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Propagating Succulents

THE TED LARE LOOK
Propagating Succulents

A single little succulent can eventually become a larger display with much more visual punch (or a collection of smaller miniature displays) with propagation. Simple cuttings of the parent plant including the leaves and the stem can be used to start growing new baby versions of the original. This was traditionally done to revive and restart old or unhealthy plants, but since it works marvelously for expanding your succulent garden, we are delighted about these new uses for propagation. Whether you are reviving an old favorite or trying to grow your collection, this is an exciting new way to DIY your succulents.

Methods and tricks for propagation are unique to some different plant species, so have a look at our advice below for a guide to how to make it work for your favorite succulents at home. Also, a bit of research may be key as patents and licenses on some designer species make it illegal to propagate at home! Check the tag and name of your plant before you get cutting for any warnings against reproducing them before you grab the scissors and soil.

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors

How to Propagate Succulents from Cuttings:
Many succulents make spreading them into new plants easy – they reproduce by themselves by creating little offsets of themselves as they grow. Others grow upright and can be started from scratch just with the top part trimmed off. When you trim a piece of the plant off to grow it, it’s called a cutting, and they can very easily be replanted to create a new plant to enjoy!

Once you trim off the cutting, let it dry out completely. Our best method is to let it sit in bright but indirect sunlight for about a week. Any moisture left in the leaf could create rot when you go to plant it in soil, so patience when drying is important. When your cutting is ready, plant it in some well-draining cactus soil, and watch for them to sprout new stems, leaves, and roots in no time. This is an especially important way to reproduce Aeoniums, as they’ll only grow from a cutting with multiple parts of the plant, never from a leaf alone.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves:
Many succulents are so easy to propagate that you can do it with simple individual leaves from the parent plant. Sedums and some types of Echeverias are known for being easy to grow new plants from leaves. Gently twist the leaf back and forth to remove it, and it should pop off easily. Inspect the leaf carefully – it should have broken away from the stem and left no parts torn or behind, and you won’t want to use anything that has ripped in the process of being removed, as they won’t grow any roots. Simply cut the remaining stem of your succulent back to the soil level and enjoy it as it grows back healthy again.

Dry out the whole leaves you pulled by laying them out like the cuttings. They’re smaller than a cutting so they should only take a few days to dry out completely and form a callous. Once dry, spread them out onto cactus soil (on the surface), making sure that their stem ends aren’t touching the soil, and leave them in bright, indirect light. Mist them gently every few days, whenever you find that the soil is dry, to encourage taking root. Eventually, roots will begin to emerge and search for moisture – this could happen in a few weeks or as long as a few months, so some patience is called for. Thankfully your leaf cuttings are very low maintenance while you wait patiently. Allow the roots to grow into the soil until a new little baby succulent starts to form, at which point you can transplant it to its own pot to mature and grow. You can remove the old leaf from the parent once the roots are developed in the soil, or you can simply plant that part of the roots under the soil and let it fall off on its own, later to decompose and nourish your new succulent.

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Successful Succulent Propagation:
Remember that not every leaf or cutting is guaranteed to be successful. Some will sprout roots and fail to grow any leaves, others might not sprout at all, and some won’t survive transplanting. Patience is the name of the game when you’re propagating, and remember that even a few extra new succulents from your propagation adventure are a welcome addition to your succulent family and decor.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Succulent Care:
Once your succulents have taken root and started to grow, the hardest part is done and over! You won’t need to be quite so patient and you’re much more likely to have success with your growing baby succulents. However, your babies will need the right conditions to continue to flourish and grow healthy and beautiful.

Succulents are unique for their ability to store water in their thick leaves, meaning they can survive in the native arid conditions for quite a while between watering. They need very little moisture and will struggle if their roots are too damp or wet consistently – the most common mistake is overwatering your plants! You might be inclined to dote on the new little ones you’ve created, but they will actually thrive most on a little neglect. Tiny as they are, that just means that their needs are quite limited too.

Plant in well-draining soil, like cactus soil, and only water when it is completely dry. Depending on the time of year that could be every week or every few months! Puffy leaves are a sign of being overwatered – and they risk shriveling and dying after being so overfilled.

Succulents love heat and light as much as they love dryness. Find a spot for them to grow with some warm sunshine like a bright window – just keep them at least 6 inches from the glass so they don’t get a sunburn!

Following these guidelines and you’ll be delighted to watch a succulent family grow right in front of your eyes, from one parent plant to a tiny legion of your favorite plant’s twins. Our love for our succulents knows no bounds and though we love all of the colors, shapes, and sizes of these plants, creating more of your favorites right at home is a special treat. With such a simple way to sprout even more of these plants, the options for easy DIY projects are endless. And when you can’t fit any more succulents on your shelves, they make great gifts!

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