propagating succulents

How to Propagate Succulents

Succulents are such beautiful plants, with surprisingly low maintenance needs. There are so many varieties to choose from, with so many different colors. Best of all, they are easy to propagate, which means growing new plants from clippings of other plant parts. Succulents in particular spawn very easily and numerously.  Want to know how to propagate succulents? Look no further.

“Propagating succulents is a perfect project for beginning and advanced gardeners alike, as very little is required to yield rewarding results,” says Nadine Kremblas, the Living Arts Lead and succulent evangelist at Pistils Nursery, a specialty plant shop in Portland, Oregon. 

Propagating succulents prevents the plants from becoming rather “leggy” as they grow. Pruning the plant allows them to look plump and full. Also, little potted succulents make pretty, personal, and inexpensive gifts. 

This process can be done any time during the year, but for the best results, do it during the summer and spring when the succulents are growing more actively. 

Read More: 12 Pink Succulents You Need In Your Home

How to Propagate Succulents from Stem Cuttings 

There are a few ways to approach how to propagate succulents. However, the most common one is using a cutting. This method is best used for older succulents that have become too tall and leggy.  

“To take a stem cutting, you’ll always want to use a sharp, clean blade,” advises Kremblas. “A clean cut gives your cutting the best chance at survival, minimizing the chance of fungus or disease.” 

Pick your cutting from a fresh stem that’s actively growing. Stems with aerial roots, which are wispy roots growing from the side of the stem, are a sign that they will be able to sprout into its own plant. Take your cutting from there. 

After you take your cutting, allow it to sit for three to five days before you place it in soil. This waiting period will create a callus and prevent fungus from growing. After the callus forms, put the cutting in a shallow container with a potting mix, and bury the calloused end into the soil without submerging it. The environment should be warm and sunlit, but out of intense light. 

Do not over-water the cutting. Succulents’ roots are delicate and too much watering can kill fragile cutting.

Once the roots develop, plant the cutting/now succulent in a pot or in a garden. 

Read More: Jellyfish Succulents Will Turn Your Garden Into An Otherworldly Aquarium

How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves 

Another method of propagating is using succulent leaves. This process works best for succulents with easily-removable, plump leaves. It will take much longer to develop a full-size plant, but leaf propagations require less of the original plant.  

To get a leaf cutting, choose a plump, firm leaf and ensure to cut from the stem. “Be sure to get all the way down to where the leaf meets the stem, as a broken leaf will not propagate,” says Kremblas. 

As with stem cuttings, leaves should be left out to callus for several days. They also require partial sun exposure while they propagate. Place the leaf on top of a thin layer of succulent potting soils and dampen it with water.  

After about three weeks, the leaf should begin to sprout little plants. Around the eight-week mark, the original leaf will wither and fall, and the new little plants are ready to be planted in pots or in gardens. 

Read More: These Mermaid Tail Succulents Bring The The Sea To Your Home

How to Propagate Them with Offsets 

Some succulents are able to spread across a garden by developing mini-plants that are connected to the original’s roots. These mini offshoots have their own roots that can be detached from the original and planted or potted individually.  However, sometimes the offshoots need a few weeks to grow their roots. Once you separate the offsets from the original, plant them as you would the leaf or stem cuttings.  

Succulents that are conducive to this process include echeveria, jade, and aeonium. 

How to Propagate Them in Water 

Stem cuttings and offsets can often propagate in water instead of potting soil. We recommend for people who only have small space to designate for propagation.  

After the cutting or offset has been allowed to callus, place it in a jar or cup of water. Rest the stems over the rim to keep the plant suspended just above the water. As time passes, the plant will grow roots to reach the water. Ensure the cup is kept in a warm area that has partial sunlight. When the roots sprout, the succulents are ready to be planted in a pot or garden. 

Keep Reading: Rainbow Succulents Bring A Magical Burst Of Color To Your Garden

Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.