One of the very best things about succulents (besides their dazzling beauty!) is that you can potentially make an infinite number of plants from a single purchase. I think it’s so magical that you can take a tiny leaf from a friend’s plant, place it on soil, and in a few weeks, you’ll be on your way to having a gorgeous replica of your own! (TWINSIES!)
I get asked pretty often about how to propagate succulents and the answer is simple. Throw a leaf onto some soil and leave it alone. That’s it!
CHOOSING THE PERFECT LEAF PROPAGATE SUCCULENTS
You can get succulent leaves from a number of sources (my favorite being my own plants!). I have a couple that have gotten stretched out and these are the perfect candidates. You can also get them from a friend’s plant or even the clearance section at the nursery. Look for a plant that’s in decent shape, or may even be a little stretched but still has pretty foliage (no rot/black spots on the stem) and pluck the leaves off once you get it home.
When you go to propagate succulents from leaves, it’s important to get a clean “break”. Gently wiggle the leaf back and forth until it releases. If a part of the leaf stayed attached to the stem, it more than likely won’t root for you. The breakaway needs to be perfect and it’s best to use the lower leaves for this.
Here is an example of a leaf that has a clean break and one that does not. The one on the right more than likely will not root and will probably just wither and die in a day or two.
WHICH KIND OF SUCCULENT LEAVES SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Some of my favorite leaves to propagate are from the following succulents:
- Sedum (like Burros Tail, Firestorm, Jelly Bean)
- Graptoveria (Opalina, Debbie, Moonglow)
WHAT KIND OF SUCCULENT LEAVES SHOULD YOU AVOID?
Not all leaves are viable and some plants even need part of the stem in order to root (some examples of this would be Bear Paws and String of Pearls [those two on the bottom row, center]). As a matter of fact, there are other plants that you need a whole cutting in order to propagate (like aeoniums) and sempervivums need pups in order to propagate.
If your leaves are starting to turn clear, it means they won’t produce roots either. You also want to make sure the leaves are healthy – no black spots, rot, etc. The leaves are what will provide nutrients to the new plants for the first couple of weeks of their lives so it’s important that they are healthy!
Lastly, the little piece of red Gymnocalycium mihanovichii that you see there, it will need to be grafted onto something like a Hylocereus spp in order for it to live since it lacks chlorophyll and can’t survive on its own.
This awesome article can be found HERE