How To Propagate Succulents In 4 Simple Steps

Growing a collection of succulents for your indoor garden starts with one you already own.

November 29, 2016
cut heads from succulents
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1. Cut The Heads

Any healthy succulent is a candidate for propagation, especially those that have central, trunk-like stems. If propagating from a rosette-style succulent, you can begin at step 2. Otherwise, use a sharp pair of scissors to snip a leaf-covered section of one of the stems that’s at least 3 inches long. This is your cutting. If your plant’s stems are looking bare and you can’t find 3 inches of lush growth to work with, instead cut at least 1 inch under the best-looking bunch of leaves. (Here's more on how to grow succulents.)

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pluck leaves from succulent stems
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2. Pluck Leaves

Succulents will propagate from individual leaves, too. You can either pluck leaves from your clippings or from the parent plant. Hold the fleshy leaf close to the stem. Twist gently to remove cleanly. Any fat, juicy leaves will fall off with ease. Others you may have to coax off. What’s left on the leaf’s stem is called meristematic tissue, and it looks like a potato eye. This is where small new roots and leaves will start to emerge a few weeks after beginning step 3. 

Related: This Cool Trick Turns 1 Succulent Into 3

water succulents
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3. Arrange And Water

Place your clippings and leaves, cut ends up, on a dish filled with fast-draining soil and facing indirect sunlight. Leave for about three days or until the ends callus over. Once that happens, use a spray bottle to squirt everything five to six times until the soil is moist but not soaked. Repeat whenever the soil is dry, roughly every four to five days. In about three to four weeks, tiny pink roots will start to sprout from your clippings. Be patient, observe, and keep watering.

Related: Why Your Bromeliad Plant Is Turning Brown

succulent pup
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4. Tend To The Pups

Six or seven weeks after starting the propagating process, you’ll notice baby pups (i.e. tiny leaves, i.e. the cutest things you’ve ever seen) emerging from the parent leaves. The parents may look shriveled—this is because they are feeding the pups with their own water and nutrients. It’s now time to transfer your cuttings and leaves to containers of their own, at least 4 inches in diameter. Cover the new roots with ½ inch of soil, sit back, and watch your garden grow.