulent that I have yet to be able to propagate is Aloe. I have actually read many tutorials, watched many videos and am embarrassed that many people say it is the easiest to work with! I can’t believe I have tried a dozen leaves and can’t seem to get one started – the EASIEST ONE?!
I have tried so many methods, from laying pieces on top of the soil as shown by Needles + Leaves, to burying the leaf upright in the soil, no water, moist soil, dipped in honey (that idea seemed weird, but I gave it a shot…), fresh off the mother plant, allowing the end to dry/scab over, and even buying a rooting powder. Not one method has worked for me!
Photo Source: www.wikihow.com
My next attempt will be to try this tutorial from WikiHow, partly shown above. PLEASE, if anyone has a tried and true method for Aloe, be sure to let me know by email or in the comments to share with everyone!
Just a quick shout-out to my friend, who has been kind enough to let me slice a dozen or more aloe leaves off the plants in his backyard for practicing each failed method! Thank you!