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Five Minutes With Succulent Love Story

This week we are catching up with a collector from Victoria. I have been following Kelvin on Instagram and he goes by the name of Succulent Love Story. His real name is  Kelvin Liew He has been collecting and swapping succulents for over 5 years.
We asked him a few questions to find out more about growing succulents in Melbourne. And in between those questions, I'll throw in some pictures of his drool worthy plant collection. Here's what he had to say:

1. When did you start collecting plants and what was your first plant?

I fell in love with succulents over 5 years ago and I have never looked back. My first succulent was an aeonium.

Succulent Love Story Kelvin Liew Garden

2. What kind of challenges do you have gardening in Melbourne?

The weather! Melbourne's weather is like a roller coaster and its true we can get 4 seasons in 1 day. Storms are a big challenge. I have had my succulents damaged by hail on a few occasions. But also Summer can get really hot in Melbourne and I have to protect my succulents from getting sunburnt.

Aeonium Big Bang

Aoenium Big BangA transformation of Aeonium Big Bang

Big Bang is not one of the faster growing Aeonium due to the lack of sugar-producing, growth-inducing chloroplasts in the variegated leaves.

Care Tips of Aeonium Big Bang
  • LIGHT: Generally, variegated forms sunburn easier than non variegated plants. Colours are richer with more sun, but keep an eye out for sunburn while finding the right balance.

  • WATER: From autumn through spring, water when the soil is almost dry. Let it dry out during the summer dormancy. The rainy season of autumn helps wake plants from their summer dormancy.

  • SOIL: Use a well-draining soil mix. This succulent is tolerant of low-nutrient soil.

  • PLANTING: For vibrant colours, outdoors often provides a better combination of temperature and sun than glasshouses. Big Bang is suited to pots 20 cm or larger, or in the garden.

  • FERTILISER: Big Bang grows strong despite low-nutrient soil, so fertilise only if growth halts or the plant begins to look lackluster. Otherwise, if fresh soil is used, nutrients will be replenished when the plant is ready to go up a pot size.

  • DORMANCY: Big Bang is dormant in summer. If they are kept in the sun during the growing season, they will go into dormancy and the heads will shrink a bit as they dry out. If they are kept in the shade during the growing season, they tend to not rebound into dormancy and the heads have the chance grow larger. They are mildly tolerant to frost.

  • PROPAGATION: Aeonium are not one of the succulent genera which propagates via leaf, but cuttings work well. Rosettes growing along the stem can be taken and rooted in their own pots.

3. What is your weapon of choice (aka Pesticides)?

I like to use natural remedies instead of chemicals. I use cinnamon a lot to prevent fungus, mealybugs and aphids.
Ants also don’t like to walk where cinnamon powder has been sprinkled so it is great to prevent them from nesting aphids.

Aeonium Mardi Gras

Aeonium Mardi GrasThe growing stage of Kelvin's A. Mardi Gras

Aeonium Sedifolium

Sedum sedifoliumAeonium Sedifolium is one of the smallest aeoniums

Aeonium Sedifolium looks like a little shrub and has a similarity to the leaves of sedum. It grows in an inflorescence which is actually a stem, taller than the plant.

Care Tips of Aeonium Sedifolium :
  1. A sunny position is recommended to enhance the beautiful red veins of the leaves of this plant. Plant it in a well-drained soil, water it seldom, more or less twice a week, but only when the soil is completely dry, and protect it from frost with mulching if you choose to plant it outdoors. Or also you could put it indoors. The ideal temperature for Aeonium Sedifolum is betweem - 1 °C to 12 °C
  2. It can be propagated by cuttings or seed. Cuttings are advised for old rosettes if the plant becomes old, messy and chaotic, to make a sort of pruning and to guarantee the survival at least of the new plant. The recommended period to make cuttings is autumn, and also spring.
  3. If you are growing them in pots, repot every 2 to 3 years with fresh potting soil.
  4. Feed during the growing season with a half strength balanced fertilizer, every month or so. Do not feed while dormant (summer)

4. What is your favourite Propagation method?

I love to use water propagation. It is very easy, clean , natural and saves a lot of time. Here is a video of me demonstrating how to do water propagation: 

5. What is the easiest plant for you to propagate?

I find echeveria is the easiest succulent to propagate. They can be propagated with leaves, cuttings or head chop.

6. What’s your game plan to prepare for summer?

I put my succulents under shade cloth or natural shade like a tree to protect them from the hot sun. Also, I water them more often in summer to keep them hydrated. In summer it is necessary to keep a close eye on them to ensure they are not stressed

Thank you for your time, Kelvin. If anyone is interested, Kelvin also occasionally sells his succulents. Follow his instagram @succulentlovestory  to find out more. 


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1 comment

  • vyzopkaeue

    Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

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