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Propagating succulents and planting cuttings – tips for propagating houseplants for amateur gardeners.

If you want to propagate your collection of succulents, you can do it yourself, without having to buy brand new plants. In doing so, there are simple and practical methods of planting where you can propagate a succulent using only its leaf cuttings or offshoots. Learning how to do this is a great way to save money on new plants. So instead of buying more houseplants at the nursery, you can reproduce ones yourself with a little gardening.

How to propagate already existing succulents

transplanting plants after succulent propagation putting seedlings in soil

Propagating popular houseplants is a great way to enjoy a little gardening if you don’t have a garden of your own. What’s more, it only takes a few simple steps to be able to plant succulents, while also not having to care for them frequently. Some of these plant varieties you can propagate from either leaves or stems, while others can only be reproduced from individual buds. However, there are also varieties that grow offshoots and can be easily propagated as young succulents. To make a new succulent from a stem, you will need to cut a single piece from the existing plant. It is best to use a sharp, clean cutting tool, such as loppers, to cut it off to minimize any damage to the plant.

cutting the leaves of a plant variety and propagating succulents

Ideally, make the cut just above a leaf from a spot that will make your mother plant look nice, or even enhance its appearance. If the mother plant has grown large and scrawny, you can take leaf cuttings from the overgrowth accordingly. You may need to remove some leaves from the cutting so that you plant only the stem and none of them in the ground. Once you have your cutting, there are two ways to proceed.

Choose the method you want

diy grow at home various plant varieties

You can propagate succulents using rooting hormone . The ingredients of the powder mimic the natural growth of the plant. To do this, dip the cut end into the substance. Its main component is 4-(indol-3-yl)butyric acid. Such a synthetic stuff, accordingly, can help cuttings to form their own roots faster. To do this, use a small spoon to take a pinch of the synthetic plant hormone from the container. Dip the cut end of your stem into the powder and tap it to remove the excess. Throw away the rest that you do not use. This way you will avoid potential contamination of your entire container if you have inadvertently taken a diseased cutting.

transplanting indoor plants with example senecio haworthi


Succulents are easy to propagate, but you must callous the end of the stem or petiole before placing it in the ground. Leave the cut end calloused over. When this has dried out and become somewhat tough and shriveled, a callus has formed. When propagating succulents, it takes time for the plants to start growing, which usually takes from three to five days. To take callus, remove the leaf or stem from the mother plant and place it in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight. It works best if the cuttings receive bright light but no direct sunlight. The process may require less time in a hot and dry climate, but will take longer in a cooler or more humid climate. Once your cutting has become calloused, you can plant it. This method is free, but slower than using a rooting hormone.

How to plant leaf cuttings when propagating succulents.

how hobby gardeners can use leaf cuttings for succulent propagation

Regardless of which of the above options you choose, you should plant your leaf cuttings in a previously moistened, well-draining soil mix that is suitable for succulents. However, do not use garden soil, potting soil or sand to plant cuttings or mature succulents. These materials are dense and do not drain well. Your succulents may rot as a result. Rather, use a growing medium that has excellent drainage and is not hospitable to fungi or bacteria. Do not water the soil immediately after planting the cutting. Instead, wait until it has dried out. Then water well and not again until the soil feels completely dry.

watering plants after planting


First, water the mother plant for a few days before taking a leaf for a cutting, to give the leaves the moisture they need to reproduce. To make a new succulent from a leaf, all you have to do is turn the leaf and pull it off the stem of the plant. It’s okay if a little stem comes with your leaf. What you don’t want is a leaf that has broken off before the stem, because a broken leaf will not give you new plants. Once you have selected a good leaf, you should leave the wet part where it was removed from the callus of the parent. Keep your leaves in the shade on slightly moist soil, peat or horticultural pumice. If you live in a drier climate, you may need to spray or water your leaves, while humid climates do not require watering. Keep your leaves partially in the sun so your new plants and roots don’t dry out or get sunburned. If you have pets, keep in mind that some succulents may be toxic to dogs and cats.

How to use cuttings when propagating succulents.

suitable method for succulent propagation direct propagation of offshoots

Some succulents develop smaller versions of themselves. You can usually see these baby plants at the base of the mother plant or along the stem. These offshoots develop their own roots, which you can replant immediately. Some succulents even grow into the air and can be easily propagated. This propagation method is a good way to get more plants. This way, if the mother plant is in a pot, you also avoid overcrowding it with new growth. If you are new to propagating succulents, you can choose plants that are easy to grow. You can use cuttings or leaves to propagate them. The best time of year for you to propagate succulents is when the plants are actively growing. Depending on where you live, this can be either a short growing season, or throughout the year.

Common mistakes to avoid

propagation of cacti and succulents in suitable soil with pumice stone

  • Overwatering, which can cause the succulent to rot.
  • Place leaf cuttings in bright, direct sunlight. Putting too much stress on the cutting. A tender new growth may dry out or get sunburned.
  • Do not use a bulging, healthy leaf or stem. You are much less likely to succeed if you start with a thirsty or diseased plant.
  • The wrong type of soil will hold too much moisture. These conditions can promote fungal and bacterial growth or cause your cutting to rot.
  • It takes several weeks for cuttings to begin to form roots, which is why you should be patient when propagating succulents.
  • If 50% to 70% of the planted plants thrive, you’ve done a good job.

Succulents can be propagated in water

alternative method succulent propagation in water with bottles

You can get the root system of your succulent leaf or stem to grow by suspending them above the surface of a clear water glass, or by lightly submerging the calloused end in the water. Use this method if you want to observe root development in full view or if you want to propagate succulents indoors under unfavorable growing conditions. However, some amateur gardeners find this option cumbersome. Accordingly, the growth process requires water changes to keep it clean and at the right level. You may need to use plastic wrap with a small hole in it to suspend a small cutting above the water if it is smaller than the opening of the jar. This trick usually works well, but the method requires more effort.