Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to magically turn one plant into multiple plants? Well, you can! Cutting a succulent plant using leaves or cuttings is super easy. Expand your own collection or give away succulents to friends and family.
Step 1: Get Your Cutting(s)
Many of the popular types of succulents can be taken from cuttings using just one leaf. Roots and eventually a whole new plant can grow from every leaf that falls from the mother plant!
For a leaf cutting, carefully twist a leaf off the mother plant.
Succulent Plant Cuttings With Stems
The disadvantage of a leaf cutting is that the resulting plant is quite small and it can take a long time before you have a nice large succulent plant. If you don’t feel like waiting for that, you can also take a succulent cutting using a stem cutting.
To take a stem cutting, cut off the top or side branches of a succulent plant with a sharp, clean knife. After planting this cutting, it will grow on its own, so in fact you can more or less choose how big your new plant will be.
Did you know? After you have obtained a leaf or stem cutting, it is best to let it dry out for a few days. This allows time for a scab to form over the cut, reducing the chance of your cutting rotting.
Succulent plant cuttings with offshoots
Some succulents, such as Aloe vera , cannot be propagated using a stem cutting or a leaf cutting. Fortunately, most of these varieties produce offshoots on their own: tiny copies of the mother plant. You can leave these offshoots in the same pot, but you can also pot them up separately.
If you want to separate an offshoot from the parent plant, use a clean, sharp knife to break the connection between the two. In most cases, the offshoots already have their own root system, so this is actually the fastest way to propagate a succulent.
Step 2: Pot & Potting Soil
Once you have obtained your cuttings and let them dry for a few days, you can prepare a pot for your new plants. If you have a lot of small leaves or cuttings, a low and wide bowl is useful, that way you don’t have to give everyone a separate pot. Or use an egg carton!
Whatever pot you use, remember that good drainage is critical to the health of a succulent plant. The roots of these plants cannot withstand prolonged wet soil, so always go for a pot with a hole in the bottom. Terracotta is especially useful, as the porous walls of this material allow excess water to evaporate.
Fill the pot with cactus soil. You can make your own mix with 50% potting soil and 50% perlite, pumice or crushed volcanic rock.
Insert a stem cutting far enough into the potting soil to ensure that it does not fall over. If you use leaf cuttings, all you need to do is place them on the potting soil. If you bury or cover them, it can take longer for a new plant to form.
Succulent Plant Cuttings In Water
You can easily take cuttings in water for many houseplants. Does this also apply to succulents? Yep! And vases and glasses with cuttings also look very nice.
Propagating a succulent plant in water is easiest with stem cuttings. Fill a vase halfway with water and place the cutting in it so that the bottom is submerged.
If you prefer to use leaf cuttings, you can choose a wider glass and cover the top with plastic wrap. Poke holes in the foil so that you can insert the leaves in such a way that they just touch the water.
After this you can place the vase in a nice light place, although it is useful to avoid direct sun. The nice thing is that you can see the roots growing! If you want to pot up your cutting after this, you can follow the instructions above.
Tip: Technically, cacti are also succulents, but the cutting process can be a little different. We also have an article about cutting a cactus!
Step 3: Patience!
Place the pot with your brand new cuttings in a warm and bright place. Water regularly by spraying the potting soil once it has dried out. After that it’s just a matter of waiting.
Not all cutting attempts are successful, but depending on the season, the first roots should appear within days or weeks. Carefully cover the roots of a leaf cutting with some potting soil. With a bit of luck you will automatically see a new plant (in the case of a leaf cutting) or new leaves (in the case of a stem cutting).
Congratulations On Your New Succulent!
Tip: Not sure if your stem cutting is already rooted or not? Give the plant a gentle tug. If you feel resistance, you’re good. As soon as new leaves appear, you can be sure that your cutting attempt has been successful.
If you are a patient person, you can try sowing succulents yourself. A nice project for the real succulent enthusiast, although it can take more than a year before the seedlings really start to look like plants.
To sow succulents yourself, you will first need to find good quality seeds. This is sometimes more difficult than it seems: websites like AliExpress offer all kinds of ‘exotic seeds’ for rare succulents. However, if you try to sow these, you will soon find out that either nothing happens or you are left with a pot full of weeds. So find a reputable seller!
The sowing and cultivation itself is the same for most types of succulents. You do it like this:
- Use a regular pot, wide saucer or seedling tray.
- Choose an airy cactus soil and make it well wet.
- Sprinkle the seeds over the cactus soil, but be careful not to use too many. This is a bit tricky, since the seeds of most succulents are very small.
- Cover the pot with plastic wrap to create a mini greenhouse.
- Place the pot in a light and warm place without direct sun. Bonus points if you have a heating mat handy.
- And wait! You probably won’t need to do anything for the next few weeks, as the plastic wrap will keep the moisture in.
- As soon as you see the seedlings appear, you can remove the foil.
- Wet the potting soil daily. Preferably use a sprayer, otherwise you run the risk that the seedlings will be washed away!
- When the seedlings are a bit stronger, you can start watering normally.
After about a year, or when the baby succulents are big enough, you can repot them separately.