Succulents are beautiful, versatile and oh-so-trendy right now. They come in every shape and color and make for gorgeous accents in your home or garden. The only problem? Succulents are expensive!
If you don’t want to break the bank on home beautification, or just want a fun project to do with the kids, consider propagating succulents yourself! You can create brand new plants using pieces from your existing plant.
Propagating succulents is incredibly easy, rewarding, and best of all free!
Create Gorgeous Succulent Compositions
How to propagate succulents
There are three easy ways to propagate succulent plants. These three choices depend entirely on your plant and your situation.
1. Leaf cutting
Leaves can be carefully removed from the main plant and placed in soil to grow brand new plants. This method works great with jade, sedum and echeveria.
Gently pull a leaf from your succulent in a twisting motion. You need to get the entire leaf, including the little nub where it attaches to the stem. If the leaf is snapped in half it won’t be able to sprout roots. A perfect leaf will be shaped like a U on the end that was attached to the plant. If your leaf isn’t perfect, you can still try planting it. We’ve successfully grown new plants from less-than-perfect cuttings, but choosing the best leaves will give the best results.
Set the leaves on a paper towel for a few days to allow the ends to dry out. If the ends aren’t dried and scabbed over before planting, the leaf will take in too much water and rot instead of growing.
After the cut end has sufficiently calloused over, you can place your leaves into a shallow bed of soil. The very end of the leaf can be pushed into the surface of the soil, or the leaf can lay horizontally on the soil's surface.
It’s best to use potting mix specifically formulated for cactus or succulents for this project. This type of soil doesn’t retain too much moisture and gives the developing plants a chance to take hold without rotting.
Place them in bright, indirect light and mist the leaves with water a few times a week, or lightly water them at the soil level. Within a few weeks, roots will begin to grow, followed by baby plants.
Carefully remove the original leaf when it dries up and the baby plant is at least half an inch tall. The baby plant can then be scooped out of the soil and re-planted in its own pot. Be sure not to disturb the roots too much.
Congratulations! You've created your own new plant!
2. Stem cutting
Stem cuttings are a very magical way to propagate succulents. The stem of most succulents can be cut, the leaves removed, and the bottom can be replanted. New plants will sprout out of the now vacant leaf spaces, producing a new large succulent. Stem cuttings work well for plants that have grown too leggy from lack of sunlight, such as echeveria (hens and chicks).
Use very sharp and clean scissors or a knife to cut through the main stem or a branch of the succulent plant.
If there is still a nice rosette on the top of the stem, it can also be removed and set in soil to produce a new plant. Carefully remove the leaves from the remaining stem and set it to dry for a few days. Plant the base of the stem in soil and water lightly. Baby plants will begin to grow out of the spaces where the leaves were removed in just a few weeks.
3. Branch or offshoot cutting
A full branch of a jade or other tree-like succulent can be removed and replanted. It will sprout roots from the base and turn into its own plant. This is a great option if the original plant has become damaged or broken.
Many other succulents such as aloe and echeveria reproduce by sprouting small offshoots from the mother plant. These baby plants can be carefully removed and replanted in their own space.
Whether you’re removing a branch or an offshoot, use a very sharp and very clean pair of scissors or a knife. Cut branches right at the point where they meet the main stalk. Offshoots should be neatly sliced away from the main plant, taking care to avoid damaging the roots on either plant.
These pieces can be planted in soil right away. They should be lightly watered weekly and placed in bright, indirect light. They may take several weeks to months to show new growth, so be patient!
Now that you know how to propagate your succulents, nothing can stop you! Make some new plants for your loved ones, or feed your own obsession and allow them to overtake every sunny window in your home.
You might also enjoy our tutorial on how to make a DIY succulent wreath and our post on different types of succulents you've likely never seen before.