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How to Propagate Succulents

If you want to test out your gardening skills, why not try your hand at propagating succulents? By following our handy dandy guide, you’ll find that getting new succulents out of your old ones isn’t so very difficult.


Choose your succulent

Different types of succulents will require different methods when it comes to propagation. Some genus and species require you to start off with cuttings, while others will require to you to use a leaf. You’ll have to do some initial research to figure out which method your succulent of choice will require. Don’t forget to choose a “mother” plant that is already quite healthy. You don’t want to be propagating from leaves that are spotty, discoloured or deflated. You can find perfect ones to start your collection here.

Choosing your succulent

Cuttings vs leaves

Propagating from cuttings simply involves using a pair of very sharp scissors to cut off a piece of a succulent leaf, right above the stem. One clean snip ought to do the trick. Otherwise, you’ll have to use your fingers to pull an entire leaf out of the succulent by gently holding it near the base of the stem and twisting back and forth until it slips free. You need to absolutely make sure that this is a perfect pull with no breakage, otherwise your propagation will fail.

Bad vs Good Cutting

 

Dry your leaves and cuttings

Now that you have your leaves and/or cuttings, you’ll have to dry out the open ‘wounds’ for anywhere from 1 to 7 days. Lay your leaves/cuttings down on a towel or parchment paper in indirect sunlight, for instance near a window with the shades drawn. While it’s true that fully grown succulents require plenty of sun, during the propagation phase the wounds need time to gently heal, otherwise it might absorb too much water and die.

 

Watering your babies

Lay your healed leaves and/or cuttings down on a bed of soil, formulated specifically for cacti or succulents, calloused ends face-up. That’s right - the base of the cuttings and leaves probably won’t even be touching the soil, which is just fine. It’s actually preferable to sticking them in the soil, as this will put them at risk of rotting. Keep them in a spot that gets a good amount of indirect sunlight.

 

Mist the soil and and the cuttings/leaves once a day - just enough to dampen the top of the soil, and only just barely at that. Too much water will spell death for your young succulents. In fact, if you live in a humid area, misting might not even be necessary at all. This period will last about 4 weeks, at which point you’ll begin to notice the growth of tiny little pink roots from the scarred ends of your leaves and cuttings.

 

 

Cover your roots

After the 4 week period when the roots start to become more noticeable, it’s time for you to cover them up with a thin sprinkling of soil. This helps to keep the roots from drying out. It might take up to a year for the leaves and cuttings to really take root, and certainly you might lose some in the process… but won’t you be proud when you have at least one new succulent that you propagated with your very own hands?