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Aug 7, 2014

Propagating Succulents



last summer, i wrote this post about creating your own succulent gardens, and i'm proud to say that mine are still alive and well!

i think the trick with these plants is to keep them in a lot of sunlight and don't overwater them.  i did lose a few right after i potted them last year, but the rest really are thriving.

however, the one problem i have is that some of the plants are beginning to grow too tall for their own good.  they're beginning to actually bend over under the weight of their own height and leaves.

i'm more of a fan of short, fat succulents, so i'm not totally loving these tall spindly things that are growing on my windowsill.  (apparently this is a sign that they need more light, but for now, i'm giving them all that i can…so we'll just have to deal)  since succulents are an incredibly resilient plant, this is pretty easy to fix through propagation!

ok, so my first thought when considering chopping my plants in two was "oh crap".  but it turns out that it's not as scary as it sounds.  and i'm going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to do it!



so here are my tall, leggy plants…not the cute little fat succulents i planted last summer!

now this is the scary part (visualize hallie parker piercing her twin's ear in the isolation cabin in the parent trap…closing her eyes and then just screaming as she did it…yeah, that was how i felt).  you want to take sharp scissors and cut right beneath a leaf.  you should leave a leaf or two on the nub you left behind (i didn't do this and i think i regret it..not sure if that plant is going to come back now!), so don't cut beneath the bottom-most leaf on the stem…cut somewhere in the middle.



you're going to need to lay your stem out to callous.  this can take a few days, and i can't really tell you how you "know"…the end just kind of hardened up.  i left mine out for like 4 or 5 days.  the callousing process is really important…if you don't allow your ends to callous, then they will absorb too much water and rot before they can root.

you'll also notice that i laid out a bunch of individual leaves.  i had two stems, so i let one callous as it was, and i removed the leaves from the other and let them all callous as well.  each of these leaves should be able to root and grow their own little succulent plant!



once your leaves have calloused, lay them out on soil.  preferably a dry succulent soil, but i didn't have any of that and kept forgetting to go buy some, so this is just potting soil.  it seems to be doing the trick so far.  but if you can get succulent soil, then do that.  i also placed the stem directly into the soil.

while you have them all laid out on the soil, water them every few days, like you would a normal succulent.  be careful not to over-water or your leaves will rot!



now you get to be patient.  this part took longer than i thought it would and i was almost ready to give up on these little guys!  eventually, you'll see bright pink roots sprouting from the leaves.  (this is seriously so cool)  those little roots will worm their way down into the soil.



see the little baby plants poking out around at the end of the leaf?  they're on their way to developing into full-grown succulent plants!

in my honest opinion, it was much easier (and faster) to trim off the top of a taller plant, let it callous, and then stick it directly into soil.  growing plants straight from leaves takes a long time, but was still fun and is also totally worth it if you'd like to grow a lot of succulents for a little garden for free.

do you own any succulents?  do you have a green thumb?

52 comments:

  1. OMG I adore succulents! I will be pinning this one for sure! Awesome post! thank you! Stopping by from NEB!

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  2. This post comes just in time! I DO NOT have a green thumb at all. I purchased a succulent at Wegman's because I thought it was cute. I def. over watered it, and the bottom layer started to die. It just seemed so dry and thirsty! Thanks for the tips!! xo

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  3. oh that's cool! I've been super curious about this. So you would just recommend cutting the top off and sticking that in the soil? And I suppose you would just treat it like a normal succulent and water it every few days?

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  4. This post came at the perfect time! I have the same types as you and they are growing too tall for their little pot! Thank you for sharing this!

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  5. yeah...i think cutting the top off, letting it callous (just lay it on a windowsill for like 3-5 days), and then sticking it right into soil is the easiest way to do it...then, just water like a normal succulent! I've also heard you can stick the actual leaves into the soil instead of just laying them on top

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  6. ha....yeah, they do! i always panic when the soil seems super dry, but you have to remember that they're basically a type of cactus so they're used to not having a lot of water...they store it up in their leaves! (but they're so pretty, aren't they?)

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  7. Oh my gosh! I saw this idea to put succulents in tea tins too. I've been searching thrift stores high and low in search of some cute ones but have yet to find anything. Sad day. anywhoo, once i find some cool looking ones, i'm totally doing this!!

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  8. WHAT!?!?! This is so cool! I didn't know this is how they spread. :-)

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  9. I've been trying my hand at an herb and flower garden. I feel successful every day they stay alive.

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  10. I love succulents and have one sitting on my side porch. I'll have o try this. Thanks for the great tips!

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  11. wow, good for you! When we move and have more space (& windows with good lighting) I plan on attempting to grow more things! ;)

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  12. This is so fascinating! I just finished learning about how to best care for my succulents which I'm super excited to share about. Succulents are so amazing!

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  13. they so are! i love them...and they're really easy to care for, you just have to make sure to not over-water them!

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  14. thanks Em! succulents are really great, resilient houseplants...but the definitely do best when they have a lot of light!

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  15. ooh...mine are usually in my room but i recently moved them outside after i found a ton of aphids all over them (i'm guessing they got through my bedroom window screen?)...the aphids are since gone and my plants seem to be especially thriving outside!

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  16. I've never had any succulents before. They've always intimidated me for some reason. lol.

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  17. ha! i totally feel ya...i try to choose and grow the easiest plants ever...once, someone gave me a beautiful african violet that was covered in these purple flowers and eventually, the flowers fell off. but then i could never get it to flower again...boo!

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  18. oh goodness...don't let them! they're pretty easy...just keep them in small containers (they like to be crowded) in lots of sunlight and only water them like once a week...they're a type of cacti so they like dry soil. i've read that you're supposed to plant them in a succulent soil or soil mixed with sand, but mine are just in potting soil and doing well.

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  19. I am so terrible when it comes to plants. But maybe I would be able to not kill more resilient ones.

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  20. Wow this is so cool. I love learning about plants. I am not great with them but when I do get something to grow it feels so good. I am a bit of a tree hugger- just have a soft spot for plants in general. I love the pots made from tea containers!

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  21. pinning this post...so helpful

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  22. same here! i try to grow easy plants :) haha...thanks! the tea containers were hand-me-downs from my grandma

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  23. you should give succulents a try...they're low-key...just don't give them too much water!

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  24. yeah! it's very cool...and really fun to watch!

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  25. sad! i got these from my grandmother...sometimes i see tins at the grocery store (check the organic aisle), but they obviously have tea in them...so you've got some tea-drinking to do if you buy them there! haha

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  26. aren't they so cute?! i love them too :)

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  27. This is one of the reasons I love succulents!

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  28. Oooh, I want plants like these in my house! They look really cool. Thanks for the tips!

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  29. I wish I had a green thumb for reasons like this! Looks amazing! <3

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  30. I totally need to do this because one of my plants isn't looking so pretty anymore, so I should try to regrow some! I do NOT have a green thumb though, it's awful!

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  31. I didn't know that you could do this with succulents! I've been wanting to get one of these plants - good to know how to do this!

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  32. songbirdsandbuttonsAugust 8, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Well, mind = blown. This is so darn cool I can't even handle it.

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  33. Oh wow! This is great. I would kill them though. I kill all plants.

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  34. My friend was just talking about doing this a few days ago, love how detailed the photos are. I'm gunna send the link on!

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  35. I legit suck at gardening. This was petty helpful.

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  36. i wrote a post like this a while back too... and sadly mine are all dead!! nooooo.... i think also it can depend on climates. i hear in georgia bc it's so humid, you can just leave them wherever.. forget about them and the cuttings will all grow on their own.

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  37. I have never had green thumbs before and don't think its about to change any time soon. I usually get orchids but even them i forget and they die.

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  38. How cool! I didn't even know that this was even possible. Great idea.

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  39. I really want one of these plants now. You've convinced me!

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  40. This is amazing!! I love succulents but haven't bit the bullet to get my own yet!

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  41. You make it look so easy... I have the worst green thumb ever, but I want to try!

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  42. Seriously loving succulents currently! One item on my summer bucket list was to buy succulents for my home and I am so going to do that in the next couple of weeks! I have never thought about doing them myself, but yours look great!

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  43. they're so pretty....definitely some of my favorite plants! this is a long process, but it's fun to see them grow into little plants!

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  44. they're really really resilient plants! definitely try it out :)

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  45. do it! they're great little indoor (or outdoor, depending on your climate!) plants!!

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  46. oh no! a few of mine died right after i planted them, but the majority lived...i don't know if something was wrong with that plant or what...and of course, they were planted in the biggest pot, so that particular one has been looking a little sad! haha
    I typically keep mine inside, because we have such a crazy climate and our winter was so cold, but they seem to do well as long as they get sun!

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  47. oh no! these little guys are usually pretty cheap and are really resilient, so you might have some luck with them!

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  48. Love this post + information! I've always ended up getting rid of succulents when they get leggy. I never thought of propagating them + your directions make it sound pretty easy :) I have a green thumb for growing food, but when it comes to plants/flowers, my thumb is black!

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  49. This is so interesting! I didn't know you could do that. I'd be so scared as well. I just tried to branch my fiddle-leaf fig and am still waiting for results. :X

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  50. Love the look of succulents. I've yet to try keep them alive myself lol!

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