Succulents have a lot going for them. For one thing, they look super cool (read: totally Pinterest-worthy). But more significantly for me they're hardy little suckers and, apparently unlike the vegetables I planted last year, thrive on relative neglect. A wide variety of succulents are so easy to find, pinch, and propagate that it takes only a matter of minutes to start your own collection (and accompanying pin-board) for free.

What You'll Need to Start your Succulent Garden:

  • Sharp scissors or secateurs
  • Some succulent cuttings
  • Plant pots (pots with drainage holes work best but, depending on budgetary and/or artistic requirements, an old bowl, silver trophy, or cup will do. Your plant won't live as long, but it'll be cute as can be while the goning's good.)
  • A pile of potting mix
  • Sand or something else gritty that will provide good drainage when mixed with soil (you may look into borrowing some of that gravelly non-clumping litter from your cat)

Step 1. Search out some cool succulents in a park, nature strip, or poking outside the fence-line of a neighbour's house. If you find a succulent you want to propagate on private property, it's probably best to ask permission before taking a cutting.


Step 2. Find a bit of the plant that you think would look good in your pot and snip it off leaving a 5 - 10 cm stem. Using a clean, sharp blade will help prevent bacterial and fungal infection, but if you're desperate and unarmed you can just snap off the bit you want.


Step 3. Dry the cutting in a well-ventilated area our of direct sunlight for a few days to allow the cut to 'scab over'. This prevents fungus getting up into your succulent and killing it.


Step 4. Make your succulent potting mix by measuring our 1 part standard potting mix to 1 part sand and mixing them together. (That's definitely the most I've ever written 'mix' in one sentence.)

Step 5. Using a spade or your hands, get the potting mix into your containers.


Step 6. Once you've figure out how you want to arrange your little plants in each pot, make a hole in the soil deep and wide enough to hold your cuttings

Step 7. Place the cuttings in the holes making sure they're securely held in place with potting mix. Don't be afraid to pull off any leaves that are getting in your aesthetic way - succulents are tough like - that's why we love them!


Step 8. You're done! Water your succulent garden well and allow the water to drain. Water it again only when the soil starts to dry out. Place the containers in a warm, bright location out of direct sunlight (which can scorch the leaves). You'll know the cuttings are rooted once they begin producing new growth in about four to six weeks.

Catherine Roberts