How to slow down and grow, prop­a­gate and swap low-main­te­nance suc­cu­lents

Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Text MARY MAUREL

All about sim­ple suc­cu­lents

Gar­den­ing as a pas­time is com­pat­i­ble with the prin­ci­ples of slow liv­ing. It al­lows you to take time out of your hec­tic sched­ule to en­gage with some­thing quite sim­ple and pure. In do­ing so, you’re able to con­nect with your­self, slow down and be present.

For many, gar­den­ing can be in­tim­i­dat­ing if you feel you don’t have the knowl­edge or abil­ity to grow plants. How­ever, I love suc­cu­lents be­cause they are so ro­bust, for­giv­ing and ac­ces­si­ble. They don’t re­quire any skill – any­one can grow a suc­cu­lent.

Char­ac­terised by fleshy parts that help re­tain wa­ter in arid cli­mates, suc­cu­lents re­quire well-drained sandy-to-grav­elly soils, very lit­tle wa­ter and lots of sun­light. What’s more, they prop­a­gate very eas­ily. A leaf or cut­ting bro­ken off a suc­cu­lent will root and be­come a new plant, which means you can share and ex­change plants among your friends or in com­mu­ni­ties.

Suc­cu­lents such as Se­dums and Echev­e­ria can eas­ily be re­pro­duced with a leaf cut­ting. Sim­ply break off a leaf from the main stem, en­sur­ing it’s a clean break, then leave for a few days to heal and form a cal­lous. Place the leaf on the sur­face of soil and spray with wa­ter ev­ery few days. Roots will ap­pear at the cal­lous as the leaf searches for wa­ter, and new leaf nodes will form. At this point, you can plant your baby Echev­e­ria and watch it de­velop into a fully fledged suc­cu­lent.

MY FAVOURITE SUC­CU­LENTS Fox­tail Agave (Agave at­ten­u­ata)Pig’s Ear (Cotyle­don or­bic­u­lata)Cooper’s Aloe (Aloe Cooperi)Mex­i­can Gem (Echev­e­ria el­e­gans)Ice Plant (Se­dum spectabile) Cras­sula ex­pansa subsp. frag­ilis

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