propagating succulents

How to Propagate Succulents

Propagating succulents is easy and can be fun for a new or educated gardener. So, if you are ready to propagate your plants, let’s go. There are many options to start a new plant, and you’ll read all about them here. The method you choose depends on your comfort level with the plant and your patience for how long it takes to grow. All the ways to create new succulents are straightforward and simple. Yet, it is essential to take specific steps to ensure the health of both the old and new plants.

There are 4 ways to grow new succulent plants.

  • Using seeds from the nursery or your own established plant
  • Cutting stems from active parts of a healthy plant in your yard
  • Removing leaves from your full-grown succulent
  • Using offsets from your plant’s natural self-reproduction

All these methods work well if you do them with care and adhere to your succulent’s needs. Do not just separate the parts you want to propagate and re-plant them. If you try this, they will not survive, and you will have wasted time and harmed your plants. There are a few steps to take to ensure your plant establishes robust roots and grows healthy. Keep reading to decide which option is best for you and your plants.

propagating succulents

Propagating Succulents with Seed

Propagating your succulents with seeds is the slowest way to grow new plants. If you have patience and like to watch the plant peak out at the very beginning stages, this is the way to go. You can buy seeds at a nursery or get them right off your plant. To find the seeds on your plant, look at the base of the flower after it is done flowering. Growing from the seed can be gratifying to a gardener.

No matter where you get your seeds from, make sure they are fresh and dry to start off. When you are ready to put them in their home, first, you need to soak the seeds for 30 minutes right before you plant them. This is unlike all other propagation methods. Soaking them loosens the skin helping them germinate. Next, lay them on the soil you prepared in your pot, and then cover with a thin layer of your top dressing or more soil. Then pour a little water on the topsoil and let it dry out before you water again. You will eventually see the small stems come up. Keep in mind, germination time varies depending on which type of succulent seed you planted and what climate you put it in.

Propagating with Stem Cuttings

Stem cutting is one of the fastest ways to propagate your succulent plants because you already have a leaf and stem together when you start. It is best to do this in the dormant time of year or early spring. First, check out your plant and find an active growth section with a clean, sharp razor or box cutter cut 3-4 inches off. Having a clean cut helps it callus faster than using clippers that crush the stem or tear it, which makes jagged edges. Next, once you have your cutting remove the lower leaves, keeping only the top ones on the stem.

Then do not plant it right away; lay it out so the cut calluses over. You want it completely dry where it was cut. This often takes 4-7 days, and only the sharp cut stem survives this well. Lastly, when these become callused, it is time to place the stem into your soil, covering just enough root to stabilize the stem. Provide a little water on the soil only, not the plant itself yet. Then water each time the soil dries out. How often will depend on the size of the plant, pot, and its location.

stem cutting succulent

Propagating with Leaf Cuttings

Propagating from leaf cuttings allows you to grow many plants from the main one because the leaves are abundant. The best succulents to use for leaf propagation are ones with thick fleshy leaves because they are easy to pinch off. Keep in mind, it takes longer to grow from a leaf, so you need to have more patience in the process. First, pop off the leaf and lay it out in a dry, sunny place to callus. You can even lay it on top of the soil you are going to plant it in but don’t bury the end of the leaf into the soil. If you do, it will not callus and may rot.

Then, when the leaf wounds dry out enough, keep them on your potting soil and moisten the soil, do not put the leaves in the soil yet. Moisten the soil each time it dries out but do let it dry out. In about 3 weeks you will see roots forming, but it may take a few months before they are ready to re-pot. Finally, when ready, place them in the soil covering only the roots and keep watering as instructed above. The roots will continue to grow deep into the soil, creating a solid foundation.

propagating succulents

Propagating with Offsets

Succulents create their own offsets doing a lot of the work for you, so this is an excellent way to propagate. You get to start off with an actual small plant. The offsets occur when your plant has roots with leaf clusters that shoot off and create new succulents around the mother plant. This is their natural way of reproducing. When you are ready to separate your offsets, there are a few steps. First, dust away the soil around your offsets enough to see the top of the roots. Next, if they are loose enough, you can gently pull the offset away. If they are holding tight, slice the roots apart with a clean blade. Then, once you have the offset separated dust off the excess soil and lay it out in a clean, dry place to callus. With these it should only take a couple of days. Lastly, once callus, you can plant these by placing them in the soil just covering their roots to keep them stable. Again, water the soil, then let it dry out before watering again.

Some succulents produce offsets right on the flower. For these, you should be able to pick it off clean. You will have to tug a little and wiggle it back and forth to get it to pop off. If it wants to hold on still, again, use a clean blade to cut the offset. Then lay in on a clean dry surface in the light to callus the roots. When these are ready for planting, prepare your pot with the soil and place them on top; then within a few weeks, you will see their roots growing. Water as you do the other baby succulents.

succulent rooting

Watering Your New Propagations

How often you water your plant will vary depending on the way you propagated it and your climate. If your propagation is a seed it needs a little water more often. Yet, if it is an offset you need more water less often because it is already partially grown. The most important thing to your plant is watering. You must use the correct water technique and the appropriate amount for your new plant to survive. They like to get soaked and then dry out completely before getting more water. Check out all our articles with the details of how to water your succulents.

You will give new plants less water than established ones and do not water the plant itself, only the soil around it. Check the soil every few days and once it is dry, add more water. You may need to add more water a couple times a week. Don’t worry if it takes longer for the soil to dry out. Do not give them more water until the soil is dry; they need to dry out so the roots can grow deep and robust. Another tip, take care when watering; no spraying with a strong stream that may move the soil or disrupt the plant.

Takeaways

Whether you are an amateur or experienced gardener, you can propagate succulents. Plus there are many ways to do it so you can pick your favorite method or change it up depending on the plant. Go for it and expand your garden or share new plants with friends and family. Most of the ways are similar in that the new ends need to be completely dried out and callused. You don’t want rot. Then you can move them to their new home. The on exception is seeds. They need to soak before planting because the skin needs to loosen so they can germinate. Once you have them rooting and growing, check out our article on how to care for your succulents.

Which way are you going to propagate your succulents or are you going to be adventurous and try them all? No matter what, you will be an expert in no time. But wait, remember to share this article and your experience with fellow plant enthusiasts so they can learn as well. 

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