Did you know that a Hoya is a succulent? WELL, I DIDN’T. The poor little bastard’s been watered within an inch of his brief life twice, repotted numerous times and had several amputations. It all makes sense to me now.
One of his legs looks bad, so I think it’s surgery o’clock:
FYI I bloody hate succulents – they’re weird little temperamental beasts that insist they don’t need anything and beg you not to go to any trouble. Then one day they’re too dry and you’re too late, you murderer. And I don’t trust people who can keep them happy, so if that’s you, go do something else. THIS ISN’T FOR YOU.
Maybe I’ve killed a lot of succulents in my time. I’ve also recently decapitated the flowery head of the only one I’ve managed to keep alive beyond a year (youtube made me do it) and it just looks…naked. Naked and stumpy. Naked and stumpy, and done:
Please don’t give me succulents. They don’t like me. I don’t like them. It’s a toxic relationship every time.
God this blog is stressful.
Let’s talk about something I do know how to do (so far)! Houseplant soil! The most exciting of all the soils!
After my first go at propagating last year, researching options for potting them up did not fill me with confidence. The soil was either mad expensive or had scary reviews like it contained insects or bacteria that annihilated the plant. I splashed out early on in desperation to try and give each individual plant exactly what they need using this cool etsy shop, which I highly recommend. But long-term I needed an affordable option to plant up on a large-ish scale.
I watched A LOT of videos on mixing your own, and it’s dead easy (once you track down the ingredients). I mix up a vat of the stuff every now and again in a big container that lives in my greenhouse and it’s the perfect soil for the vast majority of the plants I have and inherit. It’s a basic base soil that you can add things to to help specific plants thrive (if you can be bothered).
I swear on my annoying dog – nothing I’ve planted in this soil has died and a few worse-for-wear plants have even come back to life after moving to bigger pots of the stuff.
I use this video as a guide. Erika talks through a few options and I’ve stripped her advice down, so, to keep it simple, my takeaway is:
- Coco coir – eco friendly compost
- Perlite – helps with water drainage
- Worm castings – YES, ACTUAL WORM SHIT = nutrients
Look at her background. So many of her plants are alive. HOW? WELL DONE.
The Coco coir comes in dehydrated blocks which puff up like crazy when you add water. You put one block in a large container and add warm water – I use 3.5 litres, then ignore it for an hour and let it do its spongy thing.
Then get handsy with it – it should feel a bit moist and soft and oooohh yyeeaah. This bad boy is 60% of my mix. Then 30% perlite and 10% worm shit. I eyeball it all because I am lazy. Orchid bark is expensive, which is why I skip it so I can spend more money on cake. Mix it up and it’s good to go. But don’t use your hands like Erika BECAUSE IT’S STILL WORM SHIT ERIKA, COME ON. I’d recommend a dessert spoon and then immediately eating a yoghurt with it. Useless assistant optional:
The best thing about this soil is you can gift it; Kilner jar, fancy ribbon, Bob’s your uncle.
I’ve made a new mix on top of the remnants of my last mix – this is a bad idea as it’s old and might contain fungus gnats, or, I don’t know, worm shit. But I’m going to roll with it:
In the next episode I’ll be using it to plant up four spider plants (which are more excited to grow roots in water than when Ariel grew legs) and give Marcus the chance to revive himself in soil.
‘We want Marcus, we want Marus!’
Alright, but you’re not going to like it:
Also, check out my ripe-for-the-killing seedlings, happy and leggy (not great) on a south facing windowsill. Eight days after planting:
Free from their party hats, 16 days in:
P.s I will not be apologising for excessive Disney and pop queen references in these blogs.