Propagating Succulents in 5 Easy Steps

The succulent is one of nature’s most efficient plants, and one of the easiest to propagate.

It’s a type of “xerophyte,” a shallow-rooted wonder that thrives in dry climates and stores water in fat, fleshy leaves and stems.

A blue ceramic planter full of different kinds of succulents.

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A Feast for the Eyes

Succulents come in an extensive variety of textures, colors, shapes, and sizes.

From the smooth blue rosettes of echeveria hugging the soil in compact clusters, to the towering 6-foot agave Americana stretching toward the summer sun, they comprise one of the most fascinating plant species.

https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
Photo by Allison Sidhu.

Succulents grow outdoors in temperate climates, and make excellent additions to xeriscapes, where irrigation is minimal. They’re at home between pavers, in rock gardens, and peeking out from crevices in stone walls.

Propagating Succulents Easy Steps | GardenersPath.com

These versatile plants also thrive indoors in pots with good drainage, as well as in terrariums, provided they are watered sparingly.

My favorites are miniature varieties.

Grow Succulents In 5 Easy Tips | GardenersPath.com

I like to plant them in interesting containers, grouped to create an eclectic desertscape.

You’re going to fall in love with these low-maintenance beauties, and knowing how to propagate them means you can grow as many as your heart desires.

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Succulent plant propagation is a breeze. Of course, you may start from seeds, but it’s easier and faster to use the plants you have to produce even more.

Here are two easy methods:

Dividing

You may divide a plant in two ways.

1. Plantlet Removal

Remove plantlets, or offsets, that have sprung up alongside the mother plant.

Purple-tinged hen and chicks, with plantlets prime for propagating. | Gardenerspath.com
Hen and chicks.

These are fully-formed and rooted mini-plants that can grow independently.

Kalanchoe pinnata is a succulent that drops plantlets, perfect for propagating. | Gardenerspath.com
Kalanchoe pinnata.

With echeveria, a rosette-forming succulent, we call the main plant the “hen” and the plantlets are referred to as “chicks.” With barrel cactus, they are known as “pups.”

Kalanchoe pinnata plantlets, ready for propagating to start new succulents in the garden. | Gardenerspath.com
Kalanchoe pinnata plantlets.

Some succulents drop plantlets. Like seeds, they take root where they fall.

2. Root Separation

Unearth an entire plant and gently tease the roots apart. Plant the separated clumps individually.

Plants that have been divided by root separation may be placed in soil immediately.

For indoor plants, use a potting medium recommended for cactus and succulent plants, like Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix.

You can also mix a handful of sand or perlite into potting soil. The proper mix promotes drainage and provides nutrients.

Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix, 4 Quarts

Wait a day, then water sparingly.

Return outdoor plants to the garden when the sun is not directly overhead. Work the soil until it is crumbly, mound it up a bit, and make a shallow depression with room for sprawling roots.

A zebra cactus or haworthia with exposed roots, ready for dividing and starting new plants. Learn how: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
A zebra cactus, or Haworthia, with exposed roots.

Nestle your plant carefully into it and gently cover the roots with about an inch of soil. Tamp gently to secure.
Wait a day, and then lightly water the soil around the plant.

Cutting

With the cutting method, just cut off a piece of leaf or stem, let it dry, and you’ll have roots and shoots in no time. The trick is to keep it totally dry.

Here are two methods:

1. Leaf Removal

Remove leaves from your succulents, allow to callus off, and then plant in soil. We share the best tips for propagating succulents: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
Photo by Allison Sidhu.

Randomly remove several leaves, dry them out, let them grow roots, and plant.

2. Beheading

This is a good fix for a plant that has grown tall and spindly, or whose leggy bare limbs drape downward like a pendant.

Leggy succulents in your backyard will benefit from careful propagation. Do you know what to do? We share a simple method in 5 steps: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
A gorgeous pink-hued succulent, from the front… Photo by Allison Sidhu.

Simply cut the head of the plant off the lengthy stem, leaving about an inch of stem attached. Dry it out, let it grow roots, and plant.

The remaining stem of a healthy beheaded plant should grow new leaves in a compact grouping, making for a sturdier, more attractive plant.

Cut back leggy succulents and start new plants in 5 simple steps: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
From the side, you can see this plant has grown very leggy. Photo by Allison Sidhu.

As indicated, cuttings made from leaves and plant heads must dry out and grow roots before planting.

It’s not hard! Here’s how:

Propagating Succulent Cuttings

What You’ll Need:

  • Sharp shears
  • Garden gloves (for handling spiny varieties)
  • Small trowel
  • Potting medium for succulents and cacti
  • Containers with adequate drainage holes

How To:

1. Remove Some Leaves or Behead

Randomly remove a few leaves from your succulent plant, twisting gently to remove the entire leaf without tearing.

On leggy growth, these can be removed from the bottom portion of the stem, which will be discarded.

With just a few plants to begin and these tips for dividing and propagating, you'll never have to buy a new succulent plant again! Learn how to grow your own: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
Cutting back leggy succulents to make room for new growth. Photo by Allison Sidhu.

For plants like Christmas cactus, you may need to use scissors to remove an individual leaf.

If you are “beheading,” use your scissors or clippers to cleanly cut the stem about an inch below the lower leaves of the plant head.

2. Callus Off

Set the cuttings aside in any type of container or tray.

To propagate succulents, snip mature clusters from leggy stems and arrange leaves on a paper towel to callus off before planting. | Gardenerspath.com
Photo by Allison Sidhu.

They’re not fussy. No potting medium or water are needed.

Check them in about five days and see if each has formed a callus on the cut end.

Want to learn how to divide and propagate succulents? You've come to the right place! It's easier than you think: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
Photo by Allison Sidhu.

This protects the exposed soft tissue from bacterial penetration.

3. Grow Roots

Watch for the growth of roots over the next few weeks.

Start new succulent plants from cuttings, with these tips: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
After callusing off, roots begin to emerge. Photo by Allison Sidhu.

Leaf cuttings will begin to wither as they become food for emerging new plants.

4. Plant

When roots form, fill well-draining containers of your choice with potting medium, or select a garden location suitable for planting.

You can also opt to mix a handful of sand or perlite into regular potting soil.

Grow your own baby succulents from mature plants with these simple instructions: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/
Baby succulents, starting to grow. Photo by Allison Sidhu.

Succulents thrive in sunshine and well-drained soil. Without sun, they grow pale, and with too much water, they rot.

Plant in a sunny spot in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is less intense.

A vibrant desert garden, with succulents and cacti planted in the ground after being divided to start new plants. | Gardenerspath.com
A desert garden, with succulents and cacti.

Mound soil up to raise the cuttings above the edge of your container, or garden surface. Gently tamp the soil down to secure the roots, and do not water.

Embellish with decorative stones or pebbles as desired.

5. Water and Feed

The next day, water sparingly and gently tamp the soil down again.

As your new plants acclimate to their surroundings, growth will accelerate.

At this point, it’s time to purchase a succulent/cactus food, like Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food, available on Amazon.com. Administer per manufacturer’s instructions.

There are other techniques for propagating succulents, including placing cuttings on top of potting medium to callus off, thus enabling them to root themselves directly into the soil.

Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food, 8 Oz.

This method is great if you want to start your own potting nursery for many cuttings at once, however, you must keep the soil completely dry while the cuttings callus off and form roots.

Plan to spend a few weeks on the propagation process, trying various methods and noting results. A gardening journal is great for record-keeping.

A Note on Cactus Propagation:

Propagating succulents is easy and fun. From a plantlet, division, leaf cutting, or beheading, you can increase your collection of these beauties.

By now you may be curious about types of cactus we haven’t mentioned.

We know this: barrel types form pups that may be harvested and planted individually. And, Christmas cacti have individual leaves that may be cut, callused, and rooted. But what about others, like column varieties?

Do you love xeriscaping with succulent plants? Learn how to do it in an affordable way. Read more: https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/succulents-five-easy-steps/

We propagate by cutting.

Since the entire cactus is one giant leaf, the question is, where do we cut?

Simply cut into the top or side of a columnar cactus and remove a piece about an inch in diameter. Place it on a dry surface that won’t be disturbed and forget it for a few months.

During this time, provided it remains dry, the cutting will callus off and form roots. Then it’s ready to plant.

Stalwart and Stunning

I’m fascinated by succulents.

They make a spectacular display when planted in multi-variety groups, forming a tapestry of living colors, shapes, and sizes that remind me of a deep-sea coral reef.

So hardy and vibrant, it’s hard to believe that they grasp the soil with roots that are barely threads, and require scarcely a thimbleful of water to thrive.

Heed the need for little moisture and water sparingly!

Propagating Succulents in 5 Easy Steps | GardenersPath.com

This tip from succulent devotees is helpful: plant rosette-type varieties like echeveria angled downward.

This way, water runs out instead of accumulating and promoting rotting.

Ready, Set, Grow!

What are you waiting for?

It’s time to spruce up your décor with nature’s desert wonders and enjoy what may be the simplest and most rewarding type of gardening you’ve ever tried.

Propagating succulents at home is simple, if you follow this method to start your new plants. | Gardenerspath.com

Visit a local nursery and choose succulents that appeal to you. Nurture them and try your hand at growing new plants to share with friends.

And use the techniques described above to propagate these unique plants like a pro.

Do you have a favorite succulent? What plant propagation tips would you like to share? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photos by Allison Sidhu, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

About Nan Schiller

Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!

184 thoughts on “Propagating Succulents in 5 Easy Steps”

  1. Thanks for this helpful guide.
    I have beheaded a few of my leggy plants and after a couple of days the stems on them have gotten shrivelled and limp rather than calloused. Is this normal? Are they still okay to use?

    Reply
    • When you behead a succulent, keep them away from direct sunlight for a few days until calloused. PS: some succulent plants like aeonium will wilt alot before it starts rooting

      Reply
    • Have they developed roots, Joyce? Propagating the vining species can be more difficult, but not impossible. If you can be more specific about what the species might be, we may be able to provide some additional info to help you out.

      Reply
  2. So, my family and I had no idea how it works but we ended up using the method of taking the plantlets but they are growing really tall, leggy, I think. Please help.

    Reply
    • Leggy growth is an indication that they need more light. To start, try moving them to a sunny location, and remember that potted starts need to be watered more frequently than established succulents typically will.

      Reply
      • Hi, when planting the newly propagated cuttings, do you bury the mother leaf it has grown from or what do you do with the mother leaf?

        Reply
        • Since the mother leaf contains moisture, it will continue to nourish the new growth. You can either leave it on top of the soil and allow it to dry and fall off naturally, or bury it lightly.

          Reply
  3. Thank you! I was also looking for the answer to Valerie’s question you answered above, what to do with the mother leaf. I also had no idea I should keep the cuttings dry even after they’ve callused over. I’ll stop spraying them now! Now to check out the rest of this website. I’m a former editor, and I’m very impressed with the content and design! I wonder if I’ll find any info on tomato gardening in containers… Lisa, Oceanside, CA

    Reply
        • Hi Grace Hx you’ll want to hit the little camera button to the lower right and then three boxes will appear. Click on one and you can upload a photo and can upload three at a time. They are limited to 6 MBs each which are larger than most phone cameras produce on standard settings. I’ve attached a screenshot for you to see.

          Reply
        • Grace Hx hmmm…not sure what’s going on with the photos (this is a new feature we just implemented). It uploaded ok. I’m going to attach it to my comment and then call on @allison-schultz and  Nan Schiller to answer your question as they are the resident succulent experts.

          Reply
        • This looks great Grace- you’ve callused off, and roots have grown. Scroll down to step 4 of our article- you’re ready for planting! Either set on top of or lightly cover with a loose layer of succulent planting medium in a well-draining container, and place in a sunny location. If you want to make your own well-draining soil that’s good for succulents, you can combine sand or perlite with regular potting soil.

          Reply
          • i was given a leaf from a succulent and let it dry. It grew a lot of red root threads so i put it in a pot in succulent dirt. The mother leaf is out of the dirt and it seems to be making a big root ball. The leaf is tipping over as the roots grow. I think a mini new leaf is going to grow at the base where the top layer of dirt is. I feel like i planted it upside down but its interesting to watch. Now I am studying your website and have many leaves sprouting, some in dirt, some on top, and some with roots in water. Its a succulent race!

  4. Hey there!

    So do you water them at all when you place them on top of the soil after the five days of dry out??

    Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Once your propagated baby plants are established with roots in the soil and they are beginning to grow, continue watering them regularly, just as you would mature succulents. The frequency with which you do this and the quantity depends on your local conditions and where they’re planted (i.e. in full sun or not, in pots or in the ground) but succulents should generally be watered once every 1-2 weeks. Make sure your potting medium drains well- they should never be allowed to sit in standing water.

      Reply
  5. I cut the five heads off my stretched out Echeveria 4 weeks ago and dipped the cut ends in rooting powder and set the heads on top of dry soil. The ends have callused but there is no root growth yet. What should I do? (Meanwhile the trunk has exploded with tons of new rosettes which I am loving)

    Reply
    • Sounds like a healthy and vigorous plant! Some succulent varieties take better to propagation than others, though Echeveria usually responds well. Ends that have been cut rather than gently plucked may not root, and you’ll usually see some growth in about 2 weeks max. You might try pulling a full rosette and attempting to root that instead. Good luck!

      Reply
  6. I’m trying to identify a new succulent I bought the other day. It looks just like the one you used in the propagating pictures. What is it called?
    Thank You!
    Miriam

    Reply
  7. Hello, I got this arrangement from Walmart today 🙂 Not bad for $20 in my opinion. There was another with an interesting succulent so I plucked a leaf hahaha. It is the one with the serrated shape. I haven’t see this one in many videos I watched online. Can you identify it? I hope the leaf calluses and grows roots as I only have one leaf. Oh look at my jade, hahaha. I use straws to keep it upright. Got that from Walmart about a year ago, was about 2″ tall. Thanks. Oh one question, is it not good to cut leaves vs pluck?

    Reply
    • Thanks for your questions, Rod.

      The serrated edge and slightly folded shape indicates that this is most likely some type of Kalanchoe, maybe Kalanchoe sexangularis. You’re right that it is better to gently pluck leaves for propagation rather than cutting them, as cutting will not leave the base of the leaf intact, which is required for a root to sprout. We go over this in a bit more detail in the article above.

      When your pot starts to become overcrowded, maybe in a year or two, it will be a good idea to split up these plants in their own containers, or replant them all in a similar arrangement in a slightly larger container with well-draining soil, to give them a little more space to grow.

      Taking those cuttings is tempting, isn’t it? Our advice is to ask a neighbor rather than taking these from the store, but if you get to know the employees at your local nursery, you may even have the opportunity to ask them for broken bits that are about to be tossed- plants are often damaged in shipping or broken while on display. In my own neighborhood, some succulents grow outdoors as big as hedges, and I’ve started my own aloe and jade plants at home from cuttings found on the sidewalk!

      Your jade seems to be suffering from a lack of light, hence the leggy growth. This may not be the best location for your new succulents either. If you have a location available with more light, try that instead and see how they do.

      Reply
      • Hi, thanks for the great info and advice. I do have a spot in the same area closer to the window. I was more concerned about burning but I live in an apt and only have a few spots for them. The jade was in terrible soil so I repotted in fat plants san diego soil which got great ratings. I am going to be making DIY soils shortly as it’s more cost affective and I have a nursery down the block from me for perlite and course sand. The regular potting soil with out vermiculite (spelling) I should be able to find hopefully at a big box store. Also, please see my newest post. I found something disturbing about the new arrangement hence the new post. I have never seen such dense fine soil. it was very difficult even getting the plants out of the soil. I cleaned the pot for reuse for repotting the trunks based on your advise. So very much appreciated all the help :). I now have an aloe that is so overgrown with pups I have to tackle that to and not sure how ugh. I have friend who is ready for some pups and succelent babies so that’s good 🙂

        Reply
        • You’d be surprised how much less light indoor plants actually get in a sunny window compared to full sun exposure outdoors. If your window is southern facing, and you’re able to get your plants in there as close to the window as possible, that’s going to be your best bet.

          Good luck with the homemade mixture! And congrats on your happy and abundant aloe plant- sharing the extras with friends is always rewarding.

          Plant division for aloe is relatively easy. When the majority of the pups are at least 3 inches tall (or when your pot is so overcrowded that it just can’t wait anymore- whichever comes first!) carefully remove the whole plant from the pot, and brush away as much of the soil as you can. Check to see which of the pups have their own roots, and pull these gently away from the parent plant. Smaller pups that haven’t developed their own root systems yet should be left intact if possible, since they’re still relying on the parent plant to survive. If some of the smaller roots tear during this process, the plant will still recover, but you want to carefully tease out which roots belong to what.

          If you can tell that gently separating them with your fingers isn’t going to work, you can use a sharp, clean knife to cut the pups away. Let the parent and any babies with cut, exposed portions callus over for at least 24 hours before replanting them in their own pots. Wait a day or two to give them a little water after replanting.

          Similar to the situation with your other succulents, you have portions that you want to callus over on a plant with roots that are now exposed. Something else that you can try for both projects is lightly covering just the exposed root portions with potting soil for protection. While the cut parts are callusing over, keep them in a cool place, away from direct light. For up to about a week, they should be okay this way.

          Reply
          • Okay, so the aloe is all seperated, did it last night lol. Most have roots. They roots are just about dry so I think tomorrow night along with the succulents we discussed about will get planted. I am also letting that house soil dry a bit with the bag open as it was damp. I know the dryer the soil the better for initial planting, no? Maybe I took on way to much to soon but was excited, I know this is proabably a noob mistake, plus it’s spring, best time to do all this from what I read. Thanks as always. Thanks for the info about the window, not many options so now they will be on a tray right up near the window, can’t get them any closer as the sills in my place are not even 3″ deep. ugh.

          • You’re so welcome! I usually plant succulents in dry soil since it’s less messy to work with, and you won’t have to worry about overwatering your plants as soon as they’re potted. Letting the soil dry out a bit is a good idea, and supplementing with sand/gravel should also help. Wait to water until the soil feels dry again about 1 inch below the surface.

            So many gardeners are in the same boat right now- spring is here and we want to plant everything!

      • I noticed that there are lots of succulent leaves on the floor at my local nursery. I don’t feel guilty at all about picking them up and saving them. They’re just going to be swept up and thrown out!

        Reply
        • I got some my best plants that way. I do ask first. But have never been denied the mixture of leaves on the floor.

          Reply
  8. Hi, Rod again, the plant I posted a few days ago from walmart, i noticed the soil was ultra fine with tons of very fine sand which I read isn’t good. It was way to wet over the few days in a nice warm room with plenty of sun. I never had soil stay so wet so long. So I emptied and cleaned the pot and seperated the plants and cut the tops so I can propate those but kept the stumps with the soil. See photos, how many days should I let these dry before repotting. The soil was so dense it was hard to get off the root ball so I left it on. Any tips would be appreciated as I don’t want to loose those stumps as I hear they regrow new plants. Rod

    Reply
    • You’re right- potting soil for succulents should be sandy, but it should also be porous, so that it drains well. While coarse sand is ideal to include in a potting mixture, you’ll find that something like a very fine builders’ sand is sometimes used, and that won’t achieve the results that you’re looking for.

      If you want to make your own, try a mixture of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite. I also like to put a layer of small pebbles or river rocks in the bottom of my pots before adding the potting mixture, to help facilitate drainage. If you’re looking for a premade product instead, I like to use Hoffman Organic Cactus & Succulent Soil Mix, which is available on Amazon in 4-quart or 10-quart bags.

      Of course, you’ll always want to avoid overwatering. Succulents in pots have different watering requirements than those planted in the ground, and you will want to keep an eye on your individual plants and the soil that they’re in rather than sticking to a set watering schedule.

      Though cuttings can be allowed to callus off for several days before replanting, roots should never be left exposed for too long. I would pot these up again right away in dry succulent soil, allow them to reacclimate for a few days before giving them a little water, and hope for the best. Potted outdoors in full sun in a warm climate, I have had success with rooted stumps like these callusing over and generating new plant growth, but this isn’t something that I have tried indoors. With good drainage, plenty of light, and a little luck, soon you’ll have twice as many plants as you started with!

      Reply
      • Great, thank you, so here’s the deal. The nursery around me, considered one of the best in the area, has their own indoor houseplant mix. They only use on it indoor house plants, nothing else. Very light and airy already mixed with perlite. I touched some of it and was suprised to how airy it was. I got a decent size bag for $5. Since no one around here sells sand, I picked up a small bag of semi small gravel, about 1/8″ in size give or take. I am washing that out right now as I type this (if that makes sense). See attached pic, I want to mix some of that in with the soil to help with drainage but not to much. How does all this sound. I bought nice small 4″ terra cotta pots for the top cuttings. Just have to rinse those out. The stumps and others in the photos last night will all get repotted tomorrow, I think one more day shouldn’t hurt right. I was able to jiggle more of the original soil off since it dried a bit. Thanks Rod. I just want to wait till you advise about the small gravel mixing in with the soil before moving forward. I should do the same as sand, no? Oh by the way, no one around here sells plain old soil with no additives or anything else. I was shocked, even the nursery doesn’t other than outdoor top soil. I didn’t want to take that chance since they said it’s dense.

        Reply
        • Sounds great to me! I’ve used a bagged coarse sand from my local nursery that looks exactly like that, and use it to make my own succulent soil mixes. Good luck with the repotting! As long as they aren’t in bright light, they should be okay.

          I’ve run into the same issue- so many of the big box nurseries (and some of the smaller ones as well) sell soil products with water-retaining crystals, or other additives like fertilizer. Does the light houseplant mixture that you found include soil, or is it soil free? Since you say it’s already very light, combining roughly two parts of that mixture with one part gravel should do the trick.

          Reply
          • Allison, thanks again for the reply. I think they are really more small pebbles than sand but I think it shouldn’t matter as all it does is improve drainage. I will keep you in the loop on the progress but we know all this will takes weeks.

            The house mix is soil with perlite. I think they said there is a small amount of fertilizer. Thanks for the ratio I hope it works for all including the aloes which are now are separated and drying. They will be repotting tomorrow. This aloe was in a small 4″ pot, the mama grew about 8 pups, all of which are now about 1/2 the size of the mama who is about 12″ tall. This was put in the same window the succulents will go near so hopefully if it works for the aloe the succulents will be happy 🙂 Keep your fingers crossed.

            I also have two plates of leaf cuttings just sitting there in my kitchen with medium light, nothing else. And I have two mason jars with water (and clear wrap with just the tips sticking in the jar) with calloused over various leaves and top cuttings to give that a whirl. Those are about 4 feet from window where the aloe grew. Lots going on, maybe too much at one time. Stay tuned 🙂

  9. Hello, love the article, photos, and the great discussion. I have a bunch of leaves that have grown roots from laying out on top of dirt, many have tiny new plants growing too. I thought i would buy the succulent bagged soil and small stones to plant them now, leaving the mother plant on top and just burry the roots. Also, I have leaves and cut tops rooting in water. The leaf is growing new tiny plants at the base too so they seem happy. Do you think i can plant these in dirt now too? Hopefully it wont shock them to suddenly be in soil. Its fun to start them in different conditions and see how they react. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Bagged succulent soil is a great option, Wendy, or you can make your own with a mixture of coarse sand, potting soil, and perlite to create a mix that drains well.

      Separating the plants that are beginning to root from the mother, allowing them to callus, and then replanting where they will have plenty of space to spread is your best option.

      What kind of succulents are you growing? Sounds like a fun experiment, and I love your attitude about gardening! Propagating succulents in water is something that I haven’t tried, but I know some gardeners are strong advocates for this method. It seems counterintuitive since succulents do not like sitting in soggy soil or standing water, but some gardeners say it is an easier method that won’t lead to rot, or the introduction of unwanted soil microbes when plants are young. Let us know how it turns out!

      Reply
  10. Hello Nan, What should I do with these “leggy” succulents? The stem keeps getting longer and now the plants are draping over the side. Is an option to put them in the ground? Should I cut off the florets and repot? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa –
      Thanks for the great photos. It’s time to “behead” your leggy succulents. Cut the rosette off each stem, leaving about an inch of stem attached. Lay the rosettes on a dry cloth, or bed of pebbles, and allow them to grow roots. Plant the rooted cuttings in pots, or, if you live in a warm climate, in the ground.

      Snip off the remaining lengths of stem, leaving about an inch in the pot. Dry these stems as you did the rosettes, to produce even more plants. The stems that remain in the pot will soon grow new shoots.

      Plants often become leggy when they “stretch their necks” to reach sunshine. For more compact plants, find a sunnier location, and turn the pots occasionally. Best of luck, and thanks for reading!

      Reply
  11. I am so glad I found this group! I have quite a few questions I haven’t been able to find the answers online. I started an experiment July 10. Leaf propagating inside/outside, just left on top of soil hoping for roots, and indoor water prop. The leaves outside all shriveled and died, is it because it’s been too hot? I live in Nevada and it’s been over 100 degrees. The leaf cuttings i placed inside to dry, most have shriveled and died, but about 4 have barely started new roots which I’ve been lightly watering just the roots( is that right?)
    On the other hand, Almost all of my water prop leaves and cuttings have sprouted huge roots and most have babies!! Water worked much faster and they seem very healthy it’s so cool! Should I leave the water prop alone, or take them out since all have large roots, most have babies, and set on towel to dry then plant? Im wondering when to plant them in individual pots, or if I should wait and let them grow for a month or two until the weather cools. I would like to keep them all outside but I’m so scared they will all die outside. It would break my heart after watching these beauties grow from just leaves.
    Sorry so long, and thank you kindly!

    Reply
    • Sounds like a wonderful experiment, Jenn! I’ve had some of the same issues with hot weather when starting my own new succulent plants in southern California. First, be sure that you are carefully removing leaves- if the full leaf is not intact, they may shrivel or fail to root. Some varieties are also easier to propagate than others, no matter what you do. Secondly, although these hot summer temps are perfect for mature succulents, new cuttings may not be able to retain enough moisture to start new plants.

      I actually don’t water the roots at all when I am propagating, since the water held inside the cuttings plus moisture in the air indoors is enough to sustain them and get the process started. For the ones that have sprouted roots (both in water and not), I would get to planting! Individual pots are best, if you plan to ultimately keep them in their own individual pots, as repeated transplanting can cause stress and unintentional breakage. If you have a shaded location like a porch or if you’re able to provide your newly potted babies with just a few hours of partial sun outdoors each day before bringing them back inside to avoid peak sunlight hours, that would be best. They will certainly benefit from being planted in soil at this point and getting some sun exposure, but you’re right that they may not be able to withstand the heat of high noon in the Nevada summer just yet.

      Any idea what your indoor humidity might be? You might also like to try another experiment- leave some leaves on top of a dry paper towel in your bathroom for a few weeks if you have a place for them, and see if they sprout new roots that way. The higher humidity in this part of the house might help them along.

      As for the (potential) heartbreak of watching all your hard work go to waste goes, I can relate! A few years ago when the squirrels were desperate for water, they ate all of my carefully tended babies in one go- hundreds! And squirrels don’t even like the taste of succulents! Wishing you the best of luck with your project, and whatever happens, hang in there. Experimentation is part of the fun of gardening, and the beauty of succulents is that you can always take a few more cuttings and try again. Please let us know how it goes!

      Reply
      • Allison, my plan now that I have roots and babies is to plant in individual pots with drain holes. Question 1: how often should I water the baby plants? #2. Is it best I keep them inside until spring when they’re more matured, then place pots outside to prepare for the desert summer months? 3. Once they’re established to a decent size, Before I move them outdoors In spring, can I repot them and place them in bigger or new pots? And/or repot them with different propagated succulents? Thanks SO much!

        Reply
        • First, be sure to plant them in a well-draining succulent mix. Typically this will be a combination of potting soil and coarse sand, maybe some perlite or vermiculite. You can make your own, or purchase a pre-blended product.

          Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. I usually water baby plants once a week, or twice a week if I notice any signs of wilt (the leaves will wrinkle/begin to shrivel). They typically need less water when they are dormant in the winter, so I sometimes reduce waterings to every 10 days or two weeks, depending on how much sun they are getting.

          If there is a shady area outdoors where you can put your pots or if you’re able to give them at least a few hours of indirect sunlight a day, I’d recommend this. Indoors, they will probably not receive enough light and they may begin to become leggy.

          Yes, you can absolutely repot as they grow, or plant them in groupings with other succulents. Keep in mind that some types will have different watering requirements so you may not want to place them together in the same pot, and some are more prone to breakage than others so you will need to be careful when you transplant. Do you know what types you are propagating?

          Reply
  12. I received my order of already caullosed off cuttings. Can I tuck them in/lay on dry succulent mix to root or do they need to be off/out of the soil completely?

    First succulents except a long suffering aloe vera!!!

    Reply
    • Portulaca is a little different from the succulents described in this article, but you can propagate it from cuttings. Take a cutting about 3-4 inches in length, and gently remove the bottom leaves to leave about an inch bare at the cut end. Remove any buds or flowers. Place the cut end in well-draining potting soil, and avoid overwatering – water after planting, and again whenever the top inch or so of soil feels dry. Roots should develop in a couple of weeks. Good luck!

      Reply
  13. Hi! I beheaded one of my succulents, but left the rest of the plant in the soil hoping that it will grow some more rosettes. Do I continue to water the plant left in the soil normally, or do I wait for new growth to shoot out first before giving it water? Thank you.

    Reply
    • I’ve done this with some of my own, and the results have been hit or miss. But if the roots are still intact and the remaining portion is healthy, there’s a good chance that it will regrow. What type of succulent is it? You don’t want the remaining base of the plant to get overly dry, so I would recommend maintaining a normal watering schedule. Avoid actually watering the plant stump itself, since the exposed cut portion may rot if it is exposed to too much moisture. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Thank you for the advice! To be honest, I’m not sure what kind of succulent it is. I got it in a 1/2 price arrangement from Home Depot a couple of months ago, and it was etiolated, but otherwise healthy. My best guess is that it’s an echeveria ruffle type, but I’m not positive. Fingers crossed that it stays alive!

        Reply
    • Don’t worry, Stuart- you should be pleased! This looks like a type of Peperomia, perhaps P. ferreyrae (aka pincushion Peperomia, radiator plant, or happy bean). And that strange shoot is a flower stalk!

      Though many gardeners would probably agree that this type of succulent does not get the most stunning flowers, this is a good sign that you have been giving your plant the proper care in terms of watering and temperature, and plenty of light. My best advice is to keep doing what you’re doing! It tends to be difficult to coax potted indoor succulents to bloom.

      If you aren’t a fan of the look of these flower stalks, you can clip them now to redirect energy back into the rest of the plant. Otherwise, wait for the plant to finishing blooming and for the stalks to begin to wither before clipping them carefully as close to the plant as possible.

      Reply
  14. I have used both water and dry propogating techniques, both have been successful for me.
    I experimented during Summer, leaving my “Leaves” outside on a mostly shade porch . I lightly sprayed my leaves, only when I noticed the pink roots.
    I now 3 months later have fully formed babies!
    My water prop was just as successful! I have both sets growing together now.

    Reply
  15. Hi, I am planning a baby shower and will love to give out succulents as a favor. If I try doing it with this method ather than buying all-new 2″ succulents how long will it take for them to grow 1-2″.

    Reply
    • What a lovely idea for baby shower favors, liliam!

      The speed with which you will be able to do this will depend in part on the type of succulents that you’re trying to grow. To get 1-2″ succulent babies that are ready for gifting to grow from leaf cuttings, this will generally take several months at minimum for all easy-to-propagate varieties. Rooting is a quick process, whereas developing new growth happens more slowly.

      I’m not sure where you are located, but if you don’t live in a growing zone where succulents may be grown outdoors year-round, ensure that your newly propagated plants are getting plenty of light, and that they were planted in well-draining succulent mix with plenty of room- if the new plants are overcrowded, they won’t achieve their full potential to spread and grow!

      To speed growth, some experts recommend separating the withered leaf cuttings from new baby plants VERY carefully when they are about 1/2-1″ in diameter, while keeping the new root system intact. Cuttings serve as the life support system for new plants, but once babies have fully developed roots of their own, the original cuttings will start to shrivel up and it’s no longer necessary to keep them attached. Also, this isn’t a method that I have used, but some gardeners claim that they have coaxed their cuttings to grow more quickly by using the inverted water method (where cuttings are suspended in the neck of a bottle filled with water) rather than propagating in the open air on a tray or paper towels, or on top of trays of potting mix.

      Babies growing together in clusters can also be carefully separated to speed up their growth, as long as you are able to do this while keeping some of the new roots intact on each portion. Keep in mind that tiny, new succulents are very delicate. Tweezers, craft scissors, and a utility knife can come in handy to help you with separation and division.

      If you accidentally detach some of the roots, don’t worry! Cuttings placed on top of a container or tray of succulent potting mixture should re-root themselves. After splitting off your baby plants from the original leaf cuttings, replant and water sparingly for at least a few weeks until they become established, to avoid root rot.

      Reply
  16. Can I propagate from half of the succulent leaf? (apparently the part where the roots supposed to sprout started to rot, so decided to cut it away)

    Reply
    • Were you trying to include a picture, Cara? Once your cuttings have put out roots and new leaves, you can plant them in a succulent potting mix.

      Reply
    • I’ve tried a few apps specifically geared toward succulent identification and haven’t yet found one that I like. But my favorite app for general plant IDs is PlantSnap.

      Reply
  17. Wonderful info and just in time. I want to make baby (little) gifts for Christmas giving. I enjoyed watching my first babies grow and now I can share.

    Reply
  18. I have a question. While my little leaves are laying on top of the soil waiting to sprout roots, is sunshine important? or can they stay in a darkened corner of my room? Thank you for your good article!

    Reply
    • No sun needed- too much sun can actually dry them out too quickly at this stage. But once they start putting out leaves, they will start to stretch and reach for the sun.

      Reply
  19. Thank you for all this useful information, I am just at the stage of beginning propagate several succulents and I am keen to try your tips!

    Reply
    • What type are you trying to propagate, Jodi? Are you doing this indoors, or outside? Some can be more difficult to root than others, and too much sun exposure or temperatures that are too hot or too cold can impede progress.

      I’ve found that some types that are more resistant to putting out roots readily will sometimes start sprouting if the whole leaf base or a piece of stem is suspended with the end touching or placed right above some water.

      Reply
    • You can! However, propagating cacti tends to be a bit more difficult than working with other types of succulents, due to the spines.

      Place the plant on its side, and remove the pot and any loose soil. Wearing protective gloves and using a piece of plastic sheeting or a tarp to hold the cactus with one hand, carefully cut away the rotted portion with a clean gardening or kitchen knife. The aim here is to create one smooth, clean cut. Cut away the bottom row of spines one section at a time, at a bit of an angle from the base, to create a sort of plug. Then, sprinkle the base with powdered rooting hormone to coat the cut portions completely, and replant in a potting mix suitable for cacti in a container with good drainage. Return the plant to a sunny location, and avoid overwatering. If the remaining portions of the plant are still healthy, it should re-root nicely.

      Reply
  20. Hello, I am new to the page! I have recently become obsessed with succulents! I bought this succulent mix yesterday. After getting it home, I realized the dark green pointed plant (not sure of name) is poking into the outer leaf of the bright rounded plant (also not sure of name), and causing the leaf to wilt or die. I also noticed that one of the other leaves on the same plant must have been split while in the store. I am concerned, bc I have never seen the bright plant before, and I really want it to thrive! I am not sure how long ago these plants were potted. I’m worried that the hard/sharp plant may kill the other, as they continue to grow. Can someone please help me to figure out if there is something I can/need to do?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Chandra,

      What a handsome arrangement!

      For your reference, the bright plant’s name is Kalanchoe luciae, also known as “Flapjack” or “Paddle Plant”. They’re fun and the edges will turn a stunning color of red with enough light!

      The pointy plant is some kind of Hawthoria. Hard to tell exactly which without seeing the underside of the leaves.

      I would advise carefully removing the damaged leaf from the Kalanchoe. It’s going to shrivel away eventually, and I find the leaves easier to remove when they’re still fleshy.

      In any case, the Hawthoria will not kill the Kalanchoe. They’re both pretty slow growers and will sort of “slide off” each other when they touch again. You’re unlikely to see that kind of stabbing again in the course of normal growth – I’d bet it got damaged at the store by handling.

      Good luck!

      Jes

      Reply
      • Agreed with all of the above, Chandra, and thanks for your reply Jes! The only thing I’d add is that plants that are in good health tend to be more resilient. A succulent that is not overcrowded and that received the correct amount of water and sunlight (and that has not been handled too much or damaged in transit, as Jes suggested) will be less susceptible to leaf damage as well. Feel free to carefully remove those damaged portions, and enjoy your plants!

        Reply
  21. Sorry but there’s some bad advice given here, does not instill confidence in me re: their other info. Terrariums are awful for succulents, there’s no drainage for water, nor air circulation, both of which are critical for succulents. Otherwise, this is doomed to fail.
    Succulents, when planted in pots w/ drainage holes & fast draining mix are to be watered thoroughly to do well. W/ proper culture, pot & mix, they can handle it just fine & WANT more water than sparingly.

    Reply
  22. Hi, I just got my order of succulent cuts in the mail. I’m super excited for them but don’t want to mess them up. Since they aren’t single leaves what do I do to make sure they don’t die?

    Reply
    • Hooray, these look beautiful and I’d be excited too! Since these are cuttings rather than single leaves, hopefully they will have a better chance of rooting and continuing to grow into full-sized plants.

      Depending on how recently these were cut, the cut ends may have already callused over. Winter climates indoors can be a bit tricky- I’d keep them just as you have them in your picture, exposed to air indoors and away from heat registers and bright sunlight for a week or two. With any luck, roots should begin to emerge.

      You also have a few other options that you may want to experiment with. Cut ends can be suspended in a bottle or narrow-necked vase of water and with any luck healthy roots will emerge within a few days. Be sure not to submerge the cut ends very deeply, and replace the water every couple of days to avoid rot. Cut ends can also be placed directly into a well-draining planter or container of lightly moistened succulent potting mix. My best advice would be to plant the cut stems deeply, with the leaves directly above the soil. Roots will generally emerge from whatever portions you’ve planted, creating a sturdy base.

      I’ve tried all of these methods and found that although some types of succulents do root more readily than others, all should work with a little patience as long as the cuttings are healthy. Avoid overwatering, do not crowd plants into containers to ensure that they will have good airflow and some room to grow, and you should be good to go. Good luck!

      Reply
  23. Thanks for your beautiful write up. Before reading it, I planted the leaves of a variety of succulents in a large pot already ready with medium of nutritious soil, neem powder, and lots of perlite. However, the day before I had sprinkled just a little fistful of water to make the soil moist, but not wet. You said a dry soil is necessary to callus off. What is your prognosis of my dream succulents? Thanks a lot and warm regards.
    (P. S. Temp here is 27 c. nowadays and my pot is shaded from direct sunlight.)

    Reply
    • Hi Suresh. I edited out your email address so that it doesn’t get scraped by spammers. We reply to all questions on the site in case someone else has similar questions. Allison or one of our other gardening experts will answer in the next day to two.

      Reply
    • Hi Suresh,

      Rather than planting succulent leaves and cuttings directly in moist soil, it helps to allow them to callus off first, and start to produce roots. This is what I usually do with mine before I plant them, either by setting them on a dry paper towel out of direct sunlight for a few weeks, or directly on top of a dry soil medium that’s appropriate for growing succulents. If they haven’t had time to callus before planting, there is a chance that they may rot before they have a chance to become established. But this is not always the case, and it is possible to root succulent cuttings directly in water if you like, as long as you keep an eye on their health and change the water regularly.

      Of course, 27°C is pretty warm, so the water that you added to moisten the soil probably evaporated pretty quickly, if the soil mixture you described was well aerated in a container with adequate drainage holes.

      You might opt to carefully dig up your cuttings to check their progress, and place them on top of the soil in your pot to allow them to dry out. Wait until roots develop to plant them a little more deeply, and then water every week or two, when the soil is dry.

      I’m curious about the neem powder that you mentioned – is this something that you regularly add to the soil when potting up new plants? And is it a powder of dried leaves, or a granular product? I’m more familiar with its use as a foliar spray to eradicate pests, but haven’t ever added it to the soil upon planting as a preventive measure. Keep in mind that neem should not be sprayed on mature succulents, as it will damage the leaves.

      Good luck with your succulent garden! Please let us know how things are going, and send photos if you like!

      Reply
      • Hi. Thanks very much to your kindest message. Soon after I quickly removed all the cuttings from potted soil and laid them in trayfull of dry cocopeat. As for 2 days earlier they were in the moist soil, preventive I mixed 2 tbsps of dry neem powder just so that roots don’t catch fungus. For 27c I guess I shall need to spray water through atomizer every 2 or 3 days on the cuttings. I usually mix a little the neem powder with potted soil as a disinfectant. I will not be spraying neem oil mixture on succulents in future. I had done that on a couple of occasions when pests appeared in soil on bought out products. Unfortunately they were grown and packed largely in cocopeat which can result in fungus. Incidentally plzz advise if I could water succulents over the foliage?
        I am trying to attach pics of my succulents.
        Warm regards. Best.
        Suresh
        (P. S. I can’t send you the pics here, I think. It’ll be nice to have a suitable email ID that you shall see.)

        Reply
        • Your Query:

          Neem cake is the de-oiled residue that can be used after Neem kernels are crushed for their oil. In this seed kernel are nutrients like NPK ((nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) as well as nortriterpenoids and isoprenoids. These nutrients are nematicidal in nature so the seed cake ends up with these properties. Neem cake is used in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and the turf industry as an organic fertilizer as well as a natural nematicide. Neem cake is used as an organic fertilizer because of the various micro and macro nutrients which it is composed of. It will control, at the same time, soil based pathogens as well as nematodes. It will also inhibit nitrification of the soil plus enhance the efficiency of nitrogen providing fertilizer.

          Reply
          • Excellent, thank you for the info! Many gardeners are familiar first and foremost with its use as a pesticide, but your explanation of its use as a fertilizer makes its value in this capacity clear as well.

        • Excellent, thank you for sending your photos on FB as well! Like I said over there, the succulent cuttings will acquire all of the water that they need to develop roots directly from the cuttings themselves – there is no need to add any extra moisture until they develop roots and are ready for planting in the soil.

          Succulents should always be watered at the soil level if possible, avoiding the foliage.

          Sorry to hear you had difficulty uploading your photos here! Seems that has been a common problem among readers lately, possibly having to do with the max image size requirements. I’ll look into this for you.

          Reply
          • Hi. You say, “Succulents should always be watered at the soil level if possible, avoiding the foliage.” While I appreciate your advice, I do have a dust problem outside in my room still. Usually I water in the succulents tray all over the plants (not spraying). Is this going to hurt the plants? Thanks in advance to your kindest message.

          • Succulents are prone to rot if they are overwatered, so it’s important to avoid letting water collect on the leaves, or letting leaves rest on wet soil.

            I hear you on the dust problem, though. To keep your succulents’ leaves looking shiny and clean, you can dust them periodically with a clean or slightly damp cloth. Do this carefully, to avoid detaching any leaves from their stems (if you do don’t worry – you can start new plants from these accidental “cuttings!”). A light feather duster would also work, or perhaps a quick burst of canned air.

  24. Hey, I am trying to propagate multiple varieties of succulents from complete leaf segments. I have pulled the leaves and set them out to callus, then applied rooting powder ( miracle grow fast root) and lightly covered the base in extra coarse forest product that was sieved out from cactus mix, also miracle grow brand. Some of the leaves seem to be rotting, and none have taken in the last couple weeks. Some have been planted more recently, and I wouldn’t expect them to be rooting yet. The soil is less than .5 inches deep, and I keep it wet and covered with transparent film. They are out of direct sunlight but in a bright spot. I have a small grow light; regular bulb sized 4 watt LED that they get for 12 hours every other day approx. I have more close up pictures as well. I am wondering if there is anything I should change or could be doing better. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks for getting in touch, Richard. It sounds like you’re hurting your succulents with a little too much love! But there are a few simple changes you can make to help your cuttings along.

      The wet soil is the main culprit here, as well as the greenhouse effect of the plastic film. Succulents like dry locations with low humidity, and the cuttings get all the moisture they need to produce roots from the leaves themselves. I recommend placing them on top of a dry surface such as a paper towel or completely dry soil for rooting.

      A grow light isn’t needed for root production either, though bright light is excellent for succulents once new growth emerges, and using a grow light placed within a few inches of new plants will help to prevent leggy growth.

      I’d advise disposing of the rotting cuttings, and placing the ones that still look healthy on top of a dry surface or planting medium to dry out, away from direct light (either from the sun or a grow light). Within a few weeks, you should see roots beginning to sprout. At this point, keeping the cuttings intact, these can be planted under a light layer of cactus/succulent potting medium in a container with excellent drainage, with the roots under the soil – the leaf cuttings will typically emerge above the soil and eventually shrivel and fall off after new growth emerges. Water lightly, and do not water again until the top 2-3 inches of the soil are dry.

      I’ve never needed to use rooting hormone with mine, but this extra amendment shouldn’t hurt. Succulent cuttings can also be planted in this manner before roots sprout if you prefer, but the soil should be kept dry for a period of at least several weeks to prevent rot. Another option is to suspend cuttings above a container filled with water, with the cut ends just barely touching the surface. Roots should emerge and grow towards the water within a few weeks, and then they can be potted up in an appropriate succulent mix.

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean when you refer to a “coarse forest product” – keep in mind that succulent soil mixes should be light and porous. Sieving these out and planting just in a coarse aggregate like gravel may allow water to flow through easily, but it might also be too heavy for healthy root production.

      Reply
  25. Hi! When getting ready to plant, should I wait until the “leaf” of my succulent has started to sprout a new plant, or should I plant the pink roots straight into the soil? Thanks.

    Reply
  26. I just beheaded several of my succulents. Where should I put them to dry? What kind of sunlight conditions? Low humidity area?

    Reply
    • Cutting off their heads can be a great way to start new plants, and clean up the look of the existing parents! You can follow the same directions described here for leaf cuttings – I like to allow mine to callus over and develop roots on a paper towel indoors, in a low light area with low humidity (away from windows, not in the bathroom).

      If the cuttings have leaves all the way down whatever stem remains, you might also try carefully removing some of the leaves so you will have an inch or two of stem to root and plant, and the leaves will develop their own roots for eventual planting. Bonus succulents!

      Reply
  27. Hi was wondering if I should cut them and where?! They’re starting to stoop and leggy. It was frail before and brought it back to life with watering it and made nice roots. Where should I cut them near the top rosette? I’m so scared to hurt them after bringing them healthy again!they’re part of the same plant they split in a Y formation*
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Your succulents are growing leggy because they’re reaching for the light, Michelle! Though your window is sunny, unfortunately it’s not bright enough to keep your succulents happy. Nonetheless, it does look like you did a great job reviving them from one month to the next. Try moving them to another location, or adding a grow light.

      Fortunately, you’re right – this is the perfect opportunity to take some cuttings and start new plants. The growth that is already leggy will stay that way, but with proper care (like what you’ve already provided, with brighter light), any new growth that emerges from the area of the parent plant that’s been cut, as well as any new transplants, will not become leggy as well.

      What I would do is trim both branches just above a leaf node, keeping the stems with 3-4 leaves attached intact at the base of the plant. You can choose how you’d like to prepare the cuttings – but keep in mind that this is another opportunity to remove leggy growth. I would trim about half an inch below the top rosette of both to provide a small base for rooting and planting, and then carefully remove the remaining leaves from the pieces of stem cutting. Discard the remaining pieces of bare stem, and set the rosette and leaf cuttings aside on a paper towel out of direct light to callus over and form roots. Within a few weeks, roots and new growth should start to emerge, and they will be ready for potting up.

      You shouldn’t need to worry about risking the life of the parent plant when you take cuttings, just be sure to use sharp, clean tools to take your cuttings. Only water the parent plant at the soil level, never sprinkling the leaves and cut areas from overhead, to avoid introducing rot.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  28. I’d love to know if I’m using the wrong soil to propagate succulent leaves. I use miracle grow cactus soil. None have ever produced a plant… Roots yes, plant, no.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your message, Laura. We’d love to try to help you to get to the bottom of this!

      A well-draining cactus mix should be fine, so I don’t think the soil is to blame. What else are you doing, or not doing – providing enough sunlight? Watering sparingly? When and how are you planting the cuttings after they develop roots? What type of succulents are you trying to propagate?

      Reply
  29. What do I do at this point? Should I go ahead and plant with the “mother leaf” or does the leaf somehow need to be removed?

    I also have this little one which hasn’t grown bigger than a nickle in size. Do i need to do anything to encourage growth?

    Reply
    • These look great, Alex! Baby succulents will grow slowly, but both of these are off to a good start. Be sure to provide plenty of light, and avoid overwatering.

      You can go ahead and plant with the original leaf cutting attached- it’s currently still providing sustenance to the new plant, and removing it can potentially damage the new growth. It will eventually shrivel and naturally fall off on its own.

      Reply
  30. This is my first post 🙂 …

    Attached is a picture of a “window pane” (?) succulent in an outside garden bed, as well as a pic of the garden bed for reference.

    Should this type of succulent be kept indoors instead of outside? Currently it is planted in a shadier area of the garden (see photo with red circle), but it still gets sun at certain times of the day.

    It has just never seemed to grow very much and seems like it’s always suffering a bit 🙁 – notice the brown patch in the pic. … It does have a few off-shoots so I hope that’s a good sign.

    Any thoughts or recommendations? Thank you so much for any feedback!

    Gina

    Reply
  31. This guy was once gorgeous! Now, his outer leaves seem brown/yellow. Is he getting too much water? Too much sun? Any thoughts?

    We planted a wide variety of succulents in this bed as kind of a “beginner experiment.” 🙂 We’re learning the hard way, but it has been a joy!

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Gina –
      Thanks for the beautiful photos. The yellowing of the leaves is likely from too much water. Be sure to let the soil dry out completely between waterings. You may use a moisture meter, or poke a chopstick into the soil to test for moisture. You may grow your succulents both indoors and out. If your climate is warm enough, you may enjoy them outdoors year round.

      Reply
    • Hi Olivia,

      Congrats! Following the instructions outlined above, you can either continue to let them grow until they begin to develop new leaves as well – the original succulent cutting will continue to provide sustenance for the new plant – or you can move them to a well-draining container of succulent mix. Plant loosely on top of the mixture so the roots make contact with or are slightly below the level of the soil, and allow for plenty of space between cuttings. It can be difficult to know which way to position them until new leaves begin to appear, so keep this in mind. Water very sparingly, to avoid introducing rot.

      Reply
  32. Great article, thank you.
    Never knew about avoiding sunlight while they root, makes sense! Hopefully I’ll have more luck now. Read in the comments about water props, would be great to know more about that method!

    Reply
  33. Hi, I”m new on this planting thing… I did bought some succulent and the plants arrived after a couple of weeks, i planted it on a dry medium (i’m afraid of rotting due to over-watering) and a couple days later some of the succulents goes rotten… What should i do?

    Reply
    • Can you attach photos, Nazemi? And are you sure these portions are rotten, rather than being dessicated or dried out? Remove the dead or disease portions and water sparingly, every two weeks or so. Plants are often stressed after transplant, but given plenty of light and a small amount of water, hopefully they will perk up and begin putting on new growth.

      Reply
    • The one on the left does, but the one on the right appears to have started rotting, unfortunately – throw that one away. With a little patience, hopefully the healthy looking one will sprout roots. Good luck!

      Reply
  34. Thanks for helpful information on propagation.
    Thought you may be interested in these pictures.Succulents make ideal candidates for my four sided and flat planters.

    Reply
  35. Hi there, I have 3 beautiful echiveria which seem happy on my sunny window sill as they are ‘having chicks’ 🙂 However, I’m sure when I bought them about a month ago, they had more of a pink tinge to them? They are now completely green and I’m wondering if I imagined it? 🙂

    Reply
    • Don’t worry, Tracey- you’re not imagining things, and that’s not uncommon! Many types of succulents will actually change color to a more red or pink hue depending on how much sun they receive, and this can be a reaction to temperature or watering as well. Beautiful, isn’t it? Unfortunately, even a sunny windowsill offers a lot less light than what they might receive in 8 hrs/day of direct sunlight outside. Since chicks are growing, it sounds like your plants are happy and healthy – even if they are green now.

      As long as you’re watering adequately and they’re planted in a pot with well-draining soil and adequate drainage holes, if you’re able to move them into an outdoor area with more direct and bright sunlight during the day, you should see their color change back to a more pink shade in time. You may be able to accomplish this with a grow light indoors as well. And cooler temperatures below 70 degrees can also bring about a return to more pink coloring. Avoid giving them too much water too often – a little bit of stress caused by an occasional lack of water can help to bring that color back too. In terms of sunlight, it is also possible to provide too much – you want them to change color, but be sure to provide some shade if you see signs of leaves shriveling or burning. Check out our guide to becoming a succulent pro for more tips.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for such a swift and helpful response! I don’t want to risk ruining the 3 original ones so I will enjoy them being green, but I will experiment with the chicks to see if I can get some of the pretty pink-ness back 🙂 Thank you again! And yes, will do!
         

        Reply
        • You’re very welcome, Tracey. Thanks for sharing your photo! Please let us know how your color-changing experiment goes with the chicks. 🙂

          Reply
  36. Hello! I’ve found this guy out on the street just now- It doesn’t appear to have roots yet but should I plant it anyway? (I’m a little new to succulent care in general).

    Reply
    • Oh, what a fun find! Roots usually start to form before new leaves, so it may be difficult to get this one to thrive. Plant it lightly on top of the soil and leave it alone – with any luck, roots will develop.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the info! I have news- I’ve found the source of the leaf and there were many more like this one that fell off naturally, and the bigger one already seems to have some roots! The leaves are bit damaged but I hope they’ll grow fine 🙂

        Reply
  37. Hi! I have a few questions and would GREATLY appreciate any advice!

    I attached a couple pictures. From what I read I can cut off the top of this succulent, let it dry out for a couple days and once it begins growing roots, stick in in some soil mixed with a little sand? Is that correct?

    Also, how would I propagate all the mini succulents growing on the stem?

    Lastly, in the second picture I have tried to start propagating leaves. How do I know when to plant them? And I believe you said I could just slightly bury the mother leaf? Or just leave it resting like this on top of the soil in whatever pot I want to be it’s new home?

    Thanks in advance:)

    Reply
    • Thanks for your message, Nicki.

      For the plant in the first photo that has developed all of the little babies at the base, first I would gently remove all of the dead leaves. You can then clip the mother plant about an inch down the stem from the base of the healthy leaves, and let that cutting callous off and develop roots before replanting, like you’ve described. Each of the babies can also be carefully separated from the main stem for replanting, after those are allowed to root. Or, you could leave all of the babies in place, trim away the long bare stem, and allow them to continue to grow until you need to divide them or transfer them to a bigger pot. These seem to be reaching for the light a bit- consider moving them to a location with more light, or try using a grow light.

      The cuttings in the second photo look great! You can plant the ones that have developed roots as you’ve described, being gentle with the roots. I would add that you want to make sure you use a potting mix that has plenty of sand mixed in, or another porous or coarse material so it will have good drainage, and be sure to plant in containers with adequate drainage holes as well, and some room for them to grow.

      Good luck! Please keep us posted on your plants’ progress!

      Reply
    • Hi Margie,
      The best way to propagate this species (Rhipsalis baccifera) is through cuttings.

      You may notice roots growing along the stem of the plant. Taking a cutting that has roots on it is the ideal way to propagate. Use a clean knife or pair of scissors to take a cutting.

      For a cutting with roots, you can just lay the cutting on the surface of the potting soil. Water very gently – not too much or it will rot.

      If you don’t have any cuttings with roots, it’s best to let the cutting callous over before planting it. Take the cutting, then place it in a shady spot and let the wound callous over – this will probably only take a couple of days. After the cutting is callused, plant it in a well-draining potting mix.

      You can also take more than one cutting to plant in the new pot for a fuller look.

      Make sure to use a well draining potting soil. Rhipsalis do well in a mix of regular potting soil and orchid potting mix.

      Reply
  38. Hi there, I just started growing my succulent. I had 3 stems, and 2 died, and my 3rd is living??? So what happened is that, I found out that I overwatered them. But my question is, the 3rd stem has beautiful buds on it now, and I need to know if there is any way those baby buds can be saved? Or is my baby just gone?

    Reply
    • Thanks for your message Angela. I hope we can help to save your baby!

      Overwatering is a common problem, but it sounds like you’ve remediated the issue if your plant is putting on new growth. Can you share a picture so we can help to give you further instructions? It might do fine on its own as is if you want to just cut away the dead portions, or you might want to propagate new plants from the healthy section with the new growth instead, depending on the arrangement of the stems and the type of succulent that you have.

      Reply
  39. Hi, I just started to discover succulents and I have to say, I love them. ???? I bought a few and some came with fallen leaves. And so I tried to propagate the leaves using the water method.

    After a few days, the bottom edge of the leaves start to turn brown. In desperation to search for the answer, I stumble upon this post/website ???? My question is, is this the normal process of withering for the leaves or because there is too much humidity from the water propagation method?

    Greatly appreciate a reply so that I can still save the remaining leaves? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Welcome to the world of succulents, Lilian! I love them too. And what a great idea to try to propagate the pieces that had fallen off of your new plants! I like to do this with mine as well. Some types are more delicate than others, so having a few pieces fall off here and there is pretty common.

      I’m generally a fan of the propagation method described here rather than the water method for succulents, for the reason you described here. Using either method, it’s best to let cuttings callus over for a few days before putting them on a dry paper towel or using the water method, so they won’t rot. Small cuttings can be difficult to propagate using the water method because you want just the callused over tip to be submerged in water- not the whole thing. Using a small container with a narrow neck or covering your selected propagation containers with plastic wrap and cutting a small slit into it to hold the cutting can be helpful. But generally, I find this method is easier to do with larger cuttings that have a bit of stem attached.

      Leaf cuttings will eventually wither but this shouldn’t happen until much later, after roots and new baby plants have started to develop. When this happens, the original leaf cutting is no longer needed to help sustain the new baby plant, and it will eventually fall off.

      Reply
  40. I really need some help. I’m a first time plant mommy and I totally messed up my mom’s mother’s day succulent. I’ve done SOME research and it seems these things can’t be saved from overwatering .. well, at least not mine. it’s breakin’ my heart that everything I’ve tried seems to not only Not work, but makes it all so much worse.

    Reply
    • Hi Victoria –

      Gardening is a learning process for everyone, and we all try and try again.

      Have you unpotted the overwatered succulent? If not, do so now, and look at the roots. If they are not all black and mushy, you may be able to remove the rotted leaves above, and re-plant the roots in fresh potting medium.

      Also, if you can salvage even a piece of a leaf that is not completely rotten, you can lay it on a dry surface to form a callus, and then place it on top of slightly moist potting medium, where it should grow roots.

      Once you have a plant underway again, take care to water only when the soil has completely dried out.

      Reply
  41. I’m new to succulents is this how it’s supposed to look or do I need to do something ? I bought a light (red/blue) how long should I keep it on each day!

    Reply
  42. I’m new to succulents so I’m wondering if I need to trim this? We are inside for the winter so I bought a light (red/blue) how long should I leave it on each day?

    Reply
    • Hi Lonna –
      What beautiful, healthy plants you have! Yes, you can trim leggy stems if you like. If you give your plants 12 hours of exposure to grow lights, they should do well.

      Reply
  43. I’m so grateful for this article! I began my attempt at propagating succulents within the past two months and had seen root growth and budding on a few but none had ever fully grown into independent succulents. Turns out I had been doing the exact opposite of what was necessary to foster a good environment to grow them! I had heard that the newly grown roots tend to dry out quick so I had been misting the leaf cuttings morning and night every day making sure to keep them all super hydrated, also assumed that the calloused cuttings were essentially dead ends on their way to shriveling up producing no plant. Yikes! I’ve learned a lot from this article already, thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Hi Megan –
      We’re glad you found the article useful. Gardening is a lifelong learning process, and we’re thrilled to hear you’re honing your succulent propagation skills. Best of luck!

      Reply
  44. Thank you such a clear and thorough propagation guide! I’m going to try it out. I’m so excited! I read a neat quote recently that stated, “succulents are the gateway to more gardening”. I’m having much success with indoor plants. I’m going to start an Echevarría collection and try propagation with them too. Thanks again! -Alana

    Reply
    • Hi Alana –
      We are thrilled that you enjoyed the article and have discovered the exciting world of succulent gardening! Thanks for writing.

      Reply
  45. Hello! thank you for the article. Very helpful. I was wondering what the name of the plant leaves picture under the sections title leaf removal. I have this exact plant and it came with a name card saying it was a rosary vine. But when I look up pictures of the rosary vine it doesn’t look like that. Thank you in advance for your help.

    Reply
    • Hi Melissa –
      The plant in the leaf removal section is Echeveria. Your plant is likely Crassula rupestris, a succulent called rosary vine with leaves that resemble Echeveria. The confusion is common, because there is another plant called rosary vine, Ceropegia woodii, that is not a succulent, and looks nothing like Echeveria.

      Reply
  46. This Gasteria produced a shoot which then seemed to develop a kink in it & then I noticed a new plant growing within the kink. What do I need to do to ensure it continues to grow & when is it best to pot it out on its own? I’ve not seen this happen before, amazing!

    Reply
    • Hello Lesley –
      Thank you so much for sharing this interesting phenomenon. Gasteria “pups” usually form beside the plant, but sometimes they sprout from a flower stem.

      To try to root the pup, wait until the flower finishes blooming, and then cut just below and just above the pup to detach it.

      Let the cut ends callus over to prevent rot, then place the pup on top of moist potting medium. Good luck!

      Reply
    • Hi Larry –
      You can put a jade plant outdoors in zones 10 and 11 in a location with sandy soil. You can also grow it indoors in potting medium with a little sand mixed in to promote drainage. Provide as much sun as possible, and don’t water until the top few inches of the soil or potting medium feel dry. Avoid dim locations and overwatering.

      Reply
  47. Hello i am not very good with keeping plants alive but i trying very hard. I have 3 different succulents planted in 1 pot ( i bought them this way) but not some of the petals are falling off. Is my plant okay? Is there something I need to do? I really dont want them to die.

    Reply
    • Hi Gee –

      Sometime the leaves fall off a succulent plant because it is getting too much or too little water. Water when the potting medium is almost completely dry.

      Another issue can be getting the leaves wet. When watering, aim the water at the potting medium, not the leaves, or they may rot and fall off.

      Accidentally bumping the leaves may also cause them to drop off. Sometimes we inadvertently nudge the leaves to make way for a watering can spout.

      Climate issues such as a lack of bright, indirect sunlight, or a room that is too cool, may cause also leaf drop.

      And finally, although succulents with similar sun and water needs can be grown together, often they compete for water and nutrients, causing stress that may result in the dropping of leaves.

      At this point, you may want to separate the plants, settle them in their own pots, and give each a dose of succulent plant food.

      Other than a few dropped leaves, the plants look quite healthy from where I sit.

      Keep up the good work. The more we grow, the better we get at it! Happy gardening.

      Reply
    • Hi Lesley –
      If you mound the soil a bit and angle your rosette-type succulents so that water will run off them, they are less likely to oversaturate from water ponding at their centers. This is especially useful for those planted outdoors. If you are cultivating indoors and watering at the soil level, this is unnecessary.

      Reply
  48. Thanks for all the wonderful propagating info. I’ve been experimenting for the past month. Now I know how to avoid rot! Question: I’m making succulent+sedum wreaths, using wire frames and sphagnum. I pin most of the succulents in place by inserting a floral pin around the base and into the sphagnum. The heavier succulents like echeveria need more support. I’ve started sticking the floral pin through the stalk and into the sphagnum. Will pinning harm the succulent irreversibly?

    Reply
  49. When creating wreaths and other types of arrangements, especially if you want them to take root and last for a long time, I wouldn’t recommend doing anything that might wound the plants, as this can serve as an entry point for disease pathogens, and will weaken the plant overall.

    If you can wrap wire or some other type of fastener gently around stems rather than puncturing them, I’d suggest giving them some extra time on a flat surface to acclimate and take root. Dipping the callused-over cut ends in powdered rooting hormone before you attach them can help to encourage them to produce roots. Once they’ve become established in the wreath or frame, with a secure base of new growth, you can hang them up for decoration.

    Reply

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