Propagating succulent plants can be done from a small cutting
Propagating the succulent plant, Sedum spectabile from a cutting. This is the easiest way to to create new plants for free
n September I pinched off a stem of a stunning lime green succulent in a park and then wrapped it up carefully in tissue paper. I tucked it away in my carry-on luggage and with this piece of stem I hoped to come home to create my own plant. It’s a cheeky little thing that some gardeners do, taking cuttings while on holiday. I’ve heard many a story of stems plucked from plants in parks, window boxes, or even bouquets on restaurant tables. Think of them as souvenirs for green fingered people.
I took a chance with only taking a single cutting of Sedum spectabile from a plant I saw in Paris but it’s finally started to grow. It’s taken quite a long time to do so and I really thought I’d lost it. I suspect that it’s because I tried to propagate the plant so late in the season that it took its time.
Succulents are plants like Hen-and-chicks or Iceplant and are thick, green, and filled with crispy yet juicy flesh. They’re generally pretty easy to grow on from cuttings – pieces of the stem and some leaves that should be three to four inches long. The general instructions are to pluck it with your fingernails, remove all but the top few leaves, and then leave the stem in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for two to three days. During this time the snipped end will dry up and form a callus. When you then push this stem into compost it should start to form roots within a few weeks.
This time I tried using Hormone Rooting Powder, though it’s not really necessary for succulents. It was my fear of the single cutting not taking that made me dip it into the powder that helps stimulate a cutting to form roots. I did the same thing with the leaves I removed from the bottom of the stem but it became clear early on that they weren’t going to survive. I removed them and then waited for the stem to grow.
It had been over three months with nothing to show in the way of growth but the leaves stayed green and the stem didn’t rot so I let it be. Then last week I nudged it a little and to my horror the top leaf fell off, then the second. I waited another day before I could gather up the courage to touch the last one but sadly it too fell from the stem. My Parisian souvenir was lost.
I had a couple of other succulents growing in the pot by then so I dug the plant up with my finger to discard it. You can imagine how surprised I was to discover green shoots and roots developing underneath the soil! It’s like a little Christmas present to find that it’s survived so far. I quickly tucked the roots back in and around the green shoots that I left above the soil.
In the days since the baby Sedum spectible plant has picked up colour and seems to be growing just fine. The original stem has also completely withered away to a brown stick which indicates that the plant is now doing what it should do and focus all of its energy to new growth. With luck I’ll have a luminous green plant in the garden next year that will remind me of my wonderful trip to Paris.
*Update on April 28th 2016* The plant has grown so much since last year and is about to be transplanted into another pot. Here’s what it looks like now: