Did you know that you can grow new succulents from a succulent plant you already have? Propagating succulents is easier than you might think and you can do it in a few simple steps!
Step 1 – Cut some stems
Use some clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut off a piece of the succulent just above a leaf. After you have cut a stem off, remove some of the bottom leaves to expose 1-2″ of stem. Let the end of the stem callous over for 2-3 days, in an area with indirect light, before planting.
Step 2 – Place succulent cuttings in soil or water
Stem cuttings can be rooted either in soil or water. For soil, use a potting soil formulated for cactus/succulents or make your own – 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts course sand and 1 part perlite or pumice. Place the stem 1-2″ down into the soil, then press the soil around it so it stands. Place your container in an area with bright, indirect light.
Unlike mature rooted succulents which only need water a few times a month, succulent cuttings need regular moisture until their roots grow. Water your succulent cuttings 2-4 times a week (depending on temp and humidity) but make sure they are not standing in water. Your succulent should start to root in 2-4 weeks depending on the succulent species, climate and environment.
Alternatively you can place the stems right into a vase of water. Fill a vase so no more than a half an inch of the bottom of stem is in water (otherwise the stem gets mushy). Some people prefer to have the stem hang just above the water. Trim the stem so that there are no leaves soaking in the water. Tap water works fine (just make sure it’s not tap water that has been softened with salt). Place your vase in an area with bright, indirect light. Your succulent should start to root in 2-6 weeks depending on the succulent species, climate and environment.
At this point you might be asking, why do I have to be careful to make sure my cuttings which are planted in soil are not standing in water, yet I can put cuttings directly into a vase of water? Good question. It’s because bacteria/fungus, which thrive in wet soil, are responsible plant rot, not the water itself.
Step 3 – Caring for your propagated succulents
For cuttings planted in soil, gently tug on the cutting after 2-4 weeks of being planted in soil. If the cutting comes up without any resistance, it has not rooted yet. Re-plant it and continue watering as instructed in Step 2. Try tugging again in 2 more weeks. If your cutting still hasn’t rooted at that point, then there is a good chance it is not going to root at all and you should start over with a new cutting. If your cutting has rooted (it resists coming up with gentle tugging) switch to watering 2-4 times a month. Let the soil completely dry out between watering.
For cuttings placed in a vase of water, once the roots have grown at least 1 inch long, you can move your cutting into soil if you wish. After removing from the vase, allow the roots to dry out for 1-2 days, then plant in unfertilized soil. The roots are very fragile, so handle gently when planting. Water 2-4 times a month. Let the soil completely dry out between watering.
Alternatively you can simply leave them in the vase. Change the water out every few weeks or as needed. If you decide to leave your succulent in water indefinitely, eventually you will need to treat the water with nutrients. This is an area where I do not have expertise, so I would recommend a google search. While I grow most of my succulent cuttings in water, after a few months I transfer them to pots or plant them outside and then I take new cuttings and place them in my vases.
If you don’t have any succulents to start with, ask a friend or neighbor if you can take some cuttings from their plant so that you can start propagating succulents.
Author: Nicole Bolin
Need a planter for your cuttings? We have several different DIY planter projects available for you to create at our craft studio.