Repurposing When Planting Succulents…

I get a rush of excitement when I go into antique and thrift stores. For me, there’s no shopping more fun than scouring shelf after shelf of antiques and vintage goods. Here’s a few pictures of little knick knacks I’ve recently picked up at antique stores and planted succulents in.

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From left to right: A blue chalk-stick and a green pinwheel planted in an animal crackers tin; green pinwheels planted in a vintage cocoa tin; a blue chalk-stick and green pinwheel planted in a vintage tobacco tin.Image

The tea pot spout even has a plant growing :)

Propagating Succulents from Leaves… Cont’d

Hello fellow succulent beginners, lovers and experts :). A few weeks ago I shared details and a picture of succulent leaves I’m propagating. I’m so excited with their continued progress, I wanted to update everyone!

To refresh, I noticed some fallen leaves from my succulents, waited a few days for a callus to form, dipped them in honey and stuck them in porous soil. I didn’t water the leaves, simply neglecting them outside on the covered porch. Succulents are notorious for absorbing moisture from the air, and since New Jersey is so humid there’s no shortage of moisture in the air.

A few weeks has gone by and I still haven’t watered the leaves, nor put them in sunlight! Zero maintenance and yet beautiful baby succulents sprouting from fallen leaves! I do have to add that while I was away a cautious family member moved the succulents from under the porch, into our pitch black boathouse. I was amazed that after a week in pitch black, the leaves still sprouted new growth from their forming roots! Pretty fool proof right? Anyways, they’re back out under the porch now and sprouting like crazy. Here’s some pictures.

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   You don’t have to get too fancy with planting these leaves either. I got this vintage baking pan from a yard sale for $1, threw some rocks in the bottom, followed by cactus soil and plopped those honey soaked leaves in the soil!

Keeping Succulents Outdoors.. Mini Greenhouses?

Sooo I’ve been traveling quite a bit from festival to festival with my succulents. I have tons of succulents and limited storage space. I searched around on Pinterest for some DIY greenhouse ideas, but through my searches I ultimately opted to buy this one off EBAY.

The greenhouse was a very fair price and took less than an hour to assemble. I’m pretty pleased with this purchase, as it allows me to store my succulents on eight shelves- protected from the weather and pests. I laid a piece of plastic down where I put the greenhouse, to further protect the plants from bugs and ants. The wire shelves that come with the greenhouse aren’t the most sturdy, so I found it best to put a piece of cardboard or a plastic container lid over the shelves. You can even store the succulents in boxes on the shelves and that makes transporting them easier. This will however block some sunlight from penetrating down to the next shelf of succulents. I use this to my favor though, and store the newest planted cuttings on shelves that have cardboard over the shelves, because they shouldn’t get much sunlight in the beginning anyways.

   Through and through I would highly recommend this greenhouse to someone like myself, who doesn’t wish to spend a lot of money and needs a temporary greenhouse structure. Shipping was free and I think it was a good bargain at $54. In comparison to the other greenhouses I saw on ebay, this one had twice the shelves and space. Plus you can even stand in the greenhouse without hitting your head.. and I am pretty tall.

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Propagating Succulents… Made Easy

When I first began caring for succulents i became interested in propagating them. And so, the experimenting began. Let me share with you what I have learned.

You can start growing your own succulents with as little as one plump succulent leaf. While the leaf may be small, it has to be a thick leaf with water stored in it for rooting to be successful. Otherwise, the leaf will soak up too much water from the soil, rot and basically disappear.

Wait a day to a few days before planting the leaf or cutting. This allows a callus to form where the cutting fell off the plant, also preventing the cutting from absorbing too much moisture. 

Dip the cutting in Honey. As explained in previous posts, Honey acts like a rooting hormone and expedites the growth process.

Use succulent/cactus soil and stick the callused bottom of the cutting in the soil. Leave a good portion of the cutting above soil to catch sunlight. 

Don’t expose the cuttings or leaves to harsh sunlight while rooting. This causes too much stress and the cutting wont root and grow.

Don’t water the cuttings or leaves. It’s best to just lightly moisten the soil and stir the moisture all around prior to planting the leaves.

Lastly, be patient and leave those babies alone! 

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This is a picture of perfect rosettes growing from very small but plump leaves I cared for exactly as I described above. I planted the leaves and left them while on vacation for 2 weeks. I came home to a pleasant surprise :).

Succulents… Tip #4 Air Those Babies Out

Honestly, besides being super trendy, mason jars are actually very functional for succulents. Believe it or not, mason jars and closed containers act like a mini greenhouse and advance the growth of your succulent.  They also hold moisture in a warm atmosphere for your succulent. This means that you will have to water your succulent WAY less frequently than when in an open to air pot. It’s also convenient that mason jars are clear and you can visually see when to water your plant.
The one catch to mason jars and closed container terrariums… When things look hot and moist on the inside, make sure you take the lid off and let things air out for a few hours or a day at a time. I’ve found that if you leave the lid on your succulent container for too long with too much moisture, your succulent will get root rot, molded and die. When I say too long, i mean I left the lid on a mason jar terrarium for like a week.. If your going on vacation or gonna be out of the house for a while I’d recommend to leave with the lid off. I’ve seen some bloggers swear by adding charcoal to the soil, to prevent this fungus and molding reaction. But I’ve found you can do just splendid without the charcoal, if you simply take the lid off your container every few days!
Succulents are very low maitenance. I hope my tips are showing you that over caring for your succulent is the worst thing you can do!

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Succulents.. Tip #3 Don’t Overwater

The absolute worst thing you can do to a succulent is overwater it. Sadly, I have killed a beauty or two by overwatering… so lets talk about what constitutes “overwatering”
If you’re new to succulents, It’s easy to gauge watering by planting your succulent in a clear glass pot. I use everything from beautiful clear glass vintage tea cups to globes, mason jars, glass bowls, etc. The clear glass allows you to see how much water is in your succulent’s soil.

Soo.. what to do?? If you can see or feel moisture in your succulent’s soil, it’s not time to water yet!! It’s really as simple as that. Watering when there is still moisture in your succulent’s soil will cause root rot. These babies store water in their leaves. They can go weeks at a time without water. So don’t drown them!

Succulents.. Tip #2 Don’t Get Skimpy With the Rocks

Sometimes I like to pretend I’m really scientific, and I have “controls” or things I keep consistent when caring for my succulents. This helps me determine the effects of different things I do in caring for my succulents. One thing I can assure you is that you can’t go skimpy on the rocks.

 Planting Your Succulent: Succulents require well oxygenated soil. In my experience, it has proved absolutely necessary to fill the bottom of the pot or planter with two to three layers of rocks.  Sometimes I put a layer of clean sand in between the layer of rocks and soil. This isn’t necessary but it also isn’t detrimental. If you live close to a beach with soft, clean sand… This can save you some money. As far as soil, succulents do best with a catus/succulent mix soil such as the bagged soil by Miracle Grow. These soils are quicker draining and don’t hold moisture like regular potting soil. This is especially necessary in the “rooting phase”, to prevent too much moisture which causes root rot.

Of course, don’t forget to douse the roots or stem of your succulent in Honey before planting. Honey acts like a natural rooting hormone, it works like magic and makes a world of difference. After planting my succulents, I find it beneficial to use small smooth pebbles on top of the soil. This helps the soil and the stem of the succulent stay fixed in place, which promotes quicker rooting.

Happy Gardening