Demoing with an Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg –
‘Why don’t mine look like that?’
One of the most common questions/complaints I used to have, and still hear from others (just about daily) is why some leaf propagations seem to be ‘underachievers’ with little desire to put out roots, let alone leaves.
Sound familiar? Then read on!
Simply put, most succulents are already slow-growers, and if the species we’re trying to propagate isn’t in its growing season, we’re in for an even longer wait to see any progress, if it grows at all. This applies to cuttings taking root as well. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try off-season propagation, but our expectations should be aligned with the seasons. Using my city and region as an example, Houston summers are hot, humid, and long, with short, mild winters, and we have a growing season that averages 300 days, almost double that of Indianapolis or Denver. So when learning about succulent care, please keep in mind that your location is a primary factor in determining what advice applies to you.
If you’re like me, you want all the sucs, but your local selection is lacking in the variety department. You’ve seen all of the options about buying plants online but are tentative about committing to an order. I’m here to encourage you to go for it! First, read what I’ve learned to help make sure your order stays alive and what the process is like when your shipment arrives.
The other day, I noticed a hole in a Graptoveria Fred Ives leaf that was in a small pot up on a shelf, on my screened-in porch. Even though it was rather high up, I looked for snails and didn’t see any. So I started to twist off the boo boo leaf when I felt something cold and soft– it was this darn caterpillar! An Armyworm Moth larva to be precise.
Most of us have checked out #succulents on Instagram and ogled over photos showing the most brilliantly colored rosettes, strange but fascinating lithops and mesembs, and propagating leaves that seem to grow faster and more colorful than anything we’ve seen at home. Sometimes we wonder what we’re doing wrong without considering the location those photos are taken are from climates much more aligned with the elements succulents truly thrive in.
Most seem to originate from southern California, Australia, Korea—not Houston ‘Humidtown’ Texas, that’s for sure. Dry days and cooler nights…if this doesn’t sound familiar then you’re in the same boat as I am. If summer temperatures consistently rise above 90F and +70% humidity, or if it rains everyday for a month, and we think we’re going to get the same results in our succulent gardens as those living in San Diego, we’re going to have a really bad time. That doesn’t mean we can’t have succulents, just not all of them, or at least not without a lot of controls in place that some people don’t want to fool with or pay for like lights, fans, and dehumidifiers.