How to Propagate Succulents Successfully

How to Propagate Succulents

It’s a lot more cost-effective to grow your own succulents. Fortunately, succulents naturally come equipped with an amazing ability regrow from leaves or branches… and that means free plants!

There are three primary methods of succulent propagation, each of them easier than the last!

Leaf Propagation

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 – and for 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 amazing 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.

… 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. It’s vital that you get a clean break when separating the leaf from the succulent. That means there should be no extra plant matter left on the leaf or stem. This isn’t difficult to achieve since succulent leaves don’t really need to be persuaded to fall off (looking at you, Ghost Plant).
  2. To ensure you get that clean break, grab the leaf close to the base and wiggle it gently from side to side. There shouldn’t be much “pulling” involved.
  3. Now that they’re separated, both the mother plant and the leaf have an open wound. You have to let it “callus” over (that’s the plant version of scabbing). Just set the leaf in a dry place and wait a week, a dish on the windowsill works great. (we highly recommend these propagation trays by Yield Lab). Don’t expose it to water during this period – that will slow or impair the callus formation and could allow bacteria or fungi to infect the succulent.
  4. Once the mother plant is callused, resume watering and treat it like normal. The leaf doesn’t need any special attention at the moment. Don’t water the leaf propagation until roots appear. It’s pointless since they can’t drink water without roots anyway. You may want to refer to our article about when you should water succulents if you need more information.
  5. You can put the leaf on dirt at any point, but don’t try burying it (or its roots). The succulent will take care of it.
  6. Once the roots show up, endeavour to keep them moist. Use a spray bottle to mist the leaf every couple of days. (Enter the quintessential, super affordable succulent tool kit). Keep the propagation in bright light so that the new growth doesn’t become etiolated (stretched out).

That’s pretty much it! It really is as simple as pulling the leaves and chucking them on some dirt. All of the nutrients, and most of the water, that they need is inside the leaf itself. After a few months, that leaf will shrivel up and fall off. Now you’ve got a whole new succulent for the cost of one leaf!

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

Image by:@misucculents

 

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 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 make the 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 make sure 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 also it makes it easier to get a good cut. Bonus tip – depending on the plant, you might be able to propagate succulents 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 really sharp, really sterile scissors. That part is important 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 really really 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 the place where the leaves start. Depending on the species of succulent, roots should start growing within a month and you can begin to water. There will be enough water in the plant already to sustain it until then.

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, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. 

VIVOSUN 6.5 Inch Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with...
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111-1...
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$5.94
$21.95
VIVOSUN 6.5 Inch Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with...
$5.94
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111-1...
-
$21.95

Last update on 2021-08-02 / Amazon

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 great choices here: Echeveria, Sedum, Graptosedum, Graptopetalum, etc.

This method is particularly useful 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 out bigger).
Image by: @growingwithsucculents

Budding Propagation

It’s finally time for Aloe to shine!

Ever notice how some plants just grow more of themselves? Sempervivum are famous for it – that’s why they’re commonly called Hens and Chicks. Haworthia do it too, as do Sansevieria. It’s a very common kind of 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 out of the base of the mother plant and share a connected root system.

Propagating plants that reproduce through budding is a double-edged sword – on one hand, you literally 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 and buds should grow constantly throughout their growing season. Removing and replanting them is very similar to the process of take 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 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 over.

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

 We hope you got some pointers on how to keep 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 really enjoy our ebook titled The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully! With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll you have greater 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 take a look at our new ebook: The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully!

How to Make Succulent Soil at Home

How to Make Your Own Succulent Soil

Succulents are pretty and vibrant, but they can be quite picky at times. Unlike your average indoor plant, succulents are somewhat choosy with their soil and that’s probably what makes them so special.

Whether you’re an old pro to succulents or the new kid on the succulent- block, getting the preliminaries right the first time will go a long way in your succulent adventures. And nothing has more impact on growing succulents than the type of soil used.

Succulents, these cute, green, little aliens, don’t get along too well with the mundane, conventional gardening soil. They think it’s overrated and a bit boring. At least in its pure form.

Though succulents thrive with neglect why do they demand a more thought-out type of soil you ask? Let’s find out!

If you don’t want to make your soil, we also suggest these great alternatives 

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#1 Pick
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#1 Pick
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2nd Choice
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Prime
Popular Brand
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Prime
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Last update on 2021-08-02 / Amazon

Make Your Own Succulent Soil
perlite and soil @whitneykshaffer

What Type of Soil Do Succulents Need?

The word succulent means a plant possessing thick, fleshy stems and leaves primarily as an adaptation to store water. In other words, succulents are desert- denizens that have recently been tamed to spice up the living room décor, by using minimalistic planters, by their unique but beautiful looks.

These plants are native to the desert regions of Africa, Central America, Mexico and some parts of Europe. They have lived in the hot and dry desert all their lives and hence have a few survival hacks to combat life in the desert. One of these coveted adaptations is their ability to store water.

You see, it barely rains in the desert. And when it does, it pours— quite literally. Succulents store this water in their leaves and stems for use in the subsequent weeks before it rains again. So for succulents, their roots don’t take up water all the time as they already have enough tucked away in their leaves. This is clearly backed up by the type of soil found in the desert. It is sandy and the hot weather helps the water to drain quickly therefore succulents don’t sit on soil with needless water.

Damp soil for succulents is not only unnecessary, but it’s also dangerous as it may lead to root rot and a host of pests not to mention the fungal diseases that accompany wet soil.

So what kind of soil is cool for succulents?

how to make succulent soil at home
planting succulents @soymicroscopio

Succulent Potting Mix Checklist

The biggest threat to succulent survival is root rot. It attacks the main channel for water and nutrient uptake of the plant leading to a weak, shriveled plant. Such a plant’s fate is almost sealed –death is inevitable.

Planting your succulents in the right soil can’t be stressed enough. A good succulent potting mix should have the following components:

1. Succulent Soil Should be Well-Draining

It definitely had to be top of the list. (If you’ve been reading our recent articles, we mention this a lot because of how important it is). Succulents and damp soil is just a disastrous combination.

When making your own succulent potting mix, you want to end up with soil that will drain well and quickly. Loose and grainy soil is the perfect substrate for growing succulents.

how to make succulent soil at home
time to plant! @plantoolio

2. Your Succulent Soil Needs to Have Good Aeration

It’s important for the roots to have some space to breathe. This will not only make it easier for soil and nutrients absorption, but it will also create a sustainable environment for beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

3. Non-Compacting and Breathable Succulent Soil

Sticky and compact soil is terrible for succulents. The roots hate it because it retains moisture for long periods and makes it difficult for the plant to breathe.

4. Excessive Nutrients in Succulent Soil

This sounds pretty weird but it’s true. Soil containing too many nutrients, especially nitrogen, may lead to lanky, brittle, and unpleasant plants. Nobody wants such kind of goofy-looking plants, do they?

how to make your own succulent soil at home
succulent soil @bloomedroots

What You Need to Create Succulent Soil at Home

  • Gardening gloves to protect yourself from anything sharp (just in case)
  • Measuring cup to make things easier
  • A trowel –just a fancy name for a small shovel
  • A bucket, pail, or plastic bin
  • Common gardening soil
  • Perlite or Pumice to incorporate into the soil mix
  • Coarse sand to also incorporate into the soil mix

Let’s Get Started Making Succulent Soil

Making your own succulent mix at home is so much fun. You get to decide just how grainy you want it to be (if you care about the aesthetics). Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than the regular commercial cacti mix sold in stores.

And did I mention that the procedure is so easy?

A plethora of recipes for making succulent soil abound. However, for this guide, we’ll stick with the basic procedure that is super effective and works wonders every time!

Measuring Succulent Soil

Measuring out your ingredients is paramount to achieve the desired drainage, compactness, and aeration. The best mixing ratio of the three ingredients is two parts sand, two parts gardening soil, and one-part perlite or pumice.

Translating this to cups makes it 3 cups of sand, 3 cups of soil, and 1.5 cups of perlite or pumice.

The purpose of pumice or perlite is to aid in aeration and drainage. Pumice is particularly useful in holding together nutrients and moisture. Either can be used or better yet combining the two ingredients to end up with a rich potting mix.

On the other hand, sand is used to make the potting mix less compact as well as to increase the drainage. As for the gardening soil, its main role is to provide nutrients for the succulents.

how to make succulent soil at home
time to make your own @lowkey_plantobsessed

Mixing Your Succulent Soil

Put on your gardening gloves and let’s get to work!

Start by slightly moistening the garden soil to prevent the dust from coming up the bucket or mixing container. Next, put in the sand and mix thoroughly. Doing this using hands is more effective. Lastly, scoop in the perlite or pumice. Give it a good stir until the mixture is uniform.

Good job! You just made your very first succulent soil! I told you it was that easy, it’s just a matter of knowing what types of ingredients to include in your succulent soil that allows your succulent to grow the best it can.

You can use this soil for potting, repotting, and even store it for future use.

If you ever find yourself where you don’t feel like mixing your own, there are lovely premixed soils you can always get as well.

Tip: A neat trick before potting the succulents is to avoid getting the soil too moisturized.

You can begin watering as usual once the soil dries out completely.

ALSO READ:

how to make succulent soil at home
perfect mix @vividroot

Was making succulent soil as hard as you thought it was? Let us know in the comments below, we want to hear your thoughts. For some more tips on succulent care, check out this article here!

If there’s some tips and tricks you want to share with our succulent friends, you should let us know in the Succulent Plant Lounge — our exclusive Facebook group filled with a community of succulent lovers that chime in on each other’s posts answering popular questions about succulents and giving their insights about tips and tricks for succulent care!

Enjoyed learning about How to Make Your Own Succulent Soil at Home? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about The Best Soil Recommendations for Your Succulent. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

Have fun, and happy planting!?

5 Tips for Propagating Succulents

Tips for Propagating Succulents

Propagation was our number one requested blog post article idea! (The polls on Instagram don’t lie) You asked us and we listened, continue reading below for our 5 tips to having a successful propagation process for your succulents.

Disclaimer: These are not all of the tips and tricks out there! These are just the tips that we wish we knew before our first propagation endeavor. (It was a nightmare at first). Feel free to let us know your techniques!

1. Some succulents are Easier to Propagate than Others

There are so many species of succulents out there and they all differ in difficulty when it comes to propagating. Three of the easiest succulents to have success with are: Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands), Sedum morganianum (Burro’s Tail), and Sedum rubrotinctum.

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

If you’re a beginner, we definitely recommend starting your propagation journey with these species! A lot of the time, the leaves of these succulents will fall down on their own and you can do the propagation process with them without accidentally cutting off too much of the leaf.

To learn more about this, check out “Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off”

2. Patience

Patience you must have my young “propagator.”

Yoda from Star Wars

Time to test your patience! Succulent propagation can sometimes take up to four to six weeks before the new leaf cuttings will begin to root. Remember, great things don’t happen in a day and this process is going to be worth it at 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!

3. Watering Succulents

After the ends of the leaves have hardened over, it’s time to water them! Every leaf hardens over at different times. This is important to know 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, here at Succulent City we spritz the leaves once a day. 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 totally 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 and usually, they all need to be in direct sunlight for the majority 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, then they can be placed in direct sunlight.

ALSO READ:

Succulent Buds Sprouting
Succulent Buds Image: @peculiarshadelemontree

5. Don’t Get Discouraged

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. Most of the time I usually only have about 50-70% success rate for all of 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.

Until next time! Oh and don’t forget to share the love down below.

Enjoyed learning about 5 Tips for Propagating Succulents? If so, you’ll really enjoy the eBook about The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our eBooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

View our entire eBook collection here: SucculentCity eBooks

When Should You Really Water Your Succulents

When you should water you succulents?

Everyone praises succulents as being really easy to care for, so it’s kind of embarrassing when one dies on you.

Don’t worry, you (probably) don’t have a brown thumb. There are a few misconceptions about how to care for succulents well. You really only have to straighten out one thing to become a succulent maven – watering.

How often to water succulents?

Here’s a little-known secret for succulent care – the amount that you water succulents isn’t nearly as important as how often you water them.

It makes sense if you consider why succulents are so sensitive to water.

Since most succulents and cacti are native to dry, desert-y conditions, they have adaptations to prevent water loss. That thick waxy sheen on the leaves is called a “cuticle” and it prevents water from evaporating out of the leaves. Succulents even have a special version of photosynthesis (called CAM photosynthesis) where they only open their pores at night to minimize water loss.

These plants are really good at retaining water. So good, in fact, that they can accidentally drown themselves. Plants actually breathe mostly through their roots, believe it or not. If those roots are wet, they can’t breathe.

Succulent roots have evolved to act like every drop of water might be the last. They cling jealously to all the water they can find in their soil. Unfortunately, if the soil is constantly wet, it leads to root rot – a deadly illness for most plants (and succulents are particularly susceptible).

The number one killer of succulents is overwatering. But not in the sense that they get too much water – rather, they get watered too often. It’s absolutely crucial that the soil is given time to dry out between waterings.

So how often do you actually water a succulent or cactus? A good rule of thumb is to water once every 10 days. You should still check to be sure that the soil is dry (and has been for a couple days) before you water again.

How much to water succulents?

Now we know when to water our succulents and cacti, but not how much.

To figure this out, we go back to the desert these plants came from. It does actually rain in the desert, contrary to common belief. However, that only happens a couple times a year. And in the desert the saying “When it rains, it pours.” is very accurate. The sky just dumps buckets of water. Succulents like to be watered this way too, albeit a bit more often. Forget about the eyedroppers and spray bottles. Put those ‘succers’ under the faucet and drench them. You should water until the water begins to run out of the bottom of the pot. That’s how you know you’ve soaked the soil all the way through.

And that part is important – you want to ensure that all of the soil is completely wetted. If you use only a little water, it doesn’t penetrate more than the top couple of inches of soil. That forces the succulent to grow roots upwards instead of downwards. That leads to weak roots, poor stability, and an ineffective anchor for the succulent. A recipe for disaster.

Proper succulent watering technique

When you should water your succulents

While throwing your succulent in the sink is certainly a viable method, you can practice some more applied techniques for an even better effect.

We already mentioned that all the soil in the pot needs to be drenched. That’s still true. If possible, though, you should try to avoid getting water on the leaves. This opens the door to a few problems:

Mold and mildew can form in the crevices of a plant (like where the leaves meet the stem). It also provides a nice habitat for pests, who generally prefer moist environments. We recommend using a succulent watering bottle with bend watering mouth for easy control during the watering process! We really like this one by Mkono

2. Plants can’t drink through their leaves. That’s what roots are for. Any water on a leaf is being wasted.

3. Occasionally plants, even succulents, suffer from sunburn. When you leave a liquid like water on leaves while the succulent is exposed to bright sunlight, there’s a chance that the water will act like a magnifying glass and burn the leaf.

So, if you have few enough plants (or just really enjoy watering), you should water each succulent individually by pouring water at the base of the stem. Make sure to get the rest of the pot as well. If you are new to plants, we highly recommend this planting & watering tool kit.

Avoid overwatering

Water isn’t the only factor in the watering equation, actually. Soil plays a big part.

One of the qualities of soil is how much water it retains. Soil mixtures that have a lot of organic matter (stuff like peat moss, coconut coir, etc.) tend to hold a lot of water. Mixtures that mostly have minerals or inorganic matter (such as perlite or sand) don’t absorb water.

Succulents and cacti require quick-draining soil. You want the soil to dry out as quickly as possible after it’s watered. Ideally in the same day. That’s why watering in the morning is ideal – it has the whole day to evaporate.

So, grab some soil specific to succulents and cacti next time you’re out. Your plants will thank you. A quick DIY solution is to just buy a bag of perlite and mix it half and half with any other kind of soil. It’s not perfect, but it will dramatically increase drainage.

If you do not have any local places to pick up some quick-draining soil, we highly recommend this quick-draining soil from Superfly Bonsai on Amazon.

Note also that many succulents you buy (especially from big box stores) actually have a poor soil mix when they’re sold to you. You’ll probably want to repot them as soon as you’re able.

And speaking of pots – the second most important factor in preventing overwatering is having adequate drainage. That means use pots with a drainage hole. That means that teacups and terrariums aren’t optimal containers for succulents and cacti.

Without proper drainage at the bottom of a pot, water tends to pool and the roots stay wet for longer. That’s dangerous. And, no, gravel in the bottom of a pot does not constitute drainage. The water is still there. It doesn’t go anywhere.

We’re not saying you can never put them in those cutesy containers. (By the way, if you’re having trouble finding inspiration for planting succulents check out our 12 minimalistic ways to plant succulents). Just know that they might not survive it for very long or be very happy for the duration. So much for that Pinterest photo shoot you had planned, eh?

ALSO READ:

When you should water your succulents and how often

Tips for succulent watering

  • Different plants have different needs. Sometimes wildly so. Kalanchoe, for example, are pretty thirsty succulents. They begin to wilt after a week without water. The famous “butt plants”, Lithops, can only be watered three or four times a year or they promptly die. (psst: if you are looking for Lithops Seeds, we recommend these by Micro Landscape Design)
  • Always err on the side of underwatering. Succulents and cacti are literally designed to be thirsty sometimes. They can almost always bounce back from lack of water… but recovering from too much water is a dicey prospect at best.
  • If you have a community pot (a pot with multiple species of plants), water to the lowest common denominator. That means that you should water only when the “driest” plants start to get thirsty. We are following the same advice as above – it’s better for succulents to be thirsty for a while rather than overwatering.

Thanks for reading!

We hope you got some pointers on how to keep your succulent family healthy! Also, don’t forget you can receive 2 FREE Audio books of your choice from our sponsor at Audible.com. We’ve got 2 books we listen to about propagation and watering succulents, what are you thinking of listening too?

Share is caring! <3

If you enjoyed reading our blog about When You Should Water Your Succulents, be sure to check out our other blogs. Personally I think you’ll enjoy this one: 6 Best Indoor Succulents.

If you learned something, please consider buying us a succulent for our office.

Buy us a Succulent ?Buy us a Succulent ?

Enjoyed learning about When You Should Water Your Succulents? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about The Correct Way to Water Succulents. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

How to Grow Hens and Chicks Succulents

How to Grow Hens and Chicks

Growing hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) plants in your garden is quite simple, especially if you want a lot of them. Their offsets keep coming!

Hens and chicks have beautiful rosettes that come in colors like red, green, blue, and copper. They grow like nobody’s business and produce tons of baby plants cutely called chicks, so it’s likely that you’ll never have to buy more than one Hen.

Hens and chicks are easy to care for and can thrive indoors or outdoors, so they’re the perfect plant for pretty much everyone!

If you want to keep your Sempervivum tectorum looking like spring chickens, then you’re going to need our advice! Find out how to grow hens and chicks in your own garden.

How to Grow Hens and Chicks Succulents
Growing hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) plants is quite simple, especially if you want a lot of them. Their offsets keep coming! @joske.anoebis.goa

Hens and chicks

I bet you’re probably wondering why this plant has such a weird name! It’s called hens and chicks or hens and chickens because it produces a lot of offsets, which are also known as chicks.

In case you didn’t know, offsets are baby succulents that sprout from mature plants, in this case, called Hen. The mother plant “hatches” baby chicks just like a hen does, so that’s how it got its quirky name hens and chicks!

Binomial nomenclature Sempervivum tectorum
Other names Hens and chicks, hen and chickens, hen-and-chicks, hens-and-chickens, houseleek, roof houseleek, hen-widdies
Size They can grow up to be up to 4 inches tall
pH 6.6 to 7.5
Sun Full Sun to Part Sun
Climate Cold Hardy, Winter Vegetables
Growing Locations Throughout the US
Ground Sandy, Excellent Drainage
Water Low, Drought Tolerant

Sempervivum tectorum

Hens and chicks are also called Sempervivum tectorum. Serpevivum means “always living” in Latin. Sempervivum plants got this name because they sprout many offsets that live on after the mother plant dies.

Sempervivums are also called houseleeks because they used to be planted on thatched roofs to keep them from catching on fire during lightning storms. They store a lot of water in their leaves, so it makes sense that they would prevent fires from spreading.

How to care

Hens and chicks are native to the mountains of Europe, so they’ve adapted to cold weather and are considered a winter vegetable. Even though they’re tough and can withstand less than ideal conditions, there are still a few things you need to know to keep them healthy. Here are some of our best caretaking tips for hens and chicks.

The best soil

If you’ve read our other plant guides, you already know that you need to put your plants in well-draining soil. We talk about drainage so often because it’s super important!

If your hens and chicks get waterlogged, it may get mushy leaves, start to attract pests, or die from root rot. Nobody wants that!

Planting your succulent in cactus or succulent soil will prevent your plant from sitting in water and meeting an untimely end. Commercial succulent soil is a good choice because it contains porous materials like perlite and pumice that improve drainage and keep your plant nice and dry.

We highly recommend this soil mix as 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, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. We like to get a large bag as we propagate a lot of plants. It is useful to always have soil on hand for any plant project.

How to water

Watering your hens and chicks plants every two weeks is usually enough, but watch out for signs of under watering like dry, wrinkly leaves.

Fill up a watering can and douse the soil until water runs out of the pot’s drainage hole. In between these deep waterings, let the plant’s ground dry out completely.

Doing this encourages your hens and chicks to develop a healthy root system because its roots will grow deeper as it searches the soil for more water. Letting the soil dry out also prevents root rot.

Light requirements

Hens and chicks can handle anything from partial shade to full sun. Their fleshy leaves are a bit delicate and can burn during the hottest months of the year, so if you keep your succulent outdoors, watch out for signs of sunburn like brown, faded, or crispy leaves.

It’s a good idea to invest in some shade cloth to keep your outdoor succulents cooler on hot days. You should also water your plants more frequently during hot weather to cool down the soil.

Temperature and climate

Hens and chicks are cold hardy plants, which means they can survive in below-freezing temperatures. Even if the temperature drops to negative 40 degrees, your plant baby will still be ok. Sempervivum tectorum can thrive in winters thanks to their cold-hardy attributes.

A lot of plants can’t handle temps like that—the water they store in their leaves freezes from the cold and make the leaves brown and mushy. Their ability to survive in cold weather is just one of the many things that make Hens and Chicks remarkable!

Even though this succulent is cold-hardy, it grows best in mild temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. So growing hens and chicks indoors is not only possible, but also good for them as long as they get enough light.

Keep them near a bright window like the south or east-facing window for the best results.

Fertilizing

Hens and chicks can survive in nutritionally poor ground, so you don’t absolutely need to fertilize them. You probably want your plant to grow more quickly and look more vibrant, though, so you should fertilize it once every month or two during the spring and summer.

The best fertilizer for hens and chicks is a low-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Low-balanced fertilizers are milder and have less of a chance of burning the leaves of your plant. When you’re buying a fertilizer, look for one that has three small, identical numbers on the package, like 8-8-8.

Even though you’re using a mild fertilizer, you should still dilute it to half strength. Hens and chicks don’t need as much fertilizer as other plants, so you don’t want to give yours as much as the package calls for. Standard fertilizers generally call for 1 tablespoon of fertilizer per gallon of water, but you should only use ½ tablespoon.

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Do Hens and Chicks Bloom?

Some succulents use up all of their resources in order to produce flowers and seeds, which leaves nothing for the rest of the plant. Succulents that die after they flower are called monocarpic succulents.

Hens and chicks flower and die after about three or four years. Your plant may flower earlier if it’s under stress from not getting enough water or sunlight. It flowers early to try and spread its seed in the hopes that the new plants will grow somewhere with better conditions. Even if you take care of your plant perfectly, though, it will eventually flower and die.

When this happens to your hens and chicks, try not to be upset! You can save the seeds from the flowers and plant them to grow brand new babies.

Plus, your main plant probably produced a lot of chicks before it died that will grow and take its place.

Growing and Propagating

Hens and Chicks have no trouble growing and propagating on their own, but if you want even more plants, you can grow them from seed. You can harvest seeds from your mature plant after it flowers or purchase them online.

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Mother plant

If you’d rather not go to the trouble of growing succulents yourself (we don’t blame you), your hens and chicks plant will do the work for you. It produces lots of offsets that you can divide from the mother plant and put in their own pots.

Growing from Seeds

Grab a pot or planting tray and fill it up with some succulent or cactus soil.

With clean hands, take the seeds of hens and chicks and place them on top of the soil. Since the seeds are so tiny, it can be hard to see where you’re putting them, so just do your best to space them out a little.

After they’re in the soil, make sure you remember to mist them with some water. Keep them moist over the next few weeks until they germinate. Give them access to plenty of sunlight and keep them in a warm room that’s between 70 and 75 degrees if you can.

It’s unlikely that all of your seeds will germinate, so keep that in mind. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work out the first time… keep trying!

Dividing Offsets

Hens and chicks seeds don’t always produce new plants that look like the mature plant they came from. If you want your chicks to retain the characteristics of your hen, the best way to do that is by dividing offsets.

Most hens and chicks varieties grow offsets from a stem that’s attached to the mother plant. That stem is called a stolon. It’s best to wait until the stolon withers to replant these offsets. By the time the stolon withers, the offsets will have developed root systems of their own and have the best chance of surviving.

To separate this kind of offset, break or cut the stolon and carefully loosen the soil around the chick. Lift it up out of the soil and transplant it to a pot filled with succulent soil or a new spot in your garden. Wait a few days to water them so that they get a chance to adjust to their new environment.

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There you have it! Those are all the things you need to know to become an expert hens and chicks gardener.

If you’d like this guide you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

Even if you think you have a black thumb, don’t chicken out! Go buy yourself one. We know you’ll do a great job taking care of it. Happy planting!

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