Propagating succulents is a great way to have more of what you love. Maybe you need to propagate succulents because your plants have gotten leggy and somewhat unattractive; or maybe you are looking to share succulents with friends. Whatever your reasons, we’ve got a tried and true way for successful succulent propagation.

7 Easy Steps for Propagating a Succulent by Leaf Cutting

1. Remove desired amount of leaves from the stem of your succulent you wish to propagate.

  •  Make a clean snap where the leaf meets the succulent stem. This will help your propagation be faster and easier. 
  • Take multiple leaf cuttings for propagation (see #5).

2. Let the snapped off end of the succulent leaf heal/dry/callous over.

  • A week is a great amount of time to wait for the leaves to heal, but you can get away with 2-3 days for small succulent leaves, and 4-5 days for larger succulent leaves.
  • Place the succulent leaves you wish to propagate on a bright window sill to dry. The leaves get exposure to sunlight which also fortifies them with nutrients.
  • LED grow lights are an option when natural sunlight is not.
Snap leaves off by the stem to propagate succulents.
A leaf for propagating a succulent

3. Place succulent leaf on soil in a tray or directly on top of soil in a pot.

  • The healed area of the leaf you are propagating should touch the soil, but not be buried down in the soil. The newly propagated succulent will grow from that area and needs light and breathing room to survive.
  • You could leave the leaf to grow out of soil, but it will take much more time to propagate.

4. Offer your succulent leaf cuttings water and light for successful propagation.

  • Water succulent leaf cuttings about 2-4 times per week, depending on temperature and humidity in your home. Don’t overwater though. Soil should be moist and prevented from drying out, but not so moist that there is any standing water. 
  • Bright, indirect light is best. Too much direct sun can scorch your leaf cuttings.

5. Propagate multiple leaves.

  • When propagating succulents you most likely will have some casualties. By going through the steps of propagation with multiple leaf cuttings, you have a better chance at propagating succulents with success.
  • Put a bunch of leaf cuttings on a tray or big pot full of lightweight potting soil. Here you can easily observe which leaf cuttings will start to grow roots and baby succulents and are suitable for propagating and which leaves start to shrivel and blacken, making them bad candidates for propagation.
Make sure to take multiple leaves when propagating succulents.

6. Have patience and allow time for your leaf cuttings to propagate, develop roots, and create babies/pups.

  • Special Note: If you notice leaf cuttings that grow babies but no roots, it’s ok, they are better than leaf cuttings that grow roots but no babies.
  • When you see that baby succulents/pups are developing, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Once the babies/pups appear, you know they are capable of photosynthesis and creating their own food and leaf systems. A leaf cutting that just develops roots might never produce babies/pups or might take a really long time doing so.
  • Once the babies/pups form, you can remove the mother plant leaf at any time by pinching or cutting it off. 

7. Pot up your newly propagated succulents.

  • Allow your babies/pups to become sturdily rooted enough to where you can repot them into whatever container you’d like. If you did the propagating process in your preferred pot, just let them keep on growing right there.
  • Continue to offer propagated succulents indirect bright light while they are in adolescent stages. Direct sun will be too harsh. 
  • Water your new succulents by giving them a good soaking about once every two weeks. Again, don’t overwater. Just remember that succulents hold water in their leaves and stem and too much water around their roots will cause death by root rot, so don’t be heavy handed with your watering can.
  • If you haven’t already, remove the leaf that was from the propagated mother plant which has most likely shriveled up by now. Cut it close to the new plant and the left over parts of the mother leaf will dry up and fall off eventually.

*Special note – some succulents cannot be propagated by leaf cuttings (hoya, kalanchoe) and can be propagated by other methods: stem cutting, etc.. We’ll address those later.

And that’s all she wrote, folks! Your propagated succulents should be well on their way to becoming mature plants. Good luck!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy