Planting Succulents and Recycling all at the same time!

QUICK FACT about succulents: In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents, are plants with parts that are thickened, fleshy and engorged, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap.

What you will need:

  • Empty toilet paper rolls (as many as you wish, I used six)
  • Scissors
  • Plastic container to put your little plant holders in
  • Water
  • Soil/Sand
  • Succulent leaf and/or stem cuttings 

STEP 1: Making your recycled pot-plants.

Cut four slits into the roll, just under halfway up. Fold the strips one by one over each other to form the closed bottom of your small “pot-plant”.

Do this with all your rolls. There is NO NEED to glue it, and don’t worry if it doesn’t stand on it’s own. You are going to fill this with sand and put them in a holder.

TIP: You can make these for ANYTHING you want to grow from seeds, like flowers, vegetables, herbs, etc. Once the seedlings are big enough to replant, you plant the WHOLE toilet roll pot in the ground, no need to remove. The rolls will biodegrade into the soil. You can do the same, once you see your succulents are growing bigger.

STEP 2: Collecting your succulents

Collect leafs and stem cuttings from succulents in your garden. If you don’t have any succulents, ask friends and/or family if you may get some cuttings and/or leaves. Most succulents can grow a completely new plant from just a leaf! Don’t be afraid to test them out, you will be surprised.

UNPLANNED PROJECT: On the left of the below photo, is a succulent that was most probably uprooted by one of our dogs. As you can see it is very dry and have started sprouting roots on the stem in an effort to grow into the soil. I’ll show you what I usually do in cases like this. On the right is our six leaf and stem cuttings we are going to plant in our recycled “pot-plants”


STEP 3: Getting your hands dirty (filling your pots with soil/sand)

Yes, this beautiful dog in the first photo is my shadow! He follows me everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. His name is Comet and he is the prime suspect in uprooting my succulents, even those I have planted in pots.

Back to our project.. fill in your pots with sand, compact it a little and fill to almost full.

Wet only the top layer of the sand in each pot. Don’t add too much water. As for the tin in the picture, I will use this tin to save a piece of the uprooted dry succulent. I have collected a couple of tins a while back in order to grow some succulents in and place it in my kitchen window sill. Guess the time is now to start with that project. Usually I stick uprooted plants like this straight back in the ground and make sure they get enough water for a couple of days until they settle. I will do this with part of the dry one, and then you can follow it’s progress as well. 

As for preparing the tin: I made some drainage holes in the bottom, filled with small rocks and then sand.

 

STEP 4: Planting your leaf and stem cuts.

This is the easy part. Just push them into the soil or make a hole with your finger and place the plant in the hole. Make sure you secure the plant with the soil compacted tightly around it. 

ALMOST DONE… give the plants a quick spray with water and place it in a window sill.. DONE!!  Spray lightly when you see and feel the soil is dry. Usually every other day, but be careful to water too much. Once you see your plants are starting to grow and seem to get to big for the roll pots, replant them, pot and all into the ground or a bigger pot-plant. 

TIP when replanting: Completely wet the toilet roll pot, before you place it into the ground, either by spraying it wet on the outside, or quickly submerge it into a small container with water.

The rest of the UNPLANNED PROJECT with uprooted plant.

As the plant started sprouting root on the stems, I split it. At first I wanted to throw away the bigger stem, but decided to plant it because of the roots.

One of the pieces with leaves on, I planted in the tin. The other pieces I pushed into the ground outside. 

The photo on the right (below) was a piece of one my plants I caught Comet playing with a couple of weeks ago. I literally just pushed it into the ground and it survived! It has even started sprouting new leaves at the bottom. This is why I love succulents so much!

OPTIONAL: Educational lesson
While doing the project, talk to your children about how important it is to look after our environment, especially all the plants and trees. Not only does it provide food for animals and humans. It absorbs Carbon Dioxide(CO2) and releases Oxygen(O). All animals and humans need Oxygen to breath and we exhale Carbon Dioxide. Also talk about the importance of recycling and that we should throw our trash in the bins, not on the ground.

Bible text:  Genesis 1:26-29
26Then God said, “Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.” 27God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them. 28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.” 29Then God said, “I now give to you all the plants on the earth that yield seeds and all the trees whose fruit produces its seeds within it. These will be your food. [CEB-Common English Bible]

Read the whole story of creation in Genesis 1 and discuss how God instructed us humans to take care of the earth and everything that is on it.

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