A plant genus with hundreds of species, some closely related to one another and others not at all related, is collectively referred to as “succulent.” Their botanical relationships range considerably, from sedums, sempervivums, and echeverias to cactus, aloes, and agaves. Succulents, however, share a common trait in that they retain water in their leaves, stems, or roots.
Dehydration can be a major concern when propagating non-succulent plants like hydrangea or rose cuttings. That’s unimportant for succulents. Instead, the emphasis is on preventing rot and fungal disease in leaf and stem cuttings. 2
This distinction means that you should give yourself a few more days between the time you take cuttings and planting day when growing succulents from stems or leaves. The cuttings should be let to dry in a warm, dry area away from the sun. In three to four days, the exposed wounds should develop protective calluses.
Prepare the Pot
Cuttings can be grown in a temporary pot while they develop roots, or you can just plant them in a permanent container. In either case, you’ll need a pot with a drainage hole that’s big enough to give each cutting 2 to 3 inches of space.
To shield your succulents from standing water and root rot, fill the container with a grittier, well-draining soil. Cactus/succulent potting soil is typically available at garden centers. Alternatively, you can create your own by mixing 3 parts potting soil with 2 parts coarse, salt-free sand and 1 part perlite or pumice.
Plant the Cuttings
Insert the cut end of a stem 1 to 2 inches into the ground. If the succulent has leaves, you might need to remove a few of them to reveal the stem’s base. The lowest leaves shouldn’t contact the soil; they should rest just above it. To help the cutting stand straight, softly compact the dirt around it.
Remove any necessary leaves from stemmed succulents to expose 1 to 2 inches of stem for planting.
Pick the Right Location
Choose an area with enough of airflow, bright indirect light (not direct outdoor sun), and succulents that are still young. Cuttings require sunshine to develop new roots, but direct sunlight might cause them to quickly dry up. On indoor succulents, good airflow helps avoid gnat and mealy insect infestations.
Cuttings require constant hydration until they can form roots, unlike mature succulents. Water the soil just enough to prevent it from drying up, but not too much that there is standing water. Actual frequency varies depending on humidity and temperature but is often 2-4 times each week.
Care for Rooted Succulents
A very slight pull will reveal whether a cutting has roots after 4-6 weeks. Change to deeper, less frequent watering for succulents with roots. Water just once the soil is completely dry, which takes about 2-4 times each month. If necessary, repot the succulent and relocate it gradually to the right lighting. Don’t increase light exposure for 1-2 weeks to give the plant time to adjust. Maintain your succulent’s care, and in the upcoming months, keep an eye out for above-ground development.
Why are succulent cuttings required to dry first?
Succulents with numerous stems or branches are the greatest candidates for stem-based propagation. Echeverias don’t grow very high off the container or the ground, thus they are probably not the ideal succulent to reproduce from stems. The best echeverias for this technique are those that have etiolated, or become leggy from a lack of sunshine. You must first choose your preferred cutting position. To make your own gorgeous succulents, you can experiment with one of five basic cutting kinds. In the image below, the five different cutting methods are labeled A, B, C, D, and E to illustrate various cutting reasons.
A   Pinching out is the term for cutting thus high on the stem. To encourage development for numerous cuttings or to have the plants grow into multi-headed plants, squeeze the stem of the plant this high. Cutting this high will force the growth of side stems, which, after they have grown out, will make for good cuts. Throw away the top portion that was cut off because it is not a good cutting and won’t take root.
Cutting at this point is the best option for starting a new plant from the top portion and inducing new shoots to emerge from the stem. The stem recovers most quickly and produces the most new stems using this strategy if a few leaves are left on it.
Deadheading is the term used to describe cutting at this point. A plant that is cut here will have an easy time taking root. The stem may progressively wilt and most likely won’t produce any branches.
Cutting the stem lower makes the stem longer, but it takes a lot longer for the roots to take hold. A few sprouts may emerge from the bottom stem, but it may also wither away.
It is not advised to cut the stem any further down because the lower stem is likely to perish and the head will have to work hard to establish itself.
Once the cutting point has been determined, cut a section of the succulent through the stem using a good pair of pruning shears or scissors. The leaves on the stem side of etiolated succulents can be cut off. The head and the stump, which are produced after cutting a stem, can all be used in plant propagation.
The head and the stump, which are produced when a stem is cut, can all be used to propagate succulents.
The beheaded portion must dry out for a few days before being buried in soil to avoid rot from moisture. Next, place it in soil, and water it when the soil is dry a few times each week. The formation of roots during stem propagation can take up to 4 weeks.
You can either leave the stump in its current container or replant it in a new one with fresh soil. In a few weeks, baby plants will begin to erupt around the stem to replace the leaves we removed before to planting.
Keep the stump in the current container or transplant the succulent with fresh soil.
Gather Your Succulents To Plant
For this video, we’ll be planting a variety of succulent species using both cuttings and discarded leaves. Amass the materials you want to plant. You can either utilize fallen leaves or cut cuttings from an established plant. If you can’t locate cuttings anywhere else, you can usually find them online and at most florists. Although these are also available on Amazon, I got mine from a vendor on Etsy.
Prepare your succulents for planting.
The most crucial step in this method is preparing your succulents. Make sure you have enough stem to plant in the ground so it can support the plant. Any excess leaves at the stem’s base should be removed. It’s good to leave approximately an inch of the stem exposed for larger cuttings, and you can use less for smaller cuttings.
After that, examine the base of your cutting. The plants ought to have a “callous” on them, which denotes that the plant’s base has dried out. You should wait a few days before planting freshly cut succulents because this forms a few days after the succulent is cut. By letting the cut end dry more quickly on a paper towel or paper bag, you can hasten this process.
Succulents are wonderful because you can also plant their leaves, so hold onto the ones you pulled off the stem. Verify your succulents for any bad components. Any area of the plant that is dark contains rot, which can spread to other areas and ultimately destroy the plant. Simply cutting it will allow you to get rid of the rotten parts.
Mix your soil.
If you aren’t using a pre-made succulent soil mix, you’ll need to prepare your soil so that it will drain effectively and support the growth of your succulent plants. To make the soil drain well, I combine one part potting soil with one part sand. In order to help larger plants become more firmly rooted in the ground, I also prefer to have a supply of tiny rocks nearby.
To fill a pot or tray, pour your soil mixture. I’m repurposing an old baking pan that I can’t bake in as a planting tray.
We’ve reached the enjoyable part now! Make a little, inch-deep hole in the ground. After inserting your cutting, fill up the depression with soil.
Make careful to space your cuttings, if you’re planting more than one, roughly 2-3″ apart.
Ensure that your plants receive adequate water. Although succulents don’t often require much water, you may need to water them every 2-4 days while they are developing their roots, depending on how dry the soil becomes. It’s normal for the leaves to initially appear a little dried out because the plant is using its reserves of stored energy to develop new roots. New growth should begin to appear in around four weeks. Change to weekly watering or watering only when the soil is dry once the plants have set their roots and have started to grow.
Admire and Show Off Your Work!
Well done! Show off your incredible craftsmanship and green thumb to all of your friends! These plants will be prepared for repotting if you desire once they have developed roots and begun to grow, which should take around 3 to 6 weeks. They make wonderful Christmas gifts for friends and coworkers when planted in a tiny Mason jar or vibrant pot!
How are succulent cuttings hardened?
According to horticultural Kathy Echols, succulents are among the easiest plants to grow in large part due to the plants’ strong sense of self-preservation.
The drought-tolerant plants can grow roots on their own with little assistance from you, and you can propagate new plants from old ones. The plants will survive even if you ignore the cuttings for several weeks.
Succulents have been popular for a some now, despite the fact that gardening trends come and go. It makes sense, according to Echols. They don’t need much more water, and they can be treated gently. If you have enough light, you can grow them indoors. You can use them as temporary décor, as for table settings, and then add them to your collection.
The plants may be quite attractive as well, and many like them because of their distinctive shapes, colors, and sizes.
- The majority of succulents can be propagated via leaves or cuttings. Aeoniums are the exception; they can be established from seeds or cuttings but not from leaves.
- Simply cut a bit of the plant off to use as a cutting and store it somewhere shaded. Allow it to sit for a few days so that it will harden off and the freshly cut end can callous over. Place it in a pot or the ground with water after that. Before planting, cuttings can be allowed for a few weeks. Bacteria can enter through the fresh cut if it doesn’t harden off.
- Remove the entire leaf and place it aside in a shaded area for plants to grow from. A new plant will start to grow at the leaf’s base and produce roots on the leaf in around three weeks.
- Although they can be grown in water, most succulents rot instead of growing roots. There is nothing to be gained because they are so simple to root out of water. The jade plant stands out as an exception since it has a superior track record of roots in water. Jade is still simple to root by leaf multiplication and hardening off cuttings.
- Most succulent care is learned through trial and error. However, if you see the lower leaves of the plant beginning to shrink, that’s a sign the plant isn’t getting enough water. Most plants die from getting too much water. Dry the soil between waterings.
- While most succulents enjoy some midday shade, some require full light to develop color. Wide spacing between leaves indicate that the plant is not receiving enough light. Burns on the leaves could be a sign of too much sun exposure.
- Frost-tender succulents are common. To help keep them safe over the winter, you can bring them inside, put them close to the home or under a tree. They can withstand freezing temperatures by being surrounded by vintage Christmas lights or being covered in protective material.
- Succulents thrive in containers, but with the correct soil, they’ll thrive outdoors as well. They require soil that drains effectively, which most of our clay soils do not provide. Sand and compost can be added to your soil to enrich it and make it more friable.
- By adding perlite and sand to regular potting soil, you can make your own pot soil.
- All plants, especially those in pots, require fertilizer, but according to Echols, they can live without it. Even if they might not be as strong, they will live.
- Echols advises taking cuttings from the plant in the fall and nurturing them indoors till spring if you’re concerned about some plants dying in the winter frost. Although you might lose your outdoor plant, you will have a replacement.
- Succulents come in an almost unlimited diversity, and some people like assembling collections of interesting succulents. Others don’t really care what kind of plant someone has as long as they like it.
- It can be easier to care for a plant if you know what kind it is and where it came from. You might need to add more water because South African succulents are used to some summer moisture. In contrast, the succulents of the Sierra flourish on rough terrain without summertime irrigation.
- Succulents are available in many nurseries these days, but the nursery at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek is another great spot to look. You may tour the nursery’s grounds to see how the succulents, which come from all around the world, seem in a garden setting.
- Check the stems if you’re confused by cacti that resemble succulents. Soft stems of succulent plants. The cactus’s leaves may be succulent, but its stem will likely be more woody.
- Because succulents are so simple to grow, you’ll probably have too many before long. Fortunately, having too many plants is not actually a problem.
From April through October, Our Garden offers free courses every Wednesday at 10 a.m. A wide variety of seedlings are available, and Master Gardeners are on hand to answer inquiries. The Concord Monument Crisis Center receives all of the garden’s harvest in donations. The garden is located in Walnut Creek near Wiget Lane and Shadelands Drive.