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Posts Tagged: plant propagation

Exotics? Succulents?

I keep back issues of my favorite gardening magazines as do a lot of gardeners.  We justify this magazine “hoarding” by telling ourselves that they are needed “in case I want to refer back”; but rarely do we look at anything in the stack again!  Well, I’m here to suggest that we need to periodically check out those not outdated articles, and this blog serves as a good reason!

Years ago I subscribed to Flower & Garden, which was published back in the 1990’s – I know since my subscription ended with the January, 1996 issue.  In the 1990’s, it seems that most people thought of succulents as exotic plants.  These were meant to be carefully tended, shaded from the direct sun, kept from harsh temperatures, and planted in sandy, rocky soil.

Interesting, but since a lot of succulents come from either desert-like climates or cold, windy alpine mountains, it does seem that the coddling “required” was a bit much.  Where are the succulents growing in your yard?  In the full sun, away from winds (try that in Suisun or Fairfield!), in crumbly semi-moist soil?  Mine are growing like weeds in pots outside in regular potting soil; they get water when “everyone else” does and they don’t get sheltered from the elements!  Nope, mine thrive where they are, thanks!

The article continues on about picking out the right size pots: for a barrel type cactus, use a pot 1 to 2 inches wider than the plant; for vertical type plants such as aloes use a pot ½ the height of the plant.

I don’t have many specimen succulents here.  I have creepers mixed with verticals and here and there they are interspersed plants that grow wider than tall.  Everything spills, and tumbles out of the pots so that one succulent looks like it belong with the plants in the next pot over. One of my succulents is rangy, with leaves spaced a good 4 inches apart and a rather strange shade of pale green; not an attractive plant BUT when it blooms – wow! – pale yellow bell-shaped flowers abound in a semi-panicle form.  It’s just beautiful!  And then the flowers are through and it becomes its rather nondescript self. 

Aloes, Agaves, Crassulas, Echeverias, and Sempervivums are plant groups that fall into the succulent category.  Come to the plant exchange on October 12, and see the variety there.  Thanks to Elizabeth who came to my house and harvested cuttings, there should be a goodly bunch for you to select from.  Come and take the free plantlets and stay to listen to the various mini-talks by the Master Gardeners of Solano County.

Hope to see you there!

Crazy succulents! (photo by Jennifer Baumbach)
Crazy succulents! (photo by Jennifer Baumbach)

Posted on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM


On Saturday, March 10th, the Master Gardeners held a class on Plant Propagation in the Horticultural Building at Solano College. The class was divided into four sections: layering, dividing, cuttings and seeds. This presentation was open to the public and 25 people signed up and about 45 showed up. The morning went extremely well as the Master Gardeners came loaded with garden plants and cuttings to support and supply each of the four “stations”. The participants divided into 9 or 10 at each section and we began demonstrating and planting. Every 20 minutes or so, the group then rotated to the next section to learn specific techniques. It did not take long before everyone was engaged, planting, asking questions and just having a grand time.

My Master Gardener partner Kris Moore, and I hosted the seed table. We talked about the benefits of planting with seeds, starting seeds, saving seeds, seed catalogs, seed tapes, reading seed packets, seed varieties, different ways to start hard outer-shell seeds and how a seed germinates. We demonstrated planting a plastic flat (lined with newspaper) with vegetable seeds, placed in rows and marked with plastic labels (name and harvest date from the seed packet). We provided peat pots, soil, seeds and water for those who wanted to plant seeds to take home.

During our presentation, we mentioned how much fun it is to collect seeds from friends and family to plant in your garden. It is an economical way to grow plants and seeing the results will remind you of the person who shared. My yard contains many plants that have come from other gardens. The photo with this article is a double hollyhock discovered close to our house, that we collected seeds from then planted in our backyard.

The Master Gardeners taught 45 people the joy of creating plants by layering, cuttings, dividing roots, and rhizomes and sharing seeds. It will be a busy spring for all who participated.

Double hollyhock. (photo by Sharon Rico)
Double hollyhock. (photo by Sharon Rico)

Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Plant Propagation Workshop-March 10

If you love to garden, and I know you do if you are reading this blog, then you might be interested in this...the Master Gardener Plant Propagation Workshop.  We will hold this hands-on workshop on March 10th from 10:00 a.m. until noon.  The location of the workshop is the Solano Community College Horticulture building (1000). The street address is 4000 Suisun Valley Road in Fairfield.  It is a FREE workshop!

At the workshop, participants will be shown techniques on how to propagate plants.  We will cover these areas:

  • why we propagate plants at home
  • seeds (sexual propagation)
  • division (things like iris, ornamental grasses, orchids)
  • stem and leaf cuttings (African violets, butterfly bush)
  • air layering and layering (strawberries, airplane plants)

The best part of the workshop will be that you can take home the plants you propagate! The Master Gardeners hope you can join us at this fun, hands-on event.

Please be sure to RSVP with me, Jennifer Baumbach, at 707-784-1321 or

Dipping a stem cutting into rooting hormone. (photo by Jennifer Baumbach)
Dipping a stem cutting into rooting hormone. (photo by Jennifer Baumbach)

Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 4:47 PM
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