How To Keep Succulent Cuttings Alive

Cuttings can be grown in a temporary pot while they develop roots, or you can simply 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.

How are succulent cuttings preserved?

Succulents are a type of plant that has evolved to thrive in dry environments by storing water in its stems, leaves, and roots. Cutting stems or leaves for propagation swiftly results in a plant that is similar to the original. To lessen the likelihood of a fungus attack and stem rot, one step in the growth of succulents via cuttings is drying the cut piece of succulent.

A sharp knife should be cleaned after being washed in soapy water. Slice off a brief portion of the parent plant’s stem or leaf, typically just below a stem junction or leaf node. When planted, these tips produce roots.

The chopped succulent piece should be spread out on a fresh, dry paper towel. Place the cutting in a spot that receives no direct sunshine and is consistently warm. To keep the succulent lifted off the paper towel, tuck a wooden pencil under the cut end.

Give the cutting at least two days to rest. Check the cut end visually to see if a callous is developing. The end shouldn’t be touchably damp. The injured tissue may need up to a week to recover.

Cactus dirt that is readily accessible commercially should be placed inside a tiny clay pot. With your finger, make a small hole in the soil’s middle, then insert the dried succulent cutting. So that the cutting stands straight, compact the dirt surrounding it. Put the plant pot close to the parent plant to expose the cutting to the same growing environment. Once the roots start to grow, new growth will follow.

Why keep dying my succulent cuttings?

A succulent that is dying is typically the result of overwatering or excessively moist soil. Succulents are drought-tolerant plants that need the soil to get completely dry in between waterings. Succulents rot from the roots up if the soil is too wet, turning brown, yellow, or black.

Succulents are drought-tolerant plants that have adapted to life in rocky, well-draining soils with high temperatures and infrequent rainfall in their original environment. They flourish in harsh situations where other plants find it difficult to survive.

Due to their predilection for dry surroundings, succulents cannot withstand excessive soil moisture or frequent watering because these conditions can lead to root rot, which will eventually cause the plant to wither and die.

The most typical mistakes made when taking care of a succulent at home or in the garden are:

  • Frequently watering your succulent or…
  • Instead of using special succulent and cactus soil, which retains too much moisture, plant the succulent in regular potting soil.

Even if you water succulents once every two weeks as recommended by experts, the soil may remain overly wet after watering, causing the leaves to become brown, yellow, or black and the roots to rot.

Succulents require specially designed succulent and cacti soil that closely resembles the well-draining, grit-filled soil of their natural habitat and considerably lowers the danger of root rot.

When a succulent is overwatered, the first indicators of stress are:

  • stems or leaves that become brown, yellow, transparent, or black.
  • Overwatering causes some succulents, like jade plants, to frequently lose their leaves.
  • a wilted or drooping aspect.
  • Succulents that receive too much water might actually rupture and develop wrinkled leaves.
  • Instead of being lush and healthy, the leaves feel mushy and soft.

Your succulent plant will die if you water it more frequently than once a week. This is known as overwatering.

It’s crucial to mimic some of the growing conditions of the succulent’s native habitat with the right well-draining soil and to water your succulent in a cycle of a thorough watering once every two weeks or so if you want to effectively grow succulents and prevent root rot.

To keep the plant healthy, lavishly watering succulents simulates the cycle of watering that succulent plants often experience in their original environment, which includes a deluge of rainfall followed by a time of drought.

(To learn how to determine when to water succulents so they stay healthy and avoid root rot, read my post How Often to Water Succulents.)

Save Succulents Dying of Root Rot From Overwatering

The first thing to do if your succulent is exhibiting any signs of stress due to overwatering or root rot is to…

  • Reduce the amount of water you give the succulent plant and let the soil surrounding its roots to totally dry up. Only water succulents when the soil surrounding their roots is dry. Succulents can usually be watered once every two weeks, which resembles their natural watering cycle.
  • By feeling the soil at the pot’s base, you may determine how frequently you should water your succulent. If the soil is wet, wait a few days before watering; if the soil is dry, now is the time to water deeply so that the soil is evenly saturated.
  • Replant your succulent in well-draining soil made specifically for cacti and succulents that is porous, allows for good drainage, and mimics the normal soil conditions found in a succulent’s native habitat.
  • To make sure the succulent is not in standing water, always plant succulents in containers with drainage holes in the base and routinely empty saucers, trays, and ornamental pots of excess water. The use of saucers and trays can help to keep water from overflowing around the house, but you need watch out for water collecting around the roots of your succulent to guarantee adequate soil drainage and the avoidance of root rot.

I must reiterate the significance of succulent and cactus soil to help prevent root rot because succulents are likely to die if they are in regular potting soil owing to how long it stays damp.

The succulent should start to show symptoms of recovery with the darkening of the leaves diminishing and eventually returning to a healthier green appearance using adequate potting soil and allowing for the soil to dry out before watering again.

The rot can kill the succulent, thus more serious measures are needed to save it if the leaves continue to become brown, yellow, or black and the mushy portion of the leaves is growing.

If this is the case, the only method to salvage the succulent is to strategically prune the plant’s sick areas and collect cuttings of leaves and stems from any healthy tissue that is still there.

Since this is one of the primary processes used by succulents in their natural environment for reproduction, propagating them is relatively simple. The following YouTube video will teach you how to grow succulents.

Can succulent cuttings be planted directly in the ground?

What is there to love other than a succulent? Obviously, a full garden of succulents! Fortunately for us, it’s simple to propagate a variety of these resilient, vibrant plants at home. We can’t wait to see succulents growing all year long in containers around the house and garden; there are various easy ways to reproduce them.

Propagating by Division: Plants that have gotten too leggy perform best with this method, which produces new succulents from cuttings. Start by delicately removing any leaves that may be attached to the stem below the rosette; be sure to preserve the leaf’s base while you do so. After all the leaves have been eliminated, cut the rosette with shears, leaving a brief stem intact. The cuttings should be let to dry in an empty tray for a few days until the raw ends have calloused. The cuttings can then be rooted in either water or soil.

Soil: After the stems have calloused, set the cuttings on top of a shallow tray filled with well-draining cactus/succulent soil. From the base of the cuttings, roots and little plants will start to emerge in a few weeks. Once the roots start to show, water sparingly once a week; take care not to overwater. The parent leaf will eventually wither; carefully remove it while taking care not to harm the young roots. Your propagated succulents can be replanted once they have established roots. As soon as the plants are established, keep them out of direct sunlight.

Water: After the stem has calloused, place a cutting with the end barely visible above the water’s surface on the lip of a glass or jar filled with water. Pick a sunny location for your glass. The incision will eventually produce roots that extend toward the water. Once roots have sprouted, your new succulent can either be replanted in succulent potting soil or allowed to remain submerged in water as illustrated above.

Offsets are little plants that develop at the base of the main specimen, and many species of succulents, such as aloe, hens and chicks, and some cacti, will generate them. Check for root growth after an offset has developed for two to three weeks before carefully twisting, cutting, or using a sharp knife to separate it from the main stem. Be cautious to prevent destroying any already-formed roots. Follow the directions above for propagating in soil or water, letting the offsets dry, establish roots, and then repot when they have had time to callus any exposed regions. Removing offsets has the added benefit of enhancing the health of your current succulents and redirecting energy into the growth of the primary plant.

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!