How To Prune Succulents

How To Prune Succulents

Succulents are popularly known for their great exotic selection of different shapes, sizes, and colors. That is to say, most are green, some are purple, and others are blue. Some have hanging foliage; others grow upright, others trail and others remain dwarf plants. Some species produce flowers and fruits, while, others don’t. Each species is different from the next, each unique to the other! The whole succulent family is favored by both home and office owners, certainly for their decorative features, in addition to their other apparent benefits of freshening the air and creating a serene environment altogether.

The best thing about succulents is that they do not need around the clock care that most plants require. Well, besides having a working watering schedule once or twice a week, and providing the succulent grown in the right fertilized soil mix with the proper light requirements. Overall, succulents will survive if exposed to these few factors in the best ways possible.

The placement of succulents within our work and living quarters is also quite impressive. They do blend in and fit very well among most spaces of bookshelves, tables, and windowsills that would have otherwise been left bare. As a result, A bright-colored succulent plant would most definitely give your reception the welcoming ambiance that you just may require. Do you like the idea of bright-colored succulents? 

How To Prune Succulents
pruned succulents @greengardensucculents

Plush and Healthy

With that said, it is, therefore, every succulent grower’s wish to have their succulent plants looking plush and healthy all year round. Even in their dormant seasons, when the growth is experienced the least, a healthy-looking succulent garden sounds like a pretty good idea. The aesthetics need to be kept at par, mostly if the succulents main job is ornamental. Further, pruning is one of the practices necessary to establish a fit-looking plant around the clock. All plants, including succulents, need to be pruned. In other words, think of it as a succulent-face-lift. 

How To Prune Succulents
variety of succulents @hydrocopia

Reasons To Prune Succulents

Blooming succulents over some time tend to grow wild, twisted and sprawl outwards and overgrow their container or garden space. This, in turn, makes them appear unruly, shapeless, and quite untidy. Therefore, the need for pruning arises! Pruning of your succulent garden plants is carried out for a number of reasons. Firstly, it facilitates size control, reshaping, or the propagation of some parts of the plant in the breeding of new baby succulents.

Additionally, pruning is an exercise used as a damage control remedy for diseased succulents. It is perhaps the cheapest and most sensible way to save your plant. The branches and leaves of insect or disease-infested crops are pruned off in the effort to liberate the plant or generate a new one.

How To Prune Succulents
cacti in the sunlight @plantbar

Best Times To Prune Succulents

Sprucing up your in-ground, outdoor succulents is best during the early spring, just before new growth commences. At the same time, the year-round tropical species can be trimmed off any time when the outdoor climate or indoor temperature is warm. The flowering species are instead thinned out in their dormant stage during the winter or soon after their blooming phase.

How To Prune Succulents
overgrown succulents @greengardensucculents

Tools Needed To Prune

The tools used for this project are chosen solely dependent on the size of the succulent, the vegetating nature of the plant; upright, trailing, or hanging. As well as the location it is planted; garden or container.

For the larger more extensive succulent plants, grown in landscapes such as Agave types, that are quite large, string trimmers or sharp, sterile large garden shears are appropriate. Other tools may be used to remove the spent flowers from low-lying Sedums and different ground cover succulents. Such devices include clean clippers, a sharp knife or a pruning saw with fine teeth. We are fond of this pruning saw.

For the smaller, more delicate species you need tweezers, which are used to prune off small dead or dying leaves. Furthermore, the tweezers can be used to pull out the weeds and tuck in the exposed roots back into the soil.

Hand trowels with serrated edges are suitable for cutting through old webbed roots that are growing above ground or out from baskets. For instance, this will create more space a new succulent may occupy or simply contain the plant within the basket.


How To Prune Succulents
pink detail on the succulent @succulentlovestory


When pruning succulents with spines or ones with milky saps, one should wear waterproof protective gloves. Their usage is to make the activity more manageable and also acts as protection such that the spikes don’t prickle the gardener’s hand. They also protect against the milky sap, which, in most cases, is an irritant that will cause some inflammation or rash to the handler’s skin.

You may also need a water-based marker, that would help you mark the stems or leaves you would wish to trim off. It is an optional apparatus if you are pruning a small number of plants. But if you are pruning a whole garden, this marker will make it easier and faster for one to mark the ones they need to get rid off.

All tools used have to be clean and sterilized— especially when being used to prune off diseased leaves, branches and roots. That is to say, the sharpness is to facilitate clean cuts, as inconsistent cuts may lead to an entry point of bacteria, fungi, or virus that may kill the plant.


How To Prune Succulents
succulents on display @artiplanter

How To Prune Succulents

Before you start on the trimming off, first you need to gather all the necessary tools required for the project. Keep in mind that all the tools needed have to be sterilized and sharpened beforehand. Also, pick the size of the tools conceding to the size of the succulent.

Firstly, you have the tools at hand, secondly is to determine which of the succulent plants you wish to trim off. This will depend on the reason you are trimming off the plant.

Size Control

Above all, if you are pruning as size control, pick out the leaves, stems or branches that seem to be very close to each other. Mark the ones you wish to cut off, pick up your cutting apparatus, and carefully cut off the marked sections. The slash is made at a 45-degree angle.


If you are pruning to reshape the succulent, consider making the cut ½ inch above the nodes and the ones that face the side you wish the new stem to emerge. You can also train some to grow in different directions by cutting just above a small branch pointing the desired direction. When pruning trailing species vary the lengths of each pruned stems for a more appealing visual appearance.

How to Prune Succulents
various outdoor succulents @asucculentsmuse

For Propagation

If you are trimming off a succulent for the purpose of propagation, you should pick up the plump, healthy-looking leaves. And in the case of stems, the best candidates are the stems that are taking up a woody look and feel to them. The leaves are simply twisted off or clean cut using a sterile sharp knife. The stem cuttings are cut using a clean, razor-sharp apparatus as well, and the leaves are attached to it are removed carefully not to damage the nodes.

For Health

For the pruning of the ailing succulents, you first identify the parts of the crop you wish to cut off. These parts should be the ones that exhibit any form of abnormal appearance or feel. If the leaves or stem look shriveled, seem mushy, or discolored, then those are the ones to prune off. Lastly, use a sharp, sterilized knife to cut them off. In cases where the majority of the plant is damaged consider cutting off the healthy unaffected parts to use for replanting. We found the perfect garden knife to assist you out there.

Just Prune it!

Now that you have the complete guide as to how to prune succulents, it’s time to get your gear and get to work. Give those succulents the face-lift they deserve so that they look bright and healthy all year round. Now you do not have to replace your plants every time it overgrows or takes up the shape you don’t fancy. Even for the ailing ones.


How To Prune Succulents
succulent collection @the_simple_succulent

Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out other similar content to this article like “7 Succulent Care Tips” or “How to Care for Succulents in the Winter”

Let’s get social! Succulent City is on Instagram and Pinterest, sharing succulent content daily. We also have an exclusive Facebook group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, where succulent lovers from all over share their photos, tips, end experiences!

Calling all succulents lovers— rookie or veteran! Succulent City has developed a line of 12 ebooks (see here), ranging on topics from indoor & outdoor succulents, essential tools, the best soil to use, and more! We even threw in a complimentary ebook to help get your succulent journey started— you just have to insert your email on our front page for this. With our ebooks you’ll be a succulent guru in no time, have fun!

Also, did you know that for a limited time, Amazon is offering a FREE 30-day trial of their famous Amazon Prime Membership! Get full access to all the perks, including FREE 2-day shipping on all eligible products. Click this link to learn more and sign up today!

Happy Planting!! ?

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