How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves, Stems, and Cuttings
One of the first things that caught my attention while researching different types of succulents was that they are seemingly easy to propagate. I was so excited to learn that I could multiply my favorite plants with just a leaf, stem, or cutting.
But learning how to propagate succulents the right way was a learning curve for me. I didn’t know the best practices or conditions to ensure my succulents would take root, grow, and thrive.
Now, I’ve been growing baby succulents for quite some time and enjoy peeking at them each day. It’s oddly satisfying knowing that I’ve brought new plants to life through propagation.
In this guide, I’m going to show you the different methods you can use to propagate and grow your succulents fast. You can easily turn your small collection into a thriving garden. Whether you want to start propagating succulents or are just curious about the process, I’m here to guide you through the process.
If you’re new to propagation, don’t worry – I’ll cover everything you need to know about propagating succulents from leaves, stems, and cuttings. I’ll also answer some of the most common questions about propagating succulents.
How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves
Propagating succulents from leaves is probably the most popular and well-known method. It’s also the easiest way to propagate succulents since all you need is a single leaf.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to propagate succulents from leaves:
Step 1: Gently wiggle, twist, or pull a leaf from the stem of the mother plant. If the leaf doesn’t come off easily, you may need to wait a few days before trying again. When a leaf is holding on tightly to the main plant, it is in good health and the plant is currently drawing nutrients from it.
Step 2: Place the leaf on a clean piece of paper towel, cardboard, or coffee filter and let it callous over for a few days. Sometimes I just place it directly on top of the soil beneath the mother plant, as long it’s dry. This process allows the leaf to form a protective layer that will prevent it from rotting.
Step 3: Once the leaf has calloused, place it in a dedicated pot on top of well-draining soil. I like to use a DIY succulent potting mix for the best results. If you are propagating multiple leaves at one time, simply lay the leaves side by side in any formation. Each leaf will propagate a separate plant.
Step 4: Mist the soil lightly and place the pot in a bright spot, but out of direct sunlight. This could be on an east or west-facing windowsill, or on a countertop near a window. Only mist the leaves and the surrounding soil every two or three days to keep them from drying out completely. Avoid allowing them to sit in standing water for any period of time.
I like to use this misting spray bottle because it gives a consistent spray with no accidental dumps of water that would come from a watering can.
Step 5: In a few weeks, you should see tiny baby plants starting to grow from the end of the leaf that was pulled from the mother plant. If it’s not the succulent’s natural growing season, it can take up to a few months to see significant progress. Once they are two or three inches tall and have grown a solid root system, you can transplant them into their own tiny pots.
How to Propagate Succulents from Cuttings
Now let’s move on to propagating succulents from stem or flower stalk cuttings. This method might seem a bit more daunting than propagating from leaves because it can feel scary to cut a significant piece off of your plant. But don’t worry–succulents are resilient and can come back from even a beheading!
Here’s what you need to do in order to propagate succulents from a cutting:
Step 1: Cut a stem, flower stalk, or even entire head from the succulent using a sterilized, sharp knife or pair of scissors. You can use rubbing alcohol or boiling water to clean your cutting utensil. Make sure the cutting is at least two inches long.
Step 2: Gently twist and remove some leaves from the lower portion of the cutting. Each leaf you remove gives the cutting an opportunity to sprout new roots.
Step 3: Allow the cutting to callous over for a few days before placing it in well-draining soil.
Step 4: Mist the soil lightly and place the pot in a bright spot, but out of direct sunlight. The soil should be allowed to dry until roots sprout from the cutting.
Step 5: Within a few weeks, you should notice new roots and small baby plants starting to grow from the stem cutting. Move the pot into more sunlight as it becomes more mature.
Related: How to Grow Succulents Outdoors
How to Split Succulent Pups (Babies)
You can actually split some existing succulents into separate plants. This method works best for larger succulents like jade plants.
I actually repotted my sister’s 30-year-old jade plant to find that multiple plants were simply growing in a bunch. She gifted me one of the mature sections which already had a completely separate root system.
Additionally, aloe plants create offsets called pups around their base. I’ve split pups from my aloe vera, lace aloe, and spider aloe using this simple method.
Here’s how to split your succulents into multiple plants:
Step 1: Gently dig up the mother plant and carefully separate any offshoots. The roots may appear to be connected, but they have simply grown around each other. Some of the roots will tear as you separate the plants, just make sure the roots of each offset end up at least two inches long.
Step 2: Immediately plant the separated succulents into their own pots using a moist (NOT sopping wet), well-draining soil mix. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole.
Step 3: After about a week, water the soil thoroughly and place the pot in a sunny spot. Do not water it again until the soil is completely dry.
Step 4: Check in often on the mother plant and the new cuttings for a few weeks to ensure they are all growing and thriving in their own pots.
Related: Succulent Centerpiece Ideas
How to Propagate Succulents in Water
Propagating succulents in water is a popular method, especially if you want to see results quickly. The downside to propagating in water is that it can lead to root rot if the cutting is not removed promptly after roots form.
This method worked really well with my inch plant (wandering jew). When I first brought it home, it was in rough shape. Some of the stems snapped off, so I decided to try to save them with water propagation–and it worked!
Here’s how to propagate succulents in water:
Step 1: Cut a stem from the mother plant using a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors. Make sure the cutting is at least two inches long.
Step 2: Place the cut end of the stem in a jar or glass of water and put it in a bright spot, but out of direct sunlight.
Step 3: In one to three weeks, you should see roots starting to form on the stem cutting. Once they are an inch or two long, plant the cutting into well-draining soil.
Step 4: Water the soil lightly and place the pot in a bright spot, but out of direct sunlight.
Step 5: In a few weeks, if the plant is thriving in its new environment, you can move it into a place that receives more sunlight. Resume your regular watering schedule at this time.
Related: Succulent Gift Ideas
FAQ About Propagating Succulents
Propagating succulents is actually quite simple. Even if you step outside of the suggested steps, your succulent can still survive. Just make sure to get back on track before your plant succumbs to root rot, sunburn, or drying out.
How long does it take for succulents to propagate?
This will depend on the method you are using and the type of succulent you are propagating. In general, it takes a few weeks for leaves and stem cuttings to form roots and start growing new plants. But it can take up to three months if the plant is in its dormant phase.
What is the best time of year to propagate succulents?
You can propagate succulents at any time of year, but spring and summer are generally the best times since the plants are actively growing.
Some succulents, like sedum and sempervivum, go dormant in the summer. This means they will stop growing and may even lose some leaves. If you live in a hot climate, it’s best to propagate these succulents in the fall or winter when they are actively growing.
Related: How to Get Rid of Mealybugs
Do I need to fertilize my propagating succulents?
No, you don’t need to fertilize your propagating succulents. In fact, too much fertilizer can actually harm the new plants. Just mist them regularly, avoid overwatering them, and give them bright, indirect sun, and they should be fine.
Related: How to Use Worm Castings in Potted Succulents
How do I know when my succulents are ready to be transplanted?
Once your succulents have formed roots and are starting to grow new leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into their own pots. I like to wait until they are a few inches tall before moving them.
You’ll also know your succulents are ready to be transplanted when they have developed a strong root system and are starting to outgrow their current pot. Choose a pot that is only one size larger.
Should I water my succulents during propagation and how often?
Yes, but water sparingly because it can be hard to revive an overwatered succulent. Water the soil lightly when it starts to dry out. Overwatering can cause the roots to rot, which will kill the plant.
I like to mist my propagating succulents every few days, but you may need to water more or less often depending on the temperature and humidity levels in your area. I grow succulents indoors, so I have to be extra sure the soil is drying out before I give them more water.
Turn One Succulent Into 100+ with Propagation!
Propagating succulents is one of the easiest and most satisfying things you can do with these amazing plants. By taking just a few minutes to snip off a leaf or stem, you can create an entirely new plant! Not only is propagation easy, but it’s also a great way to get more plants without spending any money.
I always find more satisfaction in the succulents that I’ve propagated and grown from babies than those I’ve purchased as adults. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my plants. But there’s just something amazing about propagating your own succulents.
Hopefully, this guide has given you everything you need to know about propagating succulents from leaves, stems, and cuttings. With a little bit of patience and care, you’ll be able to propagate all sorts of different succulents of your own.
Related: Succulent Planter Ideas