The low, spreading stems of the two-row stonecrop (Sedum spurium) readily root into moist, fast-draining, warm soil. Making stem cuttings from excess branches of the stonecrop and laying them in a sand-based potting mix will cause them to send out roots. These new, rooted and growing plants can later be transplanted into larger pots or back into the garden to fill in a barren area.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Pruners or scissors
- Cactus potting mix
- Small plant pots or seed tray
Purchase cactus potting mix from a local garden centre. Or, create your own soil mix to root the sedum: mix 50 per cent standard houseplant potting soil with 50 per cent coarse sand. Use compost instead of the potting soil if desired.
Fill small plant pots, such as 4-inch-by-4-inch square or 6-inch round pots with the potting mix from Step 1. A large, flat seed tray may also be used if many sedum stems are to be rooted.
Trim off lengths of stems with scissors or pruners that are 2 to 5 inches in length. Try to harvest stems with some foliage on them at their tips. Some stems trimmed may already have initial roots emerging from the stems where they were in contact with the soil or mulch.
Carve a shallow furrow in the sandy potting mix in the container, to a depth of 1/3 to 1/2 inch, with your fingertip.
Lay a stem cutting, with the cut end without foliage, in the furrow. Brush soil back in to fill the furrow and lightly cover the cutting. Tamp the soil down firmly to remove air pockets and to straighten or support the cutting with firmed soil.
Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until all cuttings are wedged into the potting soil in containers. Space cuttings 2 to 3 inches apart in the containers to maximise space.
Gently water the potting mix, or heavily mist it, so that the soil is damp.
Place the containers in a warm, sunny location. Very bright indirect light is also acceptable. Avoid placing the cuttings in a scorching hot or windy location.
Monitor the cuttings daily, misting the soil or gently sprinkling water onto the soil to keep it damp. Do not overwater so the soil is wet, and also do not let the soil become dry. Maintain a moist soil.
Tug gently at a cutting every 7 to 10 days to feel for resistance. As the roots develop and grow into the potting soil, the cuttings will not move or flop. If you pull out a non-rooted cutting, reinsert it following Steps 4 and 5.
Tips and warnings
- The sedum cuttings will root much faster in the heat of late spring through early autumn.
- Exceptionally long stem cuttings may be further cut down into sections 3 to 5 inches in length, removing the foliage from the lowermost half of the stem fragments before inserting into the sandy soil.
- If you are worried about stem rot and fungal problems, you may dip the freshly cut stem wounds in ground cinnamon powder before inserting into the sandy potting soil.
- Make sure the potting mix you use to plant the stem cuttings is sand-based or has exceptional drainage. Overly wet soils, especially if the weather is cool, will cause the cuttings to rot and foliage to drop.
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