I have always loved evergreen succulents. With their fleshy leaves and extraordinary forms, succulents are easy to maintain and make excellent container plants - I have quite a few of these popular specimens in my collection.
A general rule of thumb is to repot succulents every two-years, at least as a way to provide fresh fertile soil. The best time to repot is at the beginning of a succulent’s growing season - this gives the plant the highest chance of survival. Earlier this week while it was snowing outside, my gardeners, Ryan and Wilmer, took the opportunity to repot a good number of succulents and to propagate a selection of cuttings. Here are some photos of our process.
Succulents, or fat plants, are those that store water in fleshy leaves, stems, or stem-root structures for times of drought. Succulents are often grown as ornamental plants because of their striking shapes.
Several succulents in my collection needed repotting because they had grown too big for their pots or because I wanted them moved into more decorative clay containers.
I’ve been using Guy Wolff pots for many years. Last autumn, Guy delivered many gorgeous new gray pots to my farm – he makes every one of them by hand. At the bottom side of each one, Guy stamps his name and the wet weight of the clay used. http://www.guywolff.com/
On the other side, he stamps my name and the year the pot was made. They all look so great in my house during special occasions.
There is a drainage hole at the bottom of each pot.
A clay shard is placed over the hole to help with drainage. I also like to use clay pots because they allow proper aeration and moisture to penetrate through the sides and to the plant.
We always save shards from broken pots – it’s a great way to repurpose those pieces.
Wilmer gently removes a succulent from the pot, being very careful not to damage any of the roots.
To stimulate new root growth, Wilmer loosens the roots with his hands.
Then, Wilmer carefully tests to see if the pot is the right size for the plant. He chooses a pot that is just slightly larger than the plant’s original vessel.
Wilmer adds a sprinkling of Omsocote.
Osmocote particles are known as prills. The beige shell on the prill coats a core of nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
For succulents, we use a mix of equal parts sand, perlite and vermiculite for best drainage. The right soil mix will also help to promote faster root growth, and gives quick anchorage to young roots.
Soil is added to the bottom of the pot.
Wilmer carefully places the succulent into the container.
And adds more soil – just until about a half-inch below the top.
Wlmer tamps the soil down to prevent any air holes.
And adds another small sprinkling of Osmocote.
Plants are generally very easy to repot – it just takes a little time.
Do not water the succulents immediately after repotting – wait a few days to give them some time to adjust to the new soil.
Wilmer moves onto the next plant. This one needed a little maintenance care as well. He removed any dead leaves.
Again, he made sure the container was the right size.
Wilmer loosened the root ball by hand and gave the roots a slight pruning to encourage new growth.
After scooping a bit of the potting mix into the pot along with some Osmocote, Wilmer placed the plant into the container.
And then added more soil to fill.
Echevaria runyonii ‘Topsy turvy’ has pale blue-gray leaves that curve upwards and are strongly inversely keeled on the lower surface with leaf tips pointing inwards towards the center of the plant.
Echeverias are some of the most attractive of all succulents and they are highly valued by plant enthusiasts for their gorgeous colors and beautiful rosette shapes.
This is an aeonium, a fast-growing rosette-shaped succulent. Aeonium is a diverse group that can be stemless or shrublike, small or medium-sized, preferring sun or shade.
Place succulents on a table where they can drink in lots of natural light even when the sun isn’t directly over their pots.
Propagating is also very easy. Here, Ryan snips a three to four-inch piece of stem from the mother plant using sharp pruners.
To root properly, Ryan also removes several of the bottom leaves.
About a half-inch of stem should be exposed. Here are a few ready to be planted.
Ryan gently pushes the stem end of each plant into the growing medium.
Ryan gives the plants plenty of room. If all of these root and become succulent plants, there will be plenty to use in mixed urns during the summer months. New growth should appear four to six weeks after planting, at which point, they can be repotted separately.
All my precious plant collections are stored on long, sliding tables inside my main greenhouse – they all look so beautiful. What are your favorite succulents? Let me know in the comments sections below.