Something for nothing? This isn’t some medieval alchemy magic trick! This is succulent propagation!

Methods of Propagation:

The Glass is Full Method:

If you’ve gotten a cutting from a friend and it’s mostly stem, let the cut parts callous over. In a month or so, the stem might magically shoot off roots on its own. You can also suspend the rosette head over a glass of water as I have done below. Roots will magically appear! As always, keep your plant out of direct sunlight. Shade and moisture are this baby plant’s BFF (for now). Once healthy roots are established plant your cutting in cactus succulent soil and keep moist in a shaded spot till the plant is established.

Echiveira Rooting 1 (December 15th, 2011

Echeveira roots one month later (January 15th, 2012)

Happy Echeveria

Leaf cuttings:

Leaf cuttings are a very easy and cheap way to propagate your succulents! For leaf propagation you must take a younger but large enough leaf specimen and let it callous over for a few days. Then you simply stick the leaf in the ground about 1/4 of it submersed in the soil. For the next 3-4 weeks, you will want to keep the leaf cutting in a shady, cool,well aerated area and make sure to maintain constant moisture. Remember: No Direct Sunlight! I know that constant moisture may sound like an ironic idea since for an established plant constant moisture is the kiss of death! It will surely rot and turn to mush. For succulent propagation, we’re dealing with a whole set of new rules now. So just trust me on constant moisture & shade. In the next 3-4 weeks, your leaf cutting should grow roots. A basic test to check for root development is to give the cutting a very GENTLE tug and try to feel if there is any resistance. If so, BOOM! We’re in business! You’ve got some healthy roots! In a few more weeks, a baby plant should emerge out of the ground. This plant will use the food stored in the parent leaf cutting to grow. The actual science behind how you can produce a plant from just a leaf cutting is just fascinating and some might say nothing short of a miracle. But I assure you this “magic trick”: getting something for nothing is all based on stem cells. The plant’s leaf is full of these stem cells that can function for whichever purpose the plant needs it to, in order to continue it’s existence. If only human anatomy were that adaptable, eh? One minute the stem cells are used to make roots and the next minute they are used to create and then feed the baby plant. Cool stuff!

Donkey tail propagating on it’s own

Stem cuttings:

This method is great for succulents that don’t have fleshy leaves. I have been expanding my sedum collection this way. I just take a few long cuttings of the sedums. Then lay the cuttings on the soil. You can cover the stem with soil if you like. I have found that covering the stem with soil speeds up the rooting process. Make sure to moisturize your stem cuttings often and in about 2 weeks you should have some great root development!

Tricolor Sedum


Division is really simple. When you buy a new plant, just empty out the pot to view how many individual plants are in the pot. They will have their own root systems and should be easily separable. I had purchased a small 4 inch pot of Aloe Vera. I wanted to propagate this plant by dividing it up. Sure enough I found 4 separately established plants in there! Very cool! Pretty much I got 4 individual plants or the price of one

Sedum Burrito Division


Offsets are totally rad! I’m still trying to understand how some plants make these. But in the interest of basic propagation info, offsets or “pups” are the plant’s natural method of propagation. If you have established aloes, they seem to be very prolific and have many pups at the stem of the mother plant. These pups will be attached to the mother plant. You can cut these pups off (try to keep things sterile). I personally like dipping the exposed areas into Rooting Hormone. Then I just stick both plants into the soil and water it every 2-3 weeks. Give the offset plant a little tug. If you get some resistance, then we’ve got great root development!

Echeveria with two pups

Deadheading Succulent Stems

There are certain succulents that have to have their head’s chopped off at the end of their growing season since the rosette won’t survive anyway. If the stem is inspected carefully, there one might find little baby pups emerging. You need to keep your regular maintenance of the plant and the pups will continue to grow. At some point, you can remove them from the stem and plant the pups and plant them in soil. I thought my topsy turvy had died, since the leaves turned a weird color and the plant looked unhealthy. I took it out of the soil and washed the root under water and discovered pups! Here they are:

Topsy Turvy Pups (December 23th, 2011)

Topsy Turvy Pups (December 23th, 2011)

Topsy Turvy Pups (December 23th, 2011)

Topsy Turvey Pups (January 8th, 2012)

Topsy Turvey with pups (February 26th, 2012)

Pups on leaf still attached to the mother plant:

Here on my crassula arborescens, I noticed that there were little pups growing on one leaf. I’m going to monitor their growth and post updates on their progress.

Crassula Arborescens offshoots on leaf January 22nd 2012