There are many ways to propagate a succulent plant, which is no doubt while there plants are so popular all around the world. Let me who you four main ways of succulent reproduction. While you can use all the methods with almost every succulent, certain method works better with certain type of succulents, and that’s exactly what I will try to explain on the following lines :).
Propagating succulents using cuttings
One of the most common propagation processes is with the use of cuttings. The cutting method works best with tall succulents that have well-developed stems. You’ll need a well-sharpened blade since a clean-cut will increase the chance of your succulent’s survival rate.
Aside from using a sharp blade, cutting succulents also requires looking for stems that are actively growing with roots popping outside. Cut the young and “rooty” stems, since these are exactly the stems that will bring you the success you are hoping for.
After cutting, just allow the stem to develop some callus before planting it. This process usually takes 3-5 days, and the step is critical to prevent baby plants from acquiring fungal infections. Once the stem is callused, you can safely place your cuttings in a shallow pot. Bury just the callused half of your cuttings and put it in a place with a little amount of sunlight. Then you can water it regularly (but softly!) spraying especially the areas with new roots. It is very important to note that an excessive amount of water will harm your baby succulents, so avoid watering it excessively. Less is more in this case.
Leafing as a 2nd way of succulent reproduction
A second popular method is called Leafing. Gardeners with plump and pulpy succulents love this method. Just as the name suggests, you remove some leaves and plant them anew.
Similar to the previous method, leafing also requires careful cutting techniques. In using leaves for propagating your plants, make sure to make the cut where the leaves and the stem meet, using a clean and sharpened blade. After cutting, place it in a shallow and soiled container and expose it to a minimum amount of sunlight while spraying it regularly with water to keep it moist, but not wet!
A callus will surely develop and in a matter of 3-8 weeks (much longer than it takes with the cuttings propagation method), and the core of the “mother leaf” will fall and wilt. The buddings will then be visible, and it the signal the plant is ready to be transferred to its permanent planter.
Stem cutting is the next way of propagating succulent plants
The third method is called stem cutting. This method works best in rosette-shape plants and in branched plants, or basically in any plants that have long stems. When finding the proper stems to cut, it is better to choose the shorter ones, because they are still actively growing. In this case, your new plant will have a higher chance of surviving.
Of course, after cutting, callusing will take up to 4 days with this method, and then you can just follow the steps from method no. 2 I just described a minute ago.
Propagating succulents using seeds
Since most succulents do flower, they produce seeds. You can typically find the seeds at the flower’s base, and they usually have an orange color. Once you collect them, make sure to rinse them with warm water to get rid of the coating. Then you can plant the seeds on the pot with the soil just partly covering the seeds. Just like you’d do with many other plants.
You can water your seeds from time to time with a spray bottle cautiously, as young succulents require careful treatment. and then just wait for the miracle of nature!
Hens and chicks are easier to propagate in water
Although the methods may seem easy to you, they may not be applicable to all kinds of succulents. For example hens and chicks. Direct cutting and leafing are not applicable to offsets as these types of succulents have their leaves and stem strongly connected to one another. The common way of propagating offsets is through the water.
Just like any other propagating method, it will start from performing a clean cut of your succulents followed by letting it produce callus. Then, instead of placing it on soil, place it in water in a glass or a jar. Remember, cuttings from your offsets should not be fully soaked in water. Instead, dip only the part where the cutting took place. Sprouting of roots will typically happen overnight, but wait until the roots develop somehow before planting the new succulent in a pot.
How to breed succulents?
Succulents are part of a flora or plant kingdom which reproduces asexually. Asexual reproduction is not about the combination of gametes but rather about inheriting the genes of the parent plant.
Unlike the propagation process which only needs a single succulent, in cross-breeding, you’ll need two different kinds of succulents. Breeding is only possible through cross-pollination. Here are the steps you need to take to achieve success in cross-breeding of your plants.
- Step1: Pulling off a flower from the main plant.
- Step2: Get rid of the flower petals leaving the anther which is filled with pollen then pull the anther’s stamen.
- Step3: Rub the freshly removed pollen onto the flower of the plant you want to cross-pollinate with.
- Step4: Once the pollen is combined, secure it with a tape. This is very important especially if you want to place it outside to prevent the insects from intervening in the cross-pollination process.
- Step5: Lastly, once the cross-pollination is done, you can now collect the seeds and go forward with the planting process.
Problems you can face while breeding or propagating succulents
- Hybridization happens when other strains or species of plants mixed together to create a hybrid variety. However, during a cross-pollination process, it is possible that your newly produced succulents are weaker than the original variety, and won’t survive.
- Succulents that are sterile are not capable of cross-breeding. The only way to breed and propagate them is through the stem and leaves cutting.
- It is also going to be a big challenge if the pollen of the two plants does not bloom at the same time. In this case, the pollination process will be even more challenging. The only way to do it is to control the environment, simulating certain conditions so one of the plants starts blooming in a period of a year that isn’t normally typical for it.
Hybrid succulents require an extra care, and you need to keep them away from insects or other animals that could possibly harm them or intervene in the breeding process. What’s more, not all succulents are good match for one another, and you should study the topic before starting with your experiments…
There are many ways as far as growing succulents go. But reproducing succulents is another story. The process can be hugely challenging and sometimes intimidating for a newbie. The key is to have courage and determination. In my case, courage and determination really helped me discover the best ways of caring for my succulents, and eventually propagating them with success.
You just need to be willing to explore and do some experiments for your plants. Don’t be afraid to fail, because failure is always part of this process. I have lost many of my plants before due to failure. But it did not hold me back from continually experimenting, until I found what works for my succulents and what does not. And now I share it with you on this blog :). I hope this post helps you in growing your own succulents, and feel free to visit my complete guide on succulent growing. Thank you!