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Fuss-Free Succulent Propagation

One of my favorite things about these unique plants is succulent propagation. Who doesn’t want to further their garden from succulents they already have and love? Whether dealing with etiolation (when succulents stretch – and possibly lean towards sunlight), a dying plant, an overgrown succulent, or simply a succulent you adore and want more of – propagation is the answer to helping your succulents thrive. We here at Harddy have only a few quick tips for fuss-free propagation, as you embark on your journey to becoming a succulent master.

Step 1: How to take a rosette cutting

If you already have a rosette head or want to focus on propagating from leaves, move on to step two. However, if you have a healthy and strong-stemmed succulent, begin by taking off the head to create a rosette succulent cutting. Beheading may seem a bit dramatic, but it is the easiest way to propagate a strong and fleshy succulent. To take the cutting, use a sharp set of scissors to cut off (ideally) a three-inch section. If three inches seems impossible, then we recommend finding at least a one-inch section from the leafiest area. This can be taken either from the main stem or an offshoot. Voila … this is your cutting!

Step 2: How to take a leaf cutting

In addition to rosette cuttings, it is quite easy to propagate from individual leaves. This can be done with any part of the succulent or from the rosette head itself. All you have to do is hold the leaf close to the stem, gently twist and pull, and you have a new cutting! The main goal here is a clean break: taking the entirety of the leaf and leaving nothing behind on the stem. This will provide the best opportunity for future success and growth.

Step 3: Cultivating your new cutting

It is absolutely necessary that the cutting (taken from either method) has time to dry out. Lay the various cuttings in a shallow dish and place in bright indirect sunlight. Pretend like they don’t exist for three to four days. No watering, no soil, no looking, nothing. Once your cuttings look dry and calloused, they are ready to move on. Letting them appear to scab over is a crucial step, as it will prevent over-watering in the coming weeks. Note that rosette cuttings will require a longer period of time (maybe two extra days) to dry-out in comparison to the leaf cuttings.

Step 4: Arrange & Water

Here is where the process for a rosette cutting and a leaf cutting slightly differ. A rosette head should be planted with the stem in soil from this point on. Leaf cuttings, however, should be placed in a shallow dish on top of fast-draining cacti/succulent soil. Water both types of cuttings using a spray bottle until the soil is lightly moist. Do not soak them! The first week can require more water to jumpstart growth – so check every other day and water if soil is dry to the touch. After this initial stage – spread watering out to every five days or so over a four-week period. Within this phase, little pink roots will begin sprouting from your cutting. Yay! Visible progress at last.

Step 5: Tend to the new growth

After seven weeks or so, (we know it’s long – but we promise it’s worth it) adorable little succulent pups will grow. The original cutting, or parent leaf, will begin to look shriveled and sad. Don’t be alarmed. They are simply providing their nutrients to the new growth and should be removed once they die on their own.

Final side-note! Don’t toss the stem! If you’ve taken all cuttings and growth off a succulent, leaving only the stem remaining, don’t toss it because new babies can grow from it once again. Simply cut the stem until it is an inch above the soil, follow regular watering rules, and it should begin again! Now armed with knowledge and practice, you can take your propagated succulent and give it a place to call home! If transferring to a different container, remember to provide room to grow and new soil. There are plenty of different methods and ideas when it comes to propagating succulents – so be patient, embrace the learning curve and enjoy watching your little beauty grow!


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