How to Propagate Succulents with Honey?

How to Propagate Succulents with Honey
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How to Propagate Succulents with Honey

Two weeks ago we propagated some of our succulents. But after several days, we noticed that some leaves were gradually turning into orangey-brown color. We fixed the problem immediately using honey during the propagation process.

So, how to propagate succulents using honey? Honey acts as an agent to stimulate root growth so as to successfully create new copies of succulent. To do so, carefully take apart from a full-grown succulent. Dip the open end of the tissues into a cooled mixture of one tablespoon of pure or raw honey and two cups of boiled water.

Related: How to Grow Succulents? The Complete Guide

Do not plant them in deep soil just yet but position them down on the surface of the soil and let them dry. After a couple of weeks, you will notice small succulents emerging from the lowest part of the leaves.

When they become large enough, gently pull out the dying part from which you propagated, and since they need to be in deep soil already, transfer them to a shallow and wide pot for further propagation.

Since honey is not a synthetic but an organic rooting stimulant, it may take long before you find out the result. It would be best to fill some rock on the bottom to drain the soil, add some soil that has more drained bits so roots can hold onto it, and then press down the soil to make it solidly fixed in the pot.

The natural properties of honey, especially antiseptic and anti-fungal, inhibit the growth of microorganisms that may infect tissue and cause disease in the process of cloning. Hence, honey as a rooting hormone ensures that the leaves or cuttings are healthy. Thus boosting the rate for roots and a new plant to begin to grow.

Easiest Succulents to Grow

Succulents come in different sizes, colors, textures, shapes, and other qualities. Among the succulents that are practical to grow indoors throughout the year are the following:

Jade plant

The stem of this kind of succulent is thick. Its leaves are shiny, smooth and green. Unintentional over-watering is the common cause of why this plant dies. That said, just give it enough bright and water. 

Aloe vera

This type of succulent has been known to contain medicinal benefits and has many sharp points covering its body. It needs full sunlight and more water when its leaves seem to crack.


This type grows best in a dry environment, more desirable in clay pots. This is to the reason that clay helps evaporate water quickly. For best results, keep it under the full sun and keep the soil drained in between the watering cycle.

Zebra plant

From the name itself, this 5″ tall and 6″ wide succulent is covered with horizontal stripes. Unlike many other succulents, it requires only moderate sunlight and water.

Panda plant

This Madagascar succulent is covered with white fuzz. During winter, it works best with dry air. Just a little amount of water is needed for it to grow.

Crown of Thorns

For the full year, it can produce red or yellow bracts. These bracts envelop its flowers. It only needs a low to moderate amount of water and direct sunlight.

How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves and Cuttings

Before propagating succulents, you need to know first the genus where your succulent belongs, and its species. The part of the plant that you will take with which propagation will work depends on it. Some succulents can be propagated with leaf, some with cutting, and some with both.

Sedums and Echeveria, for example, can grow with both, whereas, Aeonium works only with cuttings. This means that various groups of succulents grow only when you propagate using the correct part, otherwise, it will only wither and die.

Related: How to Grow Succulents? The Complete Guide

Propagation using leaves

For propagation of succulent using leaf, carefully remove the leaves from the plant. Be keen enough to pull off as well apart down to the stem. This is where the root will flourish until baby succulents begin to exist.

Propagation using cuttings

For propagation through cutting, use scissors or any sharp tool. You can cut off either the top piece of the succulent or the offshoot.

After cutting or taking the leaves, wait until it dries out and until the wound forms the crustaceous covering of dried “blood.” This may take up to three days. It is normal for the leaf or cutting to wither and wrinkle if no scab forms; water it then with just enough amount. Too much water will change its color to orangey-brown and eventually die.

There are several ways to prevent the leaf or cutting from dying. For the leaf, place it on top of the soil without its ends touching on it and water when the soil dries. On the other hand, cuttings don’t need to be set on top of the soil, they can be planted already since they are nearly full-grown. Whenever its soil gets dry, water it. Consider also the temperature of the area, kind of the plant and climate among other factors that affect the time that will take, which usually is two to three weeks, for roots to form.

The success rate of propagating succulent, however, is a bit challenging. Some root but don’t grow new succulent at all, while some baby succulents grow but not as much as their copies do. Some take a month to fully grow, while some take a year. Nevertheless, there are a lot of tricks out there to try.

How to Increase Succulent Growth

Succulents are easy to take care of. For tricks to grow a healthy succulent, below are some significant points to remember.

Choose a healthy-looking succulent

The form, color, and quality are some of the things you need to check. If the leaves have green, lively and full rounded form, these are indicators that the succulent is healthy. On the other hand, if the leaves are brown and withering, do not pick that succulent for these are signs that it needs further care before being able to use for propagation, thus, time-consuming for a gardener.

Changes in color do not always mean unhealthiness. Some succulents might just have been exposed to too much light or too much water but return to their original color when properly taken care of. There are also growers who decorate their succulents with paints. Take note, however, that this cover-up may prevent the succulent from absorbing enough sunlight.

Plant in the right and good soil

There are different types of soils (or a mixture thereof) for a variety of succulents. In other words, some succulents grow only in the soil especially made for them and some do not, otherwise. You will know it is good soil if it drains well.

Use well-draining pot

Drainage is a factor too. Use a planter with small enough holes at the bottom so that the soil gets a drain and the moisture be absorbed.

Expose to sunlight

Make sure that succulents, be it indoor or outdoor, get exposed to sunlight. Succulents grow in deserts under the sun after all. If they undergo a change in color, this may mean they lack absorption of sunlight. No worries in winter if that is the case because you can actually use tools that provide light, take camp light for example.

Water the plant just right

Water your succulent not too much, not too less—just right. Too much water drowns succulents, too few withers it, but just right allows it to grow healthier. As you can observe, healthy succulents have fat leaves. That serves as their water storage and that is how succulents survive in the desert, so water only when the soil gets a drain and the leaves get transparent.


Do not rush. Succulents grow after weeks.

Related: How to Grow Succulents? The Complete Guide

How to Propagate Succulents in Water

The water-based potting medium can also be of use when rooting succulents. This method has been believed to rotten roots but was recently seen as another effective way of propagation mainly because water is not the cause of rot. Fungus and other micrograms in the soil are. You can position the end of the cutting above the water surface and let moisture do the rooting. You can also let the tip of the cutting touch the water.

For a step-by-step guide:

Step 1. Take a cutting from the stem or leaves of a succulent. Since you will be multiplying copy of succulents, better choose a source that is healthily round instead of those whose leaves are damaged, dehydrated and flat. 

Step 2. Allow the cuttings or leaves to dry. Same with the soil medium method, the cut ends of the cutting or leaves will callouse after a week or two.

Step 3. Expose the cuttings or leaves on water. Either you allow the ends to touch the water or just rest above it, both will work.

Step 4. Set the cuttings or leaves somewhere sunny. Do not put them in a dim area. Simply make sure they have light to absorb.

Step 5. Leave them as is until roots develop. But do not forget to water when needed. You will see the result usually after two weeks.

Step 6. Re-pot the rooted cuttings or leaves or let them stay in the water. After you let them dry, they are ready to be planted appropriately in the pot. If you will leave them in water indoor or outdoor, make sure they can consume adequate light. Also, change the water every week. Distilled or tap water will do.

Step 7. If you will plant the rooted cutting or leaf in soil, water sparingly. Every day the soil seems dry, spray the baby succulents some water. When the plant is established already, reduce the time of watering, preferably just once a week.

Step 8. Avoid the cuttings or leaves from direct sunlight. New plants may damage from too much exposure to the sun. Increase the light absorption as they mature.

Related Questions:

How to propagate cactus? Cacti propagation works well-using cuttings. Take a cutting from the joint. For Multibarrel types, take the cutting at the level of the ground. Whatever part you use, take a cutting without the parent cacti being harmed.

Echeveria Propagation. Use a knife to cut leaves of Echeveria. When cutting leaves, choose those that are thick and healthy. Place them on a tray in a flat position in an area where they can have a source of enough sunlight. Leave them as-is for one day or a week or so until there form callous. No callouses is a sign that your Echeveria leave will eventually rot.


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

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