Succulents – let’s face it, who doesn’t love a plant that is basically self-sufficient and wants to be left alone? Quite simply, succulents allow all gardeners and non-gardeners alike to be ‘look at me, I really know what I’m doing’, even if we’re totally winging it! And propagating succulents? It’s so easy that it makes you feel like you can conquer any project on Pinterest! I mean seriously, 4 easy steps!
By now you should have carried your succulents into the house to over-winter them. After a long summer of being crammed in a planter, succulents will typically become leggy and need to be trimmed. It’s the leaf and stem cuttings that you will use to create all your wonderfully new (and FREE!) plants!! Here’s how:
Step 1: Remove the lower leaves by gently wiggling back and forth until they snap off. The leaf must be intact and will only send out roots if it comes off at the stem. Once the lower leaves have been removed, cut the rosette off at the top leaving a short stem attached.
Step 2: Set out the cuttings so the base of the leaf can callous over. This may take a few days but is an extremely important step. If you don’t give the leaf time to dry and callous, they will absorb too much water and will rot before they can root. So basically – just leave them alone!
Step 3: Prepare your containers or tray with a cactus / succulent potting mix. Place the calloused cuttings on top of the mix and store in an area of your home that is sunny but has indirect sunlight. Water minimally until roots begin to appear at the base of the leaf – this may take a few weeks so be patient! Once the succulent’s roots begin to take hold, water once a week or when the soil is dry. Remember to always err on the dry side when watering succulents.
The rosette you cut off? Simply place it into the potting mix and it will root in and produce new plants.
Step 4: Eventually the ‘parent’ leaf will wither and die. When this happens, you can either snap it off as we did in the first step or cut it off. Just be sure not to damage the new plant or disturb the young roots.
While not every leaf will take root, my most successful cuttings came from different varieties of Echeveria and Graptopetalum plants which are both in the Crassulaceae family. In the end, you’ll end up with a TON of baby succulents that will eventually become amazing succulent arrangements the following season!