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How to Grow a Succulent from a Leaf – What You Need to Know

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Did you know you can grow a succulent from just a leaf? There are various methods for propagating succulents.

The typical method, known as vegetative propagation, entails making a clone of the original plant.

Allowing stem cuttings to callus before exposing them to moisture is crucial in growing a succulent from a leaf cutting. If you don’t do this, the cutting—in this case, the leaf—will decay.

Table of Contents

To propagate succulents, bury the callused plant section in shallow, slightly moist soil; patience is a prerequisite to growing new plants.

3 Ways to Propagate Succulents

The process of growing a new plant from a component of the parent stock is known as vegetative propagation. This component could be a mature plant’s cutting, offset, or leaf. There are three intriguing main strategies for propagating succulents to create new plants:

  • The dry propagation process, sometimes called air propagation, is a quick and easy approach to increasing the size of your succulent collection.
  • The method of rooting to propagate succulents or their components in water is known as water propagation.

This article explores leaf and soil techniques to expand your succulent collection rapidly.

Plant leaves in cactus potting soil

Propagate Succulents From Leaf Cuttings

Because you can get numerous cuttings from a mother plant, leaf cuttings are a great way of propagation.

The drawback is that leaves take longer to produce a healthy new plant. Like other succulent cuttings, a mother leaf cut from the parent plant will need several days to callus.

If your cutting doesn’t develop a callus over the wound, it will rot when stuck into moist soil. Alternative to cutting leaves off, you can use fallen leaves to propagate succulents.

Selecting from a succulent plant

Succulent plants are indoor plants. Only select a leaf to propagate from healthy plants. When organic gardening select a mother plant and when the cutting grow roots place into its own pot.

When selecting fallen leaves, choose only full and plump ones for improved success probability. If you don’t have fallen leaves, gently remove one off the stem using a twisting motion.

Ideally, you want to retain the petiole (the slender stem that attaches the leaf to the stem). Poor cuttings can result in the leaves not being able to sprout roots.

If you prefer not to remove the leaves from your succulent plants, you may purchase a leaf for multiplication, which is also a cheap alternative.

select a few leaves to propagate

Prevent Rotting

Place the succulent leaves on a paper towel until the wound is completely dry to prevent the cut ends from rotting when planted. Calluses’ are usually fully formed within five to eight days—the dip in a rooting hormone.

Transfer the callused succulent leaves to a tray filled with moist, well-draining soil, immersing the petiole slightly into the soil. This is perfect when you propagate succulents.

It won’t grow if it is set in too deep. The small plant might need to be supported by having it lean against the side of the container, on a craft stick, or tongue depressor.

How Much Light to Provide the Cuttings

When you propagate succulents, give the succulent leaves plenty of bright, filtered sunshine and sprinkle them with water a few times a week or whenever the soil dries.

Typically, most succulent roots begin to grow after approximately two weeks, and baby plants emerge after about eight weeks.

Growth & Development in succulent propagation

The development and growth rate varies depending on the succulent plants you’re trying to grow, the season, the soil temperature, humidity levels, and light quality.

stem cuttings propagation can be done with most houseplants.  Take these from the mother leaf and root succulent cuttings creating a new plant. This is the easiest way for propagating succulents from leaves

Soil Temperature

An essential consideration is soil temperature. In the fall, late winter, or early spring, succulents of the Crassulaceae family root better than in the summer, when they typically dry up or decompose slowly.

The leaf cuttings can grow only if the parent plant is actively developing.

Replanting Propagated Succulents

you can lif the mother plant and select a few leaves to propagate using succulent leaves

The type of soil your baby succulents will be planted in is the first and most crucial factor to take into account before planting.

A well-draining blend of sand, pumice, perlite, and organic material should make up the soil.

Generally, good baby succulent soil should include no more than 10% sand and an equal mixture of organic and inorganic ingredients, such as coconut coir or bark.

Your next consideration should be your choice of the growing container. I strongly advocate for drainage holes in pots, without which you risk ‘baby succulents’ enemy number one: root rot.

This will be a significant setback when you propagate succulents, as they are desert plants and require drier conditions.

Drainage holes also help roots breathe, an essential plant health factor.

Planting Propagated Succulent

success propagating succulents is dependent on how well the roots grow. Whether you use healthy leaves or the entire leaf from an existing plant

You are prepared with your well-draining container, suitable succulent soil, and bare-root plants. Now let’s plant your baby succulents:

What is CEC?

A healthy soil mix should balance holding onto the water while ensuring proper drainage, offering enough aeration, keeping the appropriate pH, and guaranteeing the soil has enough cation exchange capacity (CEC).

CEC is the soil’s ability to attract and retain ions (positively charged ions that attract negatively charged ions). CEC improves water and nutrient availability.

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The following components, in the specified amounts, make up an excellent potting mixture when you propagate succulents from succulent leaves:

  • One part compost
  • Two parts coconut coir
  • Half a part of the pumice (or perlite)
  • Half a part expanded shale, or LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate)

Each of the above serves a specific purpose in emulating the succulent’s natural habitat.

Peat moss

Peat moss is notoriously tricky to wet once dry, requiring double watering, the first to break the nonabsorbency and the second to water the plant.

Coco Coir

rooting succulents in coir will grow a healthy leaf and a good root system. If the leaf wounds when removed allow to cuttings callus over

Coco coir is a great alternative; succulents thrive in it and are renewable, unlike peat moss.

Methane gas is abundantly released into the environment during peat moss mining. On the other hand, coco coir is a waste byproduct of the harvesting and processing of coconuts and is widely available and renewable.

Fill your planter to the top with your homemade mixture. Make sure the planter is at least 2″ wider than the diameter of the succulent if you are relocating it to a larger container.

Your succulent will have plenty of room to expand and become stable.

soil propagation grow new succulents from mature succulents by creating new roots

Prepare the Plant

Remove your baby succulents from their present container, then gently separate the roots. To loosen the roots and remove the soil, you can “tickle” them from the bottom.

They can stabilize into their pot to acclimate to their new soil by being spread out.

This is the ideal time to remove any dead succulent leaves and brush away any dead roots from the plant’s base.

While doing this, brush away any old or extra dirt from the leaves and cuttings.

Buring the Roots

The succulent leaves should be placed in a shallow hole dug in the fresh dirt, and the roots should be covered with more potting soil and tightly tamped to stabilize the plant.

Don’t cover any succulent leaves or allow them to sit on top of the dirt, as this will increase the risk of stem rot. Merely ensure that the roots are protected and that the plant can remain erect until the roots can provide anchorage.

After the plant has stabilized, you can add colored stones, pebbles, or bark to give your new succulent plant in a pot a unique touch. Ensure the material isn’t compacted, ensuring water can reach the soil underneath.

I recommend waiting a few days before watering your newly potted succulents. Drought stimulates root growth as they spread out, searching for water in your new plants.

Is Succulent Propagation Hard?

Grow Succulents from Leaves

Succulent propagation isn’t problematic, but it does require you to watch for rot. When using a mother plant for succulent propagation, it is important not to strip all the leaves from her. She has to rebuild these leaves, which will shock the mother plant initially.

Succulent Propagation Pastime

Succulent propagation is an excellent pastime with children that can get them into gardening as it is fun to do, and they can check the results regularly. Then as the plants push out new root systems, the children can take the succulent propagation to the table and plant them in individual pots.

This succulent propagation can then be sold, used to increase the succulent plant collection, or even swapped at plant swaps for different succulents.

My Jade Plant Accident

I placed this jade back into direct sunlight while it recover, but the cuttings gave plenty of baby succulents

I recently had to do this with my Jade plant as my cat thought it would be funny to tease my dog, which jumped up on the counter, knocking down my 20-year-old Jade plant, She was smashed to bits, and I had to prune her back hard to save her.

soil dry or wet when planting, thats the question? succulent leaves are used to propagate succulents
All broken and pruned Jade Leaves

I removed all the stem cuttings and broken-off succulent leaves and placed these into containers, much as I discussed earlier. These took a few weeks but are now rooted baby plants.

It took a few weeks, but they are rooting very well, so I have got many new plants; I mist the soil with a spray bottle when it is dry, gave them plenty of indirect light, and now I have tons of baby jade plants. Just by propagating succulents, I can grow on and swap to build my collection.

Succulent leaf will sprout roots within a couple of weeks. Cuttings callus over before root growth occurs.
Rooted Jade Leaves

The prune was drastic, and I had to take most of the growth off. She dropped what fleshy leaves my jade had gone over the next few weeks, and I used these for succulent propagation, but as you can see, there is a ton of new growth, and they grow roots quickly in coir.

If you have a mature plant, stem cuttings work place in a well draining soil and avoid direct sun.
New Leaves after a heavy pruning

As you can see, even a bad experience can be an opportunity to propagate succulents and make more plants with leaf propagation.

FAQs on growing succulents from leaves

In Closing

When propagating succulents, don’t be alarmed if succulent leaves or stem cuttings perish; in our tests, more than half died. Since every cutting is unique, it is natural to lose some.

Propagating succulents can sometimes be a dice roll, but as you only use leaves when propagating succulents, you can place many more into the container at little cost.

Always ensure the roots are buried in the ground to prevent the succulents from drying out, hindering their growth.

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