I love growing lots of succulents in containers. They’re easy because they don’t need a lot of watering or fertilizer.
Many of my favorites are non-hardy, and that means if I want to keep them, I have to take them inside over the winter. The hardy hens and chicks (Sempervivum species) are no problem: we keep them in their pots, but move them into our unheated hoophouse to avoid the worst of winter’s freeze thaw cycles.
But you can’t do that with the tender succulents. In past, not wanting to bother with taking cuttings (I’m tired of gardening by this time of year), we’ve taken all the containers into the basement as is. There they would sit out winter under a big mercury vapour light.
The trouble with this method is that they get lank and overgrown stretching toward the light. So this year, I changed my plan of attack.
Today I took cuttings from the top center of the plants, and then we took all the succulent containers apart, discarding the mother plants. Tonight’s heavy frost will do them in on compost pile.
As for the cuttings, I removed the bottom leaves so that a little stem about half an inch long remains. I’m going to let this callus over for about five days, then stick the cuttings into a gritty potting mix to root in small nursery pots under the big basement light. (We add sand and fine gravel to a regular growing mix.)
I’ve tried this in the past with some of the succulents, and we had much nicer plants to start out with for spring.
We have our work cut out for us next week with all those cuttings, but I’ll be glad not to have to do this in spring, when there are so many other jobs on my to-do list.