Propagating Succulents in 4 Easy Ways

There are many reasons why you should be propagating succulents. First, it’s a free method of multiplying your favorite succulents. If you have a succulent type which you own and love, I’d recommend propagating at least one more, as a replacement, as you can never know what will happen to your existing one. Infestations can happen, or your cat can knock it over and kill it, who knows?

Second, if your succulent has become stretched out or etiolated due to bad lighting, you will want to ‘reset’ with a new succulent. Instead of buying a brand-new succulent which will obviously cost you money, you should consider regrowing succulents at no cost. In this post we’ll dive deep on how to replant succulents.

propagating succulents

4 Ways of Propagating Succulents

  1. Leaf cutting
  2. Stem cutting
  3. Offsets or Offshoots
  4. Seeds

Not all the methods above are possible for all succulents. For example, some succulent species can only propagate by stem cutting. Some others can only propagate by offsets. Therefore, it is important to first identify the genus or species before you begin the process of regrowing succulents.

What You Will Need When Propagating Succulents

  • Sharp shears or scissors
  • Small trowel
  • Potting medium for succulents
  • Containers with drainage holes

Propagating Succulents through Leaf Cuttings

Not all succulent types can propagate through leaves. Regrowing succulents by leaves can be done for Echeveria, Graptopetalum, Graptoveria, Sedum, Graptosedum, Pachyphytum, Kalanchoe, etc.

Regrowing succulents by leaf cuttings cannot be done for Gasteria, Haworthia, Aeonium, and Cremnosedum, to name a few. Basically, succulents with tiny leaves cannot propagate through leaf cuttings.

Below is the step-by-step guide for propagating succulents with leaf cuttings:

1. Water your succulents

Water your succulents 1 to 2 days before propagating. This is to ensure the plant is full of water and any leaves you take will not dry up as easily.

2. Twist gently to remove leaves

Avoid breaking the leaves – you want a clean cut at the joint between the leaf & the stem for a higher chance of success.

propagating succulents from leaf

3. Allow leaf wound to callus over

It takes about a week to be fully callused over. Avoid sunlight & water during this time. Being exposed to sunlight will dry up the leaf, while being exposed to water (even moisture) will cause the leaf to rot.

If you want to skip the waiting process, you can move on immediately to 4(b) below. However, you have to make sure that the soil is kept dry so that the leaf doesn’t rot.

propagating succulents from leaves
Succulent callus

4. Do one of the following 4 steps:

a) Provide soil, water and light

Soil
Place the leaves flat on top of the soil in a tray, pot, or container with drainage holes. Do not bury the leaves, especially the part that was previously connected to the stem. New plants will emerge from there very slowly, and burying them will suffocate the new plants.

Water
Mist the top of the soil to encourage root growth. Not too wet, otherwise the leaves will rot. Water once a day, but depending on the heat and air moisture level, you may need to mist more frequently to prevent leaves from drying out.

Light
Place the leaves in a well-lit area, either under a grow light or by the window. Do not expose the leaves to outdoor sun just yet – without roots to absorb water, they will die from the heat.

easiest succulents to propagate

b) Provide soil and light only

This method is recommended only if you live in a humid area. Even without watering, the water vapor in the air is enough to stimulate root growth. Avoid this method if you live in a dry area.

Soil
Place the leaves flat on top of the soil in a tray, pot, or container with drainage holes. Do not bury the leaves, especially the part that was previously connected to the stem. New plants will emerge from there very slowly, and burying them will suffocate the new plants.

Light
Place the leaves in a well-lit area, either under a grow light or by the window. Do not expose the leaves to outdoor sun just yet – without roots to absorb water, they will die from the heat.

Water
Water the leaves only when roots start to form.

c) Provide water and light only (Water propagation)

You can choose to do this using either plastic bottles or plastic containers.

Water
Slightly fill the bottles or containers with water.
Cut holes in the plastic bottles or containers and insert the leaves into those holes.
The water vapor within the bottles or containers will stimulate root growth.

Light
Place the leaves in a well-lit area, either under a grow light or by the window. Do not expose the leaves to outdoor sun just yet – without roots to absorb water, they will die from the heat.

Soil
When roots start to form, transfer to soil and start watering as in Method (a) above.

propagating succulents in water

d) Provide light only (Dry propagation)

Light
Place the leaves in a well-lit area, either under a grow light or by the window. Do not expose the leaves to outdoor sun just yet – without roots to absorb water, they will die from the heat.

Soil & Water
When roots start to form, place the leaves flat on top of the soil in a tray, pot, or container with drainage holes. Do not bury the leaves, especially the part that was previously connected to the stem. New plants will emerge from there very slowly, and burying them will suffocate the new plants.

Mist the top of the soil to encourage root growth. Not too wet, otherwise the leaves will rot. Water once a day, but depending on the heat and air moisture level, you may need to mist more frequently to prevent leaves from drying out.

succulent propagation timeline
planting succulent cuttings in pots

As you noticed above, the leaves will eventually need the 3 elements of light, water and soil in order to grow and flourish. The difference between the 4 methods above is in the timing of introducing the elements.

We have experimented with all 4 methods with great success, but we prefer to propagate succulents by Method (b) – providing light and soil only, simply because there are less steps involved.

Continue watering (misting) the top of the soil at least once a day, until the new succulent babies that emerge from the leaves grow big enough to transfer to a deeper and wider container.


Propagating Succulents through Stem Cuttings

Basically, regrowing succulents by stem cuttings can be done for any succulent that has stems.

Below is the step-by-step guide for propagating succulents through stem cuttings:

1. Water your succulents

Water your succulents 1 to 2 days before propagating. This is to ensure the plant is full of water and any leaves you take will not dry up as easily.

2. Taking cuttings from succulents

Use sharp shears or scissors to cleanly cut the stem, leaving at least 0.5cm of stem from the lowest leaf.

propagating succulents from stem

3. Allow the wound to callus over

It takes at least a week to be fully callused over. Thicker stems generally take longer. Avoid sunlight & water during this time. Being exposed to sunlight will encourage the cutting to continue growing, and without roots to sustain its growth, the plant may dry up and possibly die. Being exposed to water (even moisture) will cause the cutting to rot.

If you want to skip the waiting process, you can move on immediately to 4(b) below. However, you have to make sure that the soil is kept dry so that the cutting doesn’t rot.

4. Do one of the following 3 steps:

a) Provide soil, water and light

Soil
Place the cutting straight into the soil. That’s it.

Water
Water as how you will water a succulent normally.

Light
Place the planted cutting in a well-lit area, either under a grow light or by the window. Do not expose the new plant to outdoor sun just yet – without roots to absorb water, it will die from the heat.

propagate succulents

b) Provide soil and light only (especially if the wound has not fully callused over)

Soil
Place the cutting straight into the soil. That’s it.

Light
Place the planted cutting in a well-lit area, either under a grow light or by the window. Do not expose the new plant to outdoor sun just yet – without roots to absorb water, it will die from the heat.

Water
Wait about a week before watering.

c) Provide water and light only (Water propagation)

You can do this using a plastic container.

Slightly fill the container with water.

Wrap a cling film or food wrap over the container. Poke a hole into the cling film and insert the succulent stem into the hole, making sure to suspend it over the water (not touching the water).

propagating succulents in water

This is so that the succulent will produce soil roots and not water roots. Succulents with only water roots and no soil roots generally take longer to adjust when it transitions to soil.

Water
The water vapor within the container will stimulate root growth.

Light
Place the planted cutting in a well-lit area, either under a grow light or by the window. Do not expose the new plant to outdoor sun just yet – without roots to absorb water, it will die from the heat.

Soil
When roots start to form, proceed with replanting succulent cuttings in soil.

succulent propagation

Propagating Succulents Offsets or Offshoots

Some succulent genera produce offsets naturally as a means of propagation. These include Aloe, Haworthia, Gasteria, Sempervivum, Graptopetalum etc.

These offsets occur when roots bearing leaf clusters, shoot out from the mature plant and develop into a new succulent. Offsets can also occur on the leaves of some succulents, like the Pink Butterfly Kalanchoe. Some succulents like the Orostachys and Graptopetalum macdougallii produce offshoots through their stolon. You can use the offsets from either location to grow a new, individual plant.

Below is the step-by-step guide for propagating succulents offsets:

1. Water your succulents

Water your succulents 1 to 2 days before propagating. This is to make sure the plant is full of water and any offsets or offshoots you take will not dry up as easily.

2. Harvest the offsets or offshoots

a) Offsets from the base of the parent plant

Brush away the soil until roots are visible.

Gently pull the offsets apart while preserving as many roots as possible.

If the offsets are still connected to the parent plant by a stem, simply use a clean, sharp knife to cut them apart.

Brush old soil from the offsets’ roots, and let them dry out for a couple of days in a warm and well-lit place to prevent rot and disease when repotting into soil.

propagating succulents offsets

b) Offsets from leaves of the parent plant

Simply pull the offsets off or using a sharp knife. If not using a knife, gently tug on the offset, wiggling it from side to side until it pops off cleanly. If using a knife, make a clean cut where the offset meets the mature plant.

propagating a succulent

c) Offshoots from stolon

Locate an offshoot large enough to have a few roots, then cut the stolon (runner) close to the offshoot.

propagating succulents from stolons

3. Allow the wound to callus over

After you have harvested the offsets or offshoots from the mother plant, set them aside to callus over for a few days.

When they’re healed, fill a planter with soil, wet it, place the succulent in a shallow hole, and fill in the hole to stabilize the plant.


Propagating Succulents Through Seeds

Growing succulents from seeds is a popular choice for those who want to save money on mature plants, or introduce rare varieties to the mix that are difficult to find otherwise. Below you’ll find tips to get you started on the right foot with propagating succulents from seed.

1. Buy good seeds

Buy seeds from a reputable source. This may sound obvious, but many people have actually fallen prey to fake seeds sellers all over the internet.

While Amazon and Etsy may have reputable sources, our favorite is Rareplant. They ship worldwide and have great customer service, which is what we look for in a reputable seller.

growing succulents from seeds

2. Plant the seeds

Succulent seeds are tiny, so make sure to have clean hands and a clean workspace before planting.

Start by filling your tray or container with soil.

Completely wipe down your potting area and your hands after working with the soil before you open your seeds.

Carefully take the seeds and place them on top of the soil. We recommend using a slightly wet toothpick to pick the seeds because they are very tiny.

After you have placed them in soil, you will have a hard time finding where they are. It helps to have a mark (maybe by sticking in a toothpick beside the seed) if you want to track the progress of the seeds.

3. Water the seeds

Succulent seeds that are in the germination phase need constant access to water.

When watering, be careful not to flood the seeds or wash them away. As they are very light and tiny (plus, you literally cannot see them), it is easy to do this step wrong.

If possible, use a spray bottle, set it to ‘mist’, and carefully mist the soil.

Keep the soil moist but not wet at all times.

succulent propagation time lapse

4. Caring for the seeds

Cover the seed container with a transparent lid to slow down evaporation and keep the seeds away from any wind.

Place the seed container in a well-lit area, ideally next to a bright window indoors.

Make sure the temperature around the seeds is not hotter than 80 degrees or colder than 60 degrees.

5. Germination

Different types of succulent seeds have different germination times. Look at the information that comes with the seeds to know when to expect any form of growth.

Once the seeds start to sprout, remove the lid of the container, because the seedlings need plenty of airflow.

Continue keeping the soil moist at all times.

As the succulent seedlings grow and roots start to form, then you can reduce the frequency of your watering schedule.

Leave the seedlings in the original container before re-potting them 6 months to 1 year later.

Conclusion

When propagating succulents, a lot of patience is involved because succulents generally grow very slowly. If some of your propagation fails, do not give up and try again. You will learn how to replant succulents correctly with experience.

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*Clicking on the button will redirect you to a list of our recommended online succulent stores
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