How to Propagate Succulents Step by Step
Learning to propagate your succulent plants is a simple and cost-effective way to grow your collection without spending a lot of money. In this article, we explain how to propagate succulents through the 3 essential types of propagation. Learn everything about Succulent Propagation. How to plant succulents from seedlings to propagate. how to propagate succulents from leaves, how to cut succulent stems for propagation by cuttings, and growing succulents from seeds.
The meaning of “propagation” is the act of taking one part or piece of an adult succulent plant and using that piece to grow a new plant.
The three basic methods of propagating succulents are:
1- by using the scions that grow at the base of some species,
2 – through leaf cuttings (or whole leaves), cutting off pieces of stems or branches of the plant, or
3 – propagating the plant through the seeds of an adult plant.
Succulent propagation is a relatively simple process. However, some plants are more difficult to propagate than others. Take a look at the 4 basic forms of succulent propagation below to decide which method you would like to try!
Succulent Propagation from Leaves
Propagation from whole leaves or leaf cuttings consists of pulling or cutting (depending on the plant variety) an active and healthy leaf from a mature succulent plant and using it to grow a new plant.
This method of propagation works well with succulents that have thick, fleshy leaves like Echeveria because the leaves are easy to pull off cleanly.
Some leaves will come off with a gentle tug or twist, while others may require a sharp knife.
This is the process:
1- With clean hands or a sterile knife, you should remove a healthy leaf from the base of the plant, making sure you pull out a whole leaf without damaging it or leaving a piece stuck to the stem.
2- Once removed, let the leaf heal the wound by placing it in a place where it receives indirect light for 2 or 3 days. Once the leaf has made “callus”, prepare a wide tray or pot with a mixture of soil for cactus and succulents, wet the soil, and place the leaf on top of the soil without burying it, just leaving it on top.
3- Use a water bottle with a sprayer to spray the leaves when the soil is dry be sure to keep the leaves in a warm place with lots of bright light, but not direct sun. They need to be kept moist and warm.
4- In about three weeks or so, small roots and leaves will begin to sprout! It can take a few months before a succulent becomes big enough to be transplanted into its final pot (about 8 weeks).
You’ll know it’s time to transplant it because the “mother” leaf will turn brown and fall off. This means that the succulent has taken all the nutrients from the leaf and no
longer needs them.
Succulent Propagation by Cuttings
Propagating Succulents by Leaves Cuttings
The propagation of succulents by cuttings is an excellent way to propagate succulents because the mother plant has already done most of the work for you.
Scions are the plants that sprout around the base of the “mother plant”. These offspring are produced when the roots of the mother plant, which carry leaf buds, come to the surface and become a new succulent.
To separate the offspring from the base of the “mother plant”, remove the top of the soil until the roots are visible and carefully pull them out keeping as many roots as possible.
The more mature shoots will have already developed their own roots, but if they are still connected to the mother plant by a stem, use a clean, sharp knife to cut them off.
Remove the old soil from the roots of the shoots and let them dry for a couple of days in a warm place with indirect light to prevent them from rotting or becoming sick.
After a few days, prepare a pot or container with soil for cactus and succulents. Then, water the soil, place the succulent in a shallow hole, and fill the hole to stabilize the plant.
In a few weeks, they will start to form roots and you will have a new succulent plant!
Propagating Succulents by Stem Cuttings
Stem cut propagation works best with plants that have “branches” or rosette-shaped succulents that have grown a long stem.
This process is most successful if done when the succulent is about to begin its active growing period, either at the end of a dormant period (usually winter months) or at the beginning of a growing period (usually spring months) to give the succulent the best chance of survival.
To make a proper cut of a succulent with branches, you will need a knife or sharp scissors.
Choose a stem that is relatively short to ensure that it is active and growing. Hold the stem as close to the base as possible, and use the knife or scissors to make a clean cut.
If the cutting is damaged during the process, you will probably need a new cut. The branch will need to heal for about four days before it can be replanted.
Unlike leaf reproduction, the cutting should be placed directly into a pot with cactus and succulent substrate. It is not necessary to bury it deeply, just make a hole and place the stem inside.
Water the cuttings slightly once a week (just enough to wet the soil surface), for 3 to 5 weeks. It should receive plenty of indirect light.
Rosette-shaped succulents also can be propagated with stem cuttings once they begin to grow an extended stem. This usually happens once they are old plants or when they receive little light. The plant tries to reach the light creating this extended stem.
Succulent Propagation from Seeds
Growing Succulents from Seeds
Growing Succulents from Seeds is usually the slowest way to grow new plants, but if you have time and patience, you can try.
The seeds of mature plants are located at the swollen base of the flower or “fruit” and can be harvested when the succulent has finished flowering.
In some cases, the seed will be an orange-colored powder that can be a little difficult to propagate. Whether you collect seeds from a mature plant or buy them, always use “young” and dry seeds in early spring to give them a long growing period before winter.
First, prepare a pot with a mixture of cactus and succulent soil and water it thoroughly.
Second, soak the seeds in warm water for about 30 minutes to hydrate them and soften the seeds’ shells.
Once soaked and softened, spread the seeds on the ground, leaving spaces between them to allow growth.
Cover the seeds with some fine sand or with the sifted cactus mixture without burying them too much.
Use a spray bottle to water the seeds daily by sprinkling them lightly, allowing the top surface to dry out between waterings.
Keep the container you have used as a planter in a warm environment, between 25 and 30 ºC. You can cover the container with clear plastic to create a greenhouse effect, which will keep the seeds moist and warm.
The seeds will start to germinate in about two weeks, and after about six weeks, you should be able to water every other day.
Now you know how to propagate succulents using the three basic methods, you just have to put them into practice!
If you are going to do this, you must be patient, especially if you are just starting gardening or growing succulent plants, as it always takes a little time at first to get things to work out the way you want them to.
The more you practice, the more likely you are to succeed.