Gardeners World: Monty Don's advice on topiary
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BBC Gardeners’ World and BBC Morning Live presenter Mark Lane has shared his tips for gardening with children and grandchildren. Mr Lane, who is also Stannah’s Gardening Expert, said succulents are a great way for children to learn about caring for plants, seed collecting and propagation. Succulents are also common houseplants in the UK and include aloe vera, silver bracts and snake plants.
Mr Lane said succulents are great “first-time plants”, especially for children and are easy to propagate.
He explained: “Succulents make great first-time plants and it’s easy to grow baby succulents from a single plant (the parent plant).
“This way the children can share the young plants with their friends or other family members.
“All you need is some soilless compost, a seed tray or small pot.”
The gardening expert said to cut the leaves off a succulent, you can either break them off “quite easily” or use a knife close to the soil.
Some plants will already have young roots forming at the base of the stem.
He added: “The stem and leaves will produce new plants.”
Once you’ve broken off the leaves, there’s no need to put them in the soil or water, you can just place them on the surfaces of the moist potting mix.
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He explained: “Do not bury the leaves; in fact, the cut ends (where the roots form) do not even need to be touching the soil.
“Place the tray in a warm (room temperature) spot in bright light but out of direct sunlight.”
Succulents don’t like to be overwatered, and the same goes for the baby plants.
As soon as the soil surface begins to dry, add water but only enough to keep the soil moist, not saturated.
You should begin to see new roots forming in a matter of weeks.
Mr Lane explained: “Within a few weeks, you will see roots forming at the cut end of the leaf.
“Soon after, tiny succulent rosettes will form, which when about 3cm across, can be gently transplanted into another tray or pot to continue growing.”
Succulents need around six hours of sunlight each day, depending on the type of plant.
Newly planted ones can end up being scorched in direct sunlight so they should be gradually introduced to full sun.
A good way to do this is by providing some shade with a sheer curtain.
Succulents are also known for gathering more dust on their surfaces.
While it may not seem that serious, dust can actually inhibit a plant’s growth.
Wipe the succulent leaves and spines with a damp cloth or a soft, bristled brush to remove the dust.
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