So you’re finally getting the hang of growing succulents and they’re beginning to form new buds ready for propagation… now what?
Whether you’re experimenting with your green thumb or are trying to save a plant from dying, propagation from clippings is the way to go—but don’t just stick them in the dirt and hope something magical will happen!
Growing succulents from propagated leaves doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these five steps to a successful propagation garden in no time!
The way you trim your succulents is key to their success in the propagation cycle. A succulent trimmed too short will leave it damaged and prone to rotting even if you follow the next few steps to a T.
For those of you who are looking to rescue a developed plant from dying of root rot, you’re going to have to inspect which leaves have not yet been affected by it first.
When it comes to trimming your succulents, you may be surprised to hear that you won’t be needing trimmers of any king! These plants are actually delicate enough to wiggle and break the leaves off for propagation, but you’ll have to be careful about damaging the leaf itself during this step.
You’ll want to support the whole leaf when breaking it away from the stem of the plant, otherwise, it could break in the middle of the leaf. This prevents the leaf from being able to move on to the next stage, compromising the propagation process.
While it may seem like an extra few days for no reason, the drying stage is critical to propagation, so don’t skip out on this step!
Remember those leaves you just plucked off? Take those and set them on a dry paper towel out of the sun. We don’t want them to completely dry, just enough to create a callus at the end that broke off.
This step takes about a day, sometimes more depending on how large the base of the leaf is, for the callus to form, so be patient and leave your cuttings alone for a while!
Planting and Rooting
Once your cuttings have developed a hard callus on the end, they’re ready for soil!
Gently place the callused end into the soil and cover, careful not to bury the entire leaf. Doing so will slow down the growth process and can potentially cause the leaf to break down in the soil rather than grow new roots.
Now, we wait. It takes a few weeks, sometimes up to a month to see signs of root growth, but don’t lose hope! Your ‘parent leaf’ may begin to shrivel as the nutrients are used to sprout a new plant.
For this reason, you should leave it attached until there are several small leaves on the rooted sprout and the parent leaf looks dead.
Watering your succulents can be one of the riskiest parts of caring for them, which is why it’s so important to monitor watering the babies too!
Since these leaves don’t have a distinguished root system yet, we can’t use the ‘flooding’ method described in my latest gardening post. Instead, get yourself a clean spray bottle and spritz the leaves twice a day.
The water should stay in the top layer of soil rather than sinking down, so the leaves will be encouraged to grow short roots at first to get their first drink. Once the leaves have 2-3 small roots growing, you can spritz them three times a day until it grows more leaves and is no longer just a sprout.
Succulents take a long time to grow, but it’s completely worth it in the end! Make sure you stick to regular watering to keep your plants healthy or they can die rather quickly.
It will take quite a while before your propagated plants are ready for the ‘flooding’ water schedule, and they’re not going to need direct sunshine all day until there are 5-8 leaves. Leaving a sprout in the windowsill all day can dry it out, chancing the death of the plant.
Be patient with your plants while they grow and appreciate the fact that they seem to grow faster while babies than they do as ‘fully grown’ plants. Keep up your plant care and you’ll have a whole garden worth of succulents in a few months!
Succulents are confusing. Don’t be turned down by how difficult it can be to grow them, and know that if they die, there’s always a second chance to salvage the plant!
I have used these tips to save plenty of my plants after a mishap earlier this year that caused several of my succulents to be broken in half, and all of them survived since! Let me know how these tips and tricks help you to salvage your plants and grow more from those that are getting a little too big for their planters!