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How to Propagate Succulents Quick & Easy?

There’s really no need for you to buy another succulent of the same type when you can just as easily propagate the one you already have.

There are two easy ways to propagate succulents, depending on your variety, and both work pretty fast, so you don’t even have to wait that long to enjoy an extra succulent plant in your home.

Here are the two methods and some other tips that are based on my experience propagating succulents.

Propagating Succulents

You can propagate succulents from leaf cuttings or stem cuttings. Aeoniums can only be propagated from cuttings, while some other succulents like Sedum and Echeveria lend themselves to both types of propagation methods.

Below I describe both methods and I offer tips on how to remove leaves or stem cuttings for a higher propagation success rate.

– Propagating from leaves

First, pick a healthy-looking leaf that you want to use for propagation, then gently but firmly remove the leaf from the stem. I find that a gentle twisting motion works best for removing leaves.

You want to remove the leaf as closely as possible to the stem even if that means getting a bit of the stem too. Leaf cuttings that break down just before the stem are not as viable as those that come off exactly at the juncture point.

Once you have a leaf cutting, here’s what you need to do next:

  • Place the leaf cutting on a paper towel, allowing the cut end to seal over (depending on the conditions in your home it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days for a scab to form)
  • Next place the leaf cutting on top of some cactus potting mix, making sure the cut end does not touch the soil (simply place the leaf cutting on its side on top of the soil)
  • Water daily or when the top soil dries out. You want to keep the top of the soil moist, but without drowning the leaf cuttings. I use a spray bottle and spray them whenever the soil dries out, usually 2-3 times a week.
  • Keep the pot in bright, filtered light in a warm location.

The reason why the cut end of the leaf cutting should not be placed directly into the soil is that they may absorb too much moisture and they often rot, undermining your propagation efforts.

– Propagating from stem cuttings

Unlike leaf cuttings, stem cuttings do need to be placed into the soil to form roots. To harvest stem cuttings, you also need a pair of sharp scissors.

I especially use this method with etiolated succulents that have grown leggy or tall. I simply cut a piece of the succulent through the stem and remove the leaves on either side of the stem.

Don’t worry, your stem will shoot out new growths, so don’t be weary of removing those leaves. You want the stem to focus on growing roots, not invest more energy in its leaves, at least for now.

Before I place the stem cutting into succulent or cactus potting media, I let it dry to form a scab over the cut end, just like I do for leaf cuttings.

I then place the stem in the soil, with the cut end going into the soil, and I water it 2-3 times per week, only when the top soil starts to feel dry.

How Long Does it Take to Propagate Succulents?

As you may have already gathered from the above, succulents are easy to propagate and by following a few easy steps, you can successfully grow baby succulents of your own.

As for the time it takes succulents to root, the good news is that most will root and start growing in 2-3 weeks, depending on the conditions in your home.

Keep them in a warm location, out of direct sunlight but in bright light conditions. Water them every time the soil feels dry and you’ll have baby plants forming in just a couple of weeks.

Which are The Easiest Succulents to Propagate?

You’ll find that most succulents will lend themselves to easy propagation, but my top 5 picks for easy-to-propagate succulents include:

  • Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’, a rosette-forming succulent that propagates easily from leaves and stem cuttings
  • Sempervivum varieties that will propagate easily from leaf cuttings
  • Jelly Bean succulent that can be propagated from leaves that fall off quite easily
  • Kalanchoe daigremontiana also known as ‘mother of thousands’ that’s so prolific at propagating that it’s considered a noxious weed in some parts of the world
  • Sedum morganianum that looks similar to the Jelly Bean succulent, but it’s not colorful will also propagate very easily from cuttings.

When to Propagate Succulents?

The best time of year to propagate succulents is usually during the summer. This is when light conditions are at their best and can help sustain healthy plant development. It’s also warm and there are no major temperature fluctuations.

You can also try your hand at rooting them in winter if you can provide enough light either by placing the cuttings in a sunny window or by using artificial lights, but since they usually go dormant in winter, you may not be able to achieve much.

Why are Succulent Leaves Not Rooting?

Sometimes your succulent leaf cuttings or stem cutting just won’t root and there are a few reasons why that happens:

  • You’re trying to propagate a succulent with the wrong method

For example, you may be trying to propagate Hoyas from leaf cuttings, when they can be propagated only from stem cuttings.

  • You’re propagating during the wrong time of the year

Summer propagation is best, although some varieties that are summer-dormant will do best with spring or fall propagation.

  • Your leaf cuttings may not be viable

If the leaf brakes while harvesting and you’re not removing it close to the stem, it may not be viable

  • You’re not keeping the soil moist enough or there’s not enough light

Make sure you water your cuttings every time the soil dries out and you keep it in bright, indirect or filtered light.

Wrapping Up

I hope this article on succulent propagation has motivated you to try propagating your succulents and multiply your succulent collection.

Make sure to get viable leaf cuttings and that you use the correct propagation method for the variety of succulent you’re growing.

Updated: January 6, 2021

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