I have something of a love affair with succulents and I really enjoy propagating my own to add to my collection. You can read about how to propagate your own succulents here. I now have an Etsy Shop where you can buy leaf cuttings and also starter kits to get you going growing your own collection.
Succulent Propagation Starter Kit
The following guide is intended for people who have purchased a starter kit. Instructions are included, but the following is a more thorough guide to help get you going.
In your kit you will find:
- leaf cuttings
- stem cuttings
- two terracotta pots
It’s very easy to get started. It’s a good idea to propagate your cuttings immediately upon receipt, to limit the risk of them drying out.
First, fill your terracotta pots almost to the top with compost and firm down. Use a skewer or similar object to make a hole in the compost for your cutting. This should be about 2cm deep, or the depth of the stem cutting (without leaves attached) that you have received).
Simply place your cutting into the hole and firm the compost around the stem to fill any air gaps.
To water the stem cuttings, fill a small dish with a centimetre or two of water and place the pots into the dish. They will absorb the water up through the small drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. You can tell when the compost is saturated as it will become darker in colour; remove the pots at this point and only water again when the soil is totally dry. This will usually be around a week in spring and maybe more in summer and less in autumn. Watering needs will also vary depending on the conditions in your home (a hot conservatory will lead to drier pots than an east facing windowsill). There is no hard and fast rule as to how often to water succulents; the best guide is to only do it when the soil is dry (these are very small pots so the soil will dry much quicker than it will in a big pot). Overwatering is one of the main reasons succulents die – it causes their roots to rot.
Keep your cuttings in a bright spot but out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight to the cuttings could cause them to dry up before they root.
Put the remaining compost (or some of it – there is more than enough in the kit) into a dish or seed tray and simply place the leaves on top. The top of the leaf is usually curved inward slightly; place them face up.
You do not need to push the ends into the compost.
Some people like to use rooting hormone to give the leaves a head start. Personally I do not tend to use rooting hormone as I find it helps leaves produce roots, but often not baby succulents. This is personal preference and you should experiment with what works best for you.
Place the leaves with the stem cuttings in a bright spot but out of direct sunlight.
I use a water mister to spray my leaf cuttings when the soil dries out. Until roots have developed, minimal moisture is required, and compost that is too wet will encourage leave to rot. However, once roots develop, they need taking care of, so daily misting is advisable. I cannot tell you exactly how often your leaves will need misting; again,, this will depend on such factors as the warmth of the room, the depth of the compost and so on. Daily misting is generally sufficient, but you need to adapt to your conditions. Do not soak the compost or the leaves as again this may encourage rotting.
Roots will first appear as tiny red dots. As these grow, push them into the soil gently, but avoid covering any baby succulent that will also begin to grow.
As the cuttings begin to grow, they will need repotting. It does take a while for succulents to grow, so do be patient! In the summer, it’s a good idea to give them a monthly feed with cacti feed.
Here are some examples of succulents propagated from leaves that have been repotted:
In the third and fourth pictures, you can see that the parent leaf is still attached. Only remove this once it has totally dried up and gone crispy. It feeds the baby succulent with nutrients as it grows and removing it early will stall and end the growth of your baby succulent. The leaf in the third picture has almost completely dried up but the one in the fourth picture is still very plump.
You may be lucky enough to have a leaf which produces multiple babies, like in the first picture. I tend to keep them together until they are a good size (at least an inch in diameter) before separating them into individual plants (you don’t have to separate them at all).
If you place the stem cutting onto the top of the compost as it grows, it will root in and begin to produce further stems and a fuller plant.
Some succulent stem cuttings (such as sedums) grow quite quickly, so will be ready to pot on quickly. You can pot them on as they outgrow their pot.