When we care for succulents, especially when we grow them from seeds, we may want to keep their legacy alive by growing multiples of the same succulent. Perhaps, we want to give them as gifts or have many of the same kind of plant in our home. Many people think they have to repurchase seeds or purchase the same kind of plant to achieve this. This isn’t always the case. Instead, we can choose to propagate our succulents from cuttings.
Every cell can duplicate all parts of the plant. This is possible by taking a cutting of the leaf or stem. Essentially, you are using pruning shears or your fingers to gently remove a piece of the parent plant. For succulents, leaf cuttings work the best.
Find a healthy and fully mature leaf from your robust parent succulent. Using your fingers, gently twist and pull the leaf at the very base of it. As close to the stem as possible. Even getting a tiny piece of the stem on the leaf is better than tearing the leaf. If you tear the leaf without pulling from its base, it may have difficulty growing. You can also use pruning shears to take a leaf cutting.Take multiple leaf cuttings because not all of them may survive.
Allow your cutting to dry out for 1 -3 days before doing the next step. The cutting needs to scab over first. The cutting can even slightly shrivel up. Without scabbing over, the cutting will absorb too much water on the first watering.
Succulents naturally absorb and store water. A mature succulent does not need to be watered everyday. However, cuttings for propagation need more water. Set your leaf cuttings on top of soil. Be sure to use fresh soil designed for succulents and cacti. Be sure the ends of the cutting aren’t planted into the soil. You want to keep the cuttings moist but exposed to the air. Whenever the soil dries out, it is time to water them again. Be sure to keep a consistent watering cycle. If your cuttings start to turn a yellowish brown color, you may have drowned them by overwatering.
Keep an eye on your cuttings and soil. New roots and leaves will form within a few weeks. Other environmental factors such as humidity, temperature, time of year and sunlight determine how long it takes for new roots to form on your cuttings. Once roots begin to form, keep them covered in soil.
If your cuttings successfully grow roots and leaves, congratulations! You’ve propagated your first succulent. You can plant your succulents into the soil. Give them individual pots or grow bags to start their journey into adulthood. Do not be disappointed if some cuttings don’t make it in the process. It is natural if some of them die. It takes time, even several months, for succulents to fully mature. This is true of succulents started from a seedling to those propagated from cuttings.
Propagating succulents from cuttings is simple once you get the hang of it. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to propagate every new succulent you grow from a seedling!