Most of my houseplants have been ordered online, and I’ve been really impressed how they have survived their journeys to my house.
However, I have found that the succulents tend to lose a few leaves in transit, which of course I can’t resist trying to turn into new plants!
The baby donkeys tail in particular lost lots and lots of leaves, which is nothing to do with how it was posted, it’s just a delicate plant!
I’ve propagated plenty of plants from cuttings, but have never tried succulent leaf propagation, so I thought I would give it a go.
I put about an inch of cactus compost in a seed tray, misted it with water, and scattered the leaves over the damp compost.
This tray (from left to right) has baby donkeys tail leaves, string of bananas leaves and variegated string of pearls leaves.
I have put them on a sunny windowsill with a plastic lid to keep the heat and moisture in. These photos were taken on the 20th January.
I received the baby donkeys tail plant about a week ago, and I have had the leaves that came off in transit in a plastic bag since then. One of the leaves already has some roots on it, so I’m hoping the rest get roots quickly. If they do, I’m going to have a lot of plants to give away!
Here is an update, on the 8th February, so less than 3 weeks later – some of them have shrivelled and died, but the vast majority are looking fine, with little roots forming on some of them.
I’ve been spritzing them regularly so they don’t dry out, and it’s been quite sunny, so they get quite warm in the daytime.
And another update on the 22nd March (so two months after I put them on the compost)- some tiny plants forming! I think I’m going to separate out the ones with plants forming and put them in their own individual modules.
And again on the 13th April. I’ve taken the largest ones and given them a small plug cell each to stop their roots getting tangled with each other.
The string of pearls has done really well (on the left) – actually better than the parent plant, so I’m glad I have some back up.
Nothing has happened to the string of bananas, just some roots forming, so I’m leaving them in the main tray for now to see if anything eventually happens.
You can see below how big the root systems are on them.
Eventually the piece they grew from will wither and die as they are getting all their nutrients from their root system.
It’s quite remarkable that in just three months I have almost 40 viable new plants for free. My friends and family will be happy, and my daughters schools fete plant stall will do well! If I was minded to try and make some money, the costs stack up well. The parent plant cost £17.50, so even if I just sold the babies in a few months for a couple of pounds each, I would be quids in, for very minimal effort!
Update… these are the plants at the end of June. Time to put them into proper pots. I’m thinking a couple put together in a small pot will soon make a nice little plant.
The ones I left in the original tray because they were too small to pot on have also done well, and one of the string of bananas finally started generating new growth. They have been joined by some leaves from some other succulents that have rooted really well just by laying them on the soil and keeping it moist with a spray. I’ve now turned them over to encourage the roots to grow into the soil. Free plants really are the best.