Succulents

How to Propagate Succulents: Complete Beginner’s Guide

In this guide we take a look at the four main methods for propagating your succulents - easy, cost-effective, and enjoyable way to grow your own collection.
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Do you love succulents? If so, you’re not alone. This species of hearty flora are drought tolerant, require very little care, and come in a wide assortment of shapes, colors, and sizes. They also flourish indoors and out. With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why they’re such a popular choice among plant lovers.

Whether you’ve recently purchased your first succulent or you have a collection, if you’re interested in acquiring more, you might want to look into propagating your existing plants(s).

Propagating succulents is an easy, cost-effective, and enjoyable way to grow your own collection of these beautiful plants. In the simplest of terms, propagation refers to the act of growing a new element from an already majored element.

In this case, that element is succulents. In other words, propagating succulents involves using a piece of a mature plant and using it to grow a new one.

Interested in learning how to propagate your own succulents? If so, keep on reading to learn how you can grow your own plants from the ones that you already have and use them to expand your own garden, to give away as gifts to your friends and family, or even to sell.

Where to Buy Succulents?

Here is our recommended online shops for purchasing succulents & supplies

  • Succulents Box

    Succulents Box currently offers more than 200 varieties of succulents (both popular and rare ones) along with 5 monthly subscription boxes.

    Visit Store
  • Leaf & Clay

    Leaf & Clay offer a range of hundreds of types of succulents along with subscription boxes, pots & macrame.

    Visit Store
  • Lula’s Garden

    Lula’s Garden offers a selection of succulent garden gift sets from small single succulents in pots to full succulent gardens.

    Visit Store
  • The Succulent Source

    The Succulent Source offers a huge selection of succulents, cactii and also gift sets and items for weddings.

    Visit Store
  • Planet Desert

    Planet Desert cater to succulent and cactii fans with a large range of plants, soil, kits and other supplies for creating your garden.

    Visit Store

4 Ways to Propagate Succulents

Growing new succulents from the ones that you already have is a relatively simple and straightforward process; however, some genus are a bit harder to successful propagate than others.

There are four main ways to propagate these hearty plants:

  • With leaf cuttings
  • With the offsets
  • With stem cuttings
  • Using the seeds from a mature plant

If you’re interested in giving this (usually) simple way of acquiring new succulents a try, read on to find out what you need to do to propagate succulents using each of the above-mentioned methods.

Propagating Leaf Cuttings

Let’s start with the most common and what many consider to be the easiest way to propagate succulents: with leaf cuttings.

This method of propagation involves removing an actively growing, healthy leaf from a mature succulent plant and then using that leaf to grow a new succulent. This method works best with succulents that feature tender, fleshy, plump leaves; Echeveria and Sedum, for example because these types of leaves are pretty easy to remove from the mature plant.

  • Depending on the type of mature plant you’re working with, you may be able to remove a leaf for propagation by simply tugging on it.
  • Sometimes, a bit more force may be necessary. Try to remove the leaf by giving it a firm, but gentle tug first.
  • If that doesn’t work, sterilize a knife and cut the base of the leaf off of the base of the plant. Take care not to damage the leaf, and make sure to remove the entire leaf.
  • Once the leaf has been removed from the plant, set it in a warm location where it will have access to plenty of bright light; a windowsill, for example.
  • Let the leaf remain in this location until the wound at the base developed a callous. Once the leaf you removed is calloused, you can prepare it for planting.
  • To plant the leaf, fill a planter with sandy, well-draining soil. Water the soil so that it’s thoroughly wet.
  • Set the leaf on top of the soil and set it in a warm, brightly lit location; however, you should avoid direct sunlight.
  • Using a spray bottle, mist the leaves whenever the soil appears to be dry. Monitor the leaves.
  • After a few weeks, you should begin to see sprouts of new roots growing out of the base.
  • As the leaf sprouts, it will root into the soil. Continue to care for the leaves, spraying them with water whenever the soil appears to be dry.
  • Eventually, new leaves will start sprouting, too.

When the initial leaf that you removed from the mature succulent turns brown and fades away, it should be ready to transplant into a new pot. Do note that it can take a few months before this method of propagation generates succulents that will be large enough to replant in a new pot.

Succulent leaves for propagation
Succulent leaves for propagation

Propagating with Offsets

Propagating with offsets is one of the most recommended ways of growing a new collection of succulents. Why? – Because with this method, the mature plant has done most of the work for you.

Offsets are small succulents that grow around the base of a mature plant. They usually develop when roots that contain clusters of leaves shout out from the plant. Those roots then attach into the soil and grew into a new succulent.

On some succulents, offsets can also occur on the leaves of some types of succulents. Either type of offset can be used to grow a brand new plant

  • In order to use this method of propagation, you’ll need to split the offsets from the base of the mature plant.
  • Remove the top soil from the base of the plant until you can see the roots.
  • Once you can see the roots, using gently force, pull them away; you want to make sure that you keep as many roots as possible in-tact.

If the offset is more mature, it’s likely that it will have developed its very own root system, apart from the parent plant. If the offsets are still attached to the mature plan, however, you can use a sterilized, clean knife to cut the roots away.

  • Brush off any soil that remains on the roots of the offset and set it in a warm, brightly lit (but not direct sunlight) area.
  • When the offsets have developed callouses over their base and they have healed, prep planters with a well-draining, sandy soil, wet the soil, create a shallow hole in the soil, and set the offset succulent into it.
  • Gently cover the hole and the base of the offset (including the roots) with soil.

If you’re removing offsets from the leave of a mature plant, you can do so by simply gently tugging them off of the leaves. Alternatively, if you can’t pull them off, you can use a sharp, clean knife to separate them.

Follow the same method described above. Once the offsets from the leaves have been removed, set them in a warm, light (but not direct sunlit) location until a callous develops along the bottom.

Again, you then need to place soil in a planter, wet the soil, dig a hole the soil, and set the offset into the hole, gently covering it with soil.

Baby plants growing from succulent leaves
Baby plants growing from succulent leaves

Propagation with Stem Cuttings

This method of propagation works with succulents that feature branches, as well as succulents that are “rosette-like” in shape and are stretched out on top of a long stem.

Propagation with stem cutting tends to be the most successful when the existing plant is about to enter into an active growth period.

  • To cut the succulent for propagation from the plant, you’ll need to use a sharp and sterilized knife.
  • Do note that the if the stem is damaged in any way, you’ll probably have to acquire a new cutting, as the stem cutting won’t be as healthy as it needs to be in order to successfully propagate.
  • Once you have the stem cutting, set it in a warm, brightly lit location (but not direct sunlight).
  • Within a few days, you can repot the new plant.
Here you can see new roots forming
Here you can see new roots forming

Propagating with Seeds

Though it’s usually the slowest way to propagate succulents, it’s also quite cool to see a new plant develop from tiny little seeds.

To acquire seeds from a mature plant, you’ll need to remove a flower and then collect the seeds from the base of that flower. Once you have your seeds collected, you can then plant them.

  • Fill a planter with sandy, well-draining soil. Moisten the soil and set the seeds within it.
  • Many species of succulent seeds need humidity to grow.
  • To create a humid environment, place a lid over the planter or cover it with a shower cap. Place the tray in a warm, light location (again, avoid direct sunlight), and keep an eye.
  • It may take a few weeks, but eventually, you should start to see new little succulents growing from out of the soil.
  • Wait until the new succulents grow to a large enough size to transplant them into a planter.
  • When replanting, place the new plants in sandy, well-draining soil, and again, set them in a warm, brightly lit location.

Summing It Up

Now that we’ve reviewed the four basic ways that you can propagate succulents, give it a try yourself! Whichever method you choose, you should be able to yield a nice collection of new plants that you can use to establish a larger garden for yourself, that you can give away to people you know, or that you could even sell to make a profit.

Propagating succulents is a fun way, affordable, and relatively easy way to amass a collection of new plants. Give it a try and see which method you have the most success with. Happy planting!

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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