Ice plants are among the easiest succulents to propagate at home. In fact, if you leave them on their own, they will naturally start spreading across the ground to form new clumps. With time, these clumps develop into new plants with a fully developed root system and branches. But you don’t want to let them propagate untamed. You want to be in charge and keep everything in control.
So, how can you propagate Ice plants? You can propagate ice plants through cuttings or seeds. Propagation through cuttings is the most popular method because all you need to do is cut off a piece of the plant’s stem, allow it time to callous and insert it in a well-draining potting mix. For seeds, you will be required to sprinkle them on well-draining succulent soil, then expose them to plenty of light to allow for germination. Do not cover the seeds with soil because they will not germinate.
This blog post discusses everything you need to know about propagating ice plants and how to take care of newly propagated plants. Keep reading to learn more.
Propagating Ice Plants from Cuttings
One of the easiest and most effective ways of propagating ice plants is by taking cuttings from an existing plant and rooting them to form new plants. The process is incredibly simple and doesn’t consume much time.
Once you have the cuttings in the right soil, they will form roots easily without even the aid of rooting hormone or powder. The cuttings should be placed directly in their final position because there will be no need to repot them after rooting.
What Tools Do You Need to Collect Cuttings?
To collect cuttings from an existing ice plant, you will need the following tools:
- Pruners: Find good-quality pruners from your local plant store. Make sure the pruners you purchase come with a warranty for the sake of your peace of mind.
- Trowel: Like pruners, take time to find a good trowel that is at least bend-proof and rust-resistant. That way, you get value for money spent.
The best time to take cuttings from your existing ice plant is during the relatively warmer months. So, any time from the start of spring through to fall will be fine. However, if you live in a region that experiences extremely cold weather during winter, you should wait until summer before you start collecting cuttings.
Where Should You Plant Ice Plant Cuttings?
Just like full-grown ice plants, cuttings love full sun and tend to thrive in relatively dry conditions. You also need to ensure that your succulent soil is free draining so that the cutting isn’t waterlogged. For temperatures, your cuttings should root comfortably at temperatures of at least 20oF.
Follow the steps outlined below to collect and root ice plant cuttings:
Step 1: Prepare Your Planting Site
Take time to prepare the new location for the cutting. If you want to root the cuttings in a container, find a good container with plenty of drainage holes at the bottom.
If you want to root the cuttings in your outdoor garden, find a good spot with good drainage soil and not heavy clay soil that will hinder drainage.
Prepare your potting mix or ground well and make a hole in it with a trowel for your new cutting.
Step 2: Take the Cuttings
Using a sharp pair of pruners, carefully cut a section of your existing plant’s stem that is at least 10cm long.
Most likely, you will see segments along the stem. If you don’t see any segments, find another part with visible segments and cut it because roots will generally form along the segments.
Once you have a good cutting with visible segments, carefully remove the leaves from the bottom two or three segments.
Alternatively, water the ground or potting mix around your existing ice plant and carefully pull out a section that has already been rooted. Trim back the section you pull out to two or three stems, and you are good to go.
Step 3: Rooting Your Cuttings
Immediately you finish preparing your cutting, plant it in the hole you had prepared in your container or ground. Make sure at least 2cm of the cutting is inside the potting mix or ground, then firm the soil around it.
Keep the cutting moist but avoid waterlogging it for the first two weeks because it may fail to root. You don’t need to fertilize the cutting at this stage, neither do you need any special compost to facilitate root growth.
Typically, your cuttings should start forming roots after one or two weeks depending on the climate of the place where you live. You will know the cutting has successfully rooted when you start seeing signs of new growth on it.
Propagating Ice Plants from Seeds
If you choose to propagate ice plants through seed germination, then you need to be a little bit patient because it takes time for the seeds to germinate into seedlings.
Go around your plant after the flowering season and collect as many seeds as possible. Dry the seeds in preparation for planting. If your plant doesn’t produce seeds, consider purchasing some from your local nursery store.
Once you have well-dried seeds, the next thing you need to do is prepare your potting mix. Water the mix adequately because you won’t water it again until your seeds germinate.
Now take the seeds and sprinkle them on your potting mix but don’t cover them. Take the container and position it in a bright spot that receives plenty of sunlight. Don’t cover the seeds with even an inch of soil because they won’t germinate.
You can keep the container inside or outside depending on the climate of the place where you stay. If the climate is relatively warm and sunny, feel free to keep your container outdoors.
However, if the climate is colder, you should keep your seeds indoors and take care of them from them. Feel free to use grow lights to supplement the natural light.
It is highly recommended to use a relatively smaller container and a seed-starting potting mix formula to achieve better results. Sow the seeds at least four weeks before the last frost so that they are ready for transplanting when the warm weather kicks in.
It takes between 15 to 20 days for the seeds to start germinating.
Taking Care of Newly Propagated Ice Plants
Once your seeds or cuttings sprout into new plants, you can keep them in the containers or transplant them into your outdoor garden. If you want to transplant them, do so during spring or summer when the threat of frost has passed.
As soon as you notice new growth on your cuttings or seed germination, position the growing container on a sunny windowsill.
If you cannot find a good spot that receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day, consider using grow lights set on a 12-hour cycle. Keep your seedlings approximately three inches under the artificial grow lights and leave them turned on for at least 12 hours a day.
You can even keep the lights on for 16 hours a day because young ice plants only require eight hours of rest. After 16 hours, switch off the lights completely and keep the plants in total darkness.
As your seedlings grow taller, raise the lights slightly up to maintain the distance at approximately three inches. Avoid using incandescent bulbs since they can get too hot and burn your young plants.
Feed your seedlings only once when they are at least four weeks old with a simple starter solution. A starter solution is formulated at half strength to what is given to mature ice plants.
Before transferring them to your garden, you should harden your seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions. This exposure helps to harden their plant cell structure hence reducing the chances of transplant shock.
Did you know that ice plants make a wonderful groundcover that plays a critical role in suppressing weeds? When they bloom, they look like a solid carpet of pink or red blooms. These succulents will still do well in rocky areas and can trail down a wall.
To get the best out of your ice plant collection, consider planting a few of them in a hanging container to provide you with that stunning beauty. Find a ten-inch hanging pot that can be used both indoors and outdoors and try it out.
That is it about propagating ice plants, and we hope you are now ready to start multiplying your ice plant collection. As long as you take good care of your newly propagated ice plants, they will quickly grow into beautiful succulent-like foliage that flowers throughout summer.
You can also propagate as many ice plants as you want and transplant them into your outdoor garden to help control soil erosion and strengthen the soil structure.
Reduced soil erosion and a strong soil structure will not only benefit the ice plants but other succulents and non-succulents you may have in your garden. We now wish you successful ice plant propagation!