Ever wonder why some of your succulents die after blooming? It may sound scary but your succulents may be monocarpic. Let’s learn about monocarpic succulents and how to deal with them.
Image: Tina Wilkin - Succulents, Tiny Gardens & Terrariums
Mono means once, and caprice means fruit. Monocarpic then means putting off the bloom once and then dies. And that is why people usually call it the bloom of death. This term sounds not so pleasant. But it should not be a thing to be worried about.
You will soon realize that the bloom of death is not your fault. And even the best gardening expert will find their plants starting to turn black. While watching our succulents die on us is, of course, upsetting, in some cases, it is completely natural.
Monocarpic is, in fact, a strategy of many plants to produce progeny. Most monocarpic succulents pup many new plants before they bloom. So by the time they are ready for the bloom, they’ve already created enough plants to replace them.
Some Agave are monocarpic. They can take up to 25 years before the bloom. And when it is ready to put off flowers, the plant put all of its effort to produce thick stems as its last hurrah.
These stems soon grow from the center of the rosette, which can come up to 8 feet high. And the dying process of the parent plants is also slower as compared to other monocarpic types. It may take months or even years to wither and die.
All Sempervivums are monocarpic. But it shouldn’t prevent you from getting since it’ll take a long time for them to bloom. And when they do, the bloom comes with more than enough offsets to make up for any loss.
As compared to Agave, Sempervivum takes less time for the bloom – around 3 and 4 years. Sempervivum is commonly known as Hen and Chick. But many people also call Echeveria genus with the same name. Despite the similarities in name and in appearance, Echeveria is not monocarpic.
If the flower is coming from the side, it's not monocarpic
Image: thesucculenthobbyist Instagram
One of the easier way to distinguish if your succulent is monocarpic is to see the flowers: if the flower is coming from the center of the plant (which looks like the whole plant is evolving into one big bloom), then it is the bloom of death. Otherwise, if the flower is coming from the side of the plant then it is not the bloom of death. In this case, you just need to clip off the flower once it’s done.
Now as you know a monocarpic succulent can live a long life, and its single bloom feature should not be a worry, it is essential to know what to do after bloom.
As you see the bloom, a popular option is to harvest the pups and keep the plant life cycle that way. Alternatively, you can save the seeds and grow them in different pots.
When the plant is blooming, you need to keep up the usual care so that it will be healthy and unstressed. Once the parent plant completely dry out and become brittle you can harvest the seeds and pups, simply detach it and put the pups into the soil.
So the next time you see a blooming succulent in store, you’ll know if the plant is monocarpic or not. And don’t be afraid of your succulents being monocarpic, enjoy growing them because they are charming and they will not leave you with empty hands after its bloom.
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