Succulents are beautiful to grow and have around the house. They come in different sizes, colors, and shapes, and the best part is that they flourish indoors and outdoors, meaning they need little care as most species are tolerant of drought. However, if you just bought your first succulent, and you would rather not spend more on the next one, you can relax as there is a way to save up on these costs and get more succulents.
To propagate succulents, you’ll need to get stem cuttings by using a pair of scissors. Dry the cutting and plant the base of the stem in soil, water the new plant in intervals, and in some weeks, you’ll notice baby succulents around the stem.
However, there are other methods of propagation. Propagation is an effective way to save up and still get more succulents, which can be done in the comfort of your home. In this guide, you will learn how to propagate these low-maintenance plants in various ways.
What Is Succulent Propagation?
Propagation involves using parts of an existing plant to get a new plant. You can use one or more parts of a succulent to help you with the propagation process. Stem cuttings, leaves, plants, seeds, and offsets can get a new plant for free with this technique.
Small plants grow from all parts of the mother plant with the right weather conditions and soil medium. With succulent propagation, various parts are separated from the plant and placed in a soil medium.
While leaves are the popular method of propagating succulents, there are other methods like attaching the plant to the mother plant. Sometimes cuttings are used depending on the succulent species. It’s recommended to read the label attached on the plant’s side to know what species you’re dealing with.
Getting a new succulent from the one you already have is a straightforward and easy process. Nonetheless, you need to be cautious as some species are more difficult to propagate than others.
You can propagate these plants in some ways like:
- Stem cuttings
- Leaf cuttings
- Seeds from a mature plant
- Setting and Waiting
Read on to learn more about how you can get new succulents using different methods.
Using Stem Cuttings
You can use this form of propagation with succulents with branches or those with a rosette-like shape stretched out on top of the stem. The method also works for succulents that have become leggy due to lack of sunlight.
All you need is a sharp pair of scissors to remove a part of succulent through the stem. You can also remove the rosette on top of the stem or the leaves on the stem’s side. If the stem is damaged, you’ll need to get a new cutting as the stem cutting won’t be healthy for propagation.
However, note that you need to allow the stem to dry for some days to prevent moisture from accumulating and causing rot. Place it in a brightly lit place that is not next to direct sunlight.
Once dry, plant the base of the stem in soil. Ensure that you water the plant a couple of times a week when you notice that the soil is dry. In a few weeks, you’ll notice some baby plants around the stem. They grow in place of the leaves that you remove before planting.
When dealing with rosette-shaped succulents, you’ll also need to cut off the rosette with a sterile knife and leave the short stem to make repotting easier. The stem from the rosette continues to form new leaves. Let the long stem remain planted or potted, and only water when growth starts from the stem.
Using Offsets or by Division
If you’re looking to propagate succulents and not sure which method to choose, you’ll want to use offsets. It’s the most recommended method of propagation as the plant is mature, making propagation easier.
What are offsets? They are tiny succulents that form around the base of a mature plant. These small succulents develop when roots that have clusters of leaves get out of the plant. It’s the roots that you need to attach into the soil for them to form a new succulent.
In some cases, the offsets can happen on the leaves of specific types of succulents. The best part is that any offset can be used to form a new succulent.
- To get started, split the offsets from the base of the mature plant.
- Get rid of any soil from the base of the plant until you see the roots. After spotting the roots, gently pull them away. Remember, you need to keep most roots intact for propagation. However, sometimes you may be dealing with an overly natural offset, which means it could have its root system already in place, away from the parent plant.
- Use a clean and sharp knife to cut the roots away if the offsets are still attached to the mature plant.
- Place the offset in a warm area away from direct sunlight. Allow the offsets to dry and heal. You’ll notice some calluses at the base when the offsets are ready for planting.
- Ensure that you have sandy and well-draining soil. Form a hole at the center of the soil and put the offset inside. Cover the shallow hole gently. Don’t forget to cover the base, including the roots, with soil.
- When handling offsets from a mature plant’s leaves, tug them off of the leaves gently or use a sharp knife if you can’t pull them off. Use the same process above to repot the offsets.
Using this propagation method is an excellent way to grow your succulent collection as the parent plant has done all the major work for you. However, you need to wait for the plant to propagate by itself. Propagating using offsets works for succulent species like cacti.
Using Leaf Cuttings
You can also propagate succulents using the leaves of a mature succulent plant. Nonetheless, this method works with fleshy and plump leaves like those of the echeveria variant as the leaves come off quickly.
You’ll notice that some species may need a sharp knife to cut off the leaves, while others will come off with a simple tug. Remember to be cautious as you want to remove a healthy leaf from the plant’s base.
After getting the leaf, place it in a brightly lit and warm area for three to four days to allow the wound to heal and for the leaf to callous over. After the leaf has calloused, get a new planter with soil. Put some water in and place the leaf on top for propagation.
One critical thing you need to remember is to keep the leaves in a warm and moist environment. You can use a spray bottle to mist the leaves and place the plant in a warm area that is not close to direct sunlight.
In three weeks, you should notice small leaves and roots sprout. Note it could take a couple of months before the succulent is big enough for repotting. The only thing to watch out for is that the leaves turn brown and fall off, which means that the plant has taken up all the leaf nutrients.
Using leaves is one of the simplest ways to propagate succulents. Nevertheless, you need to be patient as it could take a year to get a decent-sized succulent. The difference is that cuttings quickly grow as they start bigger.
This method of propagation fixes etiolated plants or the leggy plants that form when there is insufficient light.
The only disadvantage with this method is that the leaves may rot quickly due to the high moisture. That happens with leaves that have scratches on them. Some people also found out that this method doesn’t work on the sedum burrito species.
Another fantastic way to propagate succulents is through the use of seeds from an existing succulent. You’ll want to avoid this method if you’re looking to get quick results.
Note that most succulent species seeds require humidity to grow. Fortunately, you can create a humid environment by placing a cover over the pot or using a plastic bag to cover the planter. That creates a greenhouse effect and will keep the seeds warm and moist. Doing this works, especially if you live in a dry or cool climate.
You can get the seeds from a mature plant. That involves removing a flower from the plant and collecting the seeds that are at the base, which you’ll plant. Soak the seeds in warm water for half an hour to loosen up the seed coat. Let the seeds soften and prepare to plant them.
To get started:
- Get a pot with a quality soil mixture. Water the soil and place the seeds in it. Ensure that the seeds are spaced out to allow growth.
- Cover the seeds with enough succulent soil, making sure that you don’t bury them deep inside. Get a spray bottle and spray on top, allowing the top part to dry out.
- Put the pot in a well-lit area that is warm and far from direct sunlight. You’ll have to wait for a few weeks before the baby succulents start forming from out of the soil.
- Allow the small succulents to grow to a big size before transplanting them.
By Setting and Forgetting
You can do nothing and notice the succulent propagating. The roots will start to grow. Sometimes all you need is to take leaves, put them in a pot, and place them in a bright place. With time, you’ll notice that small succulents and roots will form.
Nonetheless, you need to pot the small succulents in soil, but the fact that this process doesn’t require too much effort makes it ideal for anyone without time. When using this method, remember to avoid removing the original leaf until it’s completely dry. That’s because the leaf acts as the main nutrient source and provides energy for the growing succulent.
Succulent Propagation Success Rate
It’s crucial to remember that when propagating succulents, you may not get the desired results. Sometimes you may have a bunch of roots and no leaves, and in some cases, the leaves or cuttings may die before propagation. Each leaf, cutting, and seed is different, which means you’ll have different experiences while propagating.
Also, note that you may not get the results immediately. Most succulent species take a few weeks to months to grow into a decent size. A few can take up to a year. The point to have is that propagation isn’t a quick process, but with patience and the right conditions, it will work. Practicing and experimenting with different potting mixtures and succulent species will help you become successful.
Tips on How to Handle Succulents
Succulents add a touch of color to any space that is well lit. They are easy to maintain, and you can have as many baby succulents as you wish from cuttings, seeds, leaves, or through the budding process. If you’re new to handling succulents before and after propagation, here are some timely tips that will come handy.
Find a Decent Place to Plant Succulents
Succulents thrive in a well-lit, warm, and moist environment. It’s vital to ensure your succulent is getting enough light. A common sign of a plant not getting enough light is large gaps on the stem. Furthermore, if you expose the succulent to too much sunlight, the plant will be burned, making it turn purple or red.
You can opt to plant them in terrariums, pots, or your garden depending on your preferences. Open terrariums are preferred to closed ones because the plant prefers low humidity. A closed terrarium doesn’t provide ample airflow and limits the succulent’s ability to dry out completely between the watering schedules. Ensure that the place you plant them is well-drained and provides ample room for the roots to grow.
Regarding soil, you can use sandy soil or choose a specialty potting mix that is sold in shops. You can also make a good succulent mix with gardening soil, construction sand, and Peat Moss. All you need is to combine all the ingredients in a ration of 1:1:1. The mixture can be added depending on the number of succulent leaves you want to propagate.
Be Careful With Watering
If you planted the succulents outside, you don’t need to worry about watering as rainwater is enough to keep them thriving. That’s because succulents need little attention. However, if you have planted a succulent in a pot indoors, you may need to water at least 2-4 weeks.
A common sign of dehydration is a succulent that starts to shrivel. You could also notice a scenario where leaves begin to puker from the bottom of the plant. An overwatered succulent may start to darken, and the plant will look mushy at the base.
Moreover, overwatering encourages the growth of fungus to the base of the plant and roots. When the fungus sets in, it’s challenging to save the plant even with a fungicide.
Water once a week during spring and summer months, but you can reduce your watering schedule to once in a month during winter and fall.
Get the Right Succulent Type
There are different species of succulents. Some are easier to propagate than others. Determine which one best works for you. Most people prefer the Echeveria species, but some will opt for Jade.
Use a Fertilizer Sparingly
Adding nutrients to succulents can help improve their growth and promote a healthy plant overall. This is critical, particularly with potted succulents that don’t get enough nutrients in container mixes.
You can get an all-purpose fertilizer and use a quarter of the recommended amount. Doing this thrice a year will help the plant thrive. Avoid over fertilizing as that could lead to sappy growth, which means the plant will fail in tough weather conditions.
Watch Out for Infestation
Although succulents are plump and tough, that doesn’t make them less susceptible to pests. However, this problem could escalate without the right nutrients, watering, and soil conditions. Mealybugs attack in between the leaves, while aphids fest new growth and flowers. Ants are also common in potted plants.
You can keep the pests away by using organic sprays on the pests once you spot them.
Whether you’re looking to add a pop of color or spruce up your space outdoors or indoors, succulents are an excellent choice. From the Echeveria species to jade plants, you can expect lush colors to fit your decor needs. The best part is that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars getting new plants as you can do so through propagation.
The methods mentioned are simple to follow. You don’t have to worry about the succulent failing as the plant is simple to maintain. Experiment with various species and soil mixtures to discover what works for you. With time, you’ll have enough for your home and some to give to your friends and family.