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Succulents are perhaps one of the rarest houseplants to take care of. Although they’re odd-looking because of their thick and fleshy look, they make a perfect indoor houseplant collection.
One of the easiest ways to propagate your succulent plants is from the vegetative parts of the original plant – stems, leaves, or roots.
That’s why this method of plant reproduction is generally referred to as vegetative propagation or propagation from cuttings.
Vegetative propagation is essential in reproducing colour mutations, cristate and unusual forms, and cultivars propagation.
By vegetative propagation, we can obtain offspring identical to the parent plant.
You can propagate almost all succulents from cuttings, but you can damage the plant being propagated or ruin the potential growth unless you do it properly.
Read on to learn how to propagate succulents successfully and expand your collection.
- When is The Ideal Time for Propagation?
- Necessary Conditions for Succulent Propagation
- How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves
- How to Propagate Succulents from Stem Cuttings
- How to Care for the New Growth
When is the Ideal Time for Propagation?
Since the majority of succulents are winter-dormant, it is best to propagate them in the spring as that’s the period when they begin their active growth cycle.
On the other hand, you can propagate summer-dormant succulents likes haworthias and senecios in the autumn.
Necessary Conditions for Succulent Propagation
The proper environment is essential for successful succulent propagation.
Although plants naturally propagate outside, it is much easier to do it indoors because you can control the environment.
It should be warm, not hot, with filtered light, preferably by a window or in the shade.
Wear gloves and eye protection if you take cuttings from euphorbias since milky sap is caustic.
How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves?
In general, succulents with thick leaves attached to a stem will propagate from leaves, unlike Aloe, which does not have a branch. Some varieties with thin leaves can reproduce in this way as well, such as Kalanchoe marnieriana.
Besides, species like Sedum adolphi, Sedum morganianu, Sedum rubrotinctum, and Echeveria derenbergii are straightforward to propagate. You can start with those if you have never been born from the leaves before.
Below are the chronological steps on how to do it.
Remove the leaves.
While newer leaves are more likely to survive, your original plant will look funny, with a few leaves missing at the top. If you don’t want to make your plant a laughing stock among its leafy friends, you can take lower leaves, too.
Gently twist them off but avoid breaking them since broken leaves do not propagate well.
Let the leaves dry.
Having collected all the leaves, you want to propagate, lay them out to dry for a couple of days. This step is necessary because the end is raw and open, and it needs to heal and form the tissue called callus over its back. Lay the leaves on soil, but do not bury the ends yet.
You can begin watering after calluses have appeared. Keep the soil moist and damp until the roots start forming, then you can cut back on watering and do it as you usually would with your fully-grown succulents.
After a few weeks or months of growing, when your plant is around one inch in size and has a robust root system, it is time to replant it in a new pot.
Avoid hot, direct sunlight.
Put the new growth in a warm, bright shade. Plants grow faster in such environments, and sometimes leaves can only put off roots within a couple of days.
How to Propagate Succulents from Stem Cuttings?
Clean, smooth cut
Cleanly cut several inches of stem with leaves attached using a sharp, sterile knife, clippers, garden shears, or scissors.
You can cut off the top of your succulent or a new offshoot. In case you are removing the top of your plant, cut just below a leaf. Cutting too close to a leaf will make it a lot more difficult for calluses to form if you are cutting off new growth, cut as close to the main stem of your succulents as possible.
Remove a few lower leaves
Removing a few of the lower leaves will allow new roots to grow at the bottom of the cutting and from the leaf nodes (places where the leaves once were). You can save those leaves and try propagating them.
Let the cutting heal and dry
Let the cutting sit out for 3 to 5 days in a warm, shady place before planting it in the soil.
It is advisable to put the cuttings vertically during the drying period, held up with clean stones in a clean pot.
Should you notice, some shriveling after a day or two, go ahead and water it. Another option is to leave your cuttings on a paper towel for a week or two, water every day until roots start to form, and then plant them in soil.
Once the end of the cutting forms calluses, it is time to plant them in the soil.
You can plant the cuttings in a temporary pot while the roots grow or in a permanent pot. Either way, make sure that the pots are large enough and have drainage holes.
Use well-drained soil since that will prevent root rot in the case of overwatering.
You can buy a ready-made succulent/cacti potting mix or make your own.
Watering should be done every 3-4 days, and the soil should be kept damp. Once the roots begin to form, you can cut back on watering, then after around three weeks, water it as you usually would other full-grown succulents, more thoroughly but less frequently.
How to Care for the New Growth?
New succulent growth should not be exposed to bright, direct sunlight and heat since the leaves can become scarred, and the development can burn up and eventually die. However, provide plenty of airflows.
Creating a humid environment in a sealed mini greenhouse is preferable but not essential if you water your plants consistently.
Allow the new plants to adapt by gradually increasing their exposure to light.
To conclude, you don’t need any special skills or tools to propagate your succulents successfully from stem cuttings. On the other hand, planting leaves have a lower success rate, and new growth can put out new roots, but never the plant. If you are not sure which option of the two to go for, experiment with different varieties, and you will undoubtedly reach many conclusions.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!