Time for another fun gardening/plant project! Today I’m going to propagate succulents.
I like succulents. Not only are they pretty to look at, but they’re also low maintenance. Propagating them is easy. All it really takes is time.
Succulents are water preserving plants and usually occur in areas with high temperatures and low rainfall. Succulents are the ultimate survivors because they’re able to exist on very limited water sources such as mist or dew and are even able to survive droughts.
Succulents are able to store water in their stem and thick leaves. That’s why they’re sometimes also referred to as fat plants. They’re actual name, however, comes from the Latin word sucus which means juice.
There are about 60 different succulent families. Cactaceae, Agavoideae, Aizoaceae and Crassulaceae are just some of them. The fact that succulents are so adaptable and really hard to kill makes them THE ideal plant.
Okay, enough theory! Let’s propagate some succulents.
A very easy way to propagate succulents is the vegetative propagation method. This method is a form of asexual reproduction because no seeds are needed here in order to grow a new plant. With this method, only one plant is involved and the offspring is the result of this plant. The new plant is basically the clone of the parent plant.
There are many reasons for propagating succulents. I, for example, want to multiply my plants. Also, I have noticed that my succulent plant was growing tall and beginning to stretch out. Succulents are not supposed to stretch out but this is a common occurrence especially with indoor succulents. The most common reason for this is lack of light. So make sure your succulents are always exposed to lots of light.
Also don’t panic about the stretched out plant because we can use this plant to grow new succulents from it.
Cut off the top of your plant. I’m using sharp scissors for this! Then carefully pull off the remaining leaves of the stem. Make sure the leaf is intact and doesn’t have any scratches or the like. I usually just place leaves on a paper towel. Leave the stem in the pot. Eventually, it will callus over and grow new offshoots. This process will be faster if you keep a few leaves on the stem.
The cuttings have to callus over now. This means that the ends of the cuttings have to dry out. This usually takes two or three days. I simply leave them on the paper towel in a sunny spot until the ends have produced a callus. This step is essential because if the cuttings can’t dry out they won’t grow new plants. So do not leave out this step!
Once the cuttings have produced a callus simple transfer them into a container filled with cactus/succulent soil and place this container in a sunny spot like your windowsill. I’m just using old plastic take away containers for this step. It really doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just has to do the job.
….and now we wait again…until the leaves produce new mini plants with red stringy roots. This can take up to two weeks.
Not every leaf will produce new shoots. Some won’t produce anything, some leaves grow a mini plant but no roots. This is all perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. From my recent batch of 14 leaves, two didn’t produce anything.
During this whole process, I water the cuttings very rarely. I only water them once the new plants have started growing and only if the soil is really dry. Also, it’s better to spray the mini succulents with water rather than using a watering can because the soil should not be soaked with water.
Once the mini plants have grown roots they’re ready for planting. Carefully separate the new succulents from the mother leave. Make sure you don’t damage the roots or rip them off. Then just plant them into a pot of your choice filled with cactus soil. Alternatively, wait till the new plant falls off the mother leave. This is what I’m usually doing because that way I’m not damaging the roots. However, this method might take a while longer.
Et voilà, brand new succulents for you 🙂