They’re drought-resistant, low-maintenance and so easy to grow
Strike a succulent. It’s easy!
IN A CLIMATE LIKE OURS, plants that cope with drought are invaluable – and none more so than succulents, the cactus-cousins without thorns but with thick fleshy leaves, often in stunning shapes and colours. Best of all, they’re easy to grow. Succulents will strike, or grow, from virtually anything – even a single leaf. A new plant will form at its base, feeding off the old leaf until a new rosette (a circular arrangement of foliage) has rooted and is able to sustain itself. They will also grow off larger stem cuttings.
YOU WILL NEED DEBCO CACTI & SUCCULENT MIX, ABOUT $13 FOR A 25-LITRE BAG FROM HARDWARE STORES; 15CM TERRACOTTA SQUAT POTS, $4.98 EACH, FROM BUNNINGS; SUCCULENTS LIKE SEDUMS AND ECHEVERIAS (FOR CUTTINGS) ABOUT $10 A PLANT, POTTED; OR CUTTINGS FROM FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS.
STEP 1 Set cuttings aside in a dry spot – they need to dry out for a few weeks before planting to help any wounds to callus over and prevent fungal attacks. Once they’ve callused over, rootlets and even tiny rosettes of foliage at the base of each leaf will appear.
STEP 2 Gently plant the leaves with the rosettes into a bed of free-draining potting mix, which contains coarse sand to aid drainage. At this stage, place your plant out of strong sunlight.
STEP 3 Once the babies have formed into larger plants, lift them out and replant into larger pots or the garden.
STEP 4 The more sun your succulents get, the better the plants’ shape and colour will be. Place pebbles around the base of the plant to help reduce humidity (which succulents don’t like – the stones keep moisture away from the stem and allow water to flow into the soil) and to deny weeds sunlight to grow. After one week, water lightly.
Stunning centrepiece Create a burst of colour by planting up a variety of established and smaller succulents you’ve struck.