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Five Minutes With Contrive Creations

This week we interviewed Penny from Perth. She is a succulent propagator,  a collector and a whizz at making succulent arrangements. I asked a few quick questions and here's her story.

When did you start collecting succies and doing leaf propagation?

Its only been about 16 months and I started doing both at the same time. I’ve always loved gardening but this succulent, this has become quite obsessive.  Its helped me through a hard personal time.

Penny's Propagation Tray
Most of Penny's propagations are now under 50% white shade cloth. Her soil mix is 70% cheap potting mix and then rest made up of cow manure, coconut peat or coir, perlite and a very small amount of slow release (Source: Instagram)


You are the propagation queen, what’s the slowest leaf prop so far?

You're too kind, its certainly been hit and miss. Bluebird and Monroe are definitely winning the slowest race so far, but oh so worth the wait!

Blue Bird Leaf Prop 10 months
A slow grower  - 10 months old Blue Bird Leaf Prop (Source: Instagram)


How do you get your babies to stress but still look healthy?

Umm I kind of didn’t do that on purpose in the beginning.  I read too many US and colder climate recommendations on desolate, gritty soil so they were totally deprived of moisture and probably too much of our harsh sun. 

Leaf Propagation
Penny's leaf props are in 5cm pots (Source: Instagram)


You mentioned that a caterpillar chewed your 8 month old leaf prop, what other challenges have you had with leaf propagation?

Yes the caterpillars are still munching their way through my garden, its daily warfare. I don’t really want to spray as it leaves a lot of marks and to be honest its all so crowded I would probably wouldn’t get everywhere anyway.  My other challenge is finding enough space for all my propagation trays!

Succulents in a birdcage
Birdcage Succulent Arrangement (Source Instagram)


How do you manage to create such a tight arrangement?

Succulents are tough, I just keep poking them in till no more fit.  The humble chopstick is my best friend here.

Best Seller Succulent Toolbox
One of her best seller: Succulents in a toolbox (Source: Instagram)


You’ve done succulent wreaths, birdcages, sea shells and tiny pot arrangements. What’s the most challenging succulent arrangement you’ve ever done?

The birdcage as they are quite awkward and also I don’t have large enough plants to fill them out nicely like Air at Charming Succulents can. The mini birdcages and wreaths as they are very fiddly and time consuming.


Mini Bird Cage with Succulents
Another best seller sold at Jarrah Infusion (Source: Instagram)


You did a lot of succulent wreaths last Christmas & eventually ran out of succies. You ended up having to outsource them in order to fulfill the customers orders. Has your garden made a comeback since then?

Ooo you know so much Jules…yes, that was my excuse to buy more plants! In the last couple of months I’ve started investing in large 5-10 litre size pots so I can take all my own cuttings come wreath making season.

Succulents Wreath
One wreath requires 100 - 150 cuttings (Source: Instagram)


Contrive Creations Logo

Thank you for your time. Penny has an outlet at Jarrah Infusion and occasionally sells at the local market. Follow her instagram @contrivecreations and facebook to see her creations and her announcements for market stalls. Please note that WA has strict quarantine measures in place. To find out more visit their website here


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  • ifpuocsdlt

    Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

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  • Megan

    Hipenny do u post to Melbourne?

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