Propagating Succulents

Although I don't consider succulents a particularly beginner plant, what it does offer is an incredible ease in propagation. These plants are loaded with meristem tissue, that will either form roots, or leaves. This makes them exceptionally forgiving plants in that if your mother plant ever fails, as long as one lone leaf survives, you have a chance at regrowing the plant.

 

Leaf Cuttings

You can propagate succulents via leaf cuttings: leaves naturally fall from the plant, landing onto the soil where it'll root. You don't have to wait for this to happen though, feel free to take cuttings yourself. You can take just a couple leaves from your plant, or "dissemble" the entire thing.

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Gently twist the leaves off. You can pluck as many or as few leaves as you'd like at any point on the stem.

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Make sure you aim for a clean break with the entire leaf intact: a broken leaf is less likely to form roots.

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I left the crown of the plant intact because we're going to cut the top (continue reading).


stem Cuttings

If your succulent has become leggy, cutting the top is an option to restart your plant. You can even leave the remaining stem and sometimes babies will sprout along the nodes.

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Use clean pruners to remove the top of the plant, allow for atleast 1" of lower stem (the roots will sprout from the nodes along here).

Allow time for the stem to callous over where you just cut it. This is very important to avoid rot: I like to let them dry out for 1 week.


Place the Cuttings

Place them atop of cactus soil: some prefer pure perlite but I like having my mix retain more moisture. You can space them close together at the beginning, then repot them separately in larger pots as they grow. Initially, I like to use something shallow like this takeaway container.

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For cuttings with an existing stem, you can place them directly into the soil, burying them until the crown hits the surface. You can do this with leaf cuttings too (burying the tip into the soil) - experiment and see what works best for you.

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Light:

Place them in bright, indirect light. A sheer curtain to help block too much direct light is helpful.

Water:

For leaf cuttings, I use a spray bottle (to not displace smaller leaves) and generously wet the surface of the soil as it dries out. For stem cuttings, I water them like any other mature succulent.

Time:

It takes while for roots to form, so be patient. Succulents are naturally slow growers. Except months of waiting.

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New Growth

Eventually you'll get root growth and then some plump baby leaves, how exciting!

 New  Graptosedum Vera Higgins  cuttings

New Graptosedum Vera Higgins cuttings

 8 weeks later

8 weeks later

 Various succulent leaf varieties starting to root

Various succulent leaf varieties starting to root

 Various succulent leaf varieties with further progression

Various succulent leaf varieties with further progression


Mother Leaf

Wait until the mother leaf is entirely dry, crispy and brown before plucking it out (or better, wait until it naturally falls off). She is the one helping to feed nutrients into the new growth and is best left until all her energy is entirely spent. And that point you're free to repot the new baby succulent where you can enjoy watching it grow into adulthood.

 The new roots are light and hairy, moderately delicate

The new roots are light and hairy, moderately delicate


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