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Propagation: When life won’t give you a real puppy

Propagation Plate

I’m going to be honest, I’m not a very active person. (Though, I tend to go on hours long shopping adventures, like…once a quarter). I’ve always thought that having a puppy would be great. My parents finally got a dog…in my last  year of high school and she was the most chill thing ever: loved people, liked to hang out, go on walks, etc. But she was my parent’s little white fluffy nugget of joy. Whenever I go over to visit friends and family who have dogs I tend to make friends with them super quick like.

As an adult, I have yet to get a doggo of my own. And with Lucy being the Queen that she is, I likely won’t be getting one for a while yet. So instead, I’m raising pups. Leaf pups. aka I’m growing plants from leaf cuttings I buy online or have plucked from my existing collection.

Here’s a photo dump of some of my — PUPPIES!

Echeveria Black Prince
Echeveria Black Prince
Graptopetalum Ghost, I think
Graptopetalum Ghost, I think
African Violets
African Violets
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Initial Notes on Indoor Plant Parenthood

Shelfie October 2021

I live in a valley next to a temperate rainforest. If you don’t know what that is, think cold and rainy. Moist, even.

Succulents? They’re from Mexico, Central America, South Africa: hot and dry places. And why did I decide this was a good idea? Because. Officially I live in a zone 9b climate and my house is facing East with a set of nice big windows facing South. And I’m lucky enough to not have a house right up against another building so I actually get light!

What has grown well for me so far indoors with natural light:

  1. String of Turtles
  2. Random plant my grandmother gave me 3 years ago that props from cuttings like a champ.

What has not grown well for me so far indoors with natural light:

  1. Jade plant (etoilatioooonnn!!!)
  2. Calathea (goes super dark green and doesn’t produce new leaves much)
  3. Parlor Palm (brown, and uh, brown)
  4. Cotyledon Tomentosa Bear Paws (etoilatioooonnn!!!)
  5. Graptopetalum Paraguayense Ghost (doesn’t like my draft window sil)
String of Turtles September 2021
String of Turtles September 2021

What is the climate like in my house?

Often: dry, dry dry dry dry dry. How? I don’t know, this house is hella old.

This is one of the factors I used to decide if I could raise and keep succulents inside the house. They are not huge proponents of humidity. All the pro-tips I have been reading online and on the r/succulents subreddit harp on deep watering when the plant looks like it needs water and not on a tailored schedule. So really, I’d say if you have a place with light or access to a grow light, you can TOTALLY have a little succulent buddy.

What’s my setup?

With winter well on it’s way over to say, “Hello”. I have set up a few bookshelves with grow lights I bought on Amazon to keep my collection and propagations going strong. Which grow lights? Yo, honestly I didn’t do much research beyond making sure they weren’t too cheap. My pro-tips here are to read reviews with a grain of salt. I’m a big believer in the LED light range and that you don’t have to spend $$$ on grow lights unless you’re doing so for business purposes like for growing succulents to sell.

Like with any hobby, it’s up to you how you budget your funds. I’m not here to tell you to not buy the super awesome MARS lights, just that, maybe try a cheaper alternative for now until you know for sure this is a hobby you’ll keep up in the long run? This advice applies for any hobby I try to get into. I never start off blowing $$$ on top quality equipment until I know I actually like the thing I’m doing.

Ok, if you really want to know. I have two sets of this one:

Dommia 20W Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights – (not an affiliate link).

The price seems to bounce between $16 and $30. I’m assuming the price is higher right now than the last set I bought for $18 because it’s turning winter here in the northern hemisphere and demand for the light panels is much higher than in August/September. It has a built in timer and sticky pads and twist ties for versatile attachment options.


Yes, I mix my own soil. And No it’s not anything special.

1 part cactus or quality potting soil (I use Black Gold)
1 part maifan stone of various size ranging 1mm-10mm
1 part horticultural pumice

IMHO – the most important piece of this is drainage. If your soil mix is holding onto water and soggy, your plant will rot. It. Will. Rot. Use a pot with a drain hole, use terra cotta, use well draining soil. On it’s own, cactus mix soil out of the box from the big brands imho is not going to cut it.

And yeah, that’s basically it.

Deep water your plants when they feel slightly squishy and enjoy the variety!

Happy collecting!