Saturday, 3 October 2015

Succulent Successes (and Failures)

Succulents

Our new flat has a small strip of communal garden outside, and after an initial burst of enthusiasm, we dug all of the weeds out of the border that we could see from our window and scattered some wildflower seeds.


Unfortunately to get to our garden patch we have to walk the whole way round the outside of the estate and watering the seedlings quickly became a chore. So instead I took to looking at my seedlings through binoculars from the kitchen window, willing them to grow from afar. A friend pointed out that this makes us look quite convincingly mental and they have a point, so I try to limit this activity to when nobody is in the neighbouring gardens. Anyway, after a damp and cool summer a few of our wildflowers were opening up and although looking quite pathetic, represented a huge landmark for us being the first things we'd planted in our new garden. Until the caretaker mowed them down when he was cutting the lawn.

So I resolved to put all my efforts into something supposedly fool-proof and not at the mercy of the horticulture-hating caretaker. I got into succulents in a big way. I don't have a good track record with houseplants having over-watered all but one. So my mum gave me a few off-cuts with the strict instruction to not water them at all. Which I managed for about 2 hours. But then I got into a regular routine of watering them a tiny bit once a week. They seemed to particularly thrive when I went away on holiday for two weeks, so neglect is something they enjoy.

Succulents

Succulents

After several months, all of my baby succulents have grown, I've collected a few more from poundshops and these have sprouted baby plants that I've pulled off and replanted. One of my favourite things is to find containers in which to replant the more established plants. The first ones I used were tea-cups that my friend gave as favours at her wedding. I found some stripey cups from Tiger, pots from Poundland and even an empty coffee tin - but I gave these ones to a friend so sadly no photo!

Succulents in tea cups

Succulents in coffee cups

Succulents

 I've also been experimenting since in theory, any piece of the plant can sprout a new plant. For example if you pull one of the leaves off and leave it, it will grow a minuscule clone of the original plant. The parent leaf will shrivel up and die but the baby plant will set roots and eventually you can have a whole army of succulent clones. That's what I'm aiming for but so far I've had no luck except for with one spindly variety. I will keep trying though until my army is complete!

Baby Succulent

Succulents

Baby Succulents