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Great news for succulent lovers everywhere is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to purchase new plants all the time because the ones you got in your garden can produce more baby succulents on their own. This miraculous process is called propagation and it is absolutely exciting to watch. Sedum and Echeveria are two varieties of succulents that can be propagated from both leaves, cuttings, and offsets, while Aeoniums can only be propagated from cuttings. Crassula and Hawothia are two other popular candidates that are perfect for propagating from cuttings and offsets. This article will give you our tips on these three ways to propagate your succulents successfully.
Propagation is the act of producing a new plant by using an element of the parent stock. This element could be leaf, cutting, offset or seed from a mature plant. With succulent propagation, there are 3 main interesting techniques that you could try out:
The main focus of this blog will be on how to propagate succulents using the soil propagation technique.
To begin, you can simply take a leaf that has fallen from your succulents. This is preferred if you hesitate to take a leaf off your perfect succulent or simply afraid of not taking a leaf off properly. When looking for fallen leaves, make sure to only choose full and plump ones to have better success. If you don’t have any fallen leaves, just go on and gently remove one off the stem. Since succulents, especially Echeveria, are delicate, you should carefully take a leaf off by holding the stem and perform a twisting motion to pull the leaf off the plant entirely. Poor cuttings can result in the leaves not being able to sprout roots.
Put the leaves on a paper towel until the cut ends dry out so that they will not rot when planted. After a couple of days letting the leaves dry on the paper towel, transfer them to lay on top of some succulent or cactus potting soil.
Succulent leaf propagation: good cutting and poor cutting examples. Photo credit: craftsy.com
Give the leaves bright and filtered sunlight as well as mist them with water whenever the soil dries out, probably a couple times a week. In general, roots will start sprouting after about 2 weeks and baby plants will appear in about 8 weeks. However, the amount of time varies since it depends on the type of succulent you are trying to propagate, the time of year, temperature and humidity.
When the baby plant reaches about half an inch tall and the original leaf dries up, gently remove the leaf, scoop the baby plant out of the soil and replant it in a pot. Avoid causing too much distress to the roots, which eventually need to be covered with soil.
Propagation from stems works best on succulents that have multiple stems or branches. That being said, echeverias are probably not the best succulent to propagate from stems since they don’t grow too high off the pot or ground. However, echeverias that have etiolated, i.e, grown leggy from the lack of sunlight, are ideal for this method. To start off, you need to decide which cutting position you prefer. There are five different types of cuttings you can try out to create your own beautiful succulents. The five different ways are marked A, B, C, D & E in the picture below to indicate different cutting purposes.
A – Cutting this high on the stem is known as “pinching out.” The reason to pinch this high on the plant stem is to create growth for multiple cuttings or have the plants develop into a multi-headed plant. Cutting this high will force side stems to grow that will be viable cuttings themselves once they’ve grown out. The top part that is cut off is not a viable cutting and will not root so just throw it away.
B – Cutting here is optimal for creating a new plant from the top part and forcing new shoots to grow off the stem. This method works best if a few leaves are left on the stem, allowing it to recover more efficiently, producing the most new stems.
C – Cutting at this mark is officially called deadheading. A cut made here will result in a plant that will root easily. The stem most likely won’t develop any shoots and can slowly wither down.
D – Cutting lower on the stem creates a longer stem, but takes much longer to establish roots. The lower stem might produce a few shoots, but can also wither down.
E – Cutting further down the stem is not recommended because the head will have to work hard to get established and the lower stem is likely to die.
Once the cutting position has been chosen, you can use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut a piece of the succulent through the stem. With etiolated succulents, the leaves on the side of the stem can be removed. Stem cutting results in two parts, the head and the stump, which can all be used in propagation.
Before being buried in soil, the beheaded part need to be let dry for a few days to prevent moisture from causing rot. Next, plant it in soil and water a few times per week when the soil is dry. With stem propagation, it can take about 4 weeks or even longer for roots to form.
With the stump, you can let it stay in the old pot or replant into new pot with new soil mix. Baby plants will start to grow around the stem in a few weeks, replacing the leaves that we removed before planting.
Most succulent parents prefer propagating their babies from offsets as it is easier compared to using leaves or stem cuttings. Propagating using offsets are amazingly simple and easy, perfect for those who don’t want to wait for the plant to grow leaves. Some succulents like Haworthia are perfect for this method.
To ensure that the offsets have the proper nutrients to survive on their own after being separated from the parent plant, it is highly recommended to wait until they are about half of the size of the parent plant. To begin, you may want to consider removing the plant from its container as this will allow you to locate the rooted offset from the parent plant. This is also an opportunity to examine the root system and repot the plant. Then, simply pull offset from the mother succulent with roots by gently twisting it. Don’t worry if some roots are ripped since it will be a chance for the offset to grow their own roots. After successfully pulling off the offsets, let them dry out for about 1 to 1 days. Once they have dried out, plant it in well-drained cactus soil, and give it some good watering.
Propagating from offsets can be done by both pulling offsets from the parent plant with roots or cutting off the stem of the offset. Therefore, if you want to try doing it using stem cuttings, you can scroll up to read our instructions on how to take a proper cutting. Make sure to only use pruning tools that have been sterilized. Allow your cuttings to dry out, then place it in a well-drained potting mix. Roots should be formed within a few weeks.
Caring for the offsets is quite simple. You should give them a couple hours of morning sunlight or afternoon shade to avoid etiolation or sunburn. One rule of green thumb is that only give them a good soak of water when the soil is completely dry.
And voilà! That’s how you propagate your succulents and create your own growing garden like a pro. Not too complicated right? We encourage you to experiment with multiple leaves and stem cuttings to find out the right amount of light and water that works for your succulents and stimulates new growth. Let us know how your propagation journey goes!
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
You can check out our other articles on succulent propagation as follows:
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