One of the coolest things about succulents is how easy it is to propagate succulents from leaves. In other words, you don’t harvest the seeds from these plants. Instead, you grow a whole new plant using just a single leaf from the old plant.
The headache of propagating succulents from leaves is that it can take a long time and you may not know for months if you did it correctly. Fortunately, there’s a few simple steps to follow to get rid of the headache and provide flawless results easily.
If you follow these simple steps, you will easily propagate your succulents but if you do have problems, there’s a troubleshooting guide. Before you know it, you will have grown several new succulent plants!
Step #1: Take Off a Leaf of the Old Plant
You want to make sure to use a clean and sharp blade to take off a healthy leaf from the old plant. You can also gently pull the leaf off of the plant. Do not be tempted to use an unhealthy leaf. It will not work to propagate succulents from leaves that are unhealthy.
Step #2: Dry the Leaf
Set the leaf on a paper towel to dry for a day or two. Make sure to keep it out of the direct sun (which will cause it to rot) and don’t be tempted to water it (which will also cause it to rot). You want the leaf to develop a small callous on the end.
Step #3: Place the Leaf
Once the end of the succulent leaf is dry, set the leaf on top of the new pot of well-drained soil such as a cactus and succulent mix. You do not need to bury it, simply place it on the top.
Step #4: Choose the Right Environment
Set your new plant in a location that is warm but receives only filtered light. Mist the leaf lightly (DO NOT overwater) every few days. Keep an eye out for small nubs that indicate a new plant is forming.
Step #5: Remove the Original Leaf
The final step to propagate succulents from leaves is to remove the original leaf. When the new plant grows to be roughly 1/2″ tall, gently pull the original (donor) leaf off to leave just the new plant.
What to Know Before You Propagate Succulents
Before you start, you should know that succulent propagation from leaves can take a long time. Unlike a normal houseplant, succulents are slow-growing. This means that you won’t know if you are successful for several days if not weeks.
How Long Does it Take to Propagate Succulents from Leaves
The length of time required to propagate succulents from leaves varies depending on the variety of succulent you are propagating. But you should start seeing nubs of new growth within a week or two after you start to mist the donor leaf. Succulent Alley has a great article that details how long it takes to propagate succulents from leaves for several popular varieties.
Can you Root Succulent Leaves in Water
It is not recommended to try and propagate succulents from leaves in water. It is far too easy for the leaf to rot or get water logged with this method. Also, it is incredibly difficult to support a small succulent leaf in a water propagation method.
How to Transplant Propagated Succulents
You won’t have to transplant your propagated succulents. That’s the best part of succulent propagation! The pot that you put your succulent leaf in once it starts to grow buds is the pot that it will live in until it outgrows it.
Succulent Propagation Troubleshooting
We all have trouble when we are trying something new. If your propagation isn’t going as well as you would like, you shouldn’t be afraid to try again and experiment to find the best technique for succulent propagation.
Your Succulent Leaves Aren’t Sprouting
Be patient with them. Succulents can take a while to begin sprouting. And use your best judgement. If you’ve taken good care of your succulent leaf for several months and nothing is happening, it’s probably not going to work. But if it’s been less than a month since you started your propagation steps, give it a little more time.
What to do if Your New Succulents are Getting Mushy
If you notice that your new succulents leaves are getting mushy, they are probably rotten. They will turn a hideous olive green color and will be like an over-ripe avocado to the touch. There is no rescuing these plants and you need to toss them and start over.
When you learn how to propagate succulents from leaves, you can grow thousands of new plants to share with family and friends. And you’ll save tons of money at the hardware store because you won’t have to buy whole new plants. Just grow them!