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Water Propagation for Succulents

6 min read

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Propagating succulents is a fun and inexpensive way to expand your garden. Plus, there are several ways to do it, and more and more people have attempted to do it in water. They say it's a more enjoyable, easier and rewarding way to increase your succulent collection than other methods such as soil propagation

As a handy guide, we have listed everything you need to know below on how to do it.

Water propagating with stem cuttings

Water propagating stem cuttings for succulents

Stem cutting is a easy wat to propagate succulents.
Photo credit: @succulents4life on tumblr


Propagating with stem cuttings is a fun and easy way to accumulate your succulent collection or recycle decorative cuttings after an event or party. Though there’s a possibility that some cuttings may not root, but following the instructions below will increase your chance of success.


Select a succulent to propagate.

If you wish to grow outdoor garden plants over winter, we suggest that you take your cuttings after the plant’s bloom period is over. Otherwise, select a plant that’s not yet in full bloom.


Prepare your cuttings.

Cutting Positions for Succulent Propagation
Use a clean scissors to cut the stem


Use a sharp, clean scissors to gently snip around 2 to 4-inches of cutting with at least 1-2 leaves from a healthy portion of the stem, then carefully cut ¼ inches just below the node. You can remove some bottom leaves to further expose the stem. After doing so, it is very important to leave your cuttings on an empty tray in a well-lit spot for at least 2-3 days or just until a callus forms. 

DO NOT skip this part as your cuttings might absorb too much moisture during water propagation and may result in rotting.

You can also read this blog post to see some of the Cutting Positions for Succulent Propagation.


Choose a vessel.

Using a glass jar or any clear jar for propagating your cuttings in water is highly recommended, as this will not only allow you to witness every progress that your plant makes but also for the sunlight to be able to get pass through the jar.


Arrange it.

Fill the jar up with water and put the succulent cutting in the jar
Photo credit:


Once the cutting callus over, fill the jar up with water and put it in the jar. Some choose to submerge it in water but we prefer the leaves and stem stay dry to avoid any chance of rotting.

If the succulent cutting is too small, we suggest that you cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke a hole in it so you'll be able to stick the stem through it. Doing so will not only allow your cutting to balance on the rim of the jar but also will help ensure that only the bottom of the stem touches the water. 

After setting your cutting in the water, place the jar in a sunny area/window and wait patiently until new roots appear.


Grow period.

Usually, it can take from 2-6 weeks for roots to sprout, depending on your climate and environment. To prevent delays, it is recommended that you check the jar from time to time to make sure that the water does not dry up.

Water propagation with leaves

Water propagation with leaves for succulents

Propagating succulents using leaves has a higher chance of success to propagate


Although propagating succulents using leaves take much longer compared to stem cuttings, this technique has a higher chance of success to propagate. Plus, one will be able to witness how small leaves start to grow and root at the bottom of a single leaf.

If you are eager to get started but unsure how to begin, we’ve laid out every step in order to be successful in water propagating your plants using leaves.


Pick and prepare a leaf to propagate.

Grasp a plump, healthy leaf between your thumb and forefinger

Gently grasp a plump, healthy leaf between your thumb and forefinger (bottom leaves are strongly recommended), then move it from side to side. If the leaf is ready to propagate is it will get detached from the stem with a slight snap.

DO NOT simply pull the leaf away from the succulent, this will most likely leave a part of the leaf and will result in not being able to form any roots or new leaves. We recommend picking mature and healthy leaves (bottom leaves) since they have better chance to survive. Small and young leaves often do not have enough nutrition to support newly grown roots. Also, if you are new to succulent propagation, it is better to pick some succulent genres that are easier to propagate from leaves like some Echeveria, Graptoveria or Sedum Jelly Bean.


Leave it to dry.

After selecting a healthy leaf to propagate, lay them on an empty tray to for some time to callus over. This usually takes at least 5-7 days or just until baby roots form to take up water. 

DO NOT skip this part as it will decrease your chance to successfully water propagate your leaf. Additionally, this step will help you determine if the leaf is indeed a healthy one to propagate or not. If the leaf is healthy, it should not die without any water very quickly. However, if your leaf does wither while waiting for it to callus, it would not have been a valid propagator, to begin with.


Choose a vessel.


Pick a glass vessel depending on the size of the leaf that you’ll propagate. You may either use a narrow neck bottle filled with water or covering a jar of water with plastic wrap and cut slits to insert and hold your leaf tips into the water.

  • Set it up


      Once your leaves callus over, it is now ready to put it in the vessel you’ve prepared. Fill the jar with water and then use the food wrapper to wrap around the bottle cap. Poke holes on the plastic wrapper and put the leaves in. Let the curved side go flat down. Do not let the leaves touch the water. Keep it about 1/2-1 inch away from the water surface then place it in a window near a bright filtered sunlight.

      • Grow Period.

      The growth cycle might take 2-6 weeks to start. It is highly recommended to check your leaves periodically to prevent the water from drying out. You may also want to change the water if it gets too dark or brown to see how the roots form. Doing this will also increase the possibility for the plant to grow into a strong and healthy one.


      <Source: Instagram @forloveofsucculents>

       You can click here to see our pots collection for succulents.

      Potting your new plant

      If you want to transfer or transplant your succulents from water to soil, it’s highly recommended to wait until the cutting has at least an inch-long root or the mother leaf has started to dry out, then allowing it to air-dry on a paper towel for about a day or two. Keep in mind that water roots are very fragile compared to soil roots, so handle them with care and to gradually introduce them to soil.

      Once the roots have dry out, gently burrow your succulent into an unfertilized cactus soil and put it in an area where they can only get bright and indirect light. Since your succulents are still fragile during this point, giving them direct sunlight is not recommended. 

      From here, it is advisable to give your succulent a regular watering schedule. A good soak once every 2 weeks would do.


      Check out this video to see Water Propagation for Succulents:


      Want to attempt doing water propagation yourself? You’ll need some succulents first! Order one from Succulents Box, and get yourself some super cute succulents delivered right to your doorstep!

      Check out this quick video to see 4 mistake to avoid when propagating succulents

      Check out this quick video to see how to propagate succulents for beginners

      Check out this quick video to see some most common questions on succulent and cactus propagation





      You can check out our other articles on succulent propagation as follows:

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