With its signature kind of foliage, the String of dolphins is undeniably a lovely plant, making it a perfect plant in your garden. Propagating the String of dolphins is a cost-effective and straightforward way to grow your garden collection. Whether a beginner or an expert, multiplying the strings is a short and fantastic method. Though it is easy to propagate this succulent, it requires some skills to do it better.
How do you propagate a String of dolphins? You take a stem or a leaf cutting from a healthy and well-established plant, set it aside for days until it forms callous, then plant it in a pot. Reading the article will help you decide which form of propagation will best suit you and how to go about each of them. Most importantly, I will take you through two standard propagation to reproduce a string of dolphins.
Why Should You Know How to Propagate the String of Dolphins?
Firstly, the String of dolphins is propagated to salvage the plant when it is failing or dying. When the mother plant has some parts damaged or it is drying up due to age, propagation is an easier method than buying a new plant and starting all over again. Secondly, most gardeners propagate the strings of dolphins because it is an enjoyable and straightforward practice. It is a delightful plant at home, and propagation can create more of them in a home.
The plant is drought tolerant and can thrive well in little water. Proper propagation may only be done on healthy parts of the plant. If propagation is the only way to salvage a failing string of dolphins, act before it is late. Propagation to create a collection is best when it aligns with the growing seasons of the plant.
The two methods to propagate the String of dolphin succulent includes
- Taking a leaf cutting from the plant.
- Taking a stem cutting from the plant.
Taking a Leaf Cutting From the Plant
Firstly, the process involves using a sharp and sterilized knife to remove a healthy leaf from the bottom side of the plant. While cutting, ensure that you remove the entire leaf without damaging it or leaving some sapping stuck on the stem of the mother plant. Once the leave is out, place it in a clean place for two to three days to allow the wound to heal. Then, put it in a cool place where it does not receive direct sunlight.
After some time, the leaf will make a “callus,” indicating that it is ready for the next step. After callus formation, prepare a good and clean pot with a proper soil mix. Like other succulents, a string of dolphins will do well in arid and well-draining soil. Commercially available succulents are suitable, but you can also make your mix.
For a homemade mix, combine
- 2 Parts potting soil
- 1 part pumice or perlite
- 1 part sand
When the soil is ready, place the prepared leaf on top without burying it. To moisten the ground, use a sprayer bottle to spray the leaves with water. Do not keep the pot under direct sunlight, but ensure it accesses enough light to provide the propagated String of dolphins is warm and moist. The leaves will begin to sprout after three to four weeks. Next, they will start developing small roots.
The presence of roots does not signify time to transplant the succulent. It may take a couple of months before the plant is big enough for transplant. Therefore, waiting as the plant develops strong roots before transplant is essential. Hurrying the plant with weak roots kills it permanently.
Propagating by Cutting the Stem of the Strings of Dolphins
These can be done in two different processes.
- Stem cutting and propagating in water
- Stem cutting and propagating in soil
Stem Cutting Propagation in Water
Propagating plants in water is an easy way to make new plants. All you need is a sterile cutting object, a big glass jar, and a healthy selection of your String of dolphin’s plant. The steps below will guide you on how to propagate the succulent.
- Take a suitable strand off your String of dolphins of around 4 inches of length. Cut the stem cleanly and carefully with your scissors or knife. If the mother plant has some low-bearing foliage near the bottom, remove them to prevent rotting.
- Immediately, place the cut strand in a glass or jar filled with rain or distilled water. Tap water contains chemicals like chlorine and fluoride that affect the cutting progress.
- Place the jar in a place it receives proper lighting but away from direct sunlight. A west-facing window can work better.
- For proper growth and formation of the root system of the String of dolphins, replace the jar’s water in a week to replenish nutrients and oxygen.
- After a few weeks, long tendrils-like roots should start developing. This means that it is time to transfer it to a well-draining soil and in a proper container.
Stem propagation in water is enjoyable as you will see the roots develop. In addition, this method reduces the chances of bacteria/fungal infection than the soil method.
Stem Cutting Propagation in Soil
The soil method can also propagate the stings of dolphins’ plants. However, this process is more successful when the succulent starts its active growth period. The period could either be before the dormant stage (end of the winter months) or the growing stage (during the spring period). The succulent has a high chance of surviving the propagation stage and maturing during these growth periods.
For this process to be successful, the following guidelines should be followed.
- Make a correct cut using a sterilized knife of the spring of dolphins with enough branches. Choose a relatively short stem as this ensures it grows actively, increasing chances of success.
- When cutting the stem, hold it at the brick of the bottom to have a clean cut. If the stem is damaged when cutting, replace it with another one immediately.
- Place the cutting in a clean place to allow the cut to heal and develop a callus. These may take two days to form.
- Place the cutting in a container with already prepared proper soil mix as explained above.
- If possible, you can help the growth of the roots by dipping the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone to promote new and accelerated root growth.
- Keep the container in a bright space with direct sunlight and only water if the soil is arid. When watering it at this delicate stage, remember that overwatering will cause the plant to rot, while underwatering reduces chances of survival.
Propagating by using soil can adequately secure the cutting and strengthening of the roots. This method also reduces the stress of transplanting the plant after it has already developed. However, when the plant is still young, always ensure to check on the condition of the plant as they are more susceptible to fungus and bacterial infections. Soil should contain sandy and perlite to promote good drainage and proper aeration of the roots.
The Commonly Associated Problem when Propagating
One of the significant troubles when propagating the strings of dolphins is the root rot. It may occur in any process of propagation. However, in soil propagation, overwatering is the primary cause of the root rot as water clumps in the root area, suffocating the roots.
Root rot can happen when transferring the plant into a new pot in water propagation. It is also essential to give the cutting enough time to heal before placing it in soil. Soiling a leaf cut with a fresh wound will expose the plant to disease and fungal infections.
Best Care when Propagating
The right amount of water
A grown string of dolphins can survive long without water. You need to water correctly to ensure that your propagating plant has the best chances of survival during propagation, especially during the early days. Overwatering the String of dolphins during propagation will submerge the leaves to water, and they will start rotting before they even fully develop. The best watering condition for the plant is to ensure it remains moist.
The right temperature
A string of dolphins makes an excellent indoor plant due to its ability to tolerate medium temperature and thrive well in it. The right temperature of around 23oC is appropriate during propagation to nurture the plant.
Indirect but bright light
The amount of light the plant will be exposed to effects the plant’s health. Though a well-developed plant can manage direct sunlight, the plant is vulnerable to dehydration and scorching during propagation. To manage proper lighting for the plant to succeed, a bright space with indirect light will work better. This lighting is essential as it provides the plant with a good growth pattern and strengthens its transportation system.
With the above-detailed guidelines on how to propagate the String of dolphins, it’s time to try propagating the strings of dolphins and ensure you have quite a few in your garden. The guidelines could help you create more of these lovely succulents with only one plant and spread them to another part of your home or even bless a neighbor. Propagation will not just save you money, but it is an enjoyable practice worth your time, as the results are pretty fulfilling.