Monday, February 14, 2011

Cloning Echeveria 'Black Prince'

Echeveria 'Black Prince'
 
Triangular leaves.
 Echeveria 'Black Prince' is a slow and low growing succulent with reddish-brown leaves in triangular shapes.  It has a color that provides a great contrast with the more common greyish-green succulent species.  Althought the plant is apparently dark, the center is green and darkening towards the outer end.  The plant remains compact with very tight internodes.  The plant grows into a rosette - a plant that resembles the structure of a rose flower.  It remains short but it rises up to two-feet high when bolting occurs.   (Bolting is a flowering characteristic of some plants wherein a hormone-induced spike elongates way above the main plant.)

Echeveria 'Black Prince' is a hybrid that resulted from crossing Echeveria shaviana (as the female parent) and Echeveria affinis (the male parent).   E. shaviana has a dainty spreading appearance; the pinkish-grey leaves exhibiting a ruffled look.  E. affinis, on the other hand, has very disciplined look with vertically inclined pointed black leaves.  The 'Black Prince' cultivar got its appealing characteristics from these parents contrasting parents.

Five Steps for Propagating Echeveria 'Black Prince'
This slow-growing succulent can be rapidly cloned by using the right vegetative part of the plant.  I experimented using different leaves from the plant and I was amazed to see the sharp difference in the number of days to root.
1.  Collect plant material.  Collect leaves from the flower spike.  It has been my personal observation that the leaves that are located right below the flowers are easier to root than the leaves coming from the base of the plant.  It could be that the hormone that induced the plant to go into bolting (probably auxin) is abundant in this part of the plant.  Auxin which is a growth regulator that is known to increase shoot and root growth.

Leaves on the spikes are best for propagating.
2.  Heal the cut.  Allow the cut ends of the leaves to heal or develop a callus. This is done by wrapping them with a paper towel and keeping them protected and dry for three to seven days.
Moistened paper towel provides regulated moisture.
3.  Pre-root.  Moisten a paper towel then fold it to fit into the bottom of a small plastic cup.  Then arrange the leaves so that the healed ends are touching the damp paper towel.   Cover with a plastic wrap and leave it alone for a week. (The leaves can be directly planted in small pots but I prefer to get the roots started first.)  This is a good way to maintain the right amount of moisture for optimum rooting. 

Roots growing from the leaves of Echeveria 'Black Prince'.
4.   Grow.  Grow the pre-rooted leaves in a medium that provides needed nutrition for new plants   Succulents generally prefer good-draining (high percentage of sand) potting mix.   Make shallow holes in the adequately watered mix to minimize damage to the roots.  Cover the rooted-end of the leaves with about a centimeter of the mix.
 
Shallow holes.
Cover the rooted ends with a thin layer of potting mix (about 1 cm).
5.   Cover with plastic.  At this point your main adversary to success is too dry or too wet soil.  Dry condition will be delay the growth of new plants while wet condition will induce rotting.  To ensure high percentage of survival, securely cover the trays with plastic wrap.  This will maintain the desired soil moisture during the critical time of rooting until the plant is established.   Keep it in a place with adequate light (I keep them outdoors).  New plants will become visible after two to three weeks.

Trays covered with plastic-wrap.
Clone your Echeveria today; and give them away as gifts.

4 comments:

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

Helen, these are great instructions that you presented so well.

We propagate them in the greenhouse in a similar manner. Then they go out for sale when ready. I find this a fun and relaxing activity which produces satisfying results.

I was by your blog earlier today to see if you had a new post. I am glad you stopped in so I came back. Really liked your post. Donna

p3chandan said...

I have the greyish green one, but the black prince is looking so handsome and a bit rare, havent seen one in the nurseries either. So thats how you do it..thanks Helen for sharing this.

Patty said...

Very handy information Helen. I will give this method a try with other hens and chicks I have.

Landscape said...

You provide me great information thanks for sharing with us.

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