How to Prune Succulents

How to Prune Succulents

Do you have succulents that need to be pruned? 

There are a few reasons you might want to prune them:

  1. Kids
  2. Pets
  3. Aesthetics  

Kids and pets just don't know any better. 

The chunky look of succulents look like a cartoony fruit or vegetable to children, and a toy to pets.  Cats especially love a dangling plant.

Some delicious looking succulents, like the Donkey's Tail, are thankfully pet safe and non toxic.

They are also extremely fragile to touch - so place these beauties out of reach.

Senecio String of Pearls, which look like an amazing mini grape snack, will make dogs and kids sick if ingested.

Aesthetically speaking - pruning is equivalent to cutting your hair.  It takes an otherwise overgrown succulent in arrangements and balances it out, making it easier on the eyes. 

What is Succulent Pruning?

The pruning of succulents is done to multiply the amount of succulents you have, or to control their development. So, for example, if you have a Donkey's Tail that has grown too much, you can cut some stalks (leaves) to make it more beautiful, and then plant them in pots or in other corners of the garden to make new plants.

How to Prune Succulents

When Should You Prune Succulents?

It’s best to prune most succulents in the Spring, as this is their active growing phase. You will need a knife, regular scissors or a pruner. Regardless of the tool you use, it is crucial that you disinfect it before and after use.

Once you have the tool and the plant, make sure the first cut you do is as close as possible to the stem. By doing this you will get a very lovely and healthy cutting. Before planting the cuttings in a pot or the garden, let the wound dry for about 10 – 14 days in an area where the sun does not shine directly, and then plant it.

The rooting time will depend on the species, but generally, in 10 – 21 days they begin to sprout roots. We’ll have to have a little patience and keep the substrate or soil moist.

Pruning Instructions

  1. Examine the leaves of the stem to be pruned to determine where to cut. Find a leaf or leaf knot that points in the direction you want the stem to grow, then cut just above this point. The new growth at the pruning point will branch out in the course of the leaf node.
  2. Cut through the stem half an inch from the desired leaf or node. Cut at a 45-degree angle with a clean, sharp knife.
  3. Remove up to one-third of the length of each stem to be pruned. Depending on the varieties of succulents, the length of each pruned stem varies to give the plant a better visual appeal.


  • Prune the succulents in early Spring, just before the new growth begins. As for their flowering varieties, prune them after flowering or during the winter season when they are dormant.
  • Succulent pruning can take root and grow on new plants. To do this, plant the cuttings in a pot of moist soil and keep it moist until the sources of the bark show signs of new growth.

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