Propagating succulent leaves & cuttings: step-by-step guide

Propagation is a fun and simple way to recycle overgrown plants and multiply your collection. With a little bit of care, succulents can re-grow roots from offsets or cuttings of leaves and stems. Succulents have high concentrations of meristem cells and enough water stored to support a cutting while it grows new shoots and roots. This a common way for succulents to grow in the wild and the process does not require fertilizer or rooting hormones.

Please note: Even with proper diligence, some cuttings and offsets may not take root, but the following guide will greatly increase your chance of success.

1. Make the Cutting

  • Use a sharp, clean knife or pair of scissors
  • For rosettes like Sempervivum and Echeveria, cut a new rosette offset from the mother plant (remove any undesired leaves)
  • For stemmed varieties, cut at the stem and remove enough leaves to expose the lower 1"-2" of stem for planting
  • For thick-leaved soft succulents, remove a mature, healthy basal leaf with a bit of stem tissue attached

2. Let Dry

  • Keep the offset or cutting in a cool, shaded location 3-5 days so that the cut can dry and callus
  • Cuttings from MCG are sent pre-dried and ready to plant

3. Prepare the Pot

  • If possible, use containers with drainage holes
  • Fill the container with a gritty, well-draining soil such as cactus / succulent potting soil from a garden center

4. Plant

  • Plant the cut end of a stem, leaf, or offset into the soil (the lowest leaves should sit just above the soil without touching it)
  • Compress the soil just enough to get the cutting to stand upright

3. Pick the Right Location

  • Place in bright, indirect light (not full sun) with plenty of airflow
  • Keep indoors between 60F and 80F, protected from extreme temperatures

4. Water

  • While cuttings and offsets are rooting, water frequently enough to keep the soil from drying out, but not so often that you see standing water
  • Depending on temperature and humidity, actual frequency is usually 2-4 times per week

5. Care for Rooted Succulents

  • After 2-4 weeks, a very gentle pull will tell you if a cutting has rooted
  • If working with outdoor or full sun varieties, they are now ready to gradually acclimate into these conditions (take about two weeks to slowly transition them)
  • Transition to deeper, less frequent watering (only water when soil is fully dry)