The beauty about succulents is that they are easy to propagate and maintain. You can propagate from both stems and leaves. However, in this post, we will just talk about leaf propagation. Obviously the first step is to pick a leaf that you want to propagate and start the process. Then, let the leaf to callous before planting it to its permanent pot.
But how to tell the right time, how to tell when it is ready to be planted? You’ll know when the bottom where the cut was made becomes nice and dry instead of wet. It will look like sealed as well, which is a big difference when we compare it to a fresh cut.
During the process of callousing, make sure to keep the leaf out of the direct sunlight. Just leave it on top of a paper towel, and it will do its thing for a few days. Once calloused, you can lay the leaf on top of the fast-draining soil (check my favorite soil on Amazon). In a few weeks, the leaf will develop roots and babies. As the roots established, you can plant it in a small pot first. At this point, watering should be controlled and really limited to bare minimum.
Once the roots are more established, you can mist them once every two days. You need to adjust this to the temperatures of the immediate surroundings. To make clear, I have included in this post a few steps in propagating succulents from leaves. This step by step tips are helpful especially if you are a beginner. Let’s start!
A Step by Step Guide on How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves
Although succulents are easy to propagate and maintain, many of my propagation attempts had failed before. This might also happen to many beginners. Now I will share with you what I learned through the years of growing succulents. Following the simple steps will save you time and money. It is important to remember though that the techniques may vary depending on the climate, surroundings, and of course, the type of succulents you’re about to propagate.
To start with, what exactly is propagation? If you are a seasoned succulent grower, you already know this. But if you are a beginner, you might not be exactly sure. Just to make thing clear, propagation is the process of multiplying plants, in this case, succulents, using leaves or stems. Basically you start with the parts of the succulents and grow a whole succulent garden later. Let’s dive into the process!
Step one: Tools preparation
The first step is preparing the tools you will need throughout the propagation process. Fortunately, there is not much you need:
- Fast-draining Succulent/cactus soil (check my recommended one on Amazon)
- Fine Spray Bottle (check this beauty on Amazon)
- Healthy mature succulent
Step two: Remove your chosen succulent leaves from the mother plant
When choosing the succulent leaves for propagation, it is very important to pick the healthy ones. In most cases, the mature leaves are most preferable because they are more likely to succeed.
Once you have found and picked the best leaf, remove it from the mother plant by twisting it back and forth between your fingers. Succulent leaves are easy to detach. However, do make sure that there is no damage, because you really want to start with a healthy leaf.
Finally, and probably the most important thing to remember is that when removing the leaf, the end of the leaf stem should remain intact. Damaged leaf stem will hinder the leaf from successfully propagating, and you’ll have to start the entire process from scratch, since the leaf will unlikely to callous and be prone to rotting.
Step three: Let the succulent leaf callous
Now that you have a healthy leaf, the thing you can do is to allow the leaf to callous. You can do this by laying the leaf on top of the paper towel for a couple of days. There’s not much you can do at this stage. Just leave the leaf and wait for the miracle of nature to happen.
In most cases, succulent leaf would callous for 3-4 days. As I said at the beginning, you will know that the leaf is already calloused when the stem end becomes dry. Make sure that you did not place the leaf in the direct sunlight. Instead, find a place that has an access to bright indirect light.
Step four: Wait for the leaf to grow roots
Depending on the surroundings and variety of succulents you are propagating, it usually takes 4-5 weeks for the leaf to develop roots or pups. I know that waiting can be the hardest part of the process. But there is nothing we can do about that. What you can do instead is provide what the leaf needs.
Check the soil regularly, I mean every day. Give it a mist if it is already dry. But again, do not soak it. Too much water will cause rotting in the leaf and the sprouting roots. A drier soil is actually better. Also, do not move the leaf. It may have those tiny sprouting roots and disturbing them will actually delay the whole process. It is better if the environment is warm. Warm areas allow the succulent leaf to propagate quicker. So I suggest that you do the entire process outdoors, in summer.
Starting the leaf propagation in winter in not a good idea. During this time, the temperatures, which slows the entire process down considerably. Still you can give it a shot indoors, if you for one reason or another want to do it in winter. When the leaf slowly shrivels or dies, that’s actually the sign that the roots are getting established. If you’re seeing roots but no pups however, make sure the place where you propagate your succulents gets enough light.
Step five: Transplanting the succulent pups
Once the original leaf is shivered and rotten away, it means that the pup is ready to be transplanted. Now you can transfer the pup into the new pot with fast draining soil. At this point, avoid exposing the pups to direct and strong sunlight. It can easily get sunburned, and you’ll once again have to start from scratch.
What you can do instead is to gradually exposing the young plant to direct sunlight. This process is slow until the succulent is big and strong enough for direct sunlight exposure for several hours a day. Once still young and week, you can give it an hour of morning sun but that’s it! Anyway, if you stick to this process, before you know it you have new and strong succulents, that will no doubt make your garden even more beautiful!
You’ll know that the succulent leaf is already calloused when you see the end of the leaf stem becomes dry. Succulent propagation using leaves may vary from one grower to another. Follow my guide, but also observe your own results, do experiments, and find what works and not with your succulents. At the end of the day, experience is the best teacher, and you’ll learn the most from your own experiments… You can also ream my complete guide to succulent growing, to make sure you get the best results with your beloved plants!
Q: Can you regrow a succulent from a leaf?
A: Succulent leaf can be used as propagation medium. The tips above are exactly the step by step guide on how to propagate succulents using leaves.
Q: How long does it take for succulents to root in water?
A: In most cases, succulents root in water in about 2-6 weeks. But this depends on the climate and the temperature in their surroundings. During the whole process, always check the water level to make sure the process can continue smoothly.