How to Propagate Succulents at No Cost

Use these simple methods to turn your favorite varieties into even more plants.

Succulents are some of the easiest plants to propagate, as they can sprout new shoots from their roots, stems, and even from a single leaf. Even better, they can withstand a little drying out during the process, should you forget to water them a time or two. So when you want to increase your number of succulents, there's no need to buy more. Instead, you can create more yourself by using one of these three easy propagating methods. It only takes a few materials to get started: In addition to your favorite succulents, you'll need a few small pots, perlite, potting mix made specifically for cacti and succulents, and a crafts knife. With a little patience, your propagated babies will soon start growing into beautiful new plants.

propagated succulent leaves
Many succulents can grow a whole new plant from a single leaf. Gingagi/Getty Images

1. Propagating Succulents from Leaf Cuttings

Many types of succulents will grow tiny versions of the parent plant from its fallen or cut leaves. Try this method with varieties of Echeveria, Crassula, and Kalanchoe. Simply start by cutting off a few leaves from a grown plant. From there, place the leaves in a pot filled with damp perlite ($11). Roots and tiny new leaves will grow within a few weeks. Then, you can move these sprouted leaf cuttings out of the perlite and into their own pots filled with a cactus potting mix ($18). Water them lightly until they feel well anchored in their new pots when you give the leaves a gentle upward tug. Continue to give your propagated succulents the same care you'd give its parent.

succulent plant trimmings on green tray
Set succulent stems aside so the cut ends can callous over before rooting. Edward Gohlich

2. Propagating Succulents from Stem Cuttings

When you need to rejuvenate a lanky, overgrown succulent whose stems have become long and bare, such as a Sempervivum, Graptopetalum, or Sedum, trim it back a little to encourage new growth to appear where you've made the cuts. Then, instead of tossing the cut stems, you can turn them into new succulents. Make sure you have a piece of stem that has at least two nodes (the points at which new growth will appear, usually marked by a leaf scar and sometimes tiny buds). Before planting, set the cuttings aside for five to seven days so the cut ends can form a dry callous. Then stick the stem cuttings into a pot of cactus soil mix, and water just enough to keep the soil damp. New roots will begin growing from the nodes on the stem.

propagating aloe vera plants
Aloes can easily be divided and each pup can be moved to its own pot. Sundaemorning/Getty Images

3. Dividing Succulents

Another way to propagate succulents is by dividing your plant into several smaller plants. Many succulents, such as Aloe and Haworthia, will grow offsets called pups or daughter plants, which are smaller versions of the main plant. It's easy to separate these and move them into their own pots so they can continue growing without everything getting overcrowded.

First, remove the whole plant from its container. Then, gently pull away the pups, making sure to keep some of the roots attached to them. Place each pup in its own container filled with cactus potting mix, making sure to set it in the same soil level as it was in the original container. Water enough to settle the soil around the pup.

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