There are several, simple ways to propagate succulents; we can’t wait to see them sprouting in containers around the house and garden all year long.
Succulents are interesting, in that many, if not most, have the ability to grow entirely new plants from their leaves or stems.
Many people take cuttings of succulents, or will pick up fallen leaves, which can grow into new baby plants if luck will have it!
Succulents are fairly easy to propagate by taking stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, or divisions. This section will cover these methods of succulent propagation.
How to Propagate Succulents from Cuttings
What’s a cutting?
Cuttings are parts taken from an already-established plant (often called the mother plant) in hopes of producing a baby.
Cuttings can be a branch off of the original stem, an offshoot or a pup, or a leaf.
Propagating succulents through cuttings is how many succulent growers acquire more plants without purchasing established adult plants.
Propagating Succulents from cuttings
For non-leaf cuttings, certain precautions should be taken to ensure the health of the mother plant and the baby.
- Use a sterilized knife to make the cut.
- Cut so that the new plant will have a decent amount of stem (at least an inch).
- Avoid getting any soil into the cut on the mother and pup/cutting, as bacteria in the soil can lead to rot.
- Lay the cutting/pup on a dry, clean surface, and let it callous over (let the wound heal) for several days.
- After the wound is fully calloused, you can either stick it in some soil or lay it on top.
- Watering is not necessary until the plant has roots, but you may wish to spray it a bit every now and again- some people believe this helps roots to form.
*Once roots have formed, bury them and water the plant as normal.
How to Propagate Succulents From Leaves
Growing new succulents from fallen or picked leaves can be somewhat difficult. Not all leaves will grow successfully, or they may begin to grow and then fail. Your results may vary!
Many kinds of succulents can be propagated from leaf cuttings. Echeveria, Kalanchoe, Sedum, Crassula, Haworthia, Gasteria, Graptoveria, Pachyphytum, Graptopetalum, Adromischus, Graptosedum…these are just a few.
It is possible to propagate Haworthia with leaf cuttings but there needs to be a bit of stem tissues attached to the leaf.
This is a successful propagation of an Echeveria Perle von Nuremberg leaf.
|Roots showing. Ready to pot up and water||Multiple pups developing||Pups get larger and original leaf starts drying up||Original leaf now dried up||One or more pups could make it. Can be separated when large enough|
Tips For fallen/dropped leaves
- Make sure the end of the leaf is a clean break.
- Try not to pick up damaged/broken leaves, as most of the leaf’s stored nutrients and water will be put towards roots/a new plant, and every bit counts! Also, most succulents do not sprout from damaged/broken leaves, with some exceptions (haworthias, gasterias, and a few others).
For picked leaves
- Grasp the leaf firmly, and wiggle it gently from side to side. You can also twist it slightly, but be careful when doing so, as you may break the end off of the leaf.
- Clean breaks are important!!
- Certain species cannot prop from just leaves. Make sure to research if your plant can before trying this out!
How to easly propagate succulents
Total Time: 30 days
Start with a healthy leaf, one with full color (not faded or yellow), and without blemishes or damage.
It should come from a plant that has been growing in direct sunlight.
Shade-grown cuttings produce weaker foliage.
Carefully pry off a leaf instead of cutting it.
Grasp the leaf without squeezing it, and pull from the left side to the right side of the stem.
Some varieties have leaf petioles that wrap around the stem.
Lay the leaf in the open air for at least a day or two so the severed end can dry.
Some thick leaves that don’t wither can be left out longer to form callus tissue.
But if you keep the rooting medium on the dry side, you can add the leaf right away.
Prepare your soil.
Shallow clay pots (“bulb pans”) work well because they don’t hold a lot of soil and, therefore, they won’t hold a lot of moisture either.
Make sure it is clean (10% bleach solution works; rinse well), and use dry, fresh, succulent soil.
Put a small wad of polyester fiberfill (from a hobby shop) over the hole to prevent erosion of the soil.
Simply lay the leaf on the surface of the soil.
After a week or two you’ll notice tiny roots, usually coming out of the base of the petiole.
The plant knows, by geotropism, that the roots grow down into the soil.
On a sunny morning, you can lightly mist the leaf once or twice a week, letting a few drops fall into the soil.
You could also bury the bottom of the leaf partway into the dry soil, where it will grow roots.
Very fleshy leaves (Echeveria) can rot when planted in soil, so be very careful to keep the soil dry for several days.
If you see that the leaf collapsed and turned “mushy”, it will not grow.
Remove that leaf and the surrounding soil.
Keep the cuttings in gentle morning sun, not indirect light.
If the sun is too strong, close the blinds partway.
If the light is poor where you live, place the pot under a 2- or 4-tube LED fixture, kept on for about 10 or 12 hours per day.
Four-foot-long fixtures give off a lot more light, appropriate for succulents and vegetable seedlings.
After 2 or 3 weeks, you might see a tiny plantlet forming at the base of the leaf. Let it continue to grow and gain strength.
After a few more weeks, the young plants can be potted individually into 2″ or 3″ wide clay pots.
Give them lots of direct sunlight and water only when the soil is very dry. It’s a good idea to listen to the weather forecast; if sunny weather is going to hang around for a few days, go ahead and water—always in the morning, so the foliage is dry going into the night.
If the forecast calls for a few days of rainy or overcast weather, delay watering, or give the dry plants a very small amount of water.
From spring through summer, give succulents a dilute solution of houseplant fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks.
Any leaf that isn’t translucent, rotting, or drying up is still a chance at propagating, so don’t toss any leaves until you know they won’t propagate successfully.
Some plants will propagate faster or slower than others and may take months at a time to produce anything viable.
Once you have some successful props with both roots and a baby plant (or more), lay them on some soil and cover the roots lightly.
The plantlet will hopefully continue to grow.
It does not need to be watered until the mother leaf is shriveled, crispy and dry- this means the baby has used up all of the nutrients from the mother, and will need to survive on its own.
You may remove the dry leaf, or leave it attached, where it will separate on its own or decompose.
You can replant the baby in a separate pot now, and tend to it as you would an adult plant.
Video Guide to Propagating Succulents
If you need more of a visual guide here is a great video that shows just how easy it is to propagate succulents.