Succulent Gardening with Children – Easy Guide

Gardening with children is educational and is also a wonderful hobby to enjoy together. Whether you are 6 or 60 gardening is a great way to connect and appreciate the natural world around us. A two-inch pot in your home or office, or a gargantuan succulent garden on your patio, will provide the same enjoyment and satisfaction to a child. Discovering young leaves beginning to sprout or buds appearing and eventually blooming can be great fun for a child.

Gardening for kids is easy using succulents. Teach a child to grow plants with a kid's garden using succulents.

I completely agree with the Missouri Botanical Garden website where it states gardening can “Inspire … children, families and people of all ages to spend time outdoors, exploring, appreciating and understanding how the natural world works. Through positive experiences with nature, reinforce the plant-people connection and foster lifelong learning.”

Below is a list of the simple steps to introduce your child to the natural and entertaining world of succulent gardening. Also listed below are suggested plants to start planting with children. These are easy to start and maintain succulent plants. They are all non-toxic which is very important when gardening with your children or if you have the plants accessible to pets.

Kid's garden growing kit. Teach children to grow plants including succulents.

Propagating Succulent Plants

The simplest way to start is to just buy a succulent from your nearest garden center. Even a small one inch potted plant can produce cuttings or leaves for propagation.  Purchasing and planting seeds with children is another easy way to start. If you want to be a little more adventurous go to one of your neighbors or friends with your child and simply ask if the two of you can get a cutting, pup or leaf from one of their plants.

Cutting – take a 5 – 6-inch healthy cutting from a mature plant. Remove all the leaves on the bottom 2 inches of the cutting. Insert 2 inches of the cut end into the soil.

Pup – if the pup has roots just make a hole in the dirt and insert the plant into the soil and be sure the roots are covered with soil. If there are no roots, push the end of the pup into the soil deep enough to stabilize the plant. Roots will form.

Leaf – you can either lay the leaves on top of the soil or gently push the end that was attached to the mother plant into the soil. Insert into the soil just enough that the leaf is stabilized.  This is the method that has been the most effective for me. It is best to plant several leaves in the same pot as not all will successfully root.

Pick Your Succulent Plant

Many succulents can be toxic to children and pets. This can be a disaster if you are trying to begin a fun, new hobby with your children. So, I’ve listed succulents that are easy to root and are also completely safe.  Children and beginners will love learning to propagate and grow these following plants.

  • Elephant Food Succulent
  • Aloe Vera
  • Gold Tooth Aloe
  • Burro’s Tail
  • Hens and Chickens

Container

The easiest container to start a new plant with is a paper cup. Poke several holes in the bottom to let the water drain when watering. When the plants are well established it is easy to cut the cup away put your new plant in its permanent pot. Be sure the new pot has drainage holes.

Necessary Products

Pick a time when you and your children can take a trip to your local garden center. These are the products you will need and they are all eco-friendly and good for the environment.

  • Cactus potting soil – a good choice for succulents
  • Pumice – a natural volcanic soil amendment that ensures good drainage for succulents
  • Diatomaceous Earth – a natural insecticide derived from fossilized sea shells
  • Worm Castings – possibly the best natural fertilizer and soil amendment

Ready to Plant

Now that you have your cuttings or leaves and eco-friendly products it’s time to start gardening. The amounts are for a one-cup container. If you are planning to plant several plants just multiply the amounts. Letting your child mix these products can be really fun. When moistened there is a pleasant, natural aroma to the soil.

Mix your soil:

½ cup cactus soil
½ cup pumice
1 TBS worm castings

Prepare the Pot:

Mix the soil mixture well and add enough water to ensure all the soil is damp. Put into the cup to just below the rim. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Plant the cutting, pup or leaves and let them sprinkle a thin layer of Diatomaceous Earth on top of the soil to discourage little bugs or critters from feeding on your baby plant. If you don’t like the white powder on top of the soil just mix it into the soil.

Choose a Place for Your Succulent Baby:

Together pick a sunny home for the baby plant. It should be bright but not direct sun.

Watering:

Your goal is to keep the soil slightly moist – not wet.  Check your plant every 2 to 3 days to be sure the soil has not dried out. If you have a spray bottle, let your child spray the plant daily with water to keep the soil moist without drenching it. When watering, water until the excess runs out the bottom of the cup. It is wise to put a tray under the plant to catch the excess water.

Watching and Waiting:

If all goes well you should have new growth coming from the planted tips of the leaves in about 3 to 4 weeks. I think leaf propagation is especially nice for children when they see the new growth coming right out of the inserted tip of the leaf. With the cuttings and pups, they won’t show any apparent change because the growth is underground with the roots forming in the soil. You will eventually see new growth as the plant matures.

Teachers!
Starting and growing succulents makes a great classroom project. The hands-on project can be used to teach many subjects including science and botany. A succulent growing project can be done with students of all ages and grade levels.  It’s simple, cheap and almost guaranteed successful.

Gardening with Children

After you take your first step into succulent gardening with your children, you can sit back and enjoy the natural entertainment of seeing your plant flourish. Teaching children to garden is a wonderful experience for both the child and adult. As time goes on you can try different plants and learn new succulent care methods.  If planted outside, many of the plants listed above will entice butterflies and birds to visit your garden. They enjoy the moisture by nibbling on some of the leaves and the nectar if blooming. Enjoy!

Kids garden growing kit. Gardening for kids is easy with succulents.