The String of Dolphins (Senecio peregrinus) is a delightful succulent, capturing the hearts of many plant enthusiasts due to its charming dolphin-shaped leaves. A hybrid between the String of Beads (Senecio rowleyanus) and the Candle Plant (Senecio articulatus), this plant is as whimsical as it is beautiful. To spread the joy and expand their collection, many enthusiasts turn to propagation. In this article, we delve into the art of propagating the String of Dolphins to ensure you can enjoy even more of these unique plants in your space.
Propagation not only allows growers to multiply their collection but also rejuvenate older plants, manage growth, and share with fellow plant enthusiasts.
Choosing the Right Time
The optimal time for propagation is during the active growing season, typically from late spring to early fall. During this period, cuttings are more likely to root and thrive.
Tools and Materials
- Sharp, sterilized scissors or pruning shears
- A clean container or tray
- Well-draining potting mix, ideally cactus or succulent mix
- Rooting hormone (optional, but can enhance success rates)
Steps to Propagate
A. Leaf Cuttings
- Select Healthy Leaves: Choose mature, healthy-looking leaves. Gently twist and pull the leaf from the stem, ensuring a clean break.
- Let Them Dry: Allow the leaves to dry for a day or two until the cut end has calloused over. This reduces the risk of rot when planted.
- Rooting Hormone (Optional): Dip the calloused end of the leaf into rooting hormone to encourage faster root development.
- Planting: Place the leaves on top of the succulent mix, ensuring the cut end is slightly buried.
- Wait for Roots: In a few weeks, tiny roots will start to appear. Once substantial root growth is observed, the plants can be potted individually.
- Take a Cutting: Using sterilized scissors, snip off a section of the stem that’s a few inches long. Ensure there are multiple dolphin leaves on the cutting.
- Dry the Cutting: Allow the cut end to dry and callous for a day or two.
- Planting: Insert the dried end of the stem into the potting mix.
- Watering: Moisten the soil lightly, ensuring it doesn’t become waterlogged.
- Watering: Both leaf and stem cuttings should be kept in slightly moist soil until they establish roots. Overwatering can lead to rot, so it’s crucial to err on the side of underwatering.
- Light: Provide bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch young plants.
- Transplanting: Once the plants have developed a robust root system, they can be transplanted into individual pots or displayed in hanging planters to showcase their trailing growth.
- Rot: The most common issue with succulent propagation is rot due to overwatering. Always allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Slow Rooting: Patience is crucial. While some cuttings might root quickly, others can take longer. Ensure they’re in the right environment, and resist the urge to overwater.
The String of Dolphins, with its unique and captivating appearance, is a joy to propagate. The process, while requiring patience, is straightforward, making it an excellent project for both beginners and seasoned plant enthusiasts. By following the above steps and understanding the plant’s requirements, you can enjoy a thriving collection of these fascinating succulents.