Propagating Succulents: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Propagating Succulents: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

We love succulents for beginners – they’re easy to grow, beautiful, and easy to start propagating! If you’re a first time propagator, look no further. Propagating succulents is one of the easiest ways to begin, keep reading to learn more.

Why Succulents?

Besides acting as beautiful home décor, succulents have wonderful benefits. They are used in medicine and to improve the quality of air. There are toxins in our environment that are removed by succulents. So why not keep them at home to improve the quality of air around them. Succulents help counteract dry indoor air, which can cause dry skin and sore throats. They have also been used to treat burns, cuts, and scratches for ages.

Succulents release oxygen at night thus they can provide an extra boost of fresh air to your bedroom and help you in breathing.

Learn how to Propagate Succulents

Succulents are easy to care for, and easy to propagate.

Propagating Succulents from Leaves

Propagating succulents with leaves is an easy way to grow your collection quickly. However, you’ll need to practice patience throughout the process. Depending on the variety you’re planning to use, some of them may take up to two to three months to form an individual baby succulent. Lets dive into how to do it.

Preparing the plant

  • The first step is the preparation of the mother plant. It is necessary to water your mother plant a few days before removing the leaf. This is important because whatever is in the leaf when you pull it out of the mother plant is what the pup growing from the leaf will use.
  • Try to make sure that the leaf you select is fleshy and well hydrated.
  • Do not go for wrinkled or yellow-brown leaves when selecting the leaves for propagation. Try to reach out for bigger and mature leaves.
  • Smaller leaves will take a longer time and the pub growing from small leaf may be weak rather than the pup growing from the bigger leaf as bigger leaf will be capable of holding more water and nutrients.

Steps to propagating succulents:

  • Select a variety that you want to propagate.
  • Identify the leaves you want to use for propagation. Mature leaves are faster to propagate than immature ones, so keep that in mind during the selection process.
  • Put cactus potting mix in a tray. You can also use regular potting soil if you have it on hand. We recommend the Miracle Gro Succulent potting mix as a good budget friendly option.
  • Wiggle off the succulent leaves so that they break off from the stems like a clean-cut so you can get a clear view of the base.
  • The next very important thing to remember is to sit dry the leaves for three to five days – this allows the succulents to callus. You don’t need to do anything prior to this, hold off on watering the succulents until at least 3 days have passed.
  • Wiggle the leaves so that they are sitting right in the soil. This way all the roots will attach and start growing. Do not bury them.
  • From here it is a waiting game. Succulents need minimal watering, but try to keep it somewhat moist. You don’t want the succulents to dry out completely but if they’re overly moist it can damage the plant. If you’re leaves look shriveled and wrinkley check if the soil is dry as they may need more water.
  • After a month you will find babies growing off the edges.
  • Pop them into a new pot so they can grow there.
  • Fill up a container with the cactus potting mix.
  • Take off the baby succulents. Try to grab off as much of the roots as you can.
  • You can leave the original leave that it was growing from.
  • Set the baby succulent in a container. Push the soil around it so it holds it in there.
  • It will then grow and be big enough so that you can plant it out.

Succulents are quite expensive. There are several ways to have a lot of succulents. The most commonly used method is leaf propagation. Due to some mistakes, we fail to achieve that number of successes with leaf propagation.

What to Expect

  • Everyone wants to get 100 percent success but that is not a possible case. If you have taken 10 leaves, not all 10 needs to be successful. Some might root, some might rot and some may dry the very next day or even rot.
  • The key factor is greater the number of leaves, the greater will be the success rate.
  • Each leaf of succulents grows differently.
  • Another important thing to follow is to let the succulent leave callus. Otherwise, there is a hundred percent probability of the mother leaf being rot. This usually takes around 3 to 5 days depending on your environment.
  • Place the leaf in a dry place. Give it some time to callus and you can keep it on the soil.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much light do they need?

  • Light is of great importance especially when the mother leaf is kept to callous. It is okay to keep in the shade as it will help the mother leaf not to dry out. Once you see the root make sure to keep it in bright light. Do not expose it to direct sunlight because the new roots are still very sensitive and weak.
  • Healthy leaves will usually be light pink to pink in color. But if you notice the roots are darker or if the roots are reddish maroon, that is s sign that the roots are getting burnt.
  • Gently put some soil over it and move it to moderate lightning.
  • Leaving the light in the same light condition what it was earlier is a big mistake.
  • When the pup comes up, it means that the roots are stronger. Slowly introduce them to light but either indirect bright light or in the form of filtered light. Otherwise, you will end up with the stretched pup.
  • Once the succulent pup starts receiving the correct amount of light, you will notice that the succulent pup will start getting compact.

How much water do they need?

  • Most pups die from overwatering or improper methods of watering.
  • Watering all of the pups in the same way without checking the roots is a mistake. Water the pups only by noticing the roots.
  • Avoid watering on the mother leaf. This can be achieved easily by bottom watering. In this type of watering, there is no fear of overwatering and there is no issue of dropping water on the mother’s leave.
  • Do not mist your mother’s leaves because that will rot your mother’s leaf very soon.
  • You must know the difference between slightly moist soil and soggy soil.
  • Pups like slightly moist soil but they do not want to be kept in soggy soil.

Things to Remember:

  • Remember these are not money plants or potholes that will quickly start to root.
  • Succulent leaves will take anywhere around 2 to 3 weeks or at times a month to even show visible roots.
  • Some varieties of succulents might even take more time. Patience is much appreciated.
  • The rooting of the mother leaf is all internal and nothing external. This is the reason why you need to have a well-hydrated leaf because the roots are promoted to grow from the water inside the leaf.
  • Whether there is moisture present or not, the roots will still come out.
  • The succulents are opportunistic growers. Wherever they will find an opportunity they will start growing.
  • It can propagate even if the small cutting gets dropped anywhere.

Interested in more propagation tips? Check out our complete guide on propagating mint, or our indoor plant guide section has more resources available too!