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Propagating Succulents (rate of growth)

 
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Propagating Succulents (rate of growth)
I’ve read a lot about how to propagate succulents from both leaf and cuttings.  I have no doubt I can accomplish the task.  What I have not found is the rate of growth.  If I began this January how big could I expect (for example: from a leaf of a hen-and-chicken) to be in September?  1” across 2” or more?
For many years I have grown gourds and sell art gourds at local craft fairs.  This next September I would like to branch out and include some succulents, if it is feasible.
Thank you for any info you may have.
P.S.  This is such a large website with so much information and forums.  If another forum is a better fit for my question, please let me know.  
 
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The rate of growth of plants depends a lot on temperature and fertility of the soil. Generally, of course, warmer temperatures and more fertility will make plants grow faster, but then when you start giving a plant too much fertility it might be more susceptible to diseases and pests.
 
Barbara Ford
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Thank you for your reply.  I will be propagating the plants indoors this winter and using grow lights until about May.
 
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Hi Barbara Ford, Welcome to Permies!
I added your thread to a couple of other forums. If any thread ends up in a place where it won't be noticed by the people who will know the answer, we correct it. :)

I do not know the rate of growth, but hopefully someone will!
We have an Art forum, perhaps you can show us some of your gourds?

:D


 
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I have some experience with succulents. There seems to be a wide range of growth rates. Aloe Vera can get big pretty fast. Roughly two feet tall & two feet wide in one year with new ones starting to sprout up. Hen & Chicks seems much slower. I've never seen an individual chick get bigger than about an inch in diameter but one or two transplanted into an fresh 10 inch container can become full in about a year.
 
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for the "cute/chubby" ornamental succulent arrangements that are really popular right now, they seem to be very fresh/recent propagations - most things I propagate easily grow fast and become thin/leggy in a few months as they stretch up to grow(ie, not as presentable for sale).
 
Barbara Ford
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Thank you for your replies.  

I should have been a little more specific on the types of succulents I’m most interested in propagating this winter.  Of course, primarily the Echeveria, for their beautiful rose shape and large range of color.  Maybe some sedum for the chartreuse color, and some Ckassula (jade plant).  I already have dozens of mature Aloe Vera wintering in the well house (under lights).

My big concern is that starting with a leaf the Echeveria plant would just be to small to sell this coming September. What is your opinion?

P.S.  I will attempt to add a picture of my art gourds in the art forum.
 
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As someone who has a little backyard nursery operation, I rely on propagation for most of the items I sell, especially for succulents.
My advice is to do it as early as possible, because succulents are fairly slow to reach a good size for sale, especially leaf cuttings.
When you propagate via leaf, such as with Echeveria, the leaf will sprout roots, and then will use the nutrients stored in the leaf to make a completely new rosette at the base of the roots. As the leaf is sucked of nutrients, it'll slowly start to shrink while the new rosette will appear to not be growing at all (it's actually working on a better root system under the soil). By the time the leaf is empty of nutrients, the rosette should have a good enough root system to support the growth of the plant. So, essentially, it's similar to starting out from a seed, as the leaf will mostly disappear while the rosette starts out tiny.
If you start out with a whole rosette instead of just a leaf, it will go a little faster; but it's slow to get going because it spends a lot of time developing a root system that can support the whole rosette. Once it has a good root system (can take weeks to months depending on the plant and conditions), the rosette should pick up from where it was when taken as a cutting. Occasionally it will act like a leaf cutting & put out a whole new rosette, but that usually just happens if the rosette is damaged or a cutting from older growth on the parent plant.

Additionally, it will vary from plant to plant. I can have sedums go from cutting to market in a week or two in the spring and summer, but it may take over a month for a kalanchoe to be ready for the market. I generally do my first round of cuttings in the fall when I move everything to the greenhouse; which will be the market plants for the next spring. Then, when I move those cuttings outside to harden off in spring, I'll start another round of cuttings for late summer/fall markets. For the types that grow really slowly I do the cuttings for next spring in late summer, and the cuttings for summer/fall markets in the previous fall.
Best thing to do is just start doing cuttings on the various things and keep a journal on how long each one takes. And remember they'll take longer to grow outside of the normal growing season.
Hope this helps!
 
Barbara Ford
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KC.  Thank you for your advice, very helpful.

Based on your advice, I think I should increase my initial investment and spend the little extra for the small rosettes.  I wish now I had started this project in the summer.

I’m used to planting in the Spring and harvesting in late Fall.  Of course, it takes a year for my gourds to dry before I can use them.  So, it looks like I’ll have another delayed gratification project.  Just hope the succulents will be big enough for the coming Fall shows.

P.S. I’ve used Aloe and perennials in my gourd hanging planters. If anyone is interested, I’ll be glad to share how to prep the gourd for planters.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Barbara Ford wrote:

P.S. I’ve used Aloe and perennials in my gourd hanging planters. If anyone is interested, I’ll be glad to share how to prep the gourd for planters.


Definitely interested! Please do share :D
I have put cacti into bones but never put plants into gourds.
 
Barbara Ford
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Peral,
How to make gourds into hanging planters.
This is how I do it.   This may be the wrong forum for this, if so, please move it.
1. Select a good solid dried gourd, wash and clean the outside.
2. Drill drainage holes on the bottom (3-4) and the holes at the top for the hanging twine (I use wire or hemp rope).
3. Now cut out the openings for your plants.  I usually cut the front and back of gourd, leaving plenty of room at the bottom bowel for soil and plants. (For safety, use a face mask when cutting or cleaning out gourds).
4. Next clean the inside of the gourd.  Remove all the seeds and fiber, if needed scrape for a smooth inner surface.
5. Coat the inside of the gourd with “White Kool Seal Elastomeric roof coating” (This is the brand I have used)
6. Take a damp rag and remove any Kool Seal that has leaked out around the drilled holes.  But be sure that the interior of the holes has been coated with the Kool Seal.  Let dry.
7. Now I paint, dye, or wood burn the outside of the gourd.  Let dry.
8. This is when I thread the wire or twine into the holes for hanging.
9. Coat the outside of gourd with polyurethane.  Let dry.
10. You’re ready to plant!
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hanging gourd planters
hanging gourd planters
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gourd planters
gourd planters
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gourd display
gourd display
 
Dustin Rhodes
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Barbara Ford wrote:

My big concern is that starting with a leaf the Echeveria plant would just be to small to sell this coming September. What is your opinion?




if you have enough source material, why not root an entire rosette right off the bat? - instantly presentable :)
 
Barbara Ford
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Dustin,
I would love to just buy mature plants, however except for Aloe I am going to have to buy all starter succulents. Although I have been convinced to purchase the small rosettes at a slightly higher cost. Why not just buy mature plants?  Cost vs profit. Here a mature rosette is about $4.00. Most of the customers at local craft shows in my area are mid to low income.  My best sellers are $20.00 and under. The big gourds sell, but at a much lower rate. My live plants have averaged $15.00 and under.
My goal, at the very least is to double my investment. Now consider the cost in building an “attractive” saleable arrangement:  Container, gravel, charcoal, soil, toppings, trinkets and of course plants. Depending on size my initial investment in each planter can be no more then $5.00-$10.00.
 
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