Category: On the Windowsill

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” – Chinese Proverb

Red-Tinged Sedum

Six weeks since these three leaf cuttings of Sedum rubrotinctum have pushed out roots, they now each have a cluster of tiny leaves with visible reddish tinge. I’m really pleased that they’re doing well.

Today, I learned from various sources five things about Sedum rubrotinctum that I didn’t know before:

  • First, the plant is poisonous and the sap from its cuttings is a skin irritant.
  • Second, this succulent produces bright yellow, star-shaped flowers in springtime—but not always! Flowers are produced only when the conditions for its flowering have been satisfied.
  • Third, its reddish hue becomes more pronounced the more it is exposed to the sun. Its colour-change is a kind of adaptive mechanism, a stress response.
  • Fourth, its botanical name is also written as Sedum x rubrotinctum because it is a hybrid of Sedum pachyphyllum (that other sedum I have on my windowsill) and Sedum stahlii.
  • And lastly, aside from being called a jelly bean plant, Sedum rubrotinctum‘s other common names are “pork and beans,” and “Christmas cheer.”

Sedum rubrotinctum. I love the specific epithet (the second part of a plant’s botanical name) of this plant, rubrotinctum. Without any knowledge of Latin and without consulting any book on plant naming, rubrotinctum just sounds like something dipped in red ink. Sedum rubrotinctum, the sedum tinged with red. I can’t wait for these plantlets to grow bigger and exhibit more of its reddish hue.

Burro’s Tail

Oh, joy! My leaf cuttings of Sedum morganianum, commonly known as Burro’s Tail, have grown. All three leaf cuttings do not anymore just have a little bump at the attachment area, but now have leaves—proper, tiny leaves! It took them about five weeks to go from having just a bump to this stage.

Funny how people name things. Or, plants, in this case. Burro’s Tail. Today, seeing that the leaf cuttings have thrived, I googled to know more about this particular succulent. I learned that this succulent is also called by other common names, among them: Donkey’s Tail, Horse’s Tail, and Lamb’s Tail. It seems people (the ones who have given this succulent its name) are quite agreed that the trailing stems of Sedum morganianum look like some kind of tail; they are just not sure what kind of animal’s tail it is.

Sedum morganianum mature plant grows trailing stems, 30cm or longer, densely packed with globules of fleshy blue-green leaves. The one I took the cuttings from must be a young plant, its unpruned stems not even reaching 10cm yet. I am looking forward to seeing these three plantlets grow. Hopefully in six to eight weeks time, their leaves will have grown more substantial and I can already transfer them to their own pots. For now, all that’s needed—aside from ensuring they don’t dry out—is to be patient.

Jade Plant

~ Crassula ovata a.k.a. jade plant, money plant, and friendship tree. ~

When I bought this succulent, I had no inkling about its name/s. I bought it on a whim from Next, along with Sedum pachyphyllum. Later on, I found out that it is commonly called as “jade plant,” also as “money plant.” It has strong oriental roots and has been used by the Chinese in the practice of feng shui in terms of wealth. In the RHS website, it is also labelled as “friendship tree.” I don’t know the story behind this last name. Perhaps it’s related to money: the more money you have, you find the more friends you have.

Crassula ovata is the botanical name of jade plant/ money plant/ friendship tree. As my horticulture teacher has emphasised, this is the beauty of a botanical name versus a common name: a botanical name is unchanging (unless recent genetic findings warrant a change). The botanical name allows us gardeners and plants people to know exactly which plant we are talking about, compared to using common names which may differ from country to country, region to region, locality to locality, and possibly, even garden to garden.

~ The other four Crassula ovata plantlets. ~

The original plant I bought has succumbed to stem rot, a section of the stem started blackening off and then the leaves turned yellow and fell one by one. Fortunately, I took some leaf cuttings from it one or two months before that happened, emboldened by the success of the Sedum pachyphyllum leaf cuttings.

Today, I have five healthy plantlets of Crassula ovata sitting on my windowsill.

“Two-Stemmed” Sedums

When does a succulent leaf cutting produce two stems, and when does it produce just one? Or probably, the better question is: why? I wondered about this as I watch my Sedum pachyphyllum leaf cuttings grow into new plants. I don’t know the answer.

~ A one-stemmed Sedum pachyphyllum plantlet. ~

Sedum pachyphyllum is the first succulent I tried propagating. The mother plant was a small plant, with less than 20 leaves when I bought it. I was eager to try and experiment with leaf cuttings propagation as I’d never done it before then. The instructions from the internet: ensure the leaf is whole when taking leaf cuttings, allow the “attachment end” to dry for 2-3 days, lay the cuttings on clean compost—preferably one suitable for succulents, mist the cuttings with water as needed—do not allow them to dry out, keep the cuttings in a warm area, and lastly, have patience, in a few weeks the cuttings should take root.

And indeed, just like that, my leaf cuttings were a success! I was amazed by how easy it is to reproduce Sedum pachyphyllum. The ones above are some of my latest leaf cuttings. The first ones (below) will soon need re-potting.

~ The first two leaf cuttings of Sedum pachyphyllum have grown well. ~

Succulent Babies

While the garden outside is entering a state of rest — even death and decay, my kitchen window sill is fostering the start of life. Receiving ample light when there is sun and warmth from the radiator fixed underneath, it has become a place for propagation inside the house.

About a month ago, I got hold of some leaf cuttings of two succulent varieties, Sedum rubrotinctum (Jelly Bean Plant) and Sedum morganianum (Burro’s Tail). I placed them on this window sill, taking care to keep them from drying out by misting them with water. While the Burro’s Tail has developed a “bump” looking like it will push out roots any day now, the Jelly Bean — true to textbook form — has started to grow a tiny plant!

~ Plump leaves and vigorous roots: a healthy new Sedum rubrotinctum. ~
~ Sedum morganianum — C’mon, li’l fella, you can do it! ~

My First Succulent

~ Echeveria agavoides: a perfect plant for an amateur gardener. ~

This Echeveria agavoides is my first ever succulent. I bought this a puny-looking plant in a little plastic pot in Wilko, among the last ones left. At the time, it measured barely 2.5 inches across. I didn’t know anything about growing succulents, but I looked at its rosette leaf formation and I thought, “What a beautiful plant!”

Now it has more than doubled its size, filling a 6-inch soup bowl that has been its pot for the last year. It’s been the perfect little plant for an amateur gardener like me. It just sat there on my sunny kitchen windowsill and grew. For almost two years now, all it needed from me was a little bit of watering. Also, every week I rotated its pot to make sure every “side” gets to have some sun, to encourage it to grow without tilting to one side in search of light.

~ Echeveria agavoides in its beautiful rosette pattern. ~

I tried propagating it from some leaf cuttings, but I haven’t had any success yet. I need to learn more about how to do it the right way. But for now, it sits alone — rather proudly and queenly — as the only Echeveria agavoides on my windowsill.