Taming the Succulent Monster

Oh hey y’all! No, I haven’t forgot about this blog, I’ve just been incredibly busy with the second semester of 1L year kicking my ass into another dimension. Now that I have time off from school I’m hoping to blog regularly and set up a schedule that I can realistically keep during the school year. Since I’m moving closer to school next month I won’t have that hellish commute to deal with during the semester and that will help me out significantly. Law school definitely sucked the life out of me and I’m slowly returning back to the land of personality now that I have all of this free time suddenly.

I have some exciting long term plant themed creations planned, but I don’t want to get them set up just to tear down the work space in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I’ve been coming up with little cleaning projects all around the house to do, and I wanted to share my most current success with y’all.

Alright I’ll be honest I never felt very passionate about succulents until recently this year. I admired their beauty but never felt like I was crafty enough for all of the arrangements I would see on pinterest and instagram. Now that I have grown a few from cuttings and starters I am starting to find a passion in these beauties and I’d like to curate my collection with all kinds of strange and interesting plants.

Technically I’m supposed to be on a “no buy” mainly because I’m moving at the end of June and traveling with plants over a windy road can be a hazard to the plants. That hasn’t stopped me from propagating what I already have! I have one box dedicated to my succulent cuttings I’ve been given, but I realized as I was moving some of those out into bigger pots I had a pressing matter to attend to.

Enter the Big Boy:

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Big Boy (Left)

(I apologize that I did not take a before photo of what had really taken over this pot as this one is from the beginning of the year, but I didn’t realize until halfway through dismantling Big Boy that this could even potentially be a blog post.)

This behemoth came from more depressing days where I let my succulents grow uncontrollably because I didn’t know what to do with them nor felt compelled to manage them. Bad plant parent, I know I am guilty. I also did not own shears until a couple of weeks ago which was a strange life choice for me all this time because shears really make a difference when tackling the thick stems of a plant. Who would have guessed gardening tools were useful huh.

Back to the beast at hand, the great thing about succulents is that they are really hard to kill, so it wasn’t that criminal I left this conglomerate of succs to overgrow. You can starve succulents of water and break off half of it and it will still find a way to survive and flourish. I’m shocked people have troubles with them since I left this at the hands of nature.

First, to tackle this monstrosity I went with the easiest solution. Chopping it into tiny bits.

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snip snip

I want to use this pot for propagation and I don’t have any large pots available for how big these succulents had become. The root system was DENSE and it was a struggle to pull some of the larger pieces apart from the dirt. I felt bad cutting down such large succulents for about a second after I realized I hit the mother load for decorating.

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Succulents will grow in the soil after being taken from the mother plant, but they can also be propagated in water like a pothos or philodendron. They are just that easy folks! Clipping enough stem to bury in the soil works best in my opinion. If you cut too close to the base the succulent will have a harder time anchoring itself into the soil. A short or nonexistent stem won’t kill the plant, but when watering it may flop around in the pot until its roots have developed.

Of course during this dismantling leaves would fall off but not to worry! You can propagate from clipped leaves as long as they’re in tact. I collected some from the pile of destruction and placed them in a little plate to start the propagation process. I’ll probably write up a separate post detailing the growth progress but for now I’m going to let them dry out for a couple days before I give them water and wait for them to start rooting.

In this pile of succulents I found some very small babies starting to grow so I put them in soil with the other smaller clippings. I’m shocked they were surviving in that environment, but succulents really are near indestructible in the right conditions. This soil was dried out and pretty terrible, but these are desert plants that are meant to thrive in harsh conditions. I think people struggle with succulents because they are over nurturing and drown the plant in too much water instead of allowing the soil to dry out in between waterings. My abandonment of this plant lead to so many great little pups, so I’m happy there is a silver lining in this.

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This is why you should always save the nursery pots you get, you’ll never know when they come in handy! Luckily I had a few decorative pots lying around from former plants no longer with us that I needed to fill because I’m saving my smaller nursery pots for something fun. Now I have several lovely containers of succulents that are going to live a much happier life, and I’m going to maintain them this time.

I know this was short and maybe not as informative as I would like for it to be, but I’m going to focus my energy this summer on writing more and developing my photoshop and photography skills.

Happy planting y’all!

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