Two weeks ago we propagated some of our succulents. But after several days, we noticed that some leaves were gradually turning into orange-brown color. We fixed the problem immediately using honey during the propagation process.
Honey acts as an agent to stimulate root growth which helps to successfully create new copies of a succulent. Let me tell you how to benefit from it. So, carefully take a part 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. It is pivotal that you use real honey, and not that sugary substance they often sell in supermarkets branded as “honey”. Because only real honey has the properties that help with propagation.
Honey as an organic stimulant, next steps you need to take
Do not plant the cuttings in deep soil. On the contrary, just 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 see 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 propagating your plants. Hence, honey as a rooting hormone ensures that the leaves or cuttings stay healthy.
How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves and Cuttings
Before propagating succulents (with any method), 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 the genus. 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 them using the correct part of a mother plant. Keep it on your mind before you start the work. Let’s have a look now at how you can propagate your succulents from cuttings, by far the most popular method.
Propagation from cuttings
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 crustaceans 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.
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 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, you can experiment and play along with your plants…
Improve the chances of successful propagation with right choices
- 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, the succulent is healthy. On the other hand, if the leaves are brown and withering, do not pick that succulent for propagation using honey, since it isn’t in a good condition. Changes in color do not always mean unhealthiness though. Some succulents might just have been exposed to too much light or too much water but return to their original color when you address the cause. Some growers even decorate their succulents with paints. Remember though that this cover-up may prevent the succulent from absorbing enough sunlight.
- Plant in the right soil mix. 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. In any case, opt for fast draining soil.
- Expose to sunlight. Make sure that succulents, be it indoors or outdoors, get enough sunlight exposure. Succulents grow in deserts under the sun after all… If they undergo a change in color, this may mean they lack sunlight. No worries in winter if that is the case because you can actually use tools that provide light, take grow light for example (you can check my favorite grow light on Amazon).
- Water the plant just right. Too much water drowns succulents, complete lack of it withers it, but “just the right amount” 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. You can also check my guide on watering succulents indoors.
- Wait. Do not rush. It takes time to propagate the succulents. Nature is not a machine. Maybe some cuttings start growing roots in a day, but for some it may take a week or longer. Be patient. If you take the right steps, you will eventually get the desired results.
Final thoughts & related questions
One can use honey to propagate succulents. Be sure though to use real, raw honey, which has all the helpful properties (like propolis) that help with propagation, and protection from infections and pests in baby succulents.
Q: How to propagate cactus?
A: Cacti propagation works well-using cuttings. Take a cutting from the joint. For Multi-barrel types of cacti, take the cutting at the level of the ground. Whatever part you use, make sure you do not harm the parent cactus in the process.
Q: What is the best way to propagate Echeveria?
A: 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 for a few days or for a week or so until they callous. No callouses is a sign that your Echeveria leaf will eventually rot. Hence you need to start again, with a new leaf…
May also interest you: Can succulents root in water?