This week I have been tending my ever-growing collection of aeoniums.

Through the winter, I store as many as I can, either in the front or back porches of the house. Any I can’t squeeze in there, end up in the heated greenhouse. This week, they are now all out enjoying the sunshine we’ve had over the last week or so. Aeoniums are dramatic evergreen exotics which I feel are best grown in containers. They store water in their thick leaves. You can propagate them very easily, especially if you break some off accidentally while moving larger specimens. You simply take cuttings which should root in a few weeks. It is usually best to take cuttings while the plants are still in active growth, to encourage speedy rooting. Select young, slender shoots as propagation material. These will root more easily and have more vigour than older, thicker shoots. Once you have the cuttings to hand, make sure you leave them uncovered, placing them on their side somewhere dry and warm for a few days until the wound has calloused, this will reduce the chance of the cutting developing rot later on and keep them at a temperature of 18-20°C indoors, in a well-lit place such as on a sunny windowsill.

When ready, insert the cuttings into deep 5cm or 8cm pots of soil-based potting compost mixed with equal parts of grit. Firm the compost at the base of the cutting and make sure that at least half of the stem is above compost level. Make sure you water them sparingly until they have rooted, taking care not to water directly on to the leaves. Aim to keep the compost barely moist at all times. Your collection will soon grow! I’ve managed to pot up lots of smaller succulents to display in a stand in the garden.

This weekend, The Garden House at 5 Warleigh Road in Brighton opens for the National Garden Scheme. It is open both days from 11am to 4pm with entry £5.50 and children free. It has always been one of the city’s secret gardens, friendly and always changing, with a touch of magic to delight visitors, above all, it is a slice of the country in the midst of a bustling city. Full details at

Now is a good time to take softwood cuttings from new, young shoot growth on deciduous plants such as pelargoniums, fuchsias and penstemons. Pick non-flowering shoots, trim off older leaves, dip in rooting powder and plant into small pots of cutting compost and water well. I’ve got many different fuchsias in the garden that are perfect for this.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at and last week's column is here