How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves and Cuttings [Complete Guide]

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Apart from being easy to take care of, succulents are among the most natural plants to propagate. This means that you can satisfy your love for succulents by growing them yourself rather than going through the hassle of buying some more. To propagate a succulent, all you need is its leaf or cutting, along with a nutrient-rich bed of soil for plantation.

To expand your succulent collections just follow these 5 simple steps.

1. Remove a leaf or take a succulent cutting

How to plant succulent cuttings, most succulents can be propagated with either their leaves or their cuttings, while some can only be propagated using a cutting. Before beginning with this procedure, research the species you wish to reproduce to see which method is your option.

Using a leaf

Leaf propagation is so easy anyone can do it. You don’t even have to know much about the succulent to get in on this procedure as its pretty much the same thing for every specie. The method is also the primary way of cloning rosette style succulents.

To use a leaf for propagation begin by gently twisting it off the base of the stem. This is far more effective than merely plucking it right off, as it ensures that the leaf doesn’t break. A Broken leaf or one that is not cleanly pulled off will die, and would not be viable for propagation. Getting a clean pull shouldn’t be trying anyway as succulent leaves are not that firmly attached to the stem.

Choosing the right leaf is another essential factor for successful propagation. The best results are often found when using healthy mother leaves, which are located towards the bottom of the plant. 

These leaves can be identified though the following traits:

  • Uniform color with no blemish.
  • No breakage or tear.
  • Firm and plump. 

Use more than the first one leaf is recommended if this is your first time, as there’s no guarantee that every leaf will fully propagate.

Using a cutting

To prepare a cutting, use a pair of sharp scissors to snip off a piece of the succulents stem with the healthiest looking leaves. Make sure the cut is clean, as a damaged cutting is unlikely to grow.

It’s also important to use scissors or garden shears that are clean, as you don’t want to transfer any unwanted germs to the open wound.

2. Leave the leaf or cutting out to dry

Once you’ve got your leaf/cutting, lay it out to dry for 1-3 days. This is a crucial step in the process as it allows the leaf or cutting to scab over. Scabbing is essential in preventing fungi or bacteria from entering the open plant wound and ruining its chance to propagate.

Make sure to keep the leaf/cutting away from water, as this can interfere with the scabbing process. The same goes for the main succulent from which you obtained your leaf/cutting. The point at which the propagation sample was taken off leaves an open wound in the succulent, which must also be kept dry. Once it scabs over like the leaf or cutting, continue to water your succulent as usual.

3. Place in soil

Once the leaf or cutting is dry and has calloused over, it’s time to plant it.to do this, fill a shallow container with well-draining succulent soil and place the leaf or cutting on top. Gently push the ends of the leaf or cutting into the ground. Move the box to an area receiving indirect sunlight.do not place it directly under the sun as this may burn the leaves.

The type of soil you use is essential. If you can’t manage to find a well-draining kind, you can prepare your mixture with equal parts sand, Perlite, and potting soil.

4. Water 

Newly rooting succulents require a little more water than adult succulents. However, be careful not to overwater them as it may cause them to rot.

The ideal watering method involves spraying the surface every time it gets too dry. This will vary depending on where you live. If you’re propagating succulents in a humid environment, you may not need to spray them at all

5. Wait and observe

After a few weeks you should notice the formation of new rosettes and roots. Sprinkle a little soil over the newly developing roots so that they don’t dry out.

 The speed at which you’ll see results depends mainly on the surrounding temperature, time of year, and of course, the specie of succulent you’re propagating.

Does it work for every succulent?

Before you go ahead, burying some leaves, there is one thing you should know. Leaf or cutting propagation doesn’t work for all succulents, only those with distinct stems and distinct leaves. That means this method does not apply to plants such as Aloe vera or Haworthia. Don’t feel too bad, though. You can still grow some of the more popular succulents, including Echeveria, Sedum, Senecio, and Graptopetalum.

Bonus method-Using offsets

An Offset is a small plant produced by a succulent which can be found at its base. An offset with a decent amount of root development can be cut off the main plant and be used to propagate a new succulent. Doing this is a reasonably straightforward process and follows much of the same steps as propagation through cutting or leaves.

Simply cut the developing offset using a pair of scissors or a sharp knife, leave it out to dry and stubborn, and then re-pot it in a bed of high-Quality succulent soil. This method of propagation is even beneficial to your succulent. Offsets take up a considerable amount of energy, which is sourced primarily from the main plant it’s attached to. By cutting them off, you can save your succulent valuable amount of energy, allowing it to grow and develop at a much faster pace. 

Transplanting your succulent to a new pot

Once your succulent has established its new roots it can be moved over to a new pot.to do this just follow these simple steps:

1. Remove the mother leaf

The mother leaf used to propagate a succulent usually dies out once the new plant has established roots. This is a sign that your new plant is ready to be transplanted to a unique pot.

Start by gently removing the mother leaf off the new plant. Be sure to do this with care as not to damage your baby succulents’ new roots.

2. Prepare the pot

When choosing a pot, it is best to go for one that is small (5cm) and has good drainage, to allow for better drainage you may also want to place a layer of pebbles at the base of the pot. Once you’ve done that, all that’s left is to fill the bowl with a cacti/succulent soil. As mentioned earlier, you can create your mix using equal parts of sand, perlite, and potting soil.

3. How to Transplant Succulents

Use your fingers to make a hole at the center of the pot. Make sure it’s neither too deep nor too shallow. Place the succulent into the created space and cover up the roots with soil.in about a year, your plant should have reached a decent depending on its species. As it grows, you can move it to a bigger pot if you wish. 

How to Grow Succulents from Seeds

Once your newly transplanted succulent has grown and established strong roots, it needs to be treated like any other adult succulent. This includes following the right watering schedule, providing sufficient light, and ensuring the availability of good nutrient-rich soil.

Watering 

With a standard-sized succulent, you should no longer use a spray bottle for watering. Infact, misting an adult succulent can cause its roots to become brittle and its leaves to rot, this is especially true if the plant is kept indoors. Remember, these are plants that are adapted to live in non-humid environments such as the desert.

The correct way to water succulents is to water the soil directly using a watering simply can or squeeze bottle. Make sure to soak the ground until the water reaches the draining holes. Once the soil is wet, wait for it to dry before watering again.

Keep in mind that these plants can still die-even as adults if they’re overwatered. Succulent roots just aren’t designed to lie in pools of water for too long. Overly wet soil can lead to root rot and fungal disease. 

The frequency at which to water succulents is mainly dependent on where you live and whether the plant is kept indoors or not. It’s best to start with a 10-14 day schedule. Indoor succulents require much less water as the soil dries much slower indoors; however, If you see signs of dehydration such as wrinkly leaves, you may want to follow a similar schedule.

It’s also crucial to water succulents according to season. Most succulents experience a period of growth in the spring and summer, so that’s often when they need the most water. Likewise, the plants need much less rain in their dormant period, and so frequent watering would be harmful or utterly unnecessary. 

Succulents Soil

If you’re succulent dies despite you following the right watering schedule, it may be a sign that you were using the wrong type of soil. Succulents need land that’s light and allows excess water to drain. Otherwise, even minimal watering can cause root damage. The soil also needs to provide proper aeration for the roots to breathe and absorb nutrients efficiently.

There are many succulent soils out in the market, and finding the right one for your land shouldn’t be too difficult. If you can’t find one your satisfied with, you can make your own using sand, perlite, and regular potting soil. These three materials are perfect in providing both aeration and drainage. The ideal ratio for a right potting mix is three parts potting soil, two parts sand, and 1 part perlite.

You can also do your own research and find ingredients that cater specifically to your succulents’ species.

Sunlight

Adult succulents are also capable of taking in high amounts of direct sunlight, with the majority requiring at least 3 hours of light a day. The exact amount needed for each plant can vary significantly between species, so it’s best to do your research. 

If you notice your succulents growing unusually tall with its leaves spacing out, there’s a good chance it’s not getting enough sunlight. If it’s indoors, move the plant to a brighter area. Make sure to transition your succulent to a sunnier spot slowly. Running them too fast under direct sunlight can burn them.

If your room is dimly lit and your succulent shows signs of light deficiency you many want to consider getting a grow light.

Dust and pests

If you keep your succulents indoors, they may collect dust on their leaves, which may inhibit their growth. To avoid this, gently wipe the plants leaves with a damp cloth.

While not as common indoors, pests pose a real threat to succulents. The two most common succulent pests are aphids and mealybugs. If you notice small specs or fuzzy white lumps on your plant, chances are your succulent is infested. 

If your succulents are infested with pests, you must first isolate it from your other indoor plants as soon as possible. To get rid of the parasite, use an insecticide that compatible with your succulent. You can also go chemical-free and spray your plant with 70% alcohol. Once your succulent is cleared, keep an eye on it for up to a month before removing it from quarantine. Keep an eye out for bugs regularly and take the required action as soon as you notice any.

Well, there you have it, stick to the guide above, and you should be able to grow as many succulents as you desire, free of cost. Remember, gardening requires a lot of patience, so if at first, you don’t succeed, try again! The results are worth it.

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