How-To: Propagating Succulents
What could we love more than a succulent? A whole garden of succulents, of course! Lucky for us, it's easy to grow a collection of these hardy, colorful plants at home via propagation. There are several, simple ways to propagate succulents; we can't wait to see them sprouting in containers around the house and garden all year long.
Propagating by Division: This technique, in which new succulents sprout from cuttings, works best with plants that have grown too leggy. To begin, carefully remove any leaves on the stem below the rosette—wiggle them gently from side to side and make sure to keep the base of the leaf intact. Once all the leaves have been removed, use shears to snip the rosette, leaving a short stem attached. Allow the cuttings to dry for a few days in an empty tray until the raw ends have calloused. Next, the cuttings can be rooted in soil or water.
Soil: Once the stems have calloused, fill a shallow tray with well-draining cactus/succulent soil and place the cuttings on top. Within a few weeks, roots and tiny plants will begin to grow from the base of the cuttings. Water minimally until the roots appear, then approximately once a week; be careful to avoid over-watering. Eventually, the parent leaf will wither—remove it carefully, being sure to not damage the new roots. Allow your propagated succulents to take root, then they can be replanted as desired. Avoid placing them in direct sun until the plants are established.
Water: Once the stem has calloused, rest a cutting on the rim of a glass or jar of water, with the end of the stem just above the surface of the water. Choose a sunny spot for your glass. Over time, the cutting will sprout roots that reach toward the water. Once roots have developed, your new succulent can continue to live in the water (as shown above) or be replanted in succulent potting soil.
Propagating with Offsets: Many species of succulents—including aloe, hens and chicks, and some cacti—will produce offsets, or small plants that grow at the base of the main specimen. Once an offset has grown for 2-3 weeks, check for root development and remove it from the main stem with a sharp knife or snips, or by twisting gently. Be careful to avoid damaging any roots that have already emerged. Follow the steps above for propagating in soil or water, allowing the offsets to dry, form a callus over any open areas, and develop roots before repotting. As a bonus, removing offsets also improves the health of your existing succulents, returning energy to the growth of the main plant.