Small space gardening
Succulents are diverse, striking to look at and really tough. They’re also easy to propagate. From one plant you can get endless free plants into the future by taking cuttings so if you have not tried this before, give it a go during COVID.
Carefully snap off a leaf from where it is attached to the main stem. The leaf should snap off cleanly and whole. Alternatively, you can cleanly snip a portion of the stem.
You can also cut off whole ‘pups’ or rosettes of the plant – this is particularly useful when you have a large overgrown succulent in your garden that needs a tidy up – simply cut off the ‘pup’ or baby plant that you wish to use, and clear off any old leaves from the stem of the cutting.
Growing in air/soil
Leave the cutting or leaf in a well-lit spot for 2-3 days until a callus forms over the end. Once formed you can place straight into the soil (callus first) or lie flat on the soil. You really don’t need to do anything just watch it grow. This is often how succulent babies are formed when turbulent weather knocks off leaves new pups form from fallen leaves.
Growing in water
Place the cutting or leaf in water root submerged in 1cm of water (an old jar or wine bottle is perfect), shielded from the weather but with fresh airflow. If you are using leaves create a lattice with rubber bands to help them stand vertically.
Ready to plant
Wait until roots and baby succulents start to form. The roots will look like tiny, pink strands.
Once roots grow to 1-2cm remove from water and plant in a pot with drainage holes and filled with succulent potting mix. Water as required.
Succulents enjoy full sun, they will thrive in pots, terrariums and in your garden but can also be planted indoors. Be sure to keep them on a sunny windowsill or well-lit room and check the plant label for ideal growing conditions.
In terms of a vessel, succulents will thrive in just about anything! Make sure the vessel has good drainage, enough room for roots to grow, and opt for a speciality potting mix (succulent or cacti mix). Remember, you don’t have to use just pots – you can grow them in old frames, shells, bowls and lots of other creative vessels.
Ongoing care – a brown thumbs dream
Succulents require very little attention and thrive on neglect! If they are outside they won’t need any special care, rainwater is enough to keep them happy. If you have them indoors water every 2-4 weeks.
If your succulent is starting to shrivel and the leaves start to pucker (starting at the bottom of the plant) this is a sign of dehydration. An overwatered succulent will look “mushy” and the base of the plant will start to blacken.
If you are noticing large gaps on the stem in between the leaves this means that your succulent isn’t getting enough light. Move it to a sunnier position. If they become discoloured and their leaves turn red or purple this generally means that they have been exposed to too much sun and are sunburnt. Move your succulent to a well-lit area that doesn’t have as much direct sun.
Create a vertical garden in your courtyard
Vertical gardens are perfect for small garden spaces as they make use of your wall space and they add colour and greenery to a courtyard or entertaining space. Use a salvaged timber pallet to create a wall planter.
Source an untreated timber pallet (ask for pallets at your local hardware, fruit shop or recycling yards) then reconfigure the top and bottom decking boards to form pockets.
You might need to source timber decking from a second pallet to complete the pockets. Once happy with the layout of pockets, affix rearranged panels with exterior PVA and exterior screws. Seal the timber by painting the pallet assembly with self-priming exterior paint. This will make it more durable and last longer in the weather.
Cut geotextile fabric (or weed mesh) to size, allowing enough to line the individual pockets and push the fabric into the pockets, nailing or stapling the fabric into place. Ensure there are no gaps where soil can spill out.
You can attach the pallet garden to your wall by using sturdy hooks and chain along with strong anchors in your wall.
Fill pockets with cacti and succulent potting mix, then plant up with your selection of succulents. Use a mix of vertical growers and low spillover varieties to create an interesting effect.