Propagating Succulents from Leaves and Cuttings in 6 Easy Steps

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Scott Webb

Succulents come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and can be used as both indoor and outdoor plants. Not only are they easy to care for, they’re also incredibly easy to propagate. Here’s our step-by-step guide for propagating succulents from leaves and cuttings.

There are several reasons for propagating your succulents. Perhaps they’re growing too tall for your liking and getting a bit leggy. Maybe you just want to try your hand at it and see how many baby plants you can get. Regardless of your motivation, we’ll show you how to easily propagate your succulents from leaves, or from cuttings.

Propagating Succulents from Leaves

When propagating succulents from leaves, it is important to use cactus or succulent potting mix. This type of soil allows for especially good drainage, which the plants will need in order to thrive.  You can find this type of planting mix in nurseries, garden centers, or on Amazon**. Propagating succulent leaves will be most successful if the parent plant has a long, woody stem.

(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Neslihan Gunaydin)

Step One: Soil

You’ll need the right soil to propagate succulents. Fill a large, shallow container with cactus or succulent potting mix.

propagating succulent leaves
(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Flickr - Quinn Dombrowski )

Step Two: Harvest

Gently twist the succulent leaves off of the mother plant. You want a nice clean break — if the leaves are broken or torn, the plant will not grow.

propagating succulents
(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Flickr - El Cajon Yacht Club )

Step Three: Prepare

Place the leaves into the bed of soil with the exposed ends resting gently on top of the soil. Keep the container near a warm window, out of direct sunlight. 

(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Sekimseng )

Step Four: Water

Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the soil every day. Be careful not to overwater – the leaves will rot and die. The rooting leaves need slightly more water than the parent plant.  

succulent leaves
(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Flickr - Josh Montague )

Step Five: Wait

After approximately 4 weeks, you will notice a nice little cluster of new succulent leaves growing out of the old ones and they will be ready to transplant.

(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Flickr - Mariko )

Step Six: Transplant

When it’s time to repot the new baby succulents, gently pick them up from the soil, including as many roots as possible. Plant them in new pots filled with cactus/succulent soil and water as usual. 

Using a Succulent Cutting

propagating from cutting
Some succulents are easier to propagate from cuttings, like the Burro’s Tail succulent. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Flickr - sk )

Propagating succulents is also possible using cuttings. Here’s what to do:

  1. Using a sharp knife or pair of scissors, cut off the section you wish to use from the parent plant.
  2. Once you’ve cut the pup or section off, allow it to dry out for a few days to develop a callous on the cut end.
  3. After the callous has formed, simply plant your cutting in a pot filled with cactus and succulent soil. Don’t plant it too deeply, you’ll want the roots to be buried just underneath the soil.
  4. Water each time you notice the soil is dry, but be careful not to overwater.

Propagating Succulents in Water

water propagation
Like many herbs and other houseplants, succulent cuttings can be rooted in water. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Flickr - Mannewaar )

Certain succulent varieties, like jades, sempervivums and echeverias can also be propagated in water. Here are some tips for propagating succulents in water:

  • Allow the cut end to form a callous, as this will prevent the cutting from taking up too much water.
  • For best results, use distilled or rainwater. Tap water often has too many chemicals that can damage the cutting.
  • Keep the water level just below the cut end. This will encourage root development and will prevent bottom rot.
  • Place on a bright windowsill, out of direct sunlight, and change the water regularly.
  • Once rooted, you can plant the new succulent in a pot. Keep in mind that roots grown in water are slightly more delicate than those grown in soil.

The majority of propagated succulents take several months to grow to normal size, so patience is key.

Remember: every cutting is different, so don’t be discouraged if some of yours don’t turn out. It’s completely normal to lose some, and it happens to everyone! 

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