What is better than one succulent? Two, or Three, or Five!
I love having extra succulents of the same kind, they are great to give as gifts, swap with someone (you both get a new one), sell at a Farmer’s Market, or on Etsy…so many possibilities! Today you will learn how to grow succulents from cuttings or propagate (fancy word for growing from cuttings).
Three Ways to Grow Succulents from Cuttings
- The first way and my favorite is to either pull a leaf from your existing plant or take a fallen leaf and prepare it to be planted. Jade plants are wonderful for this! My Grandma (on my Dad’s side), gave my Mom a jade plant over 30 years ago. The original plant has long since died but every jade I have (see photo on right) and have ever given away has come from that original plant. This way, the leaf way, works well with jade-like plants – plants with plump leaves.
- Succulents with branches or who may be too top-heavy need the snip, snip, way. This way allows you to reshape the original plant, keeping it from being too lanky, while also growing a new one. Some rosette-shaped succulents can get huge and dwarf others in the pot. By snipping them away, you can save the small ones and the original.
- My brother had a succulent that I really, really, really wanted a piece of. Finally, his grew enough so that he needed to re-pot it. He pulled it out of the pot and did the divide and grow way. It was wonderful, I got my new plant (picture below) and he still had a healthy plant. Not bragging, okay, I am…mine is currently about 4 times the size of his. This works best for succulents that have clumps (Sedum) or for plants that produce babies (Chicks and Hens).
There are technically four ways to grow succulents, the fourth way is from seeds. Since I’m specifically focusing on “growing from cuttings”, I didn’t include directions on this. I have not grown succulents by seeds, I’m not that patient, it takes time but is doable. I have found the easiest way to get more plants is from cuttings.
The Leaf Way
You can get leaves two different ways. You can wait for one to fall off or you can “make” one fall off by cutting it. Either way is fine. The key to getting a good leaf that will grow is getting a healthy, complete leaf. If you “make” one fall one, either pull firmly or use clean, sharp scissors or a knife.
After getting a good leaf, set it in bright light. That can be on a paper bowl, in a bowl, it really doesn’t matter as long as it is in bright light (not direct sun). Don’t water them, just put them in bright light.
After about a week, they will have a callus on the end, that means the wound (where it was taken off the other plant) has healed. Roots will form after the callus, around 2-4 weeks.
Once you see roots, go ahead and re-pot the leaf. Don’t be alarmed when the original leaf dies, it is food for the new roots.
Another options…prepare a pot with soil and after the callus has formed, sit the leaf (or leaves) on top of the soil. The leaf should be placed so the callus is closest to the dirt, or to say it another way, sit the leaf so it is an upside-down “U” instead of a right side up “U”. There will be no need to re-pot as the roots will find the dirt.
I have found a fallen leaf, picked it up and stuck it in dirt and that has worked fine. It doesn’t work all the time but it works enough that I still do it. By looking for roots, you know the leaf has an even better chance of turning in to a beautiful plant but if you are in a hurry, just stick it in with the original plant.
The Snip, Snip Way
As you can see in the picture, this plant is all over the place and very top-heavy. By cutting off the heavy part I can create a new plant. When doing this method, the heavy part can’t be pulled off so use clean, sharp scissors or a knife and then cut just below the full part, including about an inch of stem.
That is the hardest or scariest part!
Take the heavy part, the “head”, set it in bright, indirect sun, let it heal (callus) and grow roots. No need to water. Roots should appear in 2-4 weeks. Once you see roots, go ahead and plant.
The original plant should grow new leaves in more of a bush fashion, making it more attractive and sturdy.
The Divide and Grow Way
This works great for plants that spread (picture above is the plant I got from my Brother) or has babies (called pups in the succulent world). Take the plant out of its current pot, shake away excess dirt and separate the roots. If the plant has pups, the roots of the pups may still be attached to the parent, you can use clean, sharp scissors or a knife to separate.
You can re-pot all the sections immediately, no need to wait but do wait a day to water. When watering the first time, water on the light side.
Have some fun with this!
We talked about the leaf way, the snip way, the divide and grow way. You learned when to plant right away and when to let the cuttings callus and grow roots. You know what to do so give it a try!
Any plant you get from cuttings is a bonus plant so play around. Put several cuttings from several kinds in a pot together and see what happens. Try snipping one and see how it goes. By practicing and taking note of what worked and what didn’t, your skills will improve.
Questions or Comments? Leave them below!