Watering My Green Thumb

My babies last year.

After falling into a batch of cactus when I was little and having to sit on a sore bum all the way home, I swore to hate the prickly beasts for the rest of my life.

And yet, much more recently, I discovered the delectable method of preparing nopales to eat and was surprisingly hooked. I have a recipe I shared four years ago for a good example of how we liked them. Check it out here!

But even so, my relationship with cactus is best described as love/hate. My brother was given a tiny cactus clipping a few years ago from a neighbor and has been growing it in our kitchen window ever since. He named it Taco, actually. Don’t ask. I can’t help admitting that the little thing looked cute and unique, and I even bought him a special pot for it for his birthday.

And yet a plant that you can’t touch still remains a bit of a letdown to me.

Only last year I discovered the name of a type of plants I have always liked. You know, the ones that look kind of rubbery. I’m sure you know the name: succulents. I’ve always seen them and been attracted to them but I didn’t know what they were until last year when I saw them in the garden area of Lowes. I fell in love. I talked about how cute they were and how much I wanted them until my brother (my other brother) ended up buying me three when he bought himself some. I got a special pot and researched special soil and top dressing. My little babies got planted and looked so cute. I discovered however that they are related to cactus and have to be taken care of very similarly.

Here was my middle ground. The alternative to those prickly, hateful, cute little plants. My brother can have his “Taco” and I’ll have my succulents. (Sadly, they are the fad right now and I have a natural derision to following fads for the fads sake. But after the fad is all over, I will still have my succulents.)

In my research I ran across this wonderful blog called Succulents & Sunshine by Cassidy Tuttle, which has a wealth of information. I have learned so much from her posts and definitely recommend budding succulent growers (no pun intended) take a look at what she has to say.

I soon learned of the “art” of propagating succulents and was very intrigued. If you are not familiar with the term, it means growing new plants with cuttings from the parent. Tuttle gives good advice and how-to’s for this process and today, I followed them to start propagating my own!

Our home lacks good windows to provide sunlight, especially in the winter, so my poor succulents stretched a great deal over the last few months. There really isn’t anything I can do for this problem, but the fact that I can clip them back down to size, start over, plus have more plants because of it, helps a great deal to appease the unavoidable problem of continual stretching. I do, however, intend to do more this year in giving them appropriate light. Although placing them in the vicinity of my cats is out of the question. (Cat = broken succulents!)

So here are my pictures of how it turned out.

Before murdering!

All of my clippings! They are so beautiful!

These are clippings from my Sedum adolphii “Firestorm”.

These are clippings from my Crassula “Moonglow” (left) and my Graptoveria “Moonglow” (right).

And here are the original plants that will (I hope) grow once more into flourishing beauties.

I must say I am a little nervous. They say not all of them will turn out, but with my luck I fear none of them will. I couldn’t help feeling murderous while I was pulling the leaves off. After all, when you pluck the petals from flowers you’re killing them, or maybe torturing them since you started the dying process when you picked them. But as many specimens as I have, surely some of them will turn out.

I will leave these for a few days so that they will scab over, as experts suggest, and then I have a pot I plan to fill with succulent soil where I will lay them to grow. I can’t wait to see the tiny new buds!

While these babies grow, and I continue to learn more about them, I have secret hopes of getting ahold of some Hens and Chicks this year. There are so many succulents out there and they are all so amazing! Where I will put them I have no idea. Maybe I’ll start hanging them from the roof…

I intend to post a follow up to this as things progress. Keep your fingers crossed!

Are you a veteran succulent grower or are you new to the game as well? Click on the post to leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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