Two Ways to Propagate Succulents

Taking a cutting from a potted succulent

Succulents are beautiful and unique, so your first one is sure to make you want more. The good news is that they are easy to propagate. Here are two simple methods.

1. Replant offsets

Nearly all succulents produce offsets which grow around the parent plant. To propagate using this method, carefully remove an offset. It’s not hard to remove the offset. You can remove it from the parent plant with your fingers or with a thin digging tool. Make sure to keep the offset’s roots, and then plant in its own container.

hands using a tool to remove a succulent offset

2. Cut and replant

Though it may not look feasible from a succulent’s quirky looks, cuttings are an option. Here’s how to cut and plant a succulent.

1. Take a cutting with a clean cut.

2. Let the cutting stand in dry air for 24 hours or until a dry callus forms on the end.

3. Push the cutting into a pot of clean, coarse sand with extreme drainage. Set the pot in the shade, and keep it moist until roots form.

4. Transplant the cutting into a pot that contains cactus soil or a 50/50 mix of regular potting soil and sharp sand.

Easy steps to succulent success

Succulents are an infatuating group of plants. They might seem daunting and hard to keep, but in fact, succulents are plants anyone can grow.

Queen Victoria agave

▶ Understand what they need. Succulents, like Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoriae-reginae, Zones 9–11, above), come from arid environments in Africa and the Americas. These areas get irregular and sparse amounts of rainfall, so the plants evolved to cope with that situation. Remember this whenever you’re tempted to give them a drink every other hot summer evening—they probably don’t want it.

▶  Give them the right soil. Plant succulents in a well-draining potting mix, and avoid packing them in too firmly; their roots won’t grow well in compacted soil. Add a slow-release fertilizer, per product instructions.

▶  Water sparingly. This is the trickiest step to success. You want your succulents’ soil to be slightly moist but not damp or bone dry. They’ll perish in either extreme.


More information on planting succulents

Video: Soil recipe for cacti and succulents.


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