How to Save a Broken-Off Succulent: The Complete Guide


When we talk about indoor plants, succulents are the first thing that comes to mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had the same thought when you bought one. We’ve all heard that these plants can be hardy, but it doesn’t make them invulnerable to damages.

Saving a broken-off succulent depends on the damage. If the leaves start to fall, you can just let them dry for three days. If the stem is decapitated, keep it away until it gets callused. When you notice these changes, you can then place it on cactus soil, and it’ll grow roots in a few weeks.

It’s possible to save broken succulents, but it still depends on different scenarios. We’ll discuss all of them in great detail to help you learn how to save succulents and even help them propagate. Stick around because we’ll also share tips on how you can prevent succulents from damages.

What Makes Succulents Unique?

One of the reasons why succulents are a popular choice for many people is because they are hardy plants. It can grow new roots, given the right circumstances, and it’s a lot easier to propagate than other plants. In fact, with enough humidity in the soil, succulents can grow on their own! Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen, and you need to create an environment for it to thrive.

Although succulents are hardy plants, it doesn’t mean that they’re invulnerable and don’t get damaged. Several factors can affect these plants; anywhere between neglect and over-care can cause discoloration, stress, or damage. I’m pretty sure that you’re already dealing with a broken succulent, so let’s get to the fix before anything else, shall we?

Method #1: Leaves Falling Off

One of the scenarios where we can consider a succulent as broken is when leaves start to fall. There are several reasons why it happens, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t save your plant. In fact, falling leaves are only the beginning for a new succulent—it’s one of the ways they propagate. The only thing you need to do is create the environment for it to thrive, and it’ll grow into a new plant.

When you start to see the leaves falling from the plant, collect them, and keep them away for three days. This process is crucial because it’s the only way for the leaves to grow roots. You’ll also need a new pot and cactus soil where you’ll place these leaves. Any container will do as long as it has proper drainage to remove excess water from the soil.

One thing you need to remember is that succulents need moisture in the soil to grow. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to fill the pot with water, like how you water other plants. Too much water can be detrimental and prevent leaves from growing new roots. What you need is a small amount of moisture. Spraying the surface every other day should suffice to create the perfect environment for succulents to thrive.

Here’s a quick guide to help you save a broken off succulent by using its falling leaves:

Unfortunately, not all succulents are the same, and you can’t propagate all of them using leaves. This method only works if you have a Stonecrop or a Copperleaf. If you have Aeoniums or Sansevieria, you can’t use fallen leaves to propagate. If these plants are the ones you have, you need to cut off a clean leaf from the stem. You don’t have to let it dry, and you can just plant it on a cup filled with moist soil.

The process is the same, but the method of how you use the leaves will be different. Some succulents need to get callused before they can grow roots, while others are hardy enough to still grow after cutting and repotting. The crucial part in propagating succulents is to ensure that the soil has enough moisture—not too little nor too much—for you to grow it successfully.

Even with proper care, the leaves will fall off. It’s normal because some succulents use it to propagate. You don’t have to worry about it, and instead, it would be best to provide it with proper care to assist its growth. Just make sure that the pot you’re using has proper drainage, the soil can absorb enough moisture, and you’re only providing it with small amounts of water every few days.

Method #2: Stem Decapitated

You can’t use fallen leaves every time you need to save a broken-off succulent. There are even some that can’t propagate through the leaves. If you’re caring for similar succulents, you may have to decapitate a stem from the plant and use it to grow a new one. However, it’ll require a bit more than just taking off the stem and planting it on a new pot.

If your plant uses a stem to propagate, the first step you need to do is cut one part of the stem and set it away until it gets callused. This part is where the new roots will grow. Without this callused part, your stem will just die off even if it has the right condition for succulents to grow.

It’ll only take three days for the stem to get callus, and after that, you can nestle it in cactus soil. Unfortunately, growing roots from a cut-off succulent don’t happen in an instant—it’s an excruciatingly slow process. It takes a lot of patience because you may not even see results for weeks; some may even take months to grow roots!

Another crucial thing that you need to do when you’re using a cut-off stem is to make sure that it’s not getting direct sunlight—indirect sunlight is what it needs. Aside from that, it would be best if you didn’t water or spray anything into the soil’s surface for three weeks. This process is necessary for the stem to start growing roots.

Once the stem starts to grow roots, you can repot the plant in a better container with proper drainage. Once everything is in place, you can resume normal succulent care, and you’ve just saved a broken-off succulent! Don’t worry about the old plant because there are still some things that you can do to save it.

Method #3: Leaves Cut in Half

The most common question that I hear from people is, what if the leaf is cut in half? Sure, a fallen leaf, with the part connected to the stem still intact, can grow roots. The stem decapitated from the plant can also grow roots. But will a leaf still grow roots if the part connected to the stem is already rotting or has completely dried out?

As you already know, succulents have a unique characteristic that allows them to grow roots even if the part connected to the stem is already rotting. The process is similar to growing roots from leaves, but you need to remove the rotting part. This process takes a very long time, and it may even take a month or two for the leaf to start growing roots.

Regardless of how long it takes, using parts of a broken succulent to have a new one is still the simplest way to save your succulent. These new succulents won’t require a lot of caring at first. If you have the right soil condition, it’ll be easy for you to save a broken-off succulent. There are even some who are using the techniques I’ve shared with you to start their farm!

Method #4: Repotting the Old Plant

The most common method people use to save a broken-off succulent is through the first three methods. These methods don’t only help them salvage whatever’s left of their plant but also allow them to have more. However, repotting is another way for you to save a broken succulent, and the problems that your plant may be experiencing is because it just needs a bit more TLC.

Repotting allows you to examine its health and the condition of its soil. Several things can affect your plant’s health, but the best way to save it is to prune rotting roots and ensure the soil you’re using is what the plant needs to thrive.

Check the Living Conditions

Succulents need moisture in the soil, but not too much. Remember, although succulents need “rocky” soil, it should also have enough moisture to provide the nutrients it needs for growth. Unfortunately, they can’t create a perfect environment for them to thrive by themselves, so you have to work on it to ensure that it meets their living conditions.

Inspect the pot you’re using, and see if it has proper drainage to drain excess water. There should be enough holes at the bottom of the pot because succulents don’t need a lot of water to survive. The soil should also be a combination of coarse sand and pumice to give it the tendency to retain moisture.

One of the most common mistakes that people make when repotting is they use sand in their pot. It might work, but it’ll need constant watering because sand can’t retain moisture—a crucial element that provides the nutrients it needs to grow.

Check for Bugs and Other Pests

The biggest reason why you need to transfer a broken succulent to a new pot is that it allows you to have a closer look at its condition. One possibility for the damage could be because of pests or bugs that you haven’t noticed before.

Pests can damage the whole plant, and even if you’re already trying to grow roots from the leaves or stem, it still doesn’t save your plants from damages in the future. So, if you’ve noticed that one of your plants is infected, you have to isolate it immediately. Repotting is the only way to deal with pests, and you have to do it as soon as you notice damages to your plant.

Once you’ve pruned rotting roots, moved it to a new container, and got rid of the pests, you still have to isolate it from the rest of the plants to prevent the infection from spreading. You don’t have to cut off broken leaves because, unlike other plants, succulents don’t require trimming.

Why Do Succulents Get Damaged?

Now that you’ve done everything you can to save a broken-off succulent, the next step is to eliminate the common factors why these plants get damaged. Prevention is better than cure. In the case of succulents, prevention is better than saving. So, let’s figure out how you can prevent these damages from happening, shall we?

Not Getting Enough Soil Moisture

One of the reasons why succulents are a popular indoor plant is because they don’t require a lot of care. However, there’s a common misconception about succulents—they don’t need watering. Succulents are hardy plants, but they can’t survive without water. They don’t need regular watering to grow, but they still need moisture for nutrients.

A happy succulent is the one that gets moist soil, but not as much as other plants. So, the best way for your plant to have it is to spray water on the soil’s surface every few days to keep it moist. The pot should also have several holes at the bottom to drain excess water from the soil, ensuring that your plant only gets what it needs.

Using The Wrong Soil

Another factor that can affect the moisture that your succulents get is the type of soil you’re using. If you’re caring for succulents, you don’t need loam or garden soil because it absorbs too much water. You can’t use rocky sand either because water will just drain out of the pot. What you need is a combination of pumice and coarse sand.

This combination will provide your soil with the ability to absorb some water—the right amount that succulents need. Excess water will pass through coarse sand down to the drain. If you have the right combination of soil for your plant, you don’t really have to pay too much attention to the amount of water you’re giving it.

Plants Need The Right Amount of Light

During their early days, succulents won’t need light to grow. However, there will come a time when it’ll need more light. When it happens, your plant will start to look pale, losing some of its green colors. It doesn’t mean that your plant is going to die or be broken that needs some saving. It just needs a bit more light for it to retain its beauty.

Losing the greens of plants is also called etiolation. When your plant starts to show some discoloration, it would be best to take it out to get a bit of indirect sunlight. Neglect can lead to your plant losing its aesthetics, making it less desirable as an indoor plant.

Excessive Use of Fertilizers

Succulents don’t need fertilizers to survive. However, one reason why you still need to water it is it needs nutrients to grow. So, it won’t hurt if you feed your plant with small amounts of fertilizers in the spring and summer. It’ll promote their growth and help them retain their aesthetics by nourishing it more than what it gets from the soil.

One thing that you have to remember, though, is that you should never use too much fertilizer on your plant. Instead of being beneficial, excessive use of fertilizer can damage or be detrimental to its health. Light feeding to nourish it should be enough to keep it healthy and happy!

Keep It Bug and Pest-Free

The most common and most destructive of all factors are bugs and pests. In many cases, these bugs are hidden within the soil, and you won’t notice the infection until it shows up in the leaves. The only difference is that succulents aren’t affected by the usual gardening pests that other plants have to deal with.

Some of the most common insects that can damage succulents include:

These insects are attracted to damp soil, but they prefer succulents that have the right condition.

These pests move from one place to another. So, if you notice, or suspect, that one of your plants is infected, the first step is to isolate it before you deal with the problem. Infected succulents can also infect other plants, so this problem requires timely action. Neglect of this issue can damage every plant you have, and there might be no course of action left for you to save a broken-off succulent.


It’s nice to have an indoor plant because adding a bit of green in your house adds to its aesthetics. Succulents are the perfect indoor plant; they don’t require much caring, and anyone can successfully grow them. However, it doesn’t mean that these plants don’t get damaged.

Several factors can cause damage to succulents, but it’s not that hard to save them. In fact, the methods that you can use to save a broken succulent are the same methods that other people use to grow them in multiples. You just have to be careful in providing it with the right living conditions.

Tina Painter

Tina Painter is a Succulent Plant Advisor. She is interested in helping others learn the proper care, maintenance, and growth of healthy succulent plants. Tina is well known as a succulent lover and is in the process of developing her "Growing Succulents Masterclass for Succulent Lovers." She also loves creating artistic and whimsical gardens with succulents.

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