Posts from the ‘Succulents’ Category

The benefits of Beneficial Instects are visually apparent

I have been promoting planting flowers to attract beneficial insects since I attended the Master Gardener’s class .  Since moving to my apartment in August of 2011, I got involved with California Native Garden Foundation and learned the endless benefits planting Natives.  I purchased a Dudleya from CNGF that is a succulent with beautiful yellow flowers.  I split the plant into its two clusters.  I kept one cluster for myself and gave the other cluster to my boyfriend Henrik as part of a beautiful succulent arrangement.  He still gets lots of compliments from his friends over the arrangement.  I should state at this point that Henrik only has one other plant on his patio and that is the African Daisy.  And his plant’ is in a winter slumber at the moment with no flowers.  So basically he has no plants on his patio to attract Beneficial’s on his patio in the Fall/Winter period.  Well it’s been 2 months since we’ve had our Dudleyas and here are the results:

Bottom line: I haven’t had to use any pest control sprays of any kind on my patio this year!  The Neem Oil pesticide I had bought a year ago was promptly gifted to Henrik to control his Aphid infestation on the Dudleya.

Visit to #Succulent #Gardens in Castroville, CA

Last Thursday I was driving back to San Jose from Monterey and decided to look up the address of Succulent Gardens nursery and see if it was on my way back home.  Sure enough it’s located off of highway 156 prior to connecting to the 101.  I arrived and was greeted by the very friendly sales manager and was told I had 30 minutes till close.  I was so blown away by the depth and breadth of their collection of succulents.  Unfortunately they only accepted cash or check, so I was only able to buy two of the six specimens I had picked out.  Mind you, the prices here are amazing!  The tiniest 3 inch pot specimens are only $3.  It’s the best deal for succulents I’ve found ever.

Here is their website:

Here are the two plants I bought!

Succulent Gardens

Propagating Succulents

Something for nothing? This isn’t some medieval alchemy magic trick! This is succulent propagation!

Methods of Propagation:

The Glass is Full Method:

If you’ve gotten a cutting from a friend and it’s mostly stem, let the cut parts callous over. In a month or so, the stem might magically shoot off roots on its own. You can also suspend the rosette head over a glass of water as I have done below. Roots will magically appear! As always, keep your plant out of direct sunlight. Shade and moisture are this baby plant’s BFF (for now). Once healthy roots are established plant your cutting in cactus succulent soil and keep moist in a shaded spot till the plant is established.

Echiveira Rooting 1 (December 15th, 2011

Echeveira roots one month later (January 15th, 2012)

Happy Echeveria

Leaf cuttings:

Leaf cuttings are a very easy and cheap way to propagate your succulents! For leaf propagation you must take a younger but large enough leaf specimen and let it callous over for a few days. Then you simply stick the leaf in the ground about 1/4 of it submersed in the soil. For the next 3-4 weeks, you will want to keep the leaf cutting in a shady, cool,well aerated area and make sure to maintain constant moisture. Remember: No Direct Sunlight! I know that constant moisture may sound like an ironic idea since for an established plant constant moisture is the kiss of death! It will surely rot and turn to mush. For succulent propagation, we’re dealing with a whole set of new rules now. So just trust me on constant moisture & shade. In the next 3-4 weeks, your leaf cutting should grow roots. A basic test to check for root development is to give the cutting a very GENTLE tug and try to feel if there is any resistance. If so, BOOM! We’re in business! You’ve got some healthy roots! In a few more weeks, a baby plant should emerge out of the ground. This plant will use the food stored in the parent leaf cutting to grow. The actual science behind how you can produce a plant from just a leaf cutting is just fascinating and some might say nothing short of a miracle. But I assure you this “magic trick”: getting something for nothing is all based on stem cells. The plant’s leaf is full of these stem cells that can function for whichever purpose the plant needs it to, in order to continue it’s existence. If only human anatomy were that adaptable, eh? One minute the stem cells are used to make roots and the next minute they are used to create and then feed the baby plant. Cool stuff!

Donkey tail propagating on it’s own

Stem cuttings:

This method is great for succulents that don’t have fleshy leaves. I have been expanding my sedum collection this way. I just take a few long cuttings of the sedums. Then lay the cuttings on the soil. You can cover the stem with soil if you like. I have found that covering the stem with soil speeds up the rooting process. Make sure to moisturize your stem cuttings often and in about 2 weeks you should have some great root development!

Tricolor Sedum


Division is really simple. When you buy a new plant, just empty out the pot to view how many individual plants are in the pot. They will have their own root systems and should be easily separable. I had purchased a small 4 inch pot of Aloe Vera. I wanted to propagate this plant by dividing it up. Sure enough I found 4 separately established plants in there! Very cool! Pretty much I got 4 individual plants or the price of one

Sedum Burrito Division


Offsets are totally rad! I’m still trying to understand how some plants make these. But in the interest of basic propagation info, offsets or “pups” are the plant’s natural method of propagation. If you have established aloes, they seem to be very prolific and have many pups at the stem of the mother plant. These pups will be attached to the mother plant. You can cut these pups off (try to keep things sterile). I personally like dipping the exposed areas into Rooting Hormone. Then I just stick both plants into the soil and water it every 2-3 weeks. Give the offset plant a little tug. If you get some resistance, then we’ve got great root development!

Echeveria with two pups

Deadheading Succulent Stems

There are certain succulents that have to have their head’s chopped off at the end of their growing season since the rosette won’t survive anyway. If the stem is inspected carefully, there one might find little baby pups emerging. You need to keep your regular maintenance of the plant and the pups will continue to grow. At some point, you can remove them from the stem and plant the pups and plant them in soil. I thought my topsy turvy had died, since the leaves turned a weird color and the plant looked unhealthy. I took it out of the soil and washed the root under water and discovered pups! Here they are:

Topsy Turvy Pups (December 23th, 2011)

Topsy Turvy Pups (December 23th, 2011)

Topsy Turvy Pups (December 23th, 2011)

Topsy Turvey Pups (January 8th, 2012)

Topsy Turvey with pups (February 26th, 2012)

Pups on leaf still attached to the mother plant:

Here on my crassula arborescens, I noticed that there were little pups growing on one leaf. I’m going to monitor their growth and post updates on their progress.

Crassula Arborescens offshoots on leaf January 22nd 2012

Collecting Succulents – More is more

Here is my current collection of succulents I’ve amassed in the last few weeks. I’m not sure about the names of a few of them.  When I was carrying my latest additions up to my apartment, my neighbor joked, “You got more plants?  Haven’t you run out of room to put these?”   I backfired, “Well hey Rich, don’t you have enough records?”  I’ve caught glimpses a few times into his apartment and he has boxes upon boxes stacked on each other.  I guess my new collection is similar to ladies’s ridiculous porcelain doll collections…

I am continuing to add to my collection and seek seek out the more exotic varieties.  My rules are that they must have an unusual appearance and they must be small.  I’m trying to learn  to propagate my succulent plants and will write a post on this.

Magical Purslane; a prolific and delicious green

I love this delicious salad green that has weed like properties because it is so hardy and easy to grow.

Where do I start?  I grew up eating purslane in Turkey where it would be served as a “mezze” appetizer before dinner.  Well, let me explain.  Mezze actually pertains to munchies to go along with raki (Turkish ouzo).  I’ve provided the recipe on the recipes page for you to try out.

Purslane tastes a little tangy.  It is apparently very nutritious.

High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate

Here’s a brief description from Wikipedia

Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane, also known as VerdolagaPigweedLittle Hogweed, or Pusley), is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae, which can reach 40 cm in height. About 40 varieties are currently cultivated.[1] It has an extensive old-world distribution extending from North Africa through the Middle East (called الرجلة or البقلة) and the Indian Subcontinent to Malesia and Australasia. The species status in the New World is uncertain: In general, it is considered an exotic weed; however, there is evidence that the species was in Crawford Lakedeposits (Ontario) in 1430-89 AD, suggesting that it reached North America in the pre-Columbian era.[2] It is naturalised elsewhere and in some regions is considered an invasive weed. It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 mm wide. The flowers appear depending upon rainfall and may occur year-round. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are ready. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor, compacted soils and drought.

If you’re into gourmet salads that you can’t even find at the fanciest of luxury organic superstores…try out purslane!  This is certainly exactly the ideal Urban – Horticulture plant.  Easty to grow, grows pretty quickly, reseeds, disease resistant….what more could an urban apartment dweller with limited gardening space ask for?

I Caved at the Cuteness of Certain Succulents

Wikipedia Entry for Lithops

%d bloggers like this: