Propagating snake plant

Can snake plants be started from cuttings?

Snake plant can be started several ways. Perhaps the simplest method is to divide older plants. Snake plants, or mother-in-law tongue, as it is known by some, produces underground rhizomes that increase the size of the clump of upright shoots. Division is a way to get a large new plant quickly. This is the only way to maintain the marginal light green stripe of variegated types.

If your snake plant is not variegated, and if you’re patient, you can start new plants by taking stem cuttings. Cut the snake plant leaves into 3-4 inch long segments, cutting a notch in the upper end of each so you can tell which end is up. Its important to mark which side is up on each cutting, because the cuttings will fail to root and grow if inserted in the rooting medium upside down. Dip the lower end of the cutting in soil with rooting mix to help start off your new snake plant growth. Remember to keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet, because snake plants can rot if kept in excessively wet soil. In several months you should see new shoots developing from the base of the cutting.

Planting succulent seeds

With more than 2,000 species of succulents and cacti suitable for decor, it’s worth your time and effort to try growing them from seeds. This allows you to experiment with combinations. Succulents are in the spot light right now, and we want to fill our homes, offices, and outdoor spaces with them. What better way to spread the succulent love than to learn growing from seeds. Succulents from seeds are a very similar process to growing cacti from seeds, but you will want to research the time of germination or each variety to make sure you aren’t removing them from the growing soil too early. Definitely consider the germination time before you purchase your seeds. Also, sunlight and temperature are important to monitor when growing succulents from seeds. The moderate temperatures of spring and fall allow for optimal growing conditions.

What You’ll Need:

  • Shallow planting trays (no more than 4 inches deep with drainage holes in the bottom)
  • Sand (try horticultural sand or builder’s sand), pumice, or perlite
  • Potting soil (optional)
  • Succulent or cactus seeds
  • Toothpick
  • Clear lid or plastic wrap for trays

Mix Your Growing Medium

There are many suggested combinations for growing media (that is, the soil mixture you’ll be planting your seeds in). Some suggest horticultural sand only, but using a mixture of succulent soil and sharp sand, pumice, or perlite can work as well. The amount you’ll need will depend on the ratio you decide to use, the size of your planting trays, and how many trays you are using.

Succulents with fatter leaves hold more of their own water, so you can use more pumice in your mix for optimal drainage. Plants with more delicate leaves will benefit from a higher ratio of soil. We found that a half-and-half mix of coarsely sifted potting soil and sand or perlite works well for most varieties (and combinations of different varieties) while providing enough drainage for the plants.

Planting Succulent Seeds

Succulent seeds are very small, so you will want to do this step in a sheltered area where the wind won’t blow them away. Dampen the surface of the soil so that the seeds stick to the soil. Carefully spread the tiny seeds over the surface of your soil mix, giving them some space in between each other. (The space between will depend on the type of succulent you’re planting. Keep in mind their mature size when considering how far apart you will want to space them.) Use a toothpick to gently spread them around. If your tray is divided into cells, put one or two seeds in each cell. Do not cover the seeds with soil.

If you’re growing more than one type of succulent at a time, we recommend separating each type into separate trays. Since they will have varying germination times, this makes it easier to give them the appropriate amount of sunlight and water depending on their growth stages.

Cover your tray(s) with a clear lid or plastic wrap. Set them in a brightly lit location but out of direct sunlight. Make sure the temperature stays at about 70 degrees F. Keep the soil moist but not wet, as too much dampness can drown your seeds. Open the lid twice a day to keep air moving. If you’re using plastic wrap, you may want to poke some ventilation holes with your toothpick.

Growing phase:

Once you see leaves begin to emerge, remove the lid during the day to keep them ventilated.

As your plants grow over the first week or two, continue to keep the soil moist and ensure adequate drainage. This is the time when their roots are just starting to develop, so it’s very important to keep them hydrated. Once the roots become established, it’s not necessary to keep the soil surface damp at all times. Monitor your plants’ growth and use your best judgment (plus your research on your particular type of succulent) until you’re watering them about once per week as you would adult plants.

This is also the time to begin to introduce your succulents to more sunlight. While succulents and cacti are desert plants, that doesn’t mean they thrive off of direct sunlight and heat. The baby plants especially do not like direct sunlight, so wait until their leaves begin to mature before slowly introducing them to more and more light. Increase the light by an hour or so every few days until you get them tolerating the amount of light in the area where you want to keep them permanently. Again, the best amount of light will vary depending on each type of plant.

You can purchase succulent seed packets at our new garden shop, just follow the link to see more: http://www.thegardenocityshop.com

Plant Care for Begonias

Begonias are some of the most beautiful, visually interesting plants you can grow indoors. However, they can be a bit picky about light and water, though not overly delicate, making them a great intermediate-level plant project. Here’s what you need to know.

There is virtually no end to begonia variety. With over 1,000 species and many more varieties and hybrids, begonias come in countless colors, sizes, and shapes. There are four main types: fibrous, tuberous, canes, and rhizomatous.

Begonias are particularly susceptible to root rot, so it can also be a good idea to add a layer pebbles or broken shards of old terracotta pots to the bottom for extra drainage. Repot begonias in a pot once size larger only when the pot becomes rootbound.

Striking the right balance with watering is the biggest challenge when growing begonias. Ideally, the soil should be slightly damp at all times, but not too wet because begonias are very sensitive to overwatering and can easily develop root rot. Test the soil with your finger before watering—the top inch should feel dry (approximately up to your first knuckle). If you are unsure if you should water, it is actually best to err on the side of caution and wait until the leaves begin to droop slightly, an indication that the plant is drying out. Water the soil directly, keeping the leaves dry.

Begonias also require high humidity to thrive, a challenge when growing them indoors. Rex begonias are fussier about humidity than other types. You might like to keep your begonia in the bathroom or kitchen where there’s likely to be more moisture in the air.

Begonias are fun and easy to propagate. Snip off a cutting and keep it in a jar of water until roots form before transferring it to a pot.

Toxicity

Begonias are toxic to pets, according to the ASPCA, though the most toxic portions of the plant are the underground tubers and roots.

Do you have a favorite Begonia? Or plant tips to share? Leave a comment!

Air Plant Care

Caring for your new little plants

Air plants live on air, right? Uh, not right! While air plants don’t grow in soil, they definitely NEED to be watered. While the plants can survive for long periods of drought, they will not grow or thrive and will eventually die off if water is too scarce. Follow the directions below for watering your plants on a regular basis and they will stay alive and well for quite some time. The good news is that since these plants are very forgiving, you shouldn’t stress over their care schedule. There’s certainly no need to get a babysitter when you go on vacation.

When you receive your air plant from the local garden shop or at our Etsy Shop, Printhousedesign1 make sure to give them a good soak in a little water bath (submerged in the rain water) for about 10-20 minutes. Shake gently to remove any excess water, and set in a spot with bright light and good air circulation to dry off. Air plants should be kept where they’ll receive bright, indirect sunlight or under fluorescent home/office lighting. Periods of direct sunlight are just fine, but more than a few hours of hot sun will deplete the plants of their moisture. If your plant will be in a spot with some pretty direct light, try misting them every couple of days to keep them hydrated.

These few steps on watering and light can help flourish your new plant. Do you have any helpful air plant tips if so comment below!

Are coffee grounds good for succulents?

The maintenance and care for an indoor plant to an outdoor plant can be drastically different. The main tip to remember is that coffee grounds won’t work on potted plants unless it has been brewed and diluted in water. Potted succulents don’t have enough microbes in them to break down the grounds into a substance they can use. However, diluting in water first will work as a great chemical fertilizer alternative.

Coffee grounds are great for succulents, but WHY do succulents like coffee grounds? Well, in simple terms, coffee is acidic and succulents LOVE acidic soil. Coffee grounds contain a number of different nutrients including 2% NitrogenPotassium and Magnesium – all essential nutrients your succulents need to thrive and grow. If your plants aren’t getting enough of these nutrients then you’ll notice their leaves start to turn pale and yellow, something you don’t want to happen! 

Ultimately it all comes down to pH levels. Tap water tends to have a pH level of around 8. Succulents actually prefer a slightly more acidic pH level of 5.8 – 7.0. Using coffee grounds as a fertilizer will actually help balance out this level, meaning they will thrive more, be more healthy and are much more likely to grow. 

The top three succulents to thrive are the Snake Plant (Sansevieria), Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata) and Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) which all love brewed coffee grounds mixed within the soil.

A few reminders

Don’t over-water

This is a bit general because all succulents need watering at different times so we can’t best advise how often you should water your succulent with coffee grounds. However, it is pretty well known that succulents don’t need watering very often and as a rule of thumb I would start off by watering your succulents with coffee every 2 weeks and see how you get on (the rule is a bit different for Christmas cactus). You should give your plants a thorough soaking and let the soil completely dry out before rewatering. 

Only use black diluted coffee

I feel like this is very self-explanatory. As humans we love to add all sorts of interesting things to our coffee; milk, cream, sugar, syrups! But needless to say, you should stick to cold black coffee for your indoor plants. I want to reiterate the word cold as well! If you make a fresh brew and pour it straight over your succulents then you will burn and scald the roots which will cause your beloved plant to die. If you are trying out coffee grounds on potted plants, then always make sure you are diluting in water first. If it is outside plants, then using the coffee grounds as they come as a fertilizer will be fine. 

If you have a success story of coffee grounds for succulents then let us know by leaving a comment.

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