Well, this time of the year is like the calm before the storm. Days, and sunlight, are starting to lengthen and with that will come increased propagation. Over the winter, we have been doing limited propagation as plant activity is slower with limited light. I thought during this period of calm, that I would take the time to explain our propagation process at Geek Gardens!
First, we take cuttings of “pups” from mature succulents in the greenhouse. Exactly where the cuttings are taken can be plant dependent. However, the basic principal is to include some of the stem to ensure that growth nodes are included. Cuttings are then left in the shade for a number of days to allow to callus. This is probably the most important step, as planting them too soon in wet soil will cause the cuttings to rot.
Once the callus has developed the plants can then be placed into wetted soil. At Geek Gardens, we mix our soil with a combination of well draining potting soil, perlite, and sand. We put the cuttings into seeding flats based on plant type. This allows to keep moisture in the soil longer than in individual pots. Moisture is important as the cuttings establish their roots. Mature plants are very water tolerant, but unestablished cuttings are not.
After a number of weeks, significantly longer in the winter, the plants will establish roots. Cuttings will let you know when they are ready. The plants will have new growth and wrinkled leaves will plump back to a healthy status. When this happens, we transplant the not rooted cuttings into individual pots. We keep them in small pots until they further establish, this is mainly for space considerations in the greenhouse.
When the plants grow, the growth rate will be slowed by the limited space. It is important to monitor growth so that plants can be replanted in larger pots before they become root bound in the smaller containers. In larger pots, the plants can grow to maturity, as can be seen in the picture below.
Time to get organized as the spring approaches and we get ramped up to full speed. Look for more information on leaf propagation in the future!