*The information in this post goes with the January 2022 planting project, found here
As greenhouse growers, the team at Sage Garden is pretty lucky because we can already start to see the benefits of daylight rising. Every day, plants are starting to look a little perkier and new growth is peaking through any winter-worn stems. Observing these little changes is one of the mental-health benefits of growing things; it gives us a chance to see that things move forward in a reliable way, even in uncertain times. The increased daylight also helps plants be ready to multiply, and nothing is more satisfying than watching cheery succulent babies become fully-fledged plants. That gave us our inspiration for this week's project.
We also wanted to consider what might be a fun activity for all ages. Of course, this is a stylish project for home decor, but equally interesting as a week-at-home project for students as they can observe directly some neat things about plant propagation, consider the reasons for the unique soil mix, become curious about how daylength affects plant growth or investigate further the reasons that some plants can reproduce from a single leaf, while may others cannot. And the finished pot will grow in just about any room with natural daylight, so younger gardeners can claim it for their rooms (and succeed at keeping these plants growing!).
Burro's Tails are such a cute example of a succulent that can reproduce from both stem and leaf cuttings. They are adorable, both as babies and once fully grown!
One neat thing about many succulents is that they can regrow from both stem cuttings and leaf cuttings ... that's right, all you need is a single leaf to grow new certain types of plants!
Some species, like the Hoya kerrii hearts shown above, can grow roots from their leaves but will never develop full stems from a leaf cutting. That works just fine for the uniquely cute hearts of Hoya kerrii, but for many plants, you want to know that your cuttings will yield a fully-fledged plant. And the succulents from today's project will all do so with ease!
Succulents that can develop into full plants from leaf-cuttings include Kalanchoe, Echeveria and Sedum species, among others.
One 5" ceramic decor pot with drainage
A specially mixed organic succulent blend, ideal for rooting your cuttings
1 good-sized leaf-cutting of Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi variegata
1 sturdy stem cutting of Sedum 'Coppertone'
1 adorable stem cutting of Burro's Tail
1 Candy Snail decor shell, for accent
Putting together your project is fun and easy... simply add the soil to the ceramic pot, tap to even out, then carefully place the Kalanchoe leaf-cutting onto the soil surface, and insert the stems of the Sedum and Burro's Tail into the soil. These could all stay together in the pot as a group once mature (the Burro's Tail is fully trailing, the sedum semi-upright and the Kalanchoe fully upright, following the thriller, filler, spiller plan for successful mixed containers); or you could separate them once they start to mature. Set your Candy Snail shell anywhere you feel adds a little decor accent.
Succulent cuttings are particularly January-friendly, as they do not dry up as easily as other types of leafy plants. However, you could cover the pot with a clear ziplock bag to increase humidity for about two weeks. Immediately after planting go ahead and give the cuttings a good misting with fresh water, and repeat every few days (if you use the ziplock, you won't have to mist as often, let's say twice per week).
The rooting mix we have created has Sea Soil compost blended into it, so you will not have to add additional fertilizer until the plants are much more (let's say May or June).
All of the succulents selected for this project do best with bright diffuse natural daylight; set your pot up near a natural light source. You can use grow lights if you have them, but are definitely not required.
You will likely see new babies starting on the Kalanchoe (around the leaf edge, as in the photo above) within two-to-three weeks, and the Sedum and Borro's Tail will start to root in within 3 - 4 weeks.
That's it. Have fun with this and look forward to a big transformation as these little babies grow into full-sized plants!