Is your succulent growing long stem? In this post, you will learn how to prune, propagate, and replant the cuttings.
For years, I have been seeing this phenomenon wherein my succulents grow long stems. Unfortunately, the beauty and cuteness of the plant are lost a little if they become leggy and stretched.
Sometimes, they intertwined with other plants. This to me is a messy picture. So I prune them when they stretched. The good thing about succulents, however, is that they are too easy to propagate and replant.
I love succulents. I am sure that you are too if you are reading this article. But if you encounter problems with these plants, you might get discouraged. In this post, I will be sharing tips on how you can fix your garden.
Table of Contents
Is your succulent growing long stem?
In my years of growing succulents, I found common reasons why these plants tend to grow long stems. Here are the causes…
1. Natural growth
One of the reasons why succulents become leggy or stretchy is the nature of the plant. There are succulents that naturally grow longer than their counterparts. You can prune them to maintain your preferred size.
2. Searching for the light source
This happens commonly among indoor succulents. Succulents need sunlight. They are accustomed to having an abundant source of sunlight. However, in an indoor environment, light is minimal. So they are forced to find the light source. This is the reason why when succulents are placed inside without light, they tend to learn and grow towards the area where the light is accessible.
The best solution to this is to rotate the plants every month or two. This way they will be evenly exposed to the available light source.
When is the perfect time to prune succulents?
You can literally cut the leggy succulent anytime you want. But if you want to give extra care for your succulent that is growing long stem, it is better to do the pruning during spring or summer. These seasons are perfect to give the plants time to establish growth before the freezing season.
However, if you living in places where there are no winters and falls, you do the pruning anytime. Just take into consideration needs such as water and good soil mix.
Best pruning tool for succulent growing long stem
If you are pruning your succulents, you should make sure that your cutting tool is sharp and clean. Of course, you can use any tool such as a knife, scissors, or pruning shears. My favorite is the Felco Hand Pruners (click here to check this product on Amazon). I have been using this tool for years now. It is comfortable and sharp.
What I love the most about this tool is that you can easily cut the long stem across or with an angle. It is sharp enough to avoid infection to the plant.
A succulent that is growing long stem is not really a problem. You can use the cuttings to start a new garden out of it.
How to propagate and replant the cuttings?
Before propagating the succulents using the cuttings, there are small things you should do. The first is to clean up the stems. In my case, I cut and eliminate all the curved parts of the stems. I only retain the good and healthy ones.
The reason why I do this is that straight stems are easier to plant. If it is okay with you to plant the curved stems, then it will be totally fine.
One more thing – allow the stems to heal. Depending on the temperature of the place, the cuttings may heal fast or slow. For hot locations, cuttings tend to heal within a couple of days. It is important that the cuttings are healed before replanting them.
How to plant the succulent cuttings?
There are a few tips I would like to share or the things that you may want to consider when planting succulent cuttings.
1. Clean the soil before planting
This is very important especially if you are planting the cutting in the same spot. What I mean here is to remove the top layer of the soil.
The reason for this is that, if the soil is in the pot for a considerable amount of time, it may have lost its breathability. If it does, it harms the succulents. This happens when the soil becomes compacted. It will retain more water and therefore jeopardizes the new plant.
Remove the top portion of the soil. Then add it with a new succulent or cacti mix. This will provide a breathable soil for the newly planted succulents.
2. Use succulents and cacti soil only
Sometimes it is tempting to use alternative soil for succulents. What I learned from my experience is that using soil not formulated for the succulents is not helpful. Ordinary soil, for instance, maybe compacted over time that could cause rotting to the plants.
3. Mix the soil with coconut coir
One good way of improving soil aeration and breathability is coconut coir (check this on Amazon). The best part about this material is that it is organic. It will not cause any harm to the succulents in the long run.
Aside from the coconut coir, you can also add pumice or perlite. These materials will improve the soil’s drainage and aeration.
4. Add compost
Compost is a good additional organic material that your newly planted succulents will surely love. It further enriches the soil which in turn promotes healthy growth. This is the perfect addition to the succulent mix.
Now that you have all the important ingredients, you can start planting your succulents. The best practice is to use a pot with a drainage hole. This will keep your succulents safe from rotting.
How to take care of the newly planted succulents?
After planting the succulents, just wait for a couple of before watering them. This is to allow the roots to settle in the new growing environment. This probably my personal practice. But it always works all the time.
Constant monitoring may be necessary for the succulents at this point. Overwatering should be avoided. The roots are not yet established therefore they are susceptible to excess water.
Watering once a week is what I found a good watering schedule. But of course, this depends on the weather conditions. For colder seasons, watering the cuttings should be minimized.
Another thing to avoid is direct sunlight exposure. Although succulents need more sunlight than other ornamental plants, the cuttings could not stand direct sunlight. They may get sunburned.
Once the roots are established, you can apply fertilizer if you want to supplement the nutrients. My trusted fertilizer brand is the EarthPods Cactus and Succulent Plant Food (click here to check this fertilizer on Amazon). I have been using this fertilizer for almost my indoor and outdoor succulents. You can try other brands though.
Give your succulents more light
This does not mean to expose the plants under direct sunlight. This will harm them. What I mean by this is that after planting the cuttings, make sure they get the appropriate amount of light.
When you place the newly planted cuttings outdoor, make sure that they are under shade. If they are placed indoor, make sure that they have a sustainable light source.
Light is scarce during winter. The sun may not appear in the sky for weeks. In this case, you can use a grow light (click here to see this grow light on Amazon) to provide the plants their needs. Remember that a succulent growing long stem means a lack of light source.
In addition to using a grow light, you can also place the succulents near the window where the light is accessible. This way, they can somehow enjoy the available light throughout the day.
There you go, you have my trivia and tips on why some succulents grow a long stem. I hope that next time you see your succulents grow long stems, you know what to do.
For more information on this topic, please feel free to read more articles on this blog. If you need complete details, you can read the step by step guide on how to grow succulents successfully. Happy succulent planting!