Succulents are one of the easiest plants to grow which is why they are very popular. But did you know that a type of them are called monocarpic succulents and that their flowering phase is sometimes connected to their lifespan?
Here’s all you need to know about monocarpic succulents and what they are.
There are a lot of succulents that are monocarpic. It means that the plant dies after it blooms just once. The word itself says so as mono means one and the word caprice means a fruit.
As you would deduce, the plant dies after the flower comes out and the fruit or the seeds from it can procreate. Now, it is a natural process for plants of this type to procreate. That is their purpose which is why they die after carrying it on.
This process is not limited to succulents. In fact, there are many other species in other families of plants that are monocarpic.
Now, if you happen to have a monocarpic succulent at hand, you don’t have to think about it as a waste. That’s because not all monocarpic succulents bloom right away which gives them and you some time together.
The other good news is that these monocarpic succulents are known to produce pups or offsets which can reproduce without a seed which means even if your monocarpic succulent blooms quickly, you can propagate the plant and keep it going. But there’s more to the story.
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Not every succulent is monocarpic so just having a succulent doesn’t mean the plant will die. But you should know that monocarpic succulents tend to die in a rather dramatic fashion. This is not to say we take pleasure in their pain. In fact, it means that you get a heads-up in case you are planning to propagate the plant.
This way, you can keep the lineage alive using the offsets and keep the gardening going even after it flowers and is ready to die. Monocarpic succulents also produce plenty of pups while they are flowering in case you missed the earlier signs.
It is sometimes referred to as the death bloom or the bloom of death, for obvious reasons. When this starts to happen, the plants will start growing taller and the leaves at the bottom start to look bad because the plant is using all its energy to produce flowers.
You will also notice that the blooms come from the apex of the plant which is another way of saying the flower will be right in the middle of the plant. Here are some examples of monocarpic succulents species.
- Most Agave plants
- Some Kalanchoe plants like the paddle plant
The simplest way of finding out, of course, is to do research on the plant before buying it. But another way to know is to notice the plant when it is time for it to bloom.
The flowers, as mentioned before, will be coming from the bloom stalk, which will be right in the middle of the succulent. But if you notice that the flower is coming from some other place, you can assume that it is not a bloom that will kill the plant because the species you are dealing with is not monocarpic to begin with. In that case, you can pluck the flower from the stalk and carry on.
It is key to know what to do in terms of care when the plant is preparing to bloom. Now, as mentioned earlier, just because a succulent is monocarpic, doesn’t mean that it will not live long.
So, the fact that it blooms only once does not reduce its lifespan. You should know by now that the time a plant starts to bloom is actually a good time for the gardener to look for offsets so that they can propagate the plant. And of course, if it is an option at all, you can collect the seeds and plant them.
But you need to remember that the time a plant is prepping to flower is the time it needs to be healthy and without stress. So, it is possible that you might have to give it a little extra care.
This is also true if you want to collect pups and propagate the plant. You can let it go once you see the plant becoming slightly brittle and dry. That’s the time to collect the pups and the seeds and plant them in new soil.
There is no guarantee that you can keep monocarpic succulents alive after they have bloomed. At this point, you might be thinking that by their very definition, monocarpic succulents are said to die after they produce flowers just once. However, there are some varieties that continue to live even after the plant produces a flower.
There is some anecdotal evidence that there are ways to keep even a monocarpic succulent alive after the event even though it is, to put it coldly, destined to die after blooming. But that is not definitive evidence and the cases where it has happened are too few and far between.
You can, however, apply some logic and say that taking care of your succulents in a way that you can delay their blooming phase is one way to make sure that your plant stays alive for a longer period of time.
You can do so by taking excellent care of your plant because succulents that are stressed tend to bloom sooner hoping that the seed grows better under those conditions.
Giving your plant the right amount of water and sunlight is a way to possibly avoid the flowering phase. But this is not perfectly scientific data and there are no guarantees.
You can also try to cut the flowering stalks when you see them grow to stop the plant from flowering and hence extend their lifespan.