How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves so You Can Multiply Your Succulent Collection

One of the most fascinating things about succulents is that they’re able to be propagated — it’s like nature’s little gift to plant growers. If you learn how to propagate succulents from leaves, you can end up with tiny replicas of your favorite succulents in just a few months.

That means you’ll be able to enjoy new plants without having to pay for them individually!

(This post may contain affiliate links).

Propagating succulents can be a big money saver if done correctly. All you’ll need is: 

Succulents, Cactus Mix, a Saucer, Spray bottle, sunlight or Grow Lights.

How to Propagate Succulents that have Stretched Out

Succulents that have grown leggy or stretched out are PERFECT for propagation, especially if you hate the way they look.

These stretched-out succulents actually lost their compact form because they weren’t getting enough sunlight. In their quest for more sunlight, they stretched themselves out in a process called etiolation. 

While this can be frustrating for any succulent grower, it doesn’t mean your plant will die; it simply won’t ever return to its former shape. Give it more sunlight and it’ll be fine.

Stretched-out Succulent

However, if your plant’s new stretched-out and leggy look bothers you, use the propagation tips below to create new plants from this one mother plant!

Tips for How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves 

This process is very simple and actually pretty fun!

All you need is a few leaves picked off of a healthy succulent. To get started, go over to the succulent you want to propagate. 

I usually look for succulents that have stretched out from lack of adequate sunlight; it’s my way of “fixing” succulents that aren’t as pretty as they once were.

The leaves you propagate should be healthy for the most part, which means that they’re not dried out or rotting.

You don’t have to take the entire succulent apart, either. You can save the top of the plant and part of the stem so you can replant it.

To avoid making the mother plant look strange, I recommend taking the leaves or leaf from the bottom of your succulent. This way, you won’t have weird-looking empty gaps or spaces from the middle or top of your current succulent. 

To separate a leaf from your plant, simply grab the leaf with your fingers and gently tug at it back and forth from side to side until the leaf breaks off from the base. It should tear off rather easily.

Take leaves off succulents so you can propagate them!

The important thing to remember here is that you want a clean break from the stem of the plant because this will give the plant the best chance at growing roots.

Refer to the photo below for how your leaf should look after you tug it away from its stem. See how straight the cut is? It didn’t tear diagonally or into the flesh of the leaf.

Propagating succulents from leaves.

When all the leaves have been torn off, set them aside for a few days so the ends can form calluses. This will help prvent root rot when the leaves are exposed to moisture and soil.

Keep the leaves in the shade because they might sunburn if left in direct sunlight.

Once you see that the ends of the leaves have formed calluses, (the ends will appear dry, brown, or “sealed in”) then it’s time for the next step!

How to Propagate Succulents using Cactus Mix

Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix is simply a mix of sand, pumice, small sticks, and soil that is mixed together to form an ideal growing environment for succulents and cacti.

It provides the right amount of water retention and air circulation that allows the roots of succulents to thrive.

Cactus mix is recommended for planting succulents indoors and outdoors, and it’s perfect for propagating succulents, too.

While whole succulents should be planted in soil, succulent leaves that are to be propagated shouldn’t be planted, but placed on top of the soil – not in the soil.

Planting your leaves in soil won’t get you good results, in fact, your leaves may end up rotting away if you try to propagate them this way.

Laying them on top of succulents soil or cactus mix gives the leaves time to grow roots that will eventually grow succulent babies in a few weeks.

The leaves will gather nutrients and water from the air and soil around them, so don’t worry about not planting them. 

I recommend using a large saucer, as shown above. I’ve even used a 9 x 13 ceramic baking dish to propagate a large number of succulent leaves. (The baking dish had formed small cracks on the bottom of the pan, so I was no longer using it for baking).

Lay succulent leaves when you're propagating succulents!

Any container or lid with a flat surface will do; there’s no need to spend any extra money here!

Once you have your container ready, fill it with soil and lay your leaves right on top of the soil, as shown below.

One of the most important things to remember when learning how to propagate succulents, apart from tearing off the leaves correctly, is to water your leaves every day or at least every few days. I’ve noticed that watering them regularly advances the propagation process faster than not watering them.

While it’s true that you shouldn’t water your potted succulents with a spray bottle, watering succulents leaves is a different matter altogether. (Read my How to Water Succulents post for a refresher on how to properly water your potted or outdoor succulents).

During the propagation process, it’s very important to keep your soil moist. You can simply take a spray bottle that’s filled with water to dampen the soil, as shown in the photo below; a few spritzes a day will do.

Learn how to water your propagating succulents leaves!

The leaves will get moist in the process, but that’s okay. The important thing here is to make sure the soil gets water because this is what will help your leaves grow roots.

At this point in the propagation process, you can move your succulent leaves to a spot that gets a few hours of indirect sunlight each day.

Propagating Succulents Takes Time – Be Patient!

Propagating succulents takes several weeks, even months before you see a succulent baby that is large enough to plant in a pot or in the ground. After about 3 to 4 weeks, the leaves should start to grow roots.
 
Don’t be alarmed if some of your leaves never grow roots because not all leaves will propagate.
 
In fact, some of the leaves that do grow roots will never form a baby rosette, unfortunately. However, a good majority of the leaves I’ve propagated do grow roots — I would say about 30% of them never do.
 
If I have any leaves that haven’t grown roots in several weeks, I simply toss them out. I do the same thing with rooted leaves that never form rosettes after a few more weeks.
 
Take a look at the photo below, this is what your leaves should look like after a few weeks of laying on top of cactus mix and being watered every day. See all the roots coming out of the leaves? That’s what you want.
 
Those roots are beginning to form tiny little succulents babies that will grow larger in the next few months. Keep watering them and be patient!
 
Propagating succulents with leaves

 

Planting Succulent Babies After Propagating Succulents

Once your leaves have formed tiny replicas of the mother succulent and are about the size of a dime,  it’s time to start cutting back on watering.
 
When you stop watering, the baby rosettes will start to get their nutrients from the original leaf, which is going to help it grow larger and it may even begin to sprout more roots.
 
Cutting back on watering from once a day to every three days or so will cause the original succulent leaf to dry out.
 
When the baby succulent grows larger than an inch, then you can tear it away from the original leaf, but be careful not to harm the remaining roots in the process.
 
After you gently pull off the original leaf, you can pot the rooted baby succulent in its own pot and start to care for it like any other potted succulent!
 
Another option is to plant it with the original leaf still attached and simply let it wither off on its own.
 
To learn all the essentials of succulents care, head to my How to Care for Succulents post so you can help your new succulents thrive!

Wasn’t that easy?! Now you can go out and start propagating your own succulents – I’m sure you’ll love the results.

FOR MORE ON GROWING SUCCULENTS, CHECK OUT THE POSTS BELOW!

How to Care for Succulents
How to Water Succulents
What’s Wrong with My Succulent?
How to Get Rid of Mealybugs on Succulents
How to Fertilize Succulents

about me

Hi, I'm Natalie! I'm a passionate vegan + plant lover and I'm so thrilled you're here reading about how to grow your favorite plants! I hope to encourage your love of container gardening and my wish is that you'll start living a more plant-inspired life by growing, eating, and creating beautiful home decor crafts with live plants! Happy Gardening!

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