Meet Emily: Clearance Shelf Succulent Rescuer


I used to tease my Mom about one of her more recent hobbies — during her regular grocery shopping errands, she goes to the clearance section in the flowers department, finds the saddest, most neglected orchid plants, then takes them home to raise them. She calls them “rescue orchids” like one would refer to a “rescue dog”. By now, she has a legit jungle of flourishing “rescue orchids” living on her dining room table that she repeatedly carries around the house, as she helps them chase the light throughout the day.
Let me offer a tip that my family and I have had to learn the hard way… never make fun of your parents or grandparents. You will soon begin to do the exact things that you used to poke fun at! (Ask my dad… he’s fallen victim to this universal law too).
Yup. I am a plant mom now, but my rescue mission isn’t for orchids — it’s for succulents. Sad little succulents living in plastic cups on the dark, dingy, bottom shelf of the clearance section in Kroger are my weak point every time I enter the store. And like my mom, I’ve had some really great success bringing these little “rescue succulents” back to life!
I start by finding the most damaged succulent, then I take it home and give it a tiny bit of water (succulents don’t need much). I go straight to Walmart or Dollar Tree to find a little cup, ramekin, or bowl for it to live in… something to spruce it up and give it style. Then I pot it with some cactus soil, and place it on my thin window sill in my bedroom to get the most sunlight my apartment possesses.
A few weeks later, I almost always see new sprouts emerging after careful attention and extra TLC!
This has started a new obsession for me. I now can’t get enough succulents! I was in a friend’s wedding last summer, and her favors were succulents planted inside a small wooden block. Even THERE I tried to find the saddest one and restore it to better health! (I have a problem).
My most recent tactic is just now showing some fruit. The first succulent that I rescued had a pretty long life, until I learned about stretching. As an inexperienced plant mom, I wasn’t giving my first born enough sunlight, so the poor thing stretched 2 inches tall with an ugly brown stump. There was no saving it, according to my online research, without propagating its leaves and hoping for a new plant.
So that’s what I did! And two of the leaves have finally sprouted little baby succulents, while two others have begun growing roots.
I have 8 succulent cups, though a few of those cups provide homes for 2-4 baby succulents that are struggling to make it. I’ve learned what not to do, what to do, what to do less, and what to do more. They travel with me on road trips so they get their scheduled watering and sun rotations, just like mom with her arms full of orchids scurrying around the house to find the sunlight all day.
It’s official. I’m a crazy plant mom. Send help. Actually, send more succulents.
Thanks for reading, and getting to know a little more about me!
Xx Emily

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