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How to Propagate Succulent Plants from Leaves and Cuttings

Would you happen to know how to propagate succulent plants? If not read on. Here’s the thing. I love succulents. They’re easy to care for, buy, and look amazing in any living room. Additionally, they require very little maintenance to keep them happy and healthy. The best part, though? You can propagate them. Propagation is the art of taking a clipping from an established plant and growing it into a new one.

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Cool right? Plus it’s a free way to get a new plant. Who doesn’t love that? So, let’s talk about how to propagate succulent plants. I have everything you need to learn and propagate at home in this post.

Of course, you can just go out and buy a new succulent, but I think growing a succulent from one you already have is super rewarding. They also look really neat as decor when they are taking root. Anyone can do this – the process isn’t hard. You just need to know the proper process, and I have perfected is having propagated over a hundred plants here. Let’s dive in.

How to Propagate Succulent Plants and What is Propagation?

how to propagate succulent plants summer months

Simply put, propagation is the process of creating baby plants from a mother plant. Most ( but not all) of my favorite houseplants can do this, although your results will vary depending on the type of plant in question. That’s the best part about succulents though. They’re very easy to propagate.

There are three main ways to propagate succulents: from seeds, by division, or by rooting stem/leaf cuttings. All of the methods have their upsides and downsides, but I’ll be going over my favorite methods in more detail below.

type of succulent

The “best practice” that’s sure to make your success rate much higher when learning how to propagate succulent plants it to try and, propagate your plants during the spring and summer months if you want the best chance of successful propagation. You can propagate all year, but these seasons are best for plants to have the highest chance of success.

You can technically do it at any time with the right conditions, but the spring and summer months are ideal because they give your succulents the heat and humidity they need to form healthy roots. Still, if you can provide the right conditions and have enough indoor space, that can work as well.

Removing the Right Leaves a Key Step in Learning How to Propagate Succulent Plants

succulent leaves how to propagate succulent plants

Part of learning how to propagate succulent plants successfully is knowing which succulent leaves and stems are best for propagation. Technically, any living leaves or stems could be propagated successfully, but you want to use healthy, strong leaves for consistently positive results.

Fleshy leaves are good. However, you should stay away from shriveled or discolored leaves, as the overwatered and unhealthy leaves usually don’t respond well to propagation. It’s basically the same thing for stems, so any stem with healthy leaves will do the job.

The Different Methods for How to Propagate Succulent Plants

best way

Now that you know the prerequisites of how to propagate succulent plants, let’s move on to the actual methods. It’s important to bear in mind that which method yields the best result will really depend on the type of succulent you’re trying to propagate. Do a quick google search before to confirm.

Some plants might respond well to water propagation, while other plants might be best with the stem method instead. The best way to approach propagation is by doing a bit of research first to figure out which method will be best. 

Using Soil

succulent soil

Both the leaf and stem methods can be considered part of the “soil” approach, which is a very easy way to propagate plants. All you need to start is a parent plant, your ​own pot, and some succulent soil (or a similar type of well-draining soil). With proper care and a bit of patience, you’ll soon have a brand “new” succulent to display on your coffee table!

How to Propagate Leaves

succulent collection

You’ll need to properly remove the entire leaf from your succulent plant if you want to propagate it. After finding a healthy leaf, you’ll want to grab the tip and begin gently twisting on it. Keep doing this until the leaf cleanly breaks off.

“Cleanly” is important! If the leaf ends up broken or damaged, you’ll need to try again. Once you’ve removed a damage-free leaf, you might notice that the bottom is a bit wet. This is fine, as you’ll be leaving it out to dry for a few days.

easy way how to propagate succulent plants

Pro Tip: before propagating into water, soil, or otherwise, leave your succulent clipping leaf to dry for two to five days to help prevent root rot. After this, dip the lower end of the leaf in rooting hormone before setting it on top of some damp succulent soil in a pot. You can also dip the end in the dirt if you don’t care about watching the roots grow. The hormone is not necessary but will help increase the chances of successful propagation.

Place the potted leaf in a place where it can get plenty of indirect light, such as on a desk or on a nightstand. Avoid direct sunlight, as this will harm your succulents.

Mist your leaf daily. Don’t start watering until the leaf has grown roots or starts to grow new leaves. Repot after the roots have grown a few inches, or when the initial leaf falls off the new roots.

How to Propagate Stems

stem cuttings

Propagating stem cuttings is a very similar process. To start, you’ll need to cut healthy stems from a mother plant. I recommend using scissors, as this will help ensure a clean cut end. Longer stems are better, so pick one with at least several leaves already on it. 

Leave the stem to dry for a few days, and then dip the bottom in rooting hormone. From here, poke a hole in the soil in your pot. Place the stem inside the hole, and pack the soil in around it. 

As before, keep direct light exposure to a minimum using drapes or well-thought-out placement. Mist daily, and don’t start watering until you see clear signs of growth. You can gently repot the plant after three to four weeks.

How to Propagate Succulent Plants the Water Method

water propagation

If you’d like to watch your plants propagate in real time then it might be worth considering water propagation. This method isn’t as good as the dirt-based methods since not all plants in your succulent collection will respond well to it, but I think it’s fun to try and I often start my propagations in water in my propagation station I got online because it looks so cool and transfer to soil later.

First, use scissors to cut a three to four-inch cutting from your mature plant. Next, make another cut around a quarter of an inch below the node. Leave the cutting out to dry for three days, then place your cutting in a clear cup or jar.

Fill the bottom of the jar with water (up to just below the node). Place the jar in bright, indirect sunlight, adding more water as needed. After your cutting’s roots are an inch long, remove your cutting and let it dry for two days. After two days, you can place it in a new pot filled with well-draining soil. You can even use these wall-mounted propagation jars that look so cool!

The “Do Nothing” Approach

snipped succulent leaves
 how to propagate succulent plants

Sometimes, baby succulents seem to pop up on their own. This can happen when a leaf falls on top of the soil, propagates itself, and begins to grow its own roots. Happy accidents do happen, but initiating this process yourself is also a great way to expand your succulent collection with very little effort.

Essentially, all you need to do is gather a few leaves, place them in a pot, and put the pot in an area with bright, indirect sunlight. Then, just wait!

Eventually, you’ll start to see root growth from some of the leaves you’ve left there. At this point, you can mist them with a spray bottle every few days. With very little effort on your part, these plants will eventually be big enough for you to re-pot.

Setting Yourself Up for Success for How to Propagate Succulent Plants

small pots

Despite my best efforts to master how to propagate succulent plants, not every single leaf or stem I’ve tried to propagate has survived. Thankfully, I’ve learned from those experiences, which is why I always recommend propagating several leaves in several small pots (rather than relying on a single succulent).

Of course, they don’t necessarily each need to have their own container, but the important thing here is to have multiple propagations. That said, I do think a seedling kit works great for this, you’ll be able to track the progress of multiple plants easily.

Just remember to place your propagations in bright, indirect sunlight and keep to a consistent watering schedule for the soil-based methods. So long as you do that, most of your plants will start seeing new growth in no time!

Which Method is the Best?

small containers

The best method of how to propagate succulent plants depends on two things: the type of succulent you have and the propagation experience you want. You’ll need to research the mature succulents you have already, to see which methods are generally the most successful.

From there, you can decide your approach. For a hands-off experience, you can simply leave the plants to fend for themselves in small containers (the “Do Nothing” approach). Alternatively, you could decide to take a more active, soil-based approach.

If you plan on actively monitoring the progress of your small plants then water propagation definitely gives you the best viewing experience. That said, I’ve had the best luck with soil-based propagations in general.

It’s Time to Try Propagating Now That You Know How to Propagate Succulent Plants

baby plants how to propagate succulent plants

No matter which approach you decide to take, I think it’s a lot of fun to learn how to propagate succulent plants. When you finally get to see your propagations turn into baby plants, the few weeks of effort it took to get there definitely feels worth it!

So, are you gonna give it a try? If you do, definitely let me know how it goes in the comments below. Alternatively, if you’re having trouble with the succulents you have already, check out my post on how to revive a succulent plant.

Have an amazing week!

How to Propagate Succulent Plants: FAQs

succulent plants

Can you put succulent cuttings straight into soil?

No, planting your succulent cuttings right away can cause root rot and growing problems. Instead, wait a minimum of 24 hours for your cutting to “heal” and dry before planting it in soil.

How do you encourage root growth in succulent cuttings?

Aside from using rooting hormone, the best thing you can do to promote new roots in your succulent plants is to pay close attention to your watering schedule. Remember to let the soil dry completely before watering again, and soak the soil completely when you do water it. 

Why are my succulent cuttings not rooting?

There are a number of different reasons why you might be running into this issue: too much sun, not enough, overwatering, underwatering, improper nutrition, or improper potting. I recommend referring to the steps I’ve listed above and comparing them to what you’ve done so far to figure out what might need fixing.

Should you pull dead leaves off succulents?

As new leaves grow, the older ones die off. You can remove the dead leaves, but you’ll want to wait until they’re completely dry. At this point, you can take them off, taking extra care to avoid damaging the rest of the plant.

How do you tell if you are overwatering succulents?

If your plant looks discolored, has black spots, or feels “soggy” then you’ve been giving it too much water. On the other hand, if your plant has saggy tips, has wrinkles, and feels softer than more, you’ll need to start watering it more often.

Should succulents be misted or watered?

Using a spray bottle on recently propagated succulents is fine, but you’ll definitely want to switch over to regular watering as soon as the plant’s roots can hold it in place. Misting your succulents increases the chance of rot, so it’s best avoided if possible.

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