The Ultimate Guide On How To Propagate Succulents Successfully With Different Methods

How to Propagate Succulents

Succulents naturally come equipped with a fantastic ability to regrow from leaves or branches… and that means free plants! There are 5 primary methods of succulent propagation (plus 1 additional method with honey). To successfully propagate a succulent, we need to prepare all the essentials, with knowledge of which method to perform, when to perform, and more. This article will guide you through everything you need to know 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).

Burros Tail Succulent Tips
Burro’s Tail Succulent Image: @done.by_hand_concrete

We recommend starting your propagation journey with these species if you’re a beginner! A lot of the time, the leaves of these succulents will fall on their own, and you can do the propagation process with them 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, and this process will be worth it in the end.

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 about 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. Watering Succulents

After the leaves’ ends 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.

If you want to learn more about when you should water your succulents check out our in-depth article here.

#4. Don’t Place the Clippings in 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 the succulent leaves during the propagation process.

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.

Succulent Buds Sprouting
Succulent Buds Image: @peculiarshadelemontree

How To Propagate Succulent Leaves

If you’ve ever seen leaf propagation in action, 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 mere 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. All you have to do is pull the leaf off.

Image by:@misucculents

… And you’re done! No, seriously, that’s all there is to it. If you remove the leaf, nature will take care of the rest. For the sake of thoroughness, however, I’ll add some details.

  1. Identify the leaves best suited for propagation: For the best results, use healthy-looking leaves. Any leaves that look wilted, discolored, rotten, or mushy should be cut off and discarded. Leaves that look bright, plump, and firm will give us the best outcome.
  2. Cut off the succulent leaves: It will help if you use a sharp pair of scissors or a clean, sterile knife to cut the leaf off the stem. You can also do this by hand. If you choose to use your hands, be careful to avoid leaf breakage. It’s advisable to cut no more than three leaves at any time. Try to avoid wrinkled or distorted succulent leaves. Any leaves that appear to host pests or diseases are a definite no-no.
  3. Root sprouting: Put some well-draining soil onto a flat surface like a kitchen tray. Let your cuttings lie flat on the soil surface, either on the kitchen tray or in your garden. It will give the cutting time to heal while recovering from the shock of sudden detachment. Leave the leaf on the soil surface without burying it for up to 5 days.
  4. Planting the Succulent Plant: You should see your leaves sprouting after a few days. Some leaves will shrivel up and dry. That is normal. Discard any dry, shriveled leaves and focus on the leaves that have started producing root systems. Depending on the succulent species and the present conditions, the roots can take a few days or weeks to sprout. Once the sprouted roots grow a few inches long, you can transfer the leaves to your garden or indoor pots and containers.

Be aware that this only works on succulents that have distinct stems and distinct leaves. Succulents like Echeveria, Sedum, Senecio, and Graptopetalum are great candidates. If you try this with an Aloe or a Haworthia, you’ll end up with a dead leaf and disappointment. Only do it if the leaf comes off easily!

It was so exciting when I started growing my succulents from leaves, and I never stopped! We have prepared a free ebook about how to propagate succulents from leaves, download it here:

How To Propagate Succulents From Cuttings

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 part of a succulent and stick it back into the dirt, and it just starts growing again.

Crazy, right?

Succulents have an even easier time of this than other plants. With herbs and veggies, you sometimes have to coax out new roots by putting the cutting in water for a while first, but that is not so with succulents.

Here’s how you propagate succulents via cuttings:

  1. Choose where to cut: It needs to be near the end of the branch or stem. Usually, 3 to 6 inches away is appropriate. You’ll also want to ensure that the plant is growing and healthy here – propagating a weak or dying plant is a recipe for failure.
  2. Clear the stem above the intended cut: Remove leaves one to two inches above the place you want to cut for two reasons: you’re going to put that part underground and make it easier to get a good cut. Bonus tip – depending on the plant, you might be able to propagate succulent leaves!
  3. Make a clean cut perpendicular to the stem (the stem should be flat on top, not diagonal at all): Be sure to use sharp, really sterile scissors. That part is essential because dull scissors will crush the plant while cutting it, which makes it less likely to recover. Dirty scissors transfer germs directly into the wound – that’s no good. I highly recommend using gardening scissors or shears for this process. These gardening pruning shears by Vivoson are good!
  4. Allow the mother plant and the cutting to callus just as we did for leaves in the above technique: It should take between 3-10 days. Don’t let them get wet but keep them in direct light.
  5. Stick the bottom of the cutting into the dirt up to where the leaves start: Depending on the species of succulents, roots should start growing within a month, and you can begin to water. There will already be enough water in the plant to sustain it.

We also recommend making sure you are using quality succulent soil. We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, helps fight root rot, is perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: it won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. 

In summary, snip off a bit of the succulent and stick it in the ground. It couldn’t be easier. This method only works with plants that have a pronounced stem, however. Sorry, Aloe and Haworthia, that means you’re not eligible. Many of the plants we suggested for leaf propagation are also excellent choices: Echeveria, Sedum, Graptosedum, Graptopetalum, etc.

Table could not be displayed.

This method is beneficial because it addresses two problems:

  • It “fixes” etiolated plants. When plants have insufficient light and grow leggy, that can’t be undone. You can, however, snip out the leggy part and plant the top part again to have two plants – the base of the original (which will resume growth) and a cutting. Just make sure they get enough light this time!
  • It’s the fastest way to get new plants. Growing new succulents from leaves is easy and efficient but slow. It could take up to a year to get a decent-sized plant. Cuttings root and grow more quickly than leaf propagations (plus, they start bigger).
Image by: @growingwithsucculents

How To Propagate Succulents From Stems

This type of plant is straightforward to propagate. Below is the step-by-step guide on how to propagate through stem cuttings.

  1. Choose a stem and make sure it has at least 2 leaves
  2. Please do not take any stems that have flowers on it
  3. Use a clean knife or blade to cut the stem off, or you may also use your fingers to snap off your chosen cuttings
  4. Let the cuttings heal for at least 2 to 3 days or until they calloused
  5. Plant the cuttings in a well-draining soil mixture. Ideally, you must keep the soil damp within 2 to 3 weeks.

How To 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. Below is a step-by-step guide for your easy reference.

  1. Choose a stem to cut.
  2. Let the cuttings dry for a few days.
  3. Use a mason jar and fill it with water. Make sure that you are using purified drinking water. Adding nutrients to the water might not be necessary.
  4. Cover the mason jar with plastic and poke a hole in the center.
  5. Insert the cuttings in the holes.
  6. Place your jar in a bright area for a couple of weeks.
  7. After 4 weeks, small roots are expected to grow.
  8. You may wait another 2 weeks until your cuttings are ready to be transplanted.
  9. Make sure that you are using well-draining soil and pot with proper drainage.

Budding Propagation

It’s finally time for Aloe to shine!

Ever notice how some plants just grow more of themselves? Sempervivum is famous for it – that’s why they’re commonly called Hens and Chicks. Haworthia does it, too, as do 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” or “pups,” or “offshoots”. They usually grow from the mother plant’s base and share a connected root system.

Propagating plants that reproduce through budding is a double-edged sword – on 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 vertical 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 callusing this time. Still, you shouldn’t water it for a few days while it heals.

Budding is also the way to propagate succulents like cacti so that you can use this method on them too!

How To Propagate Succulents With Honey

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 make sure to 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, it is essential to take care of our cuttings from temperature damage, especially in winter and if we live in cold and humid areas.

External Conditions For Successful Propagation

  • Weather status: It is advisable to propagate your 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.

Transplanting Your New Succulents

Now that the roots have developed, you need to support the propagated succulents to form their own 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.

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

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 on the best planters for growing your succulents here: Choosing the Right Pot for Succulents.

We hope you have some pointers on keeping your plant family healthy! If you did, please take a moment to SHARE on Facebook or PIN US on Pinterest with the social buttons below!

Enjoyed learning about Propagating Succulents? If so, you’ll enjoy our ebook, The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully! With this ebook, you’ll find more detailed answers that’ll have tremendous success with propagating! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

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

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed reading our blog about succulent propagation, check out our other articles! Enhance your succulent knowledge with 6 Best Indoor Succulents, 6 Edible Succulents to Excite Your Taste Buds, or Household Items You Can use as Succulent Planters.

Are you looking for more propagation guides? You may want to look at our new ebook: The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully!

ABOUT ME

Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me: richard.succulentcity@gmail.com

33 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide On How To Propagate Succulents Successfully With 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. 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!!???

  3. 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!

  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

    Philip

  5. 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?

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