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One of the things that I really love about succulents (I bet you too) is their ability to grow from leaves and stems. They can easily thrive with almost no effort on your part, which is hard to believe especially when we consider how beautiful these plants are.

Back in the day when I was just starting my career of a succulent grower, I had only a few varieties of these plants, often just one piece of each. From there on, however, I was able to generate more and more plants, by simple propagation techniques. The reason is that succulents are easy to propagate, and you can grow them without roots. In this post I will show you how.


Growing succulents from leaver or stems

My favorite way of succulent propagation is growing them from either leaves or stems, since roots can grow easily on these parts of your plants. You can simply stimulate the leaves and cuttings to grow roots. But how can you do that?

Well, the basic and easy technique is to lay the cuttings or leaves on the soil and let them stay there for a week or more. Roots take time to grow so you need to be patient. During this stage, I don’t recommend watering the cuttings, at least until you see the growing tinny plants and roots. That is the sign that the new plant is gaining growth momentum, and a perfect time to give it its first drops of water.

Keep on your mind though that baby plants are vulnerable to over-watering. In most cases, watering them once a week, with a small quantity of water, will work as a good schedule. Having said that, an optimal watering frequency may vary, depending on the climate you are living in. During rainy and winter seasons watering should be less frequent. Other thing you should remember is that as the baby plants grow bigger and the original rosette eventually dies, you should remove the original rosette. This is because it could harm the baby plants. In addition, you should keep the baby plants away from direct sunlight.

* May also interest you:How to Grow Succulents from Cuttings?

How to Grow Succulents without Roots

Is it important to stimulate root growth in succulents?

Like other plants, succulents rely on their roots to extract nutrients from the soil. Succulents with poor root systems are not healthy and may die soon. They will also find it hard to tolerate any major changes in their environment.

Succulents normally have shallow roots. Don’t force them to root in the deep pot because it will only hinder their growth. Despite the face that succulents can survive with deep rooting system, such succulents are susceptible to rotting. As you water the pot, the excess water tends to stay in the bottom creating too much moisture at the bottom of the pot which will in turn cause root rot.

If you want to prevent this, you should simply use a shallow pot instead of the deep one. Shallow pots could only accommodate a small amount of water, and the roots won’t rot in such. In my opinion, choosing the right pot for succulents can be tremendously helpful for the plants in a long run. I suggest that you use the succulent pots with drainage holes (check these pots on Amazon, not only they meet my criteria, they are beautiful too :)).


Why roots grow into the air, and it is a problem?

If you have been growing succulents for a while now, you have probably noticed that some of the plants have aerial roots. Let me explain you what it means, and whether you should take any action. First and foremost, aerial roots are signs of healthy growth for the plants. You shouldn’t worry too much when you see them.

Secondly, the common reason for aerial roots growth is poor light source and high humidity. If succulents remain in such an environment, they will eventually become leggy. This is because they try to find sunlight. If you notice it with your plants, the remedy becomes obvious. Give your succulents what they need. Expose them to sunlight in the right duration, for example for a couple of hours a day, preferably of morning sun.

Although succulents are versatile and accustomed to semi-desert areas, they cannot stay under the scorching sun all day long. They would get burned. So what I normally do with my succulents is giving them 4-6 hours of sunlight exposure every morning and then I secure them under the shade. This sounds arduous. And believe me, it is :). But if you really want to keep your succulents healthy, you need to do some work. To make things more bearable, I recommend you to use lighter but durable pots. This will allow you to move the plants from one point to another without exerting so much effort.

* May also interest you: Does Succulent Need Direct Sunlight?


Final Thoughts

I found it amazing that succulents can grow so easily from stems or cuttings and leaves. You can start with these parts of the plants and grow a full-blown succulent garden in a short period of time. However, like any other ornamental plants, succulents have special needs. Ignoring those needs may cause harm to the plants, regardless of how sturdy they may look. Keep it on your mind, and give your plants the care that they need…



Q: How to tell if a succulent leaf is calloused?

In most cases, it takes a couple of days for the roots to grow. You can check it every two days. During this stage, avoid watering the plants. Just lay the leaf on top of the succulent soil and let the roots grow on their own. Then, as the roots become more established, you can start with very moderate watering schedule.

Q: Why are succulent cuttings not rooting?

This is actually a rare case. Almost all types of succulents develop roots on their own. But it happened to my plants before. What I did was that I just left the plant. What I found was that it finally grew roots but it took longer than it usually does. As long as the plant has no sign of dying, it will be okay.