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10 easiest succulents to propagate

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Easiest succulents to propagate

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Succulents are unique, exotic beauties. They are so special because they thrive in environments that would be disastrous for other houseplants: poor soil, drought conditions, and dry air. Their incredible adaptability makes them a favorite among indoor gardeners around the world, but it’s not just their resilience that’s appealing. Succulents are truly botanic wonders, available in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors. From the rosette forms of Echeveria to the trailing vines of Sedum, the diversity within the succulent family is simply amazing.

One of the most fascinating aspects of succulents is their ease of propagation. Even though they are slow growers, succulents can be propagated with minimal effort. There are several methods to propagate succulents, and each species has its own success rate. Although succulent propagation is relatively easy, it is important to understand the basic tips and specific requirements for each plant. 

Succulent Propagation Methods

There is a variety of succulent propagation methods, each with its own unique process and requirements. 

Photo via Pinterest

Leaf-cutting is a popular method, suitable for many succulents. To propagate using this method, select a healthy leaf from the parent plant, ensuring it is fully intact and free from damage. Allow the leaf to callous over for a few days in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent rot. Once calloused, place the leaf on well-draining soil and lightly press it down, ensuring good contact with the soil. With time, tiny roots will begin to develop from the base of the leaf, eventually leading to new growth.

Photo via Pinterest

Stem cutting is another effective propagation method, particularly suited for succulents with longer stems. To propagate using stem cuttings, carefully cut a segment of the stem from the parent plant, ensuring it is healthy and free from disease. Allow the cut end to dry out for a few days in a shaded area to prevent rotting. Once dried, plant the cutting in well-draining soil, burying the cut end slightly. Stem cuttings typically root quickly and can give rise to a new plant in a relatively short period.

Succulents' Offets grow under the leaves of the plant or around its base
Photo by Carol

Offsets, also known as "pups," are miniature versions of the parent plant that grow around its base. To propagate using offsets, gently separate them from the parent plant using a clean, sharp knife or scissors. Ensure that each offset has its own roots attached. Replant the offsets in their pots, providing them with well-draining soil and minimal water until they establish themselves.

Seed propagation is less common but can be rewarding, especially for rare or unique succulent species. To propagate from seeds, sow them on the surface of well-draining soil in a shallow container. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, ensuring adequate ventilation to prevent fungal growth. With patience, the seeds will germinate, eventually leading to the growth of new succulent plants. While seed propagation requires more time and patience compared to other methods, it offers the opportunity to grow a diverse range of succulent varieties.

Succulent Propagation Mediums

Water Propagation
Photo by Six Clever Sister

There are several mediums that we could use to propagate succulents. The choice of propagation medium depends on the specific requirements and characteristics of the succulent species being propagated. Different succulents may prefer different mediums based on factors such as their water needs, root development, and environmental conditions.

Soil (or Soilless Medium such as peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite): Many succulents thrive when propagated in a well-draining soil or soilless medium. These mediums provide stability for root development while allowing excess moisture to drain away efficiently. Succulent-specific potting mixes or cactus mixes are often used, containing ingredients like sand, perlite, and peat moss. This medium is suitable for a wide range of succulent species, especially those with moderate water requirements.

Water: Some succulents, particularly those with thicker leaves and stems, can be successfully propagated in water. Water propagation involves placing the cuttings or leaves in a container of water until roots develop. This method is suitable for certain species that root easily in water and can be an effective way to observe root growth. However, not all succulents thrive in water, so it's essential to research the specific needs of the plant being propagated.

Air: For air or dry propagation, place the leaf cuttings on a tray. You can use an egg carton, cup, or any clean tray in your house. Ensure the tray is away from direct sunlight to prevent sunburn. With dry propagation, there's no need to water the leaves until their roots are fully matured, which typically takes 1 to 2 months. During this period, monitor the leaves' roots weekly. Healthy roots are usually white or pink; darker roots or shriveling indicate too much sunlight. Move them to a less sunny spot for healthy growth. 

Succulent Propagation vs Houseplant Propagation

Propagating succulents and houseplants share several fundamental similarities. Both types of plants can be propagated using methods such as stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, division, and seeds. It is crucial to start with healthy, disease-free parent plants for successful propagation in both cases. Allowing cuttings to callous (dry out) before planting is a common step to prevent rot, and using well-draining soil is essential to ensure healthy growth and prevent root rot. Additionally, both succulents and houseplants require careful watering during propagation, often necessitating less water until new roots are established. Providing adequate light, typically bright but indirect, is also important for successful rooting and growth in both types of plants.

 Let cuttings to callous (dry out) before planting is a common step to prevent rot
Photo by Allison Sidhu

However, there are notable differences between propagating succulents and houseplants. Succulents generally require lower humidity and minimal watering, as they are prone to rot if overwatered. They are typically slow growers, meaning propagation results can take longer to become visible. In contrast, houseplants often need higher humidity and more frequent watering, depending on the species, and many grow more quickly, allowing for faster propagation outcomes. Leaf cuttings are very rare for houseplants. Some houseplants produce offsets, but this is also less common compared to succulents, with examples including Spider Plants and Bromeliads. Additionally, while succulents are less commonly propagated in water, many houseplants root easily in water, such as Pothos and Philodendrons. Succulents thrive in dry, arid conditions and can tolerate neglect, whereas houseplants often require more controlled environments with specific humidity and temperature needs.

10 Easiest Succulents To Propagate

1. Echeveria 'Lola': Echeveria 'Lola' is a hybrid succulent known for its rosettes of blue-green leaves tinged with pink. It propagates easily from leaf cuttings. Simply pluck a healthy leaf, let it callous over, and place it on well-draining soil.

2. Crassula ovata (Jade Plant): Jade Plant is a classic succulent with thick, fleshy leaves. It can be propagated from stem or leaf cuttings. Allow stem cuttings to dry out before planting, or place leaf cuttings directly on soil.

3. Sedum rubrotinctum (Jelly Bean Plant): Jelly Bean Plant features chubby, bean-shaped leaves that turn red in sunlight. It propagates easily from stem cuttings. Allow stem cuttings to dry before planting in well-draining soil.

4. Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a medicinal succulent with fleshy, spiky leaves. It propagates from offsets, which are smaller rosettes that grow around the base of the parent plant. Separate offsets and replant them in their own pots.

5. Haworthia attenuata (Zebra Plant): Zebra Plant has rosettes of dark green leaves with white stripes. It propagates from offsets. Gently separate offsets and replant them in well-draining soil.

6. Aeonium 'Kiwi': Featuring variegated leaves ranging from pink to green to yellow, Aeonium 'Kiwi' propagates from stem cuttings. Allow stem cuttings to dry before planting in well-draining soil. 

7. Cotyledon Tomentosa Bear Paw: Cotyledon Tomentosa, known as Bear Paw, is a small succulent shrub with densely branched stems covered in fine, white hairs. It has fleshy, yellow-green leaves, often with reddish tips, and features 1 to 3 “teeth” at the tips, resembling bear claws. This plant can be propagated with leaf or stem cuttings.

8. Sempervivum Red Lion:  Red Lion is a cold-hardy succulent with rosettes in vibrant rich red with green tips. It propagates readily from offsets. Separate offsets and replant them in well-draining soil.

9. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus):This charming succulent is known for its unique appearance, resembling a cascade of green pearls. Each "pearl" is a small, spherical leaf attached to a trailing stem, creating an elegant and eye-catching display when grown in hanging baskets or trailing over the edges of containers. Propagation of String of Pearls is relatively simple and can be achieved through stem cuttings. 

 

10. Kalanchoe Panda Plant: Panda Plant has soft fuzzy long oval shaped leaves with deep brown margin. Its leaves are an attractive shade of white silvery green.  It propagates effortlessly with leaf or stem cuttings.

10 Tips For Succulent Propagation

  1. Start with healthy parent plants free from pests, diseases, or damage. Healthy parent plants are more likely to produce viable cuttings or offsets for propagation. When taking cuttings, choose healthy, mature stems or leaves. Avoid using weak or leggy growth, as they may not root successfully.
  2. Consider using a rooting hormone to stimulate root growth, especially for more challenging or slow-rooting succulent varieties. Rooting hormone can help expedite the rooting process and increase the success rate of propagation. Simply dip the cut end of the cutting or offset into rooting hormone powder before planting it in the propagation medium.
  3. Before planting, allow cuttings to callous over for a few days. This helps prevent rot and promotes successful root development.
  4. Use a well-draining soil mix specifically formulated for succulents or cacti. Good drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  5. Place propagating succulents in bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch delicate cuttings or leaves.
  6. During propagation, water sparingly to avoid overwatering. Succulents are prone to rot if kept too wet. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
  7. Provide consistent temperatures conducive to root development. Succulents generally prefer temperatures between 60°F to 80°F during the propagation process. Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations, as they can stress the plants and hinder root growth. 
  8. Propagate succulents during their active growing season, typically in spring or early summer. This is when plants are actively growing and more likely to produce new roots or offsets.
  9. Succulent propagation takes time. Be patient and allow cuttings or offsets to establish roots before expecting significant growth. It may take several weeks to months for roots to develop and new growth to emerge.
  10. Handle propagating succulents with care to avoid damaging delicate roots or new growth. Minimize disturbances and avoid moving cuttings around during the propagation process.

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