An Overview Of How To Propagate Succulents: Introducing Different Methods

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Succulents naturally come equipped with a fantastic ability to regrow from leaves or branches… and that means free plants! There are four primary methods of succulent propagation (with honey as a rooting aid). To successfully propagate a succulent, we must prepare all the essentials, knowing which method to perform, when, and more. This article will guide you through everything you need about succulent propagation.

What To Know Before You Start Propagating Succulents

#1. Some Succulents Are Easier To Propagate Than Others

There are so many species of succulents, and they all differ in difficulty when it comes to propagating. Three of the easiest succulents to succeed with are Kalanchoe daigremontiana (alligator plant), Sedum morganianum (burro’s tail), and Sedum rubrotinctum (the pork and beans succulent).

We recommend starting your propagation journey with these species if you’re a beginner! Often, the leaves of these succulents will fall on their own, and you can do the propagation process without accidentally cutting off too much of the leaf.

#2. Patience

Patience you must have my young “propagator.”

Yoda from Star Wars

Time to test your patience! How long does it take to propagate succulents? Succulent propagation can sometimes take up to four to eight weeks before the new leaf cuttings begin to root. Remember, great things don’t happen in a day. This process will be worth it.

When it is time for the ends of your clippings to dry out and harden, this alone can sometimes take up to a week, so make sure you don’t rush the process!

Remember that this can sometimes be a frustrating process. Not every single leaf will create a new plant. (Remember what Yoda said).

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have a 100% success rate. I usually only have a 50-70% success rate for all the leaves I propagate.

Keep up with the process and try again! Practice makes perfect. Even the “experts” don’t succeed with the propagation process each time.

#3. A Strict Watering Schedule

After the leaves have hardened, it’s time to water them! Every leaf hardens over at different times. This is important because if you water them when they haven’t fully hardened, too soon after cutting from the mother plant, they’ll sometimes turn mushy and yellowish.

When propagating, we spritz the leaves once a day here at Succulent City. A quick spray over the top of all the leaves should be enough, not too close to them. Some leaves are going to look different than others, which is normal.

#4. Prevent The Clippings From Direct Sunlight

Succulents are desert plants; they all need to be in direct sunlight for most of the day. This is true, but not with succulent leaves during propagation.

I always put my leaves by a window that’s protected with some shade. Once the new plant has grown from the leaves, it can be placed in direct sunlight.

Read more:

External Conditions For Successful Propagation

  • Weather status: It is advisable to propagate succulents during warmer, humid seasons. These conditions can either be artificial or natural, indoors or outdoors.
  • Lighting: Adequate lighting – preferably sunlight – shortens the time it takes for your succulent to produce pups.
  • Moisture retention: Cover the container at night to help preserve the plant’s moisture during extreme weather.

Check out the video about succulent propagation: HOW TO: Propagate Your Succulents! – Succulent City Youtube Channel

Common Propagation Methods For Succulents

#1. Leave Propagation

If you’ve ever seen leaf propagation, you probably understand at least part of the fascination surrounding succulents. People love taking pictures of their leaf props – for a good reason! Nothing is more satisfying for a plant parent than seeing a whole new succulent grow from a leaf.

It may seem that you need a green thumb to pull off this fantastic feat, but nothing could be further from the truth. Propagating succulents from leaves is very easy. In short, all you have to do is pull the leaf off, and wait for it to dry, calloused, and replant. For a detailed guide (with our free ebook), check here >>

Image by: @misucculents on Instagram

#2. Cutting Propagation

Anyone with a modicum of gardening experience will have used this technique before. It’s a trick as old as plants themselves. You cut off a succulent part and stick it back into the dirt, and it starts growing again. Succulents have an even easier time of this than other plants. You sometimes have to coax new roots with herbs and veggies by putting the cutting in water first, but that is not so with succulents.

The procedure will start with cutting the succulent at a specific position. Ensure you sterilize all the necessary cutting gears before performing a clean cut. Allow the cutting to grow the root, then replant it in another pot. For the in-depth, step-by-step guide, you can view the article for this method: How To Propagate Succulents From Cuttings!

the next gardener package image

#3. Propagate Succulents In Water

Can you propagate succulents in water? If you wonder if you can propagate succulents in water, the answer is yes. Yes, most succulents can be propagated in water. To summarize this process: first, you must choose a stem to cut and let the cuttings dry for a few days. Use a mason jar and fill it with purified drinking water. After 4 weeks, small roots are expected to grow. You may wait another 2 weeks until your cuttings are ready to be transplanted. We have a detailed guide with clear steps for this method. You can check it here!/

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#4. Budding Propagation

It’s finally time for Aloe to shine! 🙂

Ever notice how some plants grow more of themselves? Sempervivum is famous for it, so they’re commonly called Hens and Chicks. Haworthia does it, too, as does Sansevieria. It’s widespread propagation and not at all unique to succulents. It’s how grass gets around, too.

The baby plants are called “buds,” “pups,” or “offshoots.” They usually grow from the mother plant’s base and share a connected root system.

Buds I took from a large Sempervivum tectorum. Image: Succulent City

Propagating plants that reproduce through budding is a double-edged sword – on the one hand, you don’t have to do anything at all, but on the other hand, you have to wait for the plant to propagate on its own.

Being at the whim of your plants isn’t so bad, though. Keep them happy and healthy; buds should constantly grow throughout their growing season. Removing and replanting them is very similar to the process of taking a cutting:

  1. First, you have to wait until they’re big enough to remove. It varies from species to species, but once they’re at least an inch or two in diameter (or several inches tall for the sheer variety of succulents).
  2. Find where the pup connects to the parent. It is probably either at the base of the primary stem or connected through a thick root called a “runner.” It’s okay to unpot the plant while you’re propagating it.
  3. Using the same technique we used for cutting propagations, make a clean cut where the bud meets the mother plant. If they share roots, give a generous portion to the baby when separating them. The mother plant can make it more easily.
  4. Move the bud directly into a new pot—no need to wait for callousing this time. Still, you shouldn’t water it for a few days while it heals.

Budding also propagates succulents like cacti so that you can use this method on them too!

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Honey As A Rooting Aid

Thanks to their scant care and few needs, succulents attract a diverse group of growers. For many of them, growing succulents may be their first experience with growing any plant in general. Consequently, some tips and tricks have emerged that other gardeners may not be familiar with, such as using honey as a rooting aid for succulents (this is pure experience, there is no official certification of this method).

Honey has healing properties and is used as a rooting hormone for plants. Honey contains antiseptic and anti-fungal elements that can keep bacteria and fungi away from the succulent leaves and stems during propagation. Many growers claim that dipping the succulent propagation pieces in honey stimulates the roots and new leaves on the stems.

It’s recommended to use as pure & raw honey as possible. Due to pasteurization, many derived products are closer to syrup than honey. To avoid confusion or inconvenience, carefully read the list of ingredients before using any product to test this peculiar theory.

First, you must prepare the cuttings and the pot with their respective substrate. The cuttings we choose from the plant should be 6 to 12 inches long and cut at a slant angle of about 45°. After this, we must submerge each cut in the honey mixture and then paste them directly on the substrate prepared in our pots. Use the entire leaf of the plant. When propagating from cuttings, keep it right side up.

When planting our leaves or stems, we must submerge them adequately in, or on top of, our soil. It is best if it is sandy and moist but not wet. Place our cuttings in a location covered with abundant bright light, but they mustn’t be in direct sunlight. Keep them outside when temperatures are warm or indoors during colder temperatures. Taking care of our cuttings from temperature damage is essential, especially in winter and cold and humid areas.

Related post: Goldfish Plant Propagation – How To Propagate A Goldfish Plant.

Transplanting Your New Succulents

Once the roots have developed, you must support the propagated succulents to form their tiny leaves. It’s time to transplant each new succulent baby to its container to grow independently. Ensure your new planter has drainage holes at the base, be it a vase, pot, or wooden box. The holes will help prevent water logging that may lead to root rot. Nasty business that root-rot.

Note: Read more about root rot and the danger of water logging in this informative article by Succulent City.

transplant succulents successfully
Moving succulents from one pot to another.

Choose a container wide enough to allow future root expansion. Fill it with pre-mixed cactus soil. Succulents do not require daily watering. Their natural habitat is an arid or semi-arid area. Therefore they are used to minimal rainfall by design. Just occasional watering once a week is required. Place your succulents in a place with adequate sunlight. Outdoor plants shouldn’t concern you much about sunlight, but indoor succulents will need a decent amount of light, preferably on the window sill.

Read more: Choosing the Right Pot for Succulents.

Thanks for reading! Don’t leave soon …

Do you have any propagation tips or tricks? Please share them with us in the comments below!

If you enjoyed reading our blog about succulent propagation, check out our other articles! Enhance your succulent knowledge about indoor succulent plants, edible succulents, or household items that are cheap & easy to use as succulent planters.

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

39 thoughts on “An Overview Of How To Propagate Succulents: Introducing Different Methods

  1. I have taken Haworthia leaves and put them sticking up in good soil and they grew roots. Now they are plants. So, I’m sorry to say you are wrong. They can grow from cuttings. I just kept them pretty dry and lightly watered them maybe once a week. Try it! You will be surprised! Thank you for the tips!

  2. Your articles are well written and clearly organized. I also appreciate the excellent photos that illustrate subjects up close. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  3. My cat attacked the leaves I was trying to propagate from. One of the leaves was completely destroyed, while another has some small holes, and the last one was completely fine. Should I continue attempting to propagate from the leaf with holes in it?

  4. Help Please
    I have sown succulent seeds in a mixture of fine washed granite chips, sand and about 40% potting soil.
    Nothing has popped its head out yet. I live in Cyprus which at this time of the year is hot. The seeds stay in the shade and I mist spray them a couple of times a day.
    Am I doing something wrong, is the soil mix possible wrong.
    Please help.
    Many Thanks


  5. When the leafs get their new growth how do you plant them next? Are the little leaves at the bottom the root?

  6. I literally do nothing to get new plants and plenty of them. A peddle falls off and eventually grows into a new plant.

  7. OMYGOD thank you SO much for this article!! I’ve read SO many articles and seen SO many videos on succulent propagation and your article is by far the best info ever in my opinion!! I’ve had some success in both methods but just this current batch of leaves I propagated, they did really well because I waited with any misting!! Can’t wait to propagate more leaves!!???

    1. That’s either root rot or burning from the sun. If it’s a good length away from the window, it’s probably root rot.

  8. This is the best article I have ever read on the subject and I have a much better understanding now. Great job!

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