How To Separate Succulents (A Complete Guide)

How to separate succulents

There is a wide variety of succulents in the world, and you need to propagate them. Various ways of propagation include seeds, stem cuttings, leaves, and division. Propagation by division is usually the easiest and the most cost-effective way to establish a garden. This is because you don’t need to buy new plants. It is even easier to separate a plant from offsets, where the daughter plant already has an established root and shoot system.

Offsets are nature’s way of getting some of these plants to reproduce; that’s why the shoots you pick always have an established or near-established root system. However, it is not only succulents with offsets that can be separated. You can also separate branching succulents by cutting off the branches and using them as cuttings for propagation. Leaves, too, are a part of what you can use for propagation.

All the above information is great, but what are succulents? The simplest definition of a succulent is a plant that stores water in its leaves and stems. They derive their name from keeping water in these parts of the plant makes them succulent, as the name suggests. The vast majority of them are drought resistant. Being drought-resistant means they can survive in water-scarce and nutrient-scarce environments.

Plant parents, nursery owners, and other players in the entire value chain keep the plant for decoration in various places depending on the type of plant. Having the plant within people’s living environment generally improves it for those living there. The following is a guide to help you do it right and understand the process and its implications better.

succulent propagation from offsets
Offset propagation @succulent.yinn

Should You Separate Succulents?

The simple answer to this question is that it depends. Let us explain. Whether you should separate a succulent depends on the type of succulent you are dealing with and the stage the succulent is in its growth journey.

You should separate succulents when they have overgrown, thus producing offsets, branches, and other types of baby plants. The best time to divide is when repotting the plant since getting the offsets requires exposing the roots. Repotting allows you to do these two things at the same time.

When to Separate Succulents?

You could separate the plant when pruning to allow more air in the plant if the primary parts of the plant you are using to separate are the branches. The best time to separate the plants is at the beginning of the succulent growing season. This way, the mother plant can grow and recover, and the daughter plants can grow and get established. Most succulents grow in spring and summer, but a few grow in winter. Find out when yours grows and separates at the beginning of that season.

The right time to separate where the plant is when the branches are overgrown and when the plant has become root-bound or the offsets have been overgrown.

How To Separate Succulents – A Step-by-step Guide

Separating the offsets will require you to remove the plant from the pot. The following are the steps you should take.

  1. Water the substrate to make it easy to pull out the plant and expose the offsets.
  2. Use a spatula or a flat piece of metal to separate the substrate from the pot to make it further possible to remove the pottage and the plant from the pot.
  3. Turn the pot upside down and hold the plant in the palm of your hand. It is essential to put wear protective gear on the hands, especially when separating toxic or spiny plants. You should, therefore, put on some gardening gloves. If the plant doesn’t come out when you overturn the pot, tilt the pot on one side and tag the plant gently. You will remove it without causing damage. You should assess the nature and strength of the plant before pulling it out.
  4. Remove the substrate clinging to the roots to expose them. You should do this gently to avoid injuring the roots.
  5. Get a sharp knife or other cutting tool and cut the stem that connects the mother plant to the offset. Ensure the knife you use to separate the plant is sterilized. You can dip it in rubbing alcohol or another disinfecting agent to ensure the tool doesn’t infect the mother and daughter plant with diseases.
  6. Check the roots to see if they are healthy and trim them if there are any traces of root rot or other root diseases.
  7. Take the offsets and keep them in a container. Keep the container in a warm place but away from direct sunlight. Let the container remain in this location for two or three days for the injury to callous. Callousing covers the damage preventing the bacteria and other pathogens from getting into the plant from the soil once you plant it.
  8. Plant the offset with a substrate suitable for the plant you are propagating. Don’t water the plant for a week or two beyond its initial moisture.
  9. Allow the succulent time to root and get established.

What To Do Next With Separated Succulents

#1. Propagating Succulent Babies (Offsets)

Succulents produce offsets to offer us an opportunity for propagation. The offsets form when the mother plant sends roots into the soil, and other plants develop from the edges of these roots.

You can let the offset grow into an independent plant in the same pot with enough space or move it into a different pot for a new plant.

Allow it to grow until it takes the plant’s form and moves it when it has just a few branches. Put the baby plant in a pot of moist, well-drained soil and allow it to grow. An offset roots faster than a leaf, and it becomes a plant more quickly since it is already relatively well-formed.

#2. Propagating Separated Succulents From Leaves

  • Cut a healthy leaf during the plant’s growing season.
  • Allow for the leaf to dry and callous
  • Dip it in the rooting hormone.
  • Plant in the same potting mix as the mother plant
  • Cover the cutting with another layer of soil, which should always be slightly moist.
  • The leaf will root in 3-4 weeks.
  • When the new plant has grown to about 4 inches, transplant it into a larger pot.
  • After it has become well established in its new home, transplant it outside to its permanent location

#3. Propagating Separated Succulents From Cuttings

  • Cut a healthy stem or branch from the plant.
  • Leave it to be dry and callous
  • Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone,
  • Put some potting mix in a container and plant the stem cutting just above ground level.
  • After 3-7 days, or when the stems would have been rooted, transplant to larger containers.
  • Transplant them outside to your garden in the spring

Succulents You Can Separate

Several genera typically produce offsets; examples include; Graptoveria, Sempervivum, Echeveria, and Haworthia. Aeoniums also have offsets. There are many others, but you need to find out before obtaining a plant if you prefer separation as a way of propagating the succulent.

Final Words

You may have noticed that separating plants isn’t as tricky as it sounds. It is easy if you follow the steps we have outlined above. Separating succulents is the easiest way to propagate them since the entire root system is already in place. This type of propagation is more or less like repotting.


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!

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