Saturday, June 11, 2011

Propagating Cacti & Succulents by Separation

I have always been enchanted by the dizzying array of cacti and succulents available.  These plants amaze me with your beauty and adaptability; they can withstand such adverse conditions!  I had a nice collection of cacti & succulents, but they were killed in a surprisingly hard freeze.  (That freeze took out five of my fruit trees too!)  I am rebuilding my collection slowly, starting with the eight 3" plants shown below.  The plants were cheap, they cost $1.98 each at Home Depot, but they are worth far more than that when you know how to turn them into multiple plants.


The plants I have chosen to work with for this project will be propagated by separation.  I will remove each piece of new growth and its attached roots and pot it as its own plant.   Most plants can be divided in this fashion, but succulents are the easiest to start with; they are nearly impossible to kill.  (Well, unless you freeze them...)

It is usually easiest to divide each plant into a few main clumps before separating the individual stems.

After you have created your plant babies, tuck them into their pot, and they are ready to go.   If you keep their soil excessively wet, they can rot.  So, it is best to avoid specialty moisture-keeping potting mixes or anything with peat moss.  Cacti and succulents grow well in poor, sandy or clay-rich soil.  So, just fill up your pot with the worst dirt you have.  They will be fine.  After potting your new plants, it is best not to water them for a week or so.  After this, water them only when their soil is dry.  I know, this is the complete opposite of nearly every other plant, but trust me.  It works for them!


The following collage shows me separating cactus.  The process is the same as with succulents, just make sure you wear gloves!  The plants in this pot are the only part of my collection that survived the freeze.  Look at my poor, sad freeze-burned aloe!


If you like, you can spread sand or pebbles/rock over the top of the soil for a more polished look.  I have chosen not to so it will be easier for me to transplant and propagate them when they begin growing.

1 comment:

Amy said...

That will look fantastic when it fills in! I love succulents too though I don't have any right now. I used to have a sedum rock garden at my old house. Link up!

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