10 Jun Best Way to Take Cuttings and Propagate Succulent Plants
We have to admit — we are a wee bit obsessed with succulents. All the crazy forms, intense colors and amazing textures just blow me away. We love them in containers, in the ground, in open terrariums, nestled in rocks…the only drawback to our love of succulents is that it can also be a wee bit expensive as a hobby.
That’s where propagating comes in handy — taking one succulent plant and getting (in some cases) dozens more from it. And if you’re the least bit intimidated by this process, please don’t be. Succulents make it easy, as long as you know some basic methods. Ready to expand your succulent collection? Let’s get started.
If you don’t count growing from seed, there are 3 basic methods of propagating succulents.
- Leaves: A single leaf can grow into an entirely new plant! Gently twist the leaf off a stem (or use one that fell off on its own), being careful to use only healthy leaves without tears, damage, or disease. Set the leaves aside in a dish in a single layer out of direct sunlight for a couple of days until the previously attached edge has calloused over. Once the edges are dry, lay them on top of cactus soil in an area of bright, indirect light, then lightly mist with a spray bottle filled with water to encourage roots to form. Do this every couple of days, and in a few weeks (maybe months for some), a new little succulent baby will form — ready for planting!
- Stems: Cut a length of stem from an existing succulent and remove lower leaves. Let it sit for a couple of days for the cut end to dry, then plant it in fresh cactus soil and lightly mist to encourage roots. Or, if you have a stem already in soil with the top part of the plant cut off for propagating, go ahead and cut that stem just above the soil line, and new growth will appear from there.
- Divisions: Divisions are quite easy — some succulents have a “mother plant” with offsets or babies that develop either around the base of the original plant. Carefully separate the offset from the mother, gently loosening the roots. Then replant in cactus soil and lightly water. Other succulents develop offsets from stems – you’ll see a stem with a baby succulent protruding from the mother. Simply cut it off, leaving a bit of stem, and replant.
Best Succulents for Propagating
- Crassula ovata: You probably know this one as “jade plant,” and it’s extremely easy to propagate from stem cuttings. This plant grows well both indoors and outside, with jade green leaves and tiny white flowers. Hardiness Zones 10-11, or all zones as a houseplant.
- Sedum morganianum: Also called “Burro’s Tail,” it has plump leaves that trail down the edge of a container. The leaves easily fall off if you jostle them, which can be fairly annoying until you realized they are free plants in the making! Use the leaf propagation method above to create lots of lil’ Burro’s Tail babies. Hardiness Zones 9-11.
- Sempervivum tectorum: This is one of my favorite succulents, mostly because it’s just adorable. “Hens and Chicks” features a main plant that produces little chick offspring (I’m dying at this cuteness here) which are very easily propagated by division. Hardiness Zones 3-8.
4. Kalanchoe daigremontiana: “Mother of Thousands” is aptly named. As the mother plant grows, she’ll develop dozens of tiny baby plants along the edges of her leaves. They will eventually fall off, and at that point, they’re fair game for repotting as divisions. Hardiness Zones 9-11, or all zones as a houseplant.
5. Echeveria: Most echeverias in rosette form can be propagated either by leaf or by stem, but you’ll obviously get more babies from leaf propagation. Echeverias come in an extended range of forms and colors, so pick your fave and get propagating! Hardiness Zones 9-12.
Tip: Be aware that some succulents (as with all plants) are patented, and propagation is illegal. Check the container it came in for that information, or do an Internet search if you know the plant’s name and cultivar (Aeonium ‘Mardi Gras’, for example) to determine if it’s patented.
See Also: NEW AND UNUSUAL HOUSEPLANTS