Color isn’t hard to come by with a landscape full of succulents; neither is texture or form. Mix and match succulents to create an inspiring scene.
Succulents come in an extensive variety of textures, colors, shapes, and sizes. This method is described by Nan Schiller, who is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania.
HOW TO PROPAGATE SUCCULENTS IN 5 EASY STEPS
Succulent plant propagation is a breeze. Of course, you may start from seeds, but it’s easier and faster to use the plants you have to produce even more.
Here are two easy methods:
METHOD 1: DIVIDING
You may divide a plant in two ways:
1. PLANTLET REMOVAL: Remove plantlets, or offsets, that have sprung up alongside the mother plant. These are fully-formed and rooted mini-plants that can grow independently.
With echeveria, rosette-forming succulents, we call the main plant the “hen” and the plantlets are referred to as “chicks.” With barrel cactus, they are known as “pups.” Some succulents drop plantlets. Like seeds, they take root where they fall.
2. ROOT SEPARATION: Unearth an entire plant and gently tease the roots apart. Plant the separated clumps individually. Plants that have been divided by root separation may be placed in the soil immediately.
For indoor plants, use a potting medium recommended for cactus and succulent plants, like Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix.
You can also mix a handful of sand or perlite into potting soil. The proper mix promotes drainage and provides nutrients.
Wait a day, then water sparingly. Return outdoor plants to the garden when the sun is not directly overhead. Work the soil until it is crumbly, mound it up a bit, and make a shallow depression with room for sprawling roots.
Nestle your plant carefully into it and gently cover the roots with about an inch of soil. Tamp gently to secure.
Wait a day, and then lightly water the soil around the plant.
METHOD 2: CUTTING
With the cutting method, just cut off a piece of leaf or stem, let it dry, and you’ll have roots and shoots in no time. The trick is to keep it totally dry.
Here are two ways:
1. LEAF REMOVAL: Randomly remove several leaves, dry them out, let them grow roots, and plant.
2. BEHEADING: This is a good fix for a plant that has grown tall and spindly, or whose leggy bare limbs drape downward like a pendant.
Simply cut the head of the plant off the lengthy stem, leaving about an inch of stem attached. Dry it out, let it grow roots and plant.
The remaining stem of a healthy beheaded plant should grow new leaves in a compact grouping, making for a sturdier, more attractive plant.
As indicated, cuttings made from leaves and plant heads must dry out and grow roots before planting.
It’s not hard! Here’s how:
From the smooth blue rosettes of echeveria hugging the soil in compact clusters to the towering 6-foot agave Americana stretching toward the summer sun, they comprise one of the most fascinating plant species.
These versatile plants also thrive indoors in pots with good drainage, as well as in terrariums, provided they are watered sparingly.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Sharp shears
- Garden gloves (for handling spiny varieties)
- Small trowel
- Potting medium for succulents and cacti
- Containers with adequate drainage holes
This method is great if you want to start your own potting nursery for many cuttings at once, however, you must keep the soil completely dry while the cuttings callus off and form roots.
1. REMOVE SOME LEAVES OR BEHEAD
Randomly remove a few leaves from your succulent plant, twisting gently to remove the entire leaf without tearing.
On leggy growth, these can be removed from the bottom portion of the stem, which will be discarded. For plants like Christmas cactus, you may need to use scissors to remove an individual leaf.
If you are “beheading”, use your scissors or clippers to cleanly cut the stem about an inch below the lower leaves of the plant head.
2. CALLUS OFF
Set the cuttings aside in any type of container or tray. They’re not fussy. No potting medium or water is needed.
Check them in about five days and see if each has formed a callus on the cut end. This protects the exposed soft tissue from bacterial penetration.
3. GROW ROOTS
Watch for the growth of roots over the next few weeks. Leaf cuttings will begin to wither as they become food for emerging new plants.
When roots form, fill well-draining containers of your choice with potting medium, or select a garden location suitable for planting.
You can also opt to mix a handful of sand or perlite into regular potting soil. Succulents thrive in sunshine and well-drained soil. Without the sun, they grow pale, and with too much water, they rot.
Plant in a sunny spot in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is less intense. Mound soil up to raise the cuttings above the edge of your container, or garden surface.
Gently tamp the soil down to secure the roots, and do not water. Embellish with decorative stones or pebbles as desired.
5. WATER AND FEED
The next day, water sparingly and gently tamp the soil down again.
As your new plants acclimate to their surroundings, growth will accelerate.
There are other techniques for propagating succulents, including placing cuttings on top of the potting medium to callus off, thus enabling them to root themselves directly into the soil.