How to Propagate Succulents Leaves, Division, Cuttings Methods

Succulents are one of the popular plants for many gardening enthusiasts. There are many reasons for that choice. Some of them are, without a doubt,  less maintenance requirement and slow-growing. Moreover, propagating succulents is extremely simple and easy.

Propagation means multiplying the plant, in other words, reproducing a succulent plant. There are several different ways to get new plants from succulents. All these methods have one thing in common, which is incredibly simple it is.

In general, we can identify four different ways. For this, you do not need to be an expert for successfully propagating succulents. The available reproduction methods are leaf cuttings, a division from the mother plant, stem cuttings, and seeds. The first three options are easy techniques.

Succulent propagation
Laying leaves on potting mix

Propagate succulents through leaves.

Leaves propagation is one of the easiest and safe ways to propagate succulents. This method uses many gardeners. The advantage of this method is each leaf transform into a new plant. However, this technique has the most significant number of casualties for a single plant. Apart from that, it can change the plant’s appearance. Therefore, remove only a few leaves from the plant. This technique is perfect for the plant, which has many leaves.

When propagating succulents leaves, always use sharp cut leaves and never use:

  • Damaged leaf (already damaged and healed).
  • Colors changed.
  • Wrinkled leaves.
  • Infected by insects.
  • Incorrectly detached leaves (partially broken).


Steps to succulent leaves propagate.

  • Choose matured healthy leaves: Select a healthy and fully-grown leaf and simply twist the leaves and detached them from the mother plant. It is better to select the bottom leaves. It is necessary to use a sharp cut of the leaf, if the leaf remains on the stem there is a low probability of success.
  • Air dry cut leaves: Let the leaves dry in the air for two or three days. Never expose to sunlight (direct or partial) or excessive heat. Do not water these days. This method helps the leaf wound dry quickly. It is essential to prevent leaf rot when it places in the propagation medium. Normally I place them on dry paper serviettes and keep them in a shaded place. (You can see how I place leaves on a paper serviette in the below image).
  • Prepare propagation soil: You can use cocopeat with perlite/ pumice or a regular homemade succulent soil mix. For cocopeat-based medium, use equal portions of sands (not beach sands), cocopeat, and perlite. It will ensure the proper drainage. The growing medium should not be waterlogging. Provide good bright light for sprout the leaves. You can use a shallow tray with enough drainage holes for this.
  • Place leaves on growing medium: After the 3rd day, carefully place the leaves on the growing medium. Do not cover the leaves from the soil. Leaves cut part should not cover with the soil because that part emerges new tiny plants. You can see sprouted leaves in the following image.
  • Move to shade place: Never expose the propagation tray to expose direct sunlight. Keep it in bright light but shade place.
  • Spry water: Spray water to the leaves and soil subject to the growing medium moisture for every two days. Overwatering can rot these leaves. Water once the soil dry.
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Air dry cut leaves
Air dry cut leaves

Once the tiny plants form new roots and leaves, fill a well-drain succulent soil mix and plant the nursery plants. The best time to plant new nursery succulents is when the sun is less intense. That is early morning or late evening. For these tiny plants, introduce sunlight gradually, never overexpose to direct sunlight. As soon as root rot or leaf rot is detected, you can get new plants by following this method. But never use rotten leaves for this.

Succulent leaves sprout in propagation
Succulent leaves sprout in two weeks (after 2 weeks).


Propagate succulents by division.

When the mother plant has new baby plants, you can follow this method. You have to be more careful and patient. When the new plants arise around the mother plant, you can start this succulent propagate method.

Most of the succulents produce offsets with areal roots. For division, propagation can apply for these offsets.

To propagate succulents using this simple technique, let the suckers grow until they are in the right size and have few roots. There is the highest chance that each new substrate will succeed in this method.

How to propagate succulents by division.

  • Select a succulent, which has new plants around. Removing them from the mother plant is easy. When separating plants, their roots can be tangled. Hence, take enough time to separate small plants from the mother plant.
  • Once plants are separated, plant them directly in the succulent soil.
  • Wait for 3 – 5 days to dry the wounded.
  • Water directly to the soil to keep the moisture. Regular watering not necessary. You can follow my watering guide.
See also  How to Water Succulents and cactus | 10 Tips You Should Know
Division propagation ready succulent plant
Division propagation ready succulent plant


Propagate Succulents by Stem Cuttings or Beheading.

This succulent propagation ideal for etiolated plants or matured plants. The plant should have enough length stem to apply this reproduction method, and it should be grown enough.

How to propagate succulents by cuttings in the stem.

  • Cut the stem 4 to 6 inches from the top. Remove the lower leaves to make this process easy. These removed leaves can also be used for leaf propagation.
  • Keep the remaining stem part in the pot (with root bowl); this will produce more new plants.
  • Let the cut stem air dry for 5 to 7 days. Do not allow these stems to expose direct sunlight or higher temperatures. This time depends on the atmosphere temperature. It is essential to healing the cuts before they touch the moisture. If not, these stems will be rot.
  • After its wounded dried (after the 7th day), directly plant it in a cactus and succulent soil mix. Now you can water it when the surface soil dry. You can follow this watering schedule to avoiding over and under-watering.
  • Once it planted on the soil, water slightly more than the fully grown succulent, but not daily.

These stem cuttings methods can be used to obtain new plants from the root rot succulents. However, it is not always working as expected. You can keep little hope to survive your loving plant.

Succulent cutting propagation
stem cut aloe vera succulent.


Common questions and answers.

How long does it take for a succulent to propagate?

Generally, we can say the succulent propagation timeline is two to eight weeks. The first two weeks, it grows root system and sprouts out tiny leaves. Once it reached 8 weeks periods (after two months), it is time to re-pot. This period is applicable for leaf propagation, divisions, and stem cuttings. When using leaf propagation, you can notice that when the leaf turns brown and wilting. This means that nursery plants take off all the nutrients from the leaf, and it is time to repotting it in the succulent soil mix.


How to propagate succulents fast.

Depending on the succulent propagate method, its time change. Each method has its own time frame. To propagate succulents faster, you can use the division or cutting methods to get new plants. In these reproduction methods, we can get a fully grown plant in just one or two months. Because in the division and cuttings methods plant only needs to grow its root system, its leaf, and stem already developed. In the leaf and seeds propagation method, a new plant developed from scratch. This means it has to develop the root system, leaf. Due to that reason, it is considered slow.

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Do I need to air dry succulents?

Succulents need air dry when propagating. No matter which reproduction method you use (leaf, stem, or division), it is essential to dry the damaged area before contact with moisture. The main reason for air-dry succulent is to heal the cut part. Because when the damaged part exposes to moisture or fungus, it can quickly rot. To prevent them from rotting, it is required to air dry them for 2 or 3 days.


Can you propagate a succulent in the water?

We can use water as a growing medium for rooting succulent’s cuttings. These arid plants are well known for not sitting on the water. This technique is more straightforward than conventional dry medium (cocopeat or soil mix) based methods. We can use stem cuttings and leaves for this.


How Succulent Cuttings Not Rot in Water.

Now you may think that how these plants survive in high moist without rot. The main reason is less fungus and pathogens activities. These organisms live in wet soil, and their reproduction is high in wet soil. However, fresh, pure water is lacking fungus and pathogens, and their reproduction is low. These cuttings air dry for several days to heal the wounded parts; it also provides protection. That this how, succulent cuttings survive in water.


Succulent propagation tray.

The best pots for propagating succulents are shallow trays with a good number of drainage holes. Drainage is essential when using a dry propagation medium. If the pot waterlogging leaves quickly rot the plant.

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