How to Propagate Succulents

How to Propagate Succulents (Step by Step)

Succulents have become extremely popular in the plant world lately. They are very easy to take care of and there are a lot of fun and beautiful ways to arrange them. I have even seen wedding bouquets made 100% out of succulents. They are everywhere and they are addicting to plant.

Sure, you can go to the garden center of your local store and buy more succulents, but did you know that you can grow an abundance of new succulents from one plant? With care and patience, you can grow your very own succulents and I’m here to show you how easy it is to start.

How to Propagate Succulents (Step by Step)

What is Propagation?

Propagation is using part of an existing plant to grow a new plant. In this case, we are taking parts of a succulent to grown new succulent plants.

Part of a Succulent

What parts of a succulent will produce a new plant?

Almost every part of a succulent can grow into new plants! The most common method of propagation is by leaf cuttings. You can also use the bare stem after the leaves are pulled off to grow a new plant from each spot where there was once a leaf. Yet another method is to cut off the top of a succulent and plant it as a new plant and it will root out from the bottom of the stem.

Succulent Stem

Now that you know what we’re talking about, let’s make some babies!

Propagating from a leaf

To propagate from a leaf, also known as a leaf cutting, you can either use a leaf that has fallen off on its own or you can gently twist or rock a leaf until it detaches from the stem. You will hear a light *snap* when the leaf releases.

Lay out your leaves on a paper towel and let your leaf ends dry until they form a callous. At this point, you can wait until they start sprouting roots or new leaves from the end, then lay them on top of soil and give them a little water. You do not need to plant them into the soil, they can simply lay on top.

Succulent Leaf

Succulent Leaves

I actually left these for quite a while without watering them and they still grew, so even if this is your first time trying this, I am confident that you will be able to propagate some of your own succulents.

Succulent Leaves

Note that some of the leaves will produce better than others, so it’s a good idea to try at least a few leaves.

Succulent Leaves

Give your leaves plenty of light and water them as needed while they continue to grow. Young succulents will need more water than established succulents, but take care not to over-water them. A small amount of water once a week seems to work fine. Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle to mist the baby plants instead of watering, but you will need to do this almost daily.

Propagating the rosette of a succulent

Sometimes your succulents will grow tall and leggy if they are not getting enough sunlight. In this case, you may want to re-grow it and let it start over. To do this, pull the leaves off of the stem, leaving only the rosette at the top. Set those leaves aside to propagate as well, then use sharp, clean shears to cut the stem about an inch below the rosette.

I moved my succulent away from my (drafty) window this past winter and put it under artificial light. It looks like it didn’t like the artificial light very much and it became very leggy.

Succulents in Wall Planter

But that’s okay, because now it’s a good candidate for propagating. Here, I have pulled all of the lower leaves off (and there were a LOT of them!) and I am left with a tall stem and a rosette.

Succulent Without Lower Leaves

I cut off the rosette with my pruning shears.

Succulent Rosette

From here, just let the stem callous over for a while, then plant in soil. Now you have a brand new succulent!

Propagating the stem of a succulent

Now that you have pulled the leaves and cut off the rosette, you are left with a bare stem. Don’t toss it, you can actually grow new plants right from the stem too! Just leave it alone and let it callous over, then new plants will start popping out of each spot where a leaf was removed.

Succulent Stem

Here’s my stem, calloused over and with plenty of new plants forming!

Calloused Succulent Stem

The importance of callousing

You might be wondering why each step above calls for letting the ends callous over. The reason for this is to prevent rotting. If you don’t wait for the ends to callous, they will take in too much moisture and end up rotting out. We don’t want that. When you propagate succulents, it is important to remember to wait for them to dry and callous.

As always with succulents, be sure to use well-draining soil, so the roots don’t become water-logged. Cactus soil is a good choice, but well-draining potting soil will work just fine as long as your planter has adequate drainage holes in the bottom.

All grown up

Now that your succulent parts have grown new baby plants, the original leaves will wilt away. You can very gently twist or rock back and forth to remove the wilting mother leaf from the new baby and plant the baby in a new location.

Baby Succulents

Baby Succulents

What to do with all of these new plants?

Now that you have propagated all parts of your succulent, you will have a lot of baby succulents. Here are some ideas on what to do with your new babies.

  • Create arrangements in a pot or barrel
  • Get cute little planter sets to grow your babies in
  • Make a fairy garden with your succulents
  • Give them to friends and neighbors as gifts
  • Start a gardening group and see what creations everyone comes up with

Small Succulent Planters

As you can see, propagating succulents is very rewarding and a lot of fun! One small plant can create numerous baby plants that you can enjoy for years and years. Now that you know how to do it, go have some fun growing your own succulents!

If you’re looking for more tips on propagating succulents, there are a lot of great videos on YouTube that will walk you through the process. This particular video is a great starting point. Good luck!

How to Propagate Succulents (Step by Step) was last modified: February 13th, 2019 by The Practical Planter

Comments

  1. Excellent article, Lisa. I was able to learn how to do just what I was searching for. Will tell you how I fared.

  2. Hi Lisa!
    Once new babies are growing directly from the stem, am I able to remove those and replant them at some point? I haven’t noticed any roots at all, so I wasn’t sure if they could be gently pulled off of cut, or if I need to let them continue to grow indefinitely. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Erin!

      This really depends on the type of succulent you are trying to propagate. If you’ve had new pups growing for a few weeks and you don’t see any roots growing, you will probably be able to remove the pups from the stems and try to grow roots on them like a stem cutting. If you’re still not sure, I would remove one and give it a try! Good luck!

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