Can I Cut a Succulent That is Too Tall?

It happened to me again: I have succulents growing too tall.

Does that happen to you too? Do you also think: “Can I cut a succulent that is too tall”?

Why Do Succulents Get Leggy?

can i cut a succulent that is too tall

If your succulents look like this, they have probably received too little light. A plant always stretches in the direction of the light, this movement is called phototropism, which is why a plant often grows crooked. Too little light leads to increased, thin longitudinal growth of the internodes (parts of the stem axis between the nodes), i.e. the distance between the nodes at which the leaves are formed are longer than normal – leaving your succulents with long stems and growing tall.

What’s better than succulents? Even more succulents!

But when succulents get leggy, don’t worry. This is the optimal time to propagate this plant and bring it back into shape!

can i cut a succulent that is too tall

Since this Echeveria is still beautiful from above, we can use the upper part as a smaller, shorter version of this plant, so to speak. Head cuttings consist of a shoot tip with a stem and usually a few leaves. They can be cut from most plants whose shoot tips are located at the end of above-ground shoot axes (stems, trunks, branches). The rosette cuttings, which are cut from plants with rosette-shaped growth and therefore short internodes, also belong to the head cuttings.

How to Trim Tall Succulents

Use a sharp knife for cutting succulents that grow too tall so that the cut is not squashed. If you don’t have one at hand, you can also use (pruning) scissors, most succulents are tough. Make the cut as horizontally as possible in order to keep the cut and thus possible spot for dirt small. A small wound is better than a large one.

can i cut a succulent that is too tall

Cut a few millimeters below a node because growth substances and assimilates accumulate there, which are needed for the wound to heal and for the missing organs to regrow quickly. Behead the succulent in such a way that you get a round rosette when viewed from above.

Preparation for Planting

can i cut a succulent that is too tall

Since the lower leaves can rot if they get into the substrate, gentle movements to the right and left will remove them.

Beheaded succulent cuttings must be left for a few days to weeks to dry out the cut surface and the places where the leaves have been removed until callus forms. The callus tissue closes the wound and thus makes a significant contribution to wound healing.

If you leave them there for longer, fine roots often form. The picture shows my Echeveria head cutting 4 weeks after this pruning. At least now you can pot it.

can i cut a succulent that is too tall

The remaining stem

The leaves remaining on the stem can now also be carefully separated by moving them from side to side. Torn leaves can no longer be used because they are unable to form roots, the same applies if a large part of the leaf that you wanted to cut off has got stuck on the stem axis.

Or you can leave the bottom leaves on the stem and only remove the top so that new shoots can grow there.

“Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a great deal to love a leaf.”

can i cut a succulent that is too tall

The separated leaves should also be air-dried until callus has formed, if they are not put into the soil they often develop roots and fresh shoots. If you put them in the soil immediately after they have formed the callus, it is best to put larger leaves in the soil at an angle. If you are lucky, several small plants will form on this leaf. Smaller leaves can also be placed on the soil like this. Both organic-mineral and purely mineral substrates are suitable as substrates.

can i cut a succulent that is too tall

A very large number of leaf cuttings can usually be obtained from a mother plant. With me, not all leaves become something. Some only develop roots, and some only a new shoot without roots.

If you are lucky, new small plants will also develop on the stem — every place where you have removed a leaf has the potential to do so.

What do you say?

Have you had other experiences with pruning back overgrown succulents? What are your tricks?