If you have ever admired the beauty of succulents or have been lucky enough to own some, you’d know that they are among the most low-maintenance and rewarding plants to grow. While it is much easier to buy succulents, propagating and growing them from cuttings is much more rewarding and economical. It is a simpler process than you’d think; all you need to do is pluck, tuck, and wait.
The most common way to propagate succulents is by plucking leaves from existing plants. Find a succulent with large enough leaves near the bottom. Avoid leggy plants that have a good amount of distance between the leaves; instead, try to find ones with a more dense concentration of lower leaves. With a sharp pair of scissors, snip off the leaves as close to the stem as possible. Make sure the cut is clean and not jagged, as this increases your chances of successful propagation.
Once the leaves are off, lay them on top of a pot of soil and wait for the end to form a callous. This could take up to five days. During this period, make sure the leaves don’t get too much sun exposure and the soil is not completely dry; gently mist it with water if needed. Once you see the callous, you can tuck it into the soil, or you can wait a few more days until you see roots and leaves beginning to sprout from the cut. Make sure to keep the soil lightly watered, as overwatering can lead to rot.
For succulents with sticks or ‘fingers’ – such as the type known as blue chalk stick – propagation is much simpler. This variety can be propagated by plucking or pulling off one of the smaller sticks from the main stem. Stick the broken end into a pot of well-draining soil. While propagating, keep the soil lightly moist, but not too wet, and avoid direct sun exposure for at least the first few weeks. Continue to water the new plant every two weeks or once a month.
You can also grow and spread succulents by taking cuttings from full-grown plants. Cut or tear the carpet-like mat in parts and with your hands or scissors. Take the pieces and place them on the area where you want them to spread, at least six to 12 inches apart. Rake up any grass or weeds in the area to create a soil bed for the cuttings. Water daily for the first week with a sprinkler and then keep the soil lightly moist for the first month. If the area is hot and sunny, provide them some shade from an umbrella or a cardboard and monitor the progress.
Propagating, growing and sharing succulents is a great way to experience the joy from a single plant. While it’s not always a guarantee that you’ll be successful every time, it’s an easy and rewarding process and, more often than not, a happy outcome. With any propagation, it’ll take time and patience, but the result is worth it. So if you want to get more bang for your buck out of the succulents you already have, go ahead and give it a try.