by Ken Steinberg
Wow! what a great, informative site! I'm a teacher and we've successfully propagated some succulents.
How do we (prune?)train them to create the hearty, low-to-the-ground rosette shape?
Thanks in advance!
Gr 7, MJDS
Drought Smart Plants reply:
Hi Ken, welcome to you and your students - start 'em young, I always say! Gardeners are made, not born, so your kids will have a head start on this fascinating hobby/lifestyle.
To answer your question, it would help to know what exactly the plants were. Pruning will certainly make them break new growth from buds below the cut, but if they aren't a rosette forming plant to start with, no amount of training will make them adopt that type of growth habit.
To get the rosette shape, you need to start with plants that have that type of shape to start with: some of my favorite low growing hardy succulents are Sempervivum and Jovibarba. These are similar to some of the tender types such as Echeveria and its relatives, but are super hardy in cold climates. These will come back bigger and better every year, eventually making a colony or cluster.
If some of what you have is Sedum, the low growing types such as Sedum spurium varieties will benefit from an annual trim - I use a weed whacker for this if I have a large area to cut back, and this promotes new growth from the stems that are left. Sometimes, these types of plants tend to grow outward from a central crown, leaving it balding and bare. The pruning will help keep them compact and bushy.
Best of luck with your project,
See these pages too:
Sedum spurium 'Dragons Blood'
Sedum for Groundcovers
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