WATER-WISE GARDEN PLANTS

SUCCULENT PLANTS & CACTUS INFORMATION

                       Plant Care and Propagation

Part of our nursery containing cuttings

 

How to plant new cuttings and propagate

 

Propagation... You can use many different methods ranging from any old container that previously contained seedlings or simple square or round small pots and of course the multi plant trays holding from 10 up to 24 cuttings. These are all available from Big W, Bunnings or any local nursery.

 You are probably thinking why not just one large pot or just stick them in the garden? The problem with just one large pot or the garden is that they hold so much soil that the water tends to stay put and can sometimes rot the cuttings before they get roots. They do prefer small storage containers at this stage so that the water can freely drain away: They need to be kept damp but not saturated wet all the time. Please refer to the Bulk "Potting Mix" method at bottom of page if you want to try this out.

Stick them in the garden straight away? Well apart from the risk of drying out or getting sunburnt, you can get away with this with some of the plants but in most cases it is better to start them small until they get roots and to keep them in a bright, but shady spot for at least 6 weeks. Let's say under a bright verandah or similar area.

How to plant them? In most cases if you get a 50mm cutting then try for at least 20mm of the bottom section to be underground or approx 50% for most small cuttings.

For larger cuttings you can simply cut them into 2 or 3 parts and get more plants or if you want to keep them large then the 20mm rule will be OK, but do make sure that the plant is deep enough to support itself.

Plant medium? You can buy special Cactus and succulent mixtures or some people use 50% sand with any potting mix however we have found that the normal cheap potting mix works just as well. If you want to be fussy then use one part of any good potting mix with one part of washed sand.

Most succulent cuttings require a few days for the wound to heal over and form a callous otherwise they may rot instead of forming roots. The postal system is great for this as it normally takes a 3 to 4 days for delivery and it stops us over enthusiastic gardeners from planting too early. Most cuttings may remain in their original pot up to 12 months before transplanting.

When you are ready to plant them out in your garden or in larger pots then don't forget to water them... As a general rule if you look after succulents for the first 3 months then they will be able to look after themselves with natural rainfall from then on. Of course if you want incredible specimens then please do treat them with a little love and attention with water and fertilizer but don't overdo it.

Probably when you are handling the pack a few leaves will fall off... Don't throw them away... if you want to have fun, take an egg container, half fill it with potting mix and rest a leaf in the position where each egg used to be. Don't cover the leaves simply stand them firmly on the top of the mix... eventually they will form roots and little baby plants will appear and the parent leaf may die...  Don't over-water.

Fertilizers? Cacti & Succulents are not heavy feeders however light feeding during their growing period will always be of benefit. Don't use them for at least 6 weeks then only half strength liquid fertilizers. Any of the non-burning fish mixtures are really good if you can stand the smell. Once they are established in the garden then we have found that the normal pellet 3-6 month types work just as well as any other. Don't go to any trouble just use whatever you normally use on your garden, these are not fussy plants.

Light? Indoors... A sunny window or as much bright light as possible. Outdoors... any area with bright filtered light, under verandahs, trees etc is good to start with and gradually move them into the sun as they develop roots and grow larger. Some varieties can burn in direct sun so watch your plants initially for any burn.

Watering? Water well, make sure that the water is running out of the pot, then don't water again until the pot is nearly dry. Never let the pot stand in a saucer full of water unless you want to kill that plant.

Note: You may receive plants that appear identical: These will either be extra bonus plants or plants that have a different flower or leaf color in different seasons e.g. some green leaves turn deep red in winter others are green in winter and turn reddish brown in summer etc. Some simply have different colour flowers eg: we have 10 different flower colors for the mesembryanthemum varieties (Pigface).

Frost-prone areas...Most succulents are frost hardy unless it is a particularly heavy frost. The answer to frost is to do a heavy water with the hose and wash off any ice before the sun hits the plants. Apparently the frost is not the main problem, its the sun that burns faster than the plant can naturally defrost the frozen water stored inside the chunky petals.

Don't hesitate to email me if you have any queries and I will email or phone you back,
I made a promise to myself when I started out to always try to treat customers the way I would want to be treated. I can't guarantee I won't ever make a mistake, but I can guarantee I will make it right.  "That's the only way I can sleep at night."

Panic...some plants appear to be distressed, limp or wrinkly:  This is quiet normal after 4 days...(especially for the smaller cuttings with very fine leaves) as they are using the residual moisture in their leaves. These will recover after a couple of days in a nice damp pot. I have done tests with most of the cuttings and have left them on an open table for over 3 weeks before planting without ill-effect. In fact I have a couple of plants that my cat and dog keep brushing up against and dislodging whole branches.... I just leave these lying in full sun where they fall and after a couple of months they send roots down to the earth.... Fascinating plants, very hard to kill.

 Do You Still Have a Question?...  HOW?   WHY?   WHEN?   WHAT?
If you email us your phone number we will phone you back as soon as possible
(We pay for the phone call anywhere in Australia but No Mobiles please)

Other Problems... You may encounter other problems that we haven't covered here... Please email us with your problem or any other question and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

 

BULK POTTING MIX PACK METHOD....

SCARED OF BUYING LARGE QUANTITIES OF CUTTINGS… ???

Some people say they would buy larger quantities of cuttings if it wasn’t for the problem of having to buy pots and actually pot-up so many... time consuming, but also expensive to buy new pots.

Well there is a very simple, very easy, very cheap method…

Simply buy a bag of potting mix: ($4)

1.  Take a screwdriver and make approx 20 holes in the back of the potting mix bag

2.  Turn it over and cut out a neat square in the front exposing the potting mixture

3.  In a standard size bag you can plant from 60 to 100 cuttings.

PLANTING NOTES….

1.  If you want to do this on a table then make sure that you have a piece of wood under the bag to carry it to it’s final position, otherwise it’s impossible to move once fully planted.

2.  It’s a good idea to water the mix first and let it drain and compact before starting to plant

3.  Make a long trench (25-50mm deep)… put in a row of cuttings and backfill the trench

4. Continue making trenches until the bag is full of new cuttings.

5.  Place the bag in a bright, but not sunny position for 8-12 weeks.

6.  Water regularly (sprinkle carefully) but do not keep sopping wet.

7.  Start transplanting cuttings into your garden as soon as they show new growth… usually around 10 weeks but they can be left for up to 12 months if you want a really good root growth.

 

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