Propagating Succulents: An Update on My Plants
I’m obsessed with my plants.
It’s borderline concerning to my friends, but it makes me so genuinely happy to watch a leaf uncurl on my pothos or a new shoot to grow from my palms or the leaves of my jades reach for the light. But what’s even more satisfying is growing new plants from existing ones, which is essentially what propagation is.
Last July I shared a step-by-step guide on how to propagate and I thought I should give you guys an update on my plant progress. I’ll be honest, my success rate with propagation is about 50%, but through the process I’ve discovered some things that have helped increase the odds, which I’ll share with y’all today.
This sucker was taken in July from the Kalanchoe below and has been the most successful cutting so far. I didn’t pluck the “mother leaf” off, but rather let it decompose naturally. To begin with, while it was sprouting, I didn’t water it. But once the stem was large and strong enough after a month or so, I lightly watered it weekly and continue to water every 1-2 weeks when the soil is dry.
The leaves below were taken only a few weeks ago from my money plant and have actually all been successful. The key is letting the leaves dry and sprout on a sunny sill for 2-4 weeks before placing them on moist soil. I only started watering them recently (when they look like this:)
The sprouts above were taken from my money plant. From that one money plant I bought back in June (the one in this post), I now have 4, 2 of which are these bad boys:
Lastly, the least successful, my echeveria. They had the smallest success rate due to the fact that they’re tougher to know when to water and when to leave alone. I find other plants (jade, kalanchoe, pothos, etc.) more forgiving. Typically my echeveria reach about a centimeter high before they shrivel so I’ve deduced that I’ve been underwater once they are mature enough to handle it. The ones that have done the best were placed on soil specifically for cacti and propagating (which is far less refined than potting soil and has more chunks of big bark pieces and twigs–the stuff roots can cling onto) and watered lightly every 1-2 weeks.
Another issue I rain to often was leggy echeveria, as you can see below. This means it was getting too much light.
To fix this, I cut off the top half and left the base with about an inch of the stem in the soil. The nub, err stem, will eventually produce new sprouts so it won’t look ugly for long. As for the part I cut off, I simply pluck enough leaves off the base so there’s about an inch or two of bare stem.
Then I leave the top and leaves on a sunny sill to dry and callous for a week or two before planting the top and pushing it down into good soil so it’s a “normal” height. Voila, a new plant! The leaves can be place on top of soil and very lightly watered. I actually mist mine so they don’t get drenched and rot.
Hurray plants! If you’re not propagating yet, get on it. Anyone have advice for how to up my echevaria cutting survival odds? Or watering tips/schedule?
I’m a little obsessed with my plants, as well. Once I was finally successful with propagation, my obsession only grew. I was talking to my mom about it and she said my my grandmother use to collect clippings on her trips to bring back home for propagation. I think this is a great idea which I will surely be implementing.
I’ve killed two succulents and a cactus this winter and have no idea how, so the fact that you are growing plants and turning them into MORE PLANTS is total voodoo magic to me. I’m going to take these tips to heart and probably look into some of the types of plants you mention. If you have the aspiration of growing a small jungle (which I do, and it sounds like you do, too!), this is super helpful. Thanks for sharing!