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How to create new plants for free

Have you ever tried to propagate pieces of plants in the hope that they will grow into something new? I have. Not often, and definitely not on my own; usually it's my mom (who has a really great green thumb) who's guided me in my gardening adventure. 

But trying to grow succulents are another story. I've sadly killed many, but continue to buy them in the hope that one day we will grow old together. Succulents are not my mom's forté, and since I am a huge fan of them, I wanted to learn how to not only take care of them, but also propagate them. But I never do anything without a plan. So, I'm going to tell you more about the manual I used: Propagating Plants by DK Books Canada

To be fair, I've learned a lot from other books such as Cactus and The Practical House Plant Book (both from DK Books Canada and featured here in the Mother's Day curated gift giving guide), and have become slightly better in diagnosing what the problem is. The first, is overwatering; the other is extreme heat temperatures. In one case, I had left one of the succulents on a stand above my radiator during the winter, which unfortunately killed it. 


So, one of the main reasons that I was interested in the book Propagating Plants by DK Books Canada was to learn how to propagate succulents. 

Here's a step-by-step account: 

1. Cut 2-3 inches from the top of a young rosette of leaves. Trim the bottom leaves and allow to callus for a few days. 

2. Prepare a standard 3in (8cm) pot. Gently push the stem of the cutting through the fine grit top-dressing into the soil mix below so that the leaves sit just above the surface. 

3. Place the cuttings in a bright, airy position. Do not enclose them in a closed case because high humidity can cause rot. Most cuttings root within 1-3 weeks. 

I'm still monitoring my experiment, and I am hopeful that it will result in a positive outcome. One concern I had a few days after planting them in the pot, some of the leaves started falling off. This doesn't seem like a good sign to me, but I don't want to lose hope just yet. Because the pot was so small, every time I tried to pull them out, or replant them into the existing soil, I'd end up crushing the parent plant which was not very strong to begin with. As a result, I'm uncertain if I may have slightly damaged it.

Do you have any tips for taking cuttings and replanting them? Please share. 


Propagating Plants has a section that's labeled: Other Common Problems Affecting Propagated Material. It lists a whole table of possible causes, and how to control them. This may include things like downy mildew, foot and root rots, to name a few. Personally, I need to put my science hat on and figure out by process of elimination, what I could have done wrong.

Despite my immediate experimental experience, the book is fact-filled and contains every single type of plant you may think of propagating, complete with visual step-by-step guides, and authoritative advice on cutting, layering, sowing, grafting, and more. It's also written by a team of horticultural experts, so whether it's conifers or rosettes, I'll be sure to be trying new things. 

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Purchase Propagating Plants by DK Books Canada.

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