Growing succulents is seriously easy. Like almost too easy. When I was first reading up on how to grow succulents I almost thought I wasn’t reading the right articles. How could it be THAT easy? But once I started I learned pretty quickly that growing succulents from existing plants really is THAT EASY! Succulents are extremely hardy plants and they can grow roots in pretty extreme environments.
There are three popular ways to propagate succulents – 1. from leaves; 2. from cuttings; and 3. from pups. I will go over each of these techniques in detail in this blog post. Hopefully this will provide the knowledge you will need to get your hands dirty, give it a go and see what happens!
1. Growing Succulents from Leaves
You can easily grow new succulent babies from leaves taken from the “mother” plant. Look for healthy, plump leaves near the base of the flower. Gently twist off the leaf from the base. It should snap off clean and the end should be in a “U” shape.
Once you have removed the leaf from the mother plant it is time to move them to a propagation tray, or as I like to call it, your baby making factory. This tray/factory can be something as simple as a paper plate with some dirt on top to a fancy tray filled with cactus soil. The tray does not need to be deep, in fact, a shallow tray is best because you won’t need much soil. Once you find a proper vessel you can turn your attention to what kind of growing medium to use.
Succulents can tolerate most types of soil, but they prefer a light mixture with a lot of drainage. You can use an all purpose potting soil, a specially blended cactus soil or even sand. Just avoid a growing medium that will retain too much moisture (like a clay based soil) or a soil that is nutrient rich.
OK, so now you know what type of prop tray and soil you need. Find a shaded area either outside or inside near a window to place your succulent baby making factory. In general, succulents prefer filtered sunlight. Direct sunlight is way to harsh on the plants and can actually burn them. You don’t want to burn your babies!
Now, all you have to do that your tray is all set up is set your leaves on top of the soil….and leave them there for a while. I like to keep a spray bottle handy and give them a super light misting once a day. After about two weeks you will start to see little pink nubs grow out of the end of some of the leaves. This means your new baby is starting to form – congratulations!
Once your babies make it to this stage, keep an eye on them and keep up with the light misting daily. Soon, you will start to see roots and leaves forming from the pink buds. Like this…
The new babies will stay attached to the “mother” leaf until it has used up all the moisture – at which point the original leaf will dry up and fall off.
Now it is probably best if you plant the newly formed plant in its own small container since the new baby will need to get its nourishment from the soil. I like to use 2″-3″ pots at this stage in order to conserve soil (as opposed to planting a little baby in a big container).
Keep the babies in a spot with plenty of filtered sunlight and only water the containers once the soil has completely dried out. In a few months you should should have happy, healthy baby plants that will be ready to be transplanted into bigger containers or arrangements or wreaths OH my!
2. Growing Succulents from Cuttings
So this method of growing succulents is SUPER easy. Here are the steps: 1. Locate a succulent. 2. Cut off a stem. 3. Stick the stem in dirt. Done. And it really is pretty much that easy. But here are a few pointers to help you out!
- It is best practice to let the fresh cuttings sit in a shaded area for a couple days and allow the ends to callous over.
- You only need about a inch of stem for the cutting to take root. Leaving too much of a stem on a cutting can lead to rot.
- It is best to take a cutting from a newer growth.
3. Growing Succulents from Pups
Succulent Pups refer to when new “pup” plants sprout from the main succulent plant. This can happen in a variety of ways. Sometimes a pups start to grow from places where leaves have been removed or fallen off. Other times pups will shoot out from the base of the mother plant.
Just make sure that the pups are not too small small before you remove them from the mother plant. Carefully remove a pup and plant in soil. Roots will start to form after a couple weeks.