Succulents are exotic-looking plants that store water in leaves, stems, or both, and come in an astounding array of shapes, sizes, colors, flowers, and unique frills. Propagating succulents is very easy because most of them either grow lots of new plants at their bases, root readily from stem cuttings, or produce new plants on the tips of mature leaves.
Moving Them Around
Most succulents have very shallow, fibrous roots, making them easy to dig carefully and replant. And there is no hurry – when transplanting succulents it is a good idea to allow a day or more before replanting to allow roots to heal over a bit before being watered.
Plant new succulents into sunny beds or pots with a well-drained soil, amended ahead of time with a little organic matter such as compost or potting soil, plus a generous amount of coarse drainage material such as sharp sand, pumice, grit, or the expanded clay used for improving aeration in sports fields. All are available at garden centers or farm supply stores.
As you dig garden succulents, brush excess soil from roots; potted succulents should have potting soil and roots loosened gently. Plant at the same depth they were originally grown, tamping new soil around them for support. Cover soil with gravel or grit, and allow plants to settle in for a day or two before watering, so broken roots can heal. Never keep succulents wet.
How to Grow Succulents from Cuttings
Many types of succulents, including Agave, Yucca, Sansevieria, Haworthia, Aloe, Echeveria, and Sempervivum, grow in rosettes and are very easy to divide into new plants by cutting off small offsets growing from their base or from short rhizomes. But growing succulents from cuttings is a fast way to get lots of popular long-stemmed and branched succulents including Aeonium, Crassula, Euphorbia, Hoya, Kalanchoe, Sedum, and Senecio.
Growing succulents from stem cuttings is easy. Simply snip off tops or ends of mature stems; the bare stems left on original plants will quickly sprout new stems.
Allow the cut ends to dry and heal over a few days.
When planting succulent cuttings, either wait a few days to insert into new soil, or before watering those you plant immediately. How to plant succulent cuttings without them is rotting is a big problem, but can be avoided by inserting them into a well-drained rooting mix. Any commercial cactus mix or good potting soil can be made better drained by adding coarse sand or perlite; generally a one-to-one ratio of potting soil and drainage material good to start with.
Growing Succulents from Leaves
Many new plants can be grown very quickly from leaves of Crassula, Stapelia, Opuntia, Graptopetalum, Sedum, and Sansevieria. Some exotic kinds of Kalanchoe are called mother of thousands because their long, succulent leaves often have small entire plants already growing on the tips.
Simply break off plump, mature leaves and insert them a little, stem-tip down, into well-drained potting soil. Keep moist, not wet, and within weeks each will sprout new plants.
Our expert shares her secrets for growing and selecting succulents.