How to Propagate Succulents in 5 Easy Steps

14 Oct


With all the rage about creating frames or terrariums filled with  succulents, I am often asked where one would find affordable solutions to this plethora of plants.   Even though putting the garden to bed seems to be my primary task at hand, it is  a good time to take cuttings too.  These tips will also work for succulents purchased at a greenhouse or garden center, thus allowing for an endless supply of little succulents to use for indoor growing projects.


Succulents are probably one of the easiest plants to propagate.  Slow growing, these plants usually thrive in warm sunny locations and require very little care.  Unlike a cactus that barely needs to be watered, succulent plants should be watered anywhere from  ten to fourteen days depending on their growing location.  Keep in mind more sun = more water.   I have found a wide variety of sedum (stonecrop) and sempervivum (hen and chicks) that make great succulents for propagating and growing and using for plant crafts.  Look for a wide variety of colors and textures.  The groundcover sedum varieites in your garden also work great.

To propagate, follow these 5 easy steps:

1: Pinch off the tip portion of a stem only.  You don’t want to use another parts below this, as the newer growth at the tip of a stem will produce better roots.  You don’t need any more than one inch of stem, depending on the plant.  Cut between two nodes, which is the part where a leaf meets the stem.

2: Remove lower leaves, leaving only a few on the tip.  Set aside for at least a day to allow the stem to callous, or heal over.  This will allow better root formation.  You can also use the leaves to make new plants.

3: I like to stick the new cuttings in a flat when allowing for time to grow roots.  I use a traditional peat/perlite potting mix for houseplants.  I never use cactus mix as it is too sandy and have found that my succulents have grown better in the general potting mix anyway.  It looks pretty too.

4: Once they have developed roots, it’s time to plant them into your frame, container or terrarium. 

5: Once planted, little care is needed.  Keep in a low light area for about two weeks before moving them to receive sunlight.  Water when the soil dries out. 

Caring for your Succulents:  If your new plants become “leggy” pinch off the tips and start a new plant.  The original stem should develop smaller shoots. I like to keep my creations pinched back and have a continuous supply of baby succulents.  I never know when I need a little gift for something.  These little treasures make great gifts when planted in small terracotta pots. 

TIP:  Want to increase the variety of your collection of succulents?  Share this post with friends, and have each of you purchase a succulent plant, propagate, and hold a plant swap.  Soon you will end up with many different varieties!

Sedum Lime-Zinger PPAF
photo by Chris Hansen courtesy of

4 Responses to “How to Propagate Succulents in 5 Easy Steps”

  1. susannachristensen October 18, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Thanks for your post. Very informative and easy to understand!

  2. Alexa November 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Hi! Loved this post and I get even more excited to see how many baby succulents I can get eventually after I learn the process. But I need help with mine! I had 3 mother plants which I behead 5 fully grown rosettes from. I let them dry out to callus and they are now rooting nicely and placed on cactus soil. My problem is, I don’t know what to do with the mother plant. I took out all the leaves from one and after a while they all rooted (so happy!) some even have tiny rosettes coming up and some are slowly developing. But, the mother plant was left standing kinda sadly without any rosettes and just a stem full of leafs. I did notice that it’s sprouting right at the spot where I cut the rosettes. What should I do next? I love all the propagating going on but am not sure how to proceed. :)Thanks!!

    • Patti Marie Travioli November 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Alexa,

      Sometimes you have to sacrifice the mother plant. But if you can be patient, the rosettes forming on the stem where you took the cutting will get bigger and cover the ugly stem. Or just keep removing them from the mother plant and make more smaller plants. Sounds like you are doing a great job! Have fun and glad to hear that you enjoyed this post.

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