A Guide to Propagating Succulents From Leaves
Propagating succulents from leaves is a fast and easy way to grow new plants. A single leaf can develop its own roots and grow into a whole plant.
Succulents grown from propagation makes it easy to create large collections. Also, succulents make great gifts or profits when sold.
What is Propagation?
Propagation is the process of growing new plants from a parent plant. For example, planting seeds on farmland to grow pumpkins is a type of propagation. However, there are more types of propagation other than planting seeds. It can also be done by planting cuttings, stems, roots, or leaves.
Propagating succulents from leaves is the best way of producing new plants. Most succulents will produce more leaves than anything else. Therefore, breaking off leaves and planting them in soil will yield the most plants. Also, removing leaves does little to no damage to the parent plant.
Learn More about propagation at growerdirect.com and learn various types of succulent propagation.
How to Propagate Succulents From Leaves
Growing new succulents from leaves is easy. With good procedure and maintenance, growing a ton of new plants will be a breeze.
Step One – Choose a Succulent
Find a good succulent with plenty of leaves to spare. Finding a larger plant is best because it will recover more quickly by growing new leaves. Above all, be careful to avoid choosing smaller succulents. Smaller plants are more fragile and will struggle to recover if too many leaves are taken from it.
Step Two – Collect Leaves
After acquiring a succulent, carefully harvest leaves from the plant. Use a razor, scissors, or specialized pruning shears in order to remove leaves. Make sure that any tool used for cutting has been cleaned with a rag soaked in alcohol. If alcohol is unavailable, hydrogen peroxide will make a great substitute.
Carefully use prepared tools to cut off leaves. When making a cut, slice where the leaf connects to the stem or base of the plant. This will yield the most material and gives the best chance of the cutting surviving long enough to produce a new plant. Slicing too far away from the stem will cause the cutting to dry out and wilt.
Some plants, such as jade plants, will naturally drop leaves from stems. Carefully look over fallen leaves and choose ones with little to no damage. To clarify, avoid brown wilting leaves or leaves with large cuts. Healthy leaves can be collected and used in the propagation process.
Step Three – Creating Callouses
Fresh cuttings (leaves) will have open wounds from were they attached to the parent plant. Be careful with new cuttings and avoid creating any more wounds. Above all, let the cuttings heal over before planting.
It will take about 4-6 days for cuttings to heal over and form callouses. Callouses will harden and keep water inside leaves, and they will keep bacteria out. Moreover, make sure fresh cuttings stay dry and out of the sun. This prevents them from becoming infected and loosing too much water.
*Avoid planting fresh cuttings into soil before they callous over. Open wounds allow water to escape from the cutting and let bacteria infected. Combined, this may cause the cutting to wilt before developing roots.
Check out homeguides.sfgate.com to learn more processes on callousing succulents.
Step Four – Waiting For Roots
After cuttings have calloused over, they need to be placed in a location with soil and sunlight. A shallow dish or pot works well because it can hold a lot of leaves at a time. Make sure the cuttings are misted every few days, or at least given enough water to keep the soil lightly moist.
In time the leaves will shoot out little white roots. This can take anywhere between two weeks and two months depending on the species and environment.
*New roots are very fragile and can wilt quickly. It is crucial that the soil near the cutting is watered and kept moist but never soaked. Succulents are hardy, so a few days without water is better than too much water.
Step Five – Caring For a New Plant
Around the same time roots begin to grow on calloused cuttings, little leaves will also begin to sprout. However, leaves may take longer to appear than roots. If this happens and the cutting has roots, continue to provide it with water and sunlight. Eventually, leaves will appear in a few weeks or months.
Baby plants propagated from leaves (and other plant parts) will be clones of their parent plants. This makes it possible for new hybrids to be kept alive and duplicated. To clarify, propagated plants will require the same care as the plant they came from and will grow the same way.
It can take months for new plants to grow large. Eventually, they will grow large enough to produce more cuttings used for propagation.
Benefits to Propagating Succulents From Leaves
There are many benefits to propagating succulents from leaves. These benefits can be for the plant itself and for the grower.
Propagated Plants Grow Faster
Growing succulents from seeds can take a very long time. It can take seeds weeks, months, or up to a year to germinate.
Seedlings need near perfect conditions to survive, and they do not have a lot of nutrients stored to help them grow.
Leaves and cuttings are able to root quickly in as little as two weeks. Because cuttings already have plant material, they are able to photosynthesize and help a new plant grow faster.
Propagated plants also have a much higher chance of survival. Not all succulent seeds germinate, and seedlings need perfect amounts of sunlight and water in order to mature. Cuttings, however, have stored energy and can survive without water or sun for a few days. With proper care 100% of succulent cuttings can develop roots and become a full plant.
Propagated Plants are Backups
Propagated plants are cuttings from a parent plant. Therefore, propagated plants are clones (exact copies) of the plant they came from.
This means that if anything happens to the parent plant, for example wilting or disease, a propagated plant can replace it. The propagated plant will grow to look nearly identical to the plant it came from.
If a succulent is attractive, propagation can make more of the same plant that can be put in different areas.
Propagating Succulents From Leaves For Profit
Succulent propagation produces tons of identical plants very quickly. This makes it easy to be overwhelmed with new plants that will need a new home.
Propagated succulents make great gifts for friends and family. They can be given during any season and will survive in any home environment.
However, even friends and family can find themselves with too many succulents. Thankfully, propagated succulents are good for making profit. Extra plants will sell online or in local farmers markets. Because of their small size and little care requirements, they are always in demand.
Rare hybrids and larger succulents will go for even more money, and collectors will always be interested in new plants.
Dangers of Propagating Succulents From Leaves
Propagating succulents requires cutting pieces of a parent plant. This leaves the plant with an open wound that has a risk of becoming infected. The risk is extremely small, however, it can cause disease.
To avoid infections take cuttings from plants that have not been watered recently. This reduces the risk of an open wound rotting and the spread of bacteria.
Too Many Cuttings
Always be careful not take too many cuttings from a single plant. Succulents are very resilient and as long as they are green, they will usually survive. Taking too many cuttings at a time from a single plant can stress it out or cause infection.
Too many cuts can also stunt growth. Small cuttings are taken from growth nodes of a plant (The area at the ends of stems). Too many cuts will make it hard for the plant to produce new leaves to continue growing.
Sometimes its best to take one or two cuttings/leaves at a time and patiently wait for new leaves to grow. This will put the least stress on the plant.
Propagating Succulents From Leaves Creates Identical Plants
Identical plants can be infected by the same disease and have little resistance. If a fungal or bacterial outbreak occurs in a planter it will quickly spread to propagated plants nearby.
Propagated plants have the same genetic makeup as their parents, which means they will suffer from the same diseases. An infestation of a pest could also wipe out all succulents that are identical.
Have A Leggy Succulent?
Leggy succulents look unattractive and can cause permanent damage to plants. However, there are many ways to fix leggy succulents.
One way is a process called “topping”, which removes the leggy piece of a succulent. This piece of stem and leaves will form a new plant if propagated.
Click Here to learn about topping and other ways to fix leggy succulents.