Should I Pull Leaves Off Succulents?

Should I Pull Leaves Off Succulents
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Should I Pull Leaves Off Succulents

Should I pull leaves off succulents? If you are growing succulents for a while, you might also end up asking the same question. This post is dedicated to answering this query.

Succulents are known to be some of the easiest plants to grow. This is because succulent plants do not need much attention and care. In fact, they can literally survive neglect.

Sometimes though succulent plants need a few maintenances such as pruning the old leaves. However, if you are new to growing succulents, you might be wondering if you can just pull off some old leaves.

So, should you just pull leaves off succulents? My quick answer is yes. However, you need to make sure that you don’t damage the stem, healthy leaves, and roots of the plant. Remember that succulents do have a deep root system making them easy to uproot. Using a sharp cutting tool is always the best idea.

Wilting is just part of the biological process of the succulent plants. It is something you should not worry about unless it is caused by disease or pests. In fact, it can help your succulent plant grow more beautifully.

How to Dispatch the Dead Leaf (also known as pruning)?

When disposing of dead leaves, you can just tear it off. However, because of the possibility that you will possibly damage some parts of the plant, it is better to do it in a safe way. As mentioned, using cutting tools is always a good idea.

The good thing is that you don’t need to spend money on this. A sharp knife or cutter will do. You can also use bonsai scissors (click here to check my recommended scissors on Amazon). Scissors like this is a good investment for your plants. They are super easy to use.

It is also important to consider the season when you trim your plants. Spring is the best season for it enables the succulents to grow in their best shape. Though you can always trim it any time of the year.

How to Trim Succulents?

There are a few simple things you need to remember when trimming succulents. Below are some of them.

First off, decide which part of your succulents you want to trim. If you have a mini succulent garden going on, you should consider planning how you want your succulents to look like. If they are on separate pots, then you should also plan out how much of the plant leaves you to want to cut off.

Before moving on to the actual cutting part, you may want to prepare a bowl or basin. Add water and household bleach with a nine to one ratio. Then soak the cutting tool in it. This is to ensure that the bonsai scissors or the knife you are using are disinfected. It is necessary to keep your shears clean so the leaves that you cut off will not infect the healthy plants in case it got some plant diseases.

When cutting dead leaves, consider the type of your succulent. If your succulent looks somewhat like Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum Tectorum), which has a crown shape, avoid cutting the center of its crown. You will have to locate the inflamed part of the plant and cut about a quarter-inch above its bump. If your succulent appears like Burro’s Tail or donkey tail plant (Sedum Morganianum) which grows to be lengthy and rope-like, you should just cut the dead leaves. However, if the stem or the root is damaged, you can cut off the whole portion.

That is how you dispatch the dead leaves. If you want to maintain the succulents, you can easily trim a bunch of its extra branches and leaves. You can easily transfer and propagate them. Just like how you dispatch the dead leaves, you also have to be careful about trimming the healthy parts of your succulent.

Propagating succulents from cuttings

Now that you have the cuttings, you can propagate them. Here’s what you can do.

First, you will have to consider the type of plant. If you want to propagate succulents like Tree Houseleek (Aeonium), make sure to leave at least 5 to 7 inches from the stem. After letting it dry, you can replant them by putting them in about 7 inches below the ground. Wait until it grows back to life.

If you are done trimming the excess leaves and branches off your sappy plants, make sure you put the trimmed leaves in a clean container. Leave them there for a day or two to let them dry off and callous. The cooler the season, the longer you have to wait for your plants to dry. It is necessary to let it dry so it will not rot.

You should also take note that you do not have to water the transplanted succulents immediately. You should wait for a few days before watering. This is because too much moisture may lead the plant to decay. As the sprouts start to grow, you may now water it sparingly.

Propagating succulents in water

There’s another way to replant and cultivate succulents. You can generate succulents by propagating them in water. The steps are easy and almost the same as the formerly mentioned methods. Propagating succulents in water, however, requires bottles or containers that can hold water and the plants.

You will also have to take note of the season. Though you can propagate your plants anytime, it is important to consider the weather. Extreme temperatures would not be suitable for propagation. Avoid propagating during summer or in winter.

Here’s how to propagate succulents in water.

First, you will have to cut the stem of the succulent leaving about 2 inches. Put it in a clean dry container. You will need to let it dry for a few days or until the cuttings looked healed.

In a glass bottle or container put some water. When the cuttings have healed, you may now put it on the water. The stem should rest above the surface. You can use plastic wrap to hold the stem or any other tool to make it float.

You should place the water container in a sunny place. It has to absorb as much sunlight as it can. It will be useful to put it in well-lit spaces such as near kitchen windows or living areas with bright sun rays.

After a few days, you will have to replace the water. Wait until roots start to grow and add as much water your baby plants needed.

When the cuttings and their roots have grown, you may now plant them. However, remove them from the water and again, let them dry for a few days. After the cuttings have dried off, you may now put them in a separate pot with fast-draining succulent soil (click here to check my recommended soil on Amazon)/

Maintain the moisture of the baby plants by occasionally spraying their soil with some water. It is important to keep the plants healthy and intact so they will not dry off and wither. When the baby plants start to grow healthier, reduce watering. You can water them once or twice a week depending on how fast the soil dries out.

Final Thoughts on Should I Pull Leaves Off Succulents

It is okay to pull leaves off succulents especially the dead and dried ones. However, you just need to be careful not to damage the other parts of the plants. The safest way though is to use cutting tools like a knife or scissors.

I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.


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

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