Get plants for free with these tips for propagating succulents.
Plants for free – what is not to like about that? Every time I go to my local garden center, I always check out their variety of succulents. But have you checked out the prices for them? $4-$5 for a TINY pot is not unusual at all. Why pay these prices, when you can get all the succulents you want for free from just a cutting or a leaf? These tips for propagating succulents will give you dozens of extra plants in no time at all.
I have dozens of varieties of succulents in my garden that I have collected. Some of them, like hens and chicks (sempervivum) are cold hardy and can stay outside during the winter, and others have to be brought indoors over the winter or they will die from the frost that we get here in NC. All of the varieties are candidates for propagating succulents. The indoor plants that I tried to carry over got leggy from low light, so they will be cuttings. I will also take leaves from many of the varieties.
This photo shows you some leaves as well as some cuttings from the leggy plants.
The first step is to air dry the ends of the leaves and cuttings. Succulents will rot easily if you try to put them in soil too soon. The reason is that they will try to absorb too much water, since they store moisture in the leaf area. You will want the ends of the leaves to be calloused over before you plant them. Depending on how hot it is, this can take a few days to a week. Be sure to get the whole leaf and try not to break it in half for best results in getting them to grow.
I just laid my cuttings in a seedling tray that I plan to plant them in later and left them to dry.
Once the ends have nicely calloused over, they are ready for the soil. I used a cactus and succulent potting soil and planted the cuttings around the outside and just laid the leaves in the middle in rows. If you wish, you can use a rooting powder, but this is not necessary. The leaves can also be stuck into the soil, but they will grow just fine laying on the top, too.
Watering is tricky. I used the mist setting on my hose nozzle to give the cuttings just a light mist every few days or when the soil was starting to dry out. The main thing is to go lightly on the watering or the cuttings will rot.
In a few weeks, your cuttings will have started growing (a sure sign they have rooted) and the leaves will be sprouting small baby succulents.
This tiny baby will grow into a full sized plant in no time at all.
This leaf shows both the roots that have formed and the baby that is starting to grow.
The largest of my baby plants got to about 4 inches tall in about three weeks, so they were ready to go into their planters right way.
I put the smaller rooted cuttings into some 3 inch seedling pots that I had saved from a recent shopping trip for vegetable seedlings. They are a good size for these tiny plants and will give them some room to grow without having too much soil.
More baby succulent plants as well as a few leaf cuttings that have just started to root but not yet grown the babies.
Plants for free! I will put these seedling trays on a planter stand on my patio so that they are easy to mist each night until they have really started growing. They are too small to put directly in the garden right now.
Three new babies in one tiny planter – and they cost me nothing except a bit of time. This little planter is only about 3 inches wide and 7 inches long and is the perfect size for a mini succulent planting.
Sempervivum babies planted in the holes of a brick make a creative and neat looking planter.These are the plants that I used for my propagating succulents project.
- Echeveria derenbergii – Painted Lady
- Sencio “Firestorm”
- Senecio Vitalis
- Graptopetalum Paraguayense
- Graptosedum “Vera Higgins”
- Sedum treleasei
- Echeveria harmsii – Plush Plant
- Crassula Capitella
I left my small rooted cuttings on my patio until they started to grow into larger plants that can take normal garden conditions. The next step was to plant them in the garden in a large cement block planter that I use to feature them in my Southwest themed garden bed. Some of the openings have plant pots sunk in the soil (the tender varieties). The hardy varieties that will take the winter outdoors are planted directly into the soil.
Have you tried propagating succulents from cuttings and leaves? What tips can you share that were successful for you?
Update on my cuttings.
Last fall, I transplanted many of these cuttings into a long container to bring indoors over the winter. They are sitting in a sunny south facing window and doing well. I used a few of them to make a coffee pot terrarium project!
For more great garden ideas, be sure to visit my Pinterest garden board.
Want to know more about Succulent Plant Propagation? This E-Book from Drought Smart Plants will tell you everything you need to know.
This wonderful graphic shared by permission of FTD Fresh is a fabulous source to help identify succulents you might be growing but don’t know the name of.
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