propagating succulents

Propagating Succulents From Cuttings and Leaves Step-by-Step

Propagating succulents from cuttings and leaves is an exciting and cost-effective way to expand your collection, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or new to the world of succulents. In this post, I’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of propagating succulents from both stem and leaf cuttings, ensuring success every time.

Propagating succulents is a simple yet rewarding process that allows you to grow new plants from your existing ones. By carefully selecting healthy stems and leaves, providing the right conditions, and using organic methods, you can easily create thriving new succulents to fill your containers or garden.

Choosing which method to use will depend on your comfort level with the plant and how long you will wait for growth. While these methods are simple, it is essential to take specific steps to ensure the health of both the old and new succulents

Read on to learn the essential techniques for successful succulent propagation, as well as expert tips for nurturing your new plants. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-equipped to grow your own vibrant, healthy succulents from stem and leaf cuttings.

Propagating Succulents from Stem Cuttings

propagating succulents

Propagating succulents from stem cuttings is a straightforward method that works well for many types of succulents, including cacti. By following these steps, you’ll be able to create healthy, new plants from your existing succulent collection.

1. Selecting a healthy stem for propagation

To begin, choose a healthy, mature succulent stem that is free from any signs of disease or pests. Look for a stem that is firm and has ample growth, avoiding any stems that appear leggy or weak. When selecting a cactus, opt for a segment with several ribs to ensure a strong cutting.

2. How to make a clean cut on the stem

Using a sharp, clean knife or pruning shears, make a clean cut at a 45-degree angle about half an inch below a leaf node or joint. This will promote new growth and root development in the cutting. Be sure to sanitize your cutting tool before and after use to prevent the spread of disease.

3. Letting the stem cutting callous over

After making the cut, set the stem cutting aside in a dry, well-ventilated area for a few days to allow it to develop a callus. This callus will protect the cutting from potential infections and help it grow strong roots when planted.

4. Rooting the stem cutting

  1. Prepare a container with well-draining soil, preferably a mix designed for cacti and succulents. This specialized soil will provide the optimal conditions for your cutting to grow.
  2. Optional: Dip the callused end of the stem cutting into rooting hormone, which can accelerate root development and increase the chances of successful propagation.
  3. Plant the callused end of the cutting about an inch deep into the soil, ensuring that it stands upright.
  4. Place the container in a bright, indirect light source and wait for the cutting to root. This can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the species of succulent.

5. Caring for the newly rooted stem cutting

  1. Once the cutting has developed roots, gradually transition it to direct sunlight to promote healthy growth.
  2. Water the cutting sparingly at first, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Over time, you can establish a regular watering schedule based on the needs of your specific succulent species.
  3. Use organic fertilizers specifically designed for cacti and succulents to provide your new plant with the nutrients it needs to thrive.


Propagate succulents from stem cuttings by choosing a healthy stem, making a clean cut, letting it callous over, and rooting it in well-draining soil. Gradually transition the rooted cutting to direct sunlight, water sparingly, and use organic fertilizers designed for succulents to encourage growth.

Propagating Succulents from Leaves

propagating succulents

Propagating succulents from leaves is another effective method for creating new plants, especially for species that naturally shed their leaves or have rosette-forming growth habits. Follow these steps to successfully propagate your succulents from leaves and enjoy watching your new plants emerge.

1. Selecting healthy leaves for propagation

Choose firm, plump leaves that are free of any damage, discoloration, or signs of disease. Healthy leaves will have the best chance of successfully rooting and producing a new plant. Be sure to select leaves from a mature, well-established succulent for the best results.

2. Properly removing the leaf from the plant

To remove the leaf, gently grasp it near the base and wiggle it from side to side until it detaches from the stem. Ensure that the entire leaf, including its base, is removed, as this is where the new roots will emerge. Avoid pulling or tearing the leaf, as this can damage it and reduce the likelihood of successful propagation.

3. Letting the leaf callous over

Place the detached leaf on a clean, dry surface in a well-ventilated area, and allow it to callous over for a few days. This callus will help protect the leaf from infections and ensure successful rooting.

4. Rooting the leaf cutting

  1. Prepare a shallow container with well-draining soil, such as a cacti and succulents mix, and moisten the surface slightly.
  2. Lay the callused leaf on top of the soil with the cut end facing down, making sure it’s in contact with the soil. Do not bury the leaf, as this can cause it to rot.
  3. Place the container in a bright, indirect light source, and maintain consistent moisture levels by misting the soil around the leaf with water every few days.

5. Caring for the newly rooted leaf cutting

  • In a few weeks, you’ll start to see tiny roots and a new plantlet emerging from the base of the leaf. Continue misting the soil to maintain moisture levels, but be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to rot.
  • As the new plantlet grows, gradually transition it to direct sunlight to encourage healthy growth.
  • Once the original leaf has completely dried up and the new plant is well-established, you can separate it from the mother leaf and repot it in its own container with well-draining soil.


Propagate succulents from leaves by selecting healthy leaves, gently detaching them, allowing them to callous, and rooting them in moist, well-draining soil. Maintain consistent moisture levels, transition the new plantlet to direct sunlight, and repot it once the original leaf dries up and the plant is well-established.

Common Problems and Troubleshooting

stem cutting succulent

Even with the best care, you may encounter some issues during the propagation process. Here are a few common problems and solutions to ensure your succulents thrive:

Overwatering and root rot

If your cuttings or leaves become mushy or turn black, they might be suffering from overwatering or root rot. To prevent this, always allow the soil to dry out between waterings and ensure proper drainage in your containers.

Yellowing leaves or stem

If your succulent cuttings exhibit yellowing leaves or stems, they may be receiving too much sunlight. Gradually transition them to a more shaded area to prevent further damage.

No new growth or slow growth

Patience is key in propagation, but if you don’t see any progress after several weeks, reassess the conditions. Ensure that the cuttings have enough indirect light and that the soil is moist but not overly wet. Consider using a rooting hormone to boost growth.

Pests and diseases

Keep an eye out for pests like mealybugs or aphids, and treat infestations with insecticidal soap or neem oil. If you notice fungal issues, such as powdery mildew, improve air circulation and reduce humidity around the cuttings.


Address common propagation issues by monitoring water levels to prevent root rot, adjusting sunlight exposure for yellowing leaves, ensuring proper conditions for growth, and treating pests or diseases with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Maintaining ideal conditions helps ensure succulent propagation success.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Propagation

succulent rooting

To further improve your chances of successful propagation and enjoy a thriving succulent collection, consider these expert tips:

Ideal time of year for propagating succulents

Though you can propagate succulents year-round, the best time is during their active growth period, typically spring and summer. This allows the cuttings to root and grow more quickly.

Creating a high-humidity environment

To help cuttings establish roots faster, create a mini greenhouse by covering the container with a clear plastic bag or placing it in a humidity dome. Ensure proper ventilation to prevent mold growth.

Taking multiple cuttings

Increase your chances of success by taking several cuttings or leaves at once. Not every cutting may root, so having extras will ensure you have some successful propagations.

The benefits of patience when propagating succulents

Succulent propagation can take time, so be patient and resist the urge to overwater or disturb the cuttings. Allow the roots to establish naturally, and soon you’ll see new growth emerging.


In summary, propagating succulents from both stem and leaf cuttings is a rewarding process that allows you to expand your plant collection. By following the steps outlined in this post and applying the tips and tricks shared, you’ll increase your chances of success. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun as you create new, thriving succulents to enjoy and share with others. Happy propagating!


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