How To Propagate Succulents
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What Are Succulent Plants? | Succulent Basics
Succulent plants are a source of great joy, beauty, and pleasure for both apartment and home dwellers. Now more than ever, they’re some of the most popular indoor-growing houseplants.
Why so? It’s probably because succulents are so hardy and impossible to kill.
These plants need very little care and attention to thrive, which is a more than fair price to pay for their colorful, versatile, and exotic charm.
Once you have a few decorating your domicile, however, their prettiness might urge you to get more and more to quickly fill up your space—so watch out!
For people who get crazy about succulents (which is a lot of us nowadays), buying a ton of them can really add up.
Fortunately, there’s another option out there for faithful succulent lovers to save money: propagating new succulents from already established plants.
In other words: if you already have a bunch of succulents, or even just one succulent plant, you can grow a ton more for your space.
It’s also easy and absolutely free.
Can you propagate succulents? | How to Grow More Succulents
To “propagate” something means to grow more of it.
Instead of collecting seeds to grow more plant babies, propagating involves growing new plants from cuttings taken from a mature, healthy parent plant.
Succulent plants rarely bloom, if at all, as house plants—thus they don’t produce seed very much.
Because of this, propagating them from cuttings is way more ideal.
If you have a strong, healthy succulent plant, all you do to propagate is carefully remove some of its foliage. Then you replant it, water it occasionally, and watch a brand-new plant start to take root and grow!
Sounds easy, right?
These are just the basics—we’ll get into details of doing it in the most successful way later in the article.
What Succulents Can You Propagate? | Succulents You Can Re-Grow
Can you grow any new succulent by propagating it? Unfortunately, no. Propagation only works with certain types of succulents.
But luckily, that still means you can propagate most of them— including the most popular and gorgeous types!
So before you propagate a certain succulent, make sure it’s possible to do with your varieties.
- Sedum morganianum)rro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
- “California Sunset” (Graptosedum spp.)
- Dudleya (Echeveria spp.)
- Fred Ives (Graptoveria spp.)
- Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)
- Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
- “Mother of Thousands” (Kalanchoe daigremontiana)
- Pig’s Ear (Cotyledon orbiculate)
- Plush Plant (Echeveria pulvinate)
- Stonecrops (Sedum spp., e.g. “Jelly Bean Succulent”)
What Do You Need to Propagate Succulents? | Succulent Tools
Do you need a full yard, work bench, gardening gloves, pounds of soil, or even a gardening shed to propagate and grow new succulents? Will you get dirt all over the place?
Amazingly, wonderfully, and fortunately—no!
The wonderful thing about succulents: you can grow tons of them and feel like a gardening master of your own urban jungle. It’s possible— and without all the dirt, mess, and back-breaking work.
You also don’t need a heaping pile of gardening tools, either. Here’s all you need:
- Just a little bit of very well-draining potting soil
- Some small pots for your new succulent plants
- Some very small scissors or pruning shears
- Just a little bit of water
The most important thing to calculate beforehand: the final homes where your succulents will go.
You can start with very small containers to begin with, with just one cutting per container.
Or, opt for a bigger container where you can propagate all the succulents together. As time goes on and before they grow larger, you can transplant them out to their permanent container homes.
How to Propagate Succulents | Growing More Succulents
Once you have all succulent tools ready to go, you’re ready to get propagating.
Step 1: Remove Leaves
Take your shears or scissors and carefully remove a leaf (or leaves) from the chosen succulent (or succulents) you want to grow more of. If you’re an expert, you can easily do this with your fingertips with some plants.
Make sure to remove the leaf as closely to the stem as possible, so you get the leaf in its entirety.
Cutting too far from the stem for an incomplete leaf lowers your chances of successful propagating.
Also make sure to remove leaves from healthy succulents only, and from ones that have plenty of leaves to spare. You don’t want to kill your parent succulent in the process!
Only remove less than one third of leaves from your succulent plant for propagation, especially if your succulent is small or unhealthy.
Step 2: Prepare Containers
Once leaves are removed, place them on a plate in the sun in the meantime. Start filling your desired containers with soil.
Note: some succulent growers suggest you completely dry out leaves before propagating them. I have never done this, and still have great success re-growing succulents.
Step 3: Place Leaves on Soil
Take removed leaves and place them right on top of soil, nice and flat, in your container or containers.
It helps to have the very base of leaves where they were removed from the stem be as close in contact with soil as possible.
It’s at these points that the growing tip of your new succulent plant will form and take root. The closer to the soil, the better, so that your new succulent can root itself in successfully.
Step 4: Place in Sun, Sprinkle with Water
Lastly, simply place these containers where they will get the most sun possible. A bright south-facing window is ideal.
Take just a few drops of water and sprinkle them right at the base of those leaves touching the soil. You don’t need to give them much, and you definitely do not want to flood them—succulents are desert plants.
Using a spray bottle works, too.
Succulent Care After Propagation
Once you’ve followed the previous steps, the rest is quite easy.
Just sprinkle the leaf bases with just a tiny bit of water every day. This will give your future plants just what they need, and allow soil to dry out adequately.
In fact, you don’t even need to sprinkle water on them every day, since they’re desert plants. If you’re busy, just try to do it as often as you can think of it!
Over time, you’ll notice the leaf begin to wrinkle up and dry a little. This is normal.
Then, somewhere between 2 to 4 weeks, you should see the first sign of successful propagation: roots will start to grow out the base of your leaves! Not too long afterward, the small “bud” of a new succulent will also slowly appear from those roots.
It may take anywhere from a few months to even a full year before you have a fully rooted, growing succulent before your eyes. Yes—it’s slow going, we know.
But once you do, you can remove the leaf used to propagate your succulent as long as it can be removed easily without disturbing your new baby succulent.
And the rest is history!
Following successful propagation, you’re ready to take care of your succulent just like your other mature succulents.