Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Exploring Succulent Propagation

As you know, I'm interested in propagating plants, especially some of my favorite succulent plants. I have a few plants that are actively reproducing themselves via fallen leaves and through offshoots.

My favorite "Blue Bird" Echeveria has a few little offshoots coming out, and I noticed little plants growing on the diagonal of it's lower base on two sides, where the leaves have fallen off. It was a happy surprise, as this plant is gorgeous and I would love to share it with my succulent collecting friends. I haven't seen this on any of my other plants. Here's a picture of the babies that are growing. Click on it to get a good close up of them.

You can see tiny little plants growing on the side, right? You can also see the little offshoot that is growing on the side too. Below is a bigger picture of it, which you can click to enlarge too. This plant is making it very easy for me to propagate new plants by simply cutting offshoots once they have matured a little more.

Below are some Kalanchoe leaves that are producing new plants. Because this is representative of asexual reproduction, the new plants will be exactly like the original plant. This makes it nice when you want to reproduce a plant that you really love.

Offshoots and taking cuttings from plants represents asexual reproduction too; The plant is basically cloning itself. Only with seeds do you see a change in the DNA of the plant, a new mixing or blending of genetic material/coding that gives you a unique and one-of-a-kind plant, not a clone from it's parent. It's amazing that succulents have come up with a variety of ways to reproduce themselves in order to insure their survival.

In the pot below are the following Kalanchoe common names: "Panda," "Chocolate Soldier," and "Lambs Ear." I found the chocolate soldier leaves laying at the bottom of the pot and they were already cloning themselves, however, I pulled off the Panda Kalanchoe leaf (big leaf on the left)and experimented with it, hoping for a new plant, and boy was I successful! The Lamb's Ear, however, hasn't done anything yet.

You know what's funny though? The Chocolate Soldier is growing as slowly as the original plant. In fact, the growth on the parent plant has been very minimal. The Panda is doing great, and has really only been growing for a short period of time, at least a couple of months less than the Chocolate Soldier. It goes to show you that they are definitely exact copies of their parents, mimicking even the growth patterns of their parents, and subject to the same diseases as the parents also. It's something to keep in mind when choosing plants and methods to propagate.

Kalanchoes are extremely easy to propagate from leaves. I've got all sorts of neat plants growing, some I started myself by pulling off leaves from the plant, and some just reproduced themselves via fallen leaves in their pots. Below are some leaves from Guinevere and Sir Lancelot with little plantlets growing on them. You can click on the picture to get a good closeup of them. I love these two plants (Guinevere and Sir Lancelot). They are growing beautifully, so I'm happy to have more of them. I pulled a leaf off of one and the rest started on their own. They are really beginning to take off!

Here's another nice picture to see how they propagate from leaves:

Here are some Echeverias growing from leaflets. Do you see the little plant with the wrinkled up dry leaf? I found it at the bottom of it's pot. I was happily surprised. I think that might be a tiny little Kalanchoe growing in the back towards the right. I decided to pull another leaf off (on the left) and see what would happen. It seems to be rooting nicely. I'm curious if those are little plants though or roots? Click on the picture to enlarge, so you can see what I mean. There's a lot of roots or plantlets growing on the edge that lies on the soil.

Below are two favorites that I'm propagating via cuttings: Sedum clavatum and "Kiwi" an Aeonium. I cut them from the plant, let them dry a few days and then put them in a pot. I check them here and there by gently pulling at them to see if they are rooted. If the plant gives away easily, I know it hasn't rooted. I wait a few more days and then try again. It's fun to create new plants from ones that you love.
Above is the Sedum clavatum I propagated from cuttings from the mother plant.

Above is the Aeonium "Kiwi" that I propagated via cuttings from the mother plant.


Lacey said...

Very interesting post! My only experience with succulent propagation has been accidental, but after reading your post, I think that I might have to put more of an effort into it.

Julie said...

That is always so fun to find babies under a leaf. Do you still have your cactus that you started from seed? How are they doing?
What medieval names can you give to Sir Lancelot and Guinevere's new plantlets???

Kelly said...

Hi Lacey! Thanks for the comments. I started off with mainly "accidental" new plants, but finally had the patience to wait for leaves to grow on the edge of leaves I pulled off myself. I think the easiest and quickest method is stem cuttings, but I think it's awesome to see new plants grow from a single leaf!

Hey Julie! Hee-hee! Love the question, but now I've got to think...hmmm...what should I name them. Great question! I'll keep you posted!

noemi said...

Kelly nice blog and congrats!!

I have not been very lucky with succulents, they are all dying on me. I was wondering do you just rest the leaf on top of the soil and it roots or do you do something else to it?

kmmc said...

Hi Kelly! I came across your blog whilst looking for some help on my poor succulent. I have a little plant with fat furry leaves and I keep it in my cubicle.. it doesn't get any direct sunlight and I water it with 2 capfuls of water, every alternate day. The thing is, it's dropping quite a few leaves and is starting to look a little sad. Is there anything I can do?? I don't see bugs but I've been wondering if it's bcos my pot has no watering holes.. would appreciate any advice. Thanks! Kristy

joanna.lewis said...

Hi Kelly
I have been wandering the web trying to find the name of a succulent i have been growing (and propagating and sharing :-) for a year or two...I live in NoHo and feel like you may be close (in Burbank) which would be very cool. I have a hanging plant that grows trendils of what look to be green beans and my friend says now hers is sprouting little buds (on long stems) that will flower soon. Can you help me ID it? Also, email if you like - i too have an apartment patio FULL of succulents and am always out for more. A great (and cheap) place to visit is Lucky Plants on San Fernando in Burbank.

mateoda said...

Hi there!
I'm from Brazil and I just found out your blog and it was a very very very good finding!I am also in love with succulents and started my collection about a couple years ago.
I also loooove to propagate them and watch the growth of the new puppies and all, but I often have many troubles on getting it right... =[
So in that way it was veeery reliefing to find some good and trusty infos!
I am on the process of naming all my succulents (which is taking a long time) and posting their pictures on Flickr. I'll see if I also put the pics of my little attempts of reproductions. And maybe them I'll ask you for help more objectively!