How to Propagate Succulents | Simple & Easy

December 4, 2017

Since I've already outed myself as a succulent junkie, why not go all out and start sharing little spouts of succulent-knowledge for those of you the least bit curious! I know I am constantly Googling, trying to learn more about these fascinating plants and I think my favourite thing about them is how easy it can be to go from just having 1 little guy, to 2 or 3 or 10 more of the same little plant.

For those who are not familiar with succulents, they are one of the "easiest" plants to propagate, meaning you can essentially grow numerous plants off of elements from a single mature succulent. And because there are so many different ways to propagate succulents, it sort of levels the playing field a bit, seeing as there are various routes to take when trying to duplicate a plant (so if one method of propagation doesn't work, there's always another!).

Let's start with what I label as the easiest form of succulent propagation- Leaf Cuttings!
To propagate succulents using leaf cuttings, simply remove a healthy, undamaged leaf/leaves of a mature succulent. It is best to remove leaves closer to the base of a plant because newer growth tends to be at the center or top of your succulent. Trying to propagate using these younger leaves will not yield you new plants because these "baby" leaves do not have much nutrients stored (which is needed for starting new plants).

You want to make sure you are gently wiggling the leaf so that it simply pops off. Having a clean break is important because torn leaves will again, not yield any new plants!

This is an example of a healthy leaf with a clean break.

Here are examples of young, damaged and torn leaves. You would not be able to use these leaves for propagation.

Once you have your leaves, lay them in a bright, dry area to allow them to callous over. This simply means, you are allowing time for the leaf to heal. If you do not allow the leaf enough time to heal, exposing it to water will cause it to rot.

 Now taking a shallow tray with lots of drainage holes, fill it with fresh cactus/succulent soil. Place your leaves on top of the soil, be careful not to bury them. You're going to want to keep this tray in a bright spot, but not in direct sunlight or it will burn the leaves, and mist them quite often with water. I use a little spray bottle to mist my cuttings because you want the soil to be moist at all times, but never damp and soggy.

You will need to mist your cuttings frequently since they require a lot more TLC than a fully grown succulent, so check up on them everyday. If you notice the soil has dried out, they're going to need another misting. 

After a few weeks, you should notice little roots starting to shoot out (yes this is going to require heaps of patience as well!), and shortly after you may notice little leaves beginning to sprout. This process does take some time, so be very patient because even though you may see a few roots and leaves, you shouldn't repot your succulent until this baby plant has taken all of the nutrients from your original cutting. The leaf will fall off at this point, so you'll know it's save to transfer your new plant to a fresh pot.

Do keep in mind, not every cutting will be successful and that is perfectly okay! Just keep at it and try not to overwater your cuttings, giving them bright indirect light without the risk of sunburn and they should be just fine. You also want to keep them away from any cold drafts, so air vents, windows etc are not the best places for housing cuttings especially if the weather is a bit colder by you when you're trying to propagate. 

Propagating Succulents Using Stem Cuttings
This method is best for your leggier succulents. Get as close as you can to the base of the stem and cleanly cut it using a sharp pair of clippers (if you have any, if, not a sharp knife ought to do the trick). It is also best to choose shorter stems for this method of propagation because they are guaranteed to keep growing, so they will yield better results. With older, longer stems, it is much harder to know if they are still active and growing, so attempting to propagate one may end up being a waste.

As with leaf cuttings, you will also need to allow some time for the stem to callous over a bit (this can take a few days) before repotting it. Again, this cutting is going to need lots of bright light, but not nearly as much water. You will want to water this guy sparingly and he will be his happiest. It will take a few weeks before you notice any little roots.

Propagating Succulents from Pups
This is an extremely easy way to propagate succulents because you really don't need to do much. What are pups? "Pups" are little succulents that grow around the base of a parent plant. Gently pulling these offsets apart from the parent plant is the hardest part of using this method. You want to try to not disturb the already existing root ball when separating these pups. If they're mature enough, they would have already developed some of their own roots, if they have not, you simply treat them like you would a cutting- cleanly removing them from the parent plant with some clippers.

Try to brush away any soil from the pup's roots (if there are any) and allow it time to dry out (or callous over if you cut the pup off the parent plant). Once this is done, you're going to want to prepare your pot with fresh wet soil (wetting the soil after having placed it in the planter of course...), and you can then use your finger or a little tool to create a shallow hole, that you will plop the offset into. Secure it in place by packing in the surrounding soil to fill in any gaps, and so long as your succulent stands tall, you're in the clear!


And that just about wraps up this post. I tried my best to make these methods of propagation as simple and easy to understand as possible. Hopefully it has taken any intimidation out of the thought of propagating succulents.

If there is anything I may have forgotten to mention or failed to clarify, do not hesitate in letting me know!


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