For most succulents, you can use the leaf or stem to grow entirely new succs! The process is called propagation and, trust us, there is nothing quite as rewarding as watching your plant babes grow up #ProudMomMoment. Follow along and become the ultimate ‘pro’ at leaf water propagation! Want to water propagate from a cutting? We’ve got you covered.
Types of Propagation
When you begin your propagation journey, you will find there are two main methods to choose from – soil vs water. Then within either of those methods, you may choose to use a leaf or cutting from your mother succulent to grow new babes! All are great methods, and it is totally up to your preference on the method you take. Pro tip: If you have multiple leaves or cuttings, test both methods and see which is most rewarding for you! Totally new to propagation? Dive into the 5 basics of propagation prep to make sure you’re starting out on the right foot!
Let’s Get Started!
When propagating succulents with its leaves, you are literally growing a whole new succ! This method is a low-effort technique, just set the succs and forget it until it’s time to plant. You’ll know you’ve reached #PropagationSUCCess when you start to see little roots growing from the bottom of the leaf, and eventually an adorable rosette.
1. Pluck off a leaf
Start by finding a healthy plump leaf, grasp it gently with your thumb and forefinger, and give it a twist and pull until it snaps off the stem. You must get the entire leaf off of the stem, it is totally okay if some of the stem comes off! If you do not break off the entire leaf, it will not be able to grow roots.
TIP: Pick healthy and mature leaves from the bottom of the plant.
2. Allow the leaf to callous
Let the leaf dry out and form a scab where it was removed from the stem. This step takes about 3 days and will give you insight into if you selected a healthy leaf. Healthy leaves will be able to survive without water for a few days without being attached to a plant.
3. Select a jar
We recommend using a mason jar or an old jam jar. You can even use a glass tupperware. Be sure to use a clear jar so sunlight can pass through.
4. Set it up
Let the fun begin! Fill the jar up with enough water so that the leaf will be a few millimeters above the water. Use plastic wrap to cover the top of the jar and use either a rubber band or the mason jar ring to secure the wrap in place. Poke holes in the plastic wrap and stick the leaves, callus side down, in the holes. Do not allow the leaf to touch the water.
5. Grow, grow, grow!
The water will evaporate creating condensation inside of the jar. Check the jar periodically to make sure your jar hasn’t lost too much water. If the water gets dark or brown, change the water. Roots can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to begin sprouting. Sometimes the succ will grow big roots and a rosette together, other times it takes longer for the rosette to bloom. Give her time to do her thing! Eventually, the roots will grow long enough to touch the water, and even sit in the water for a few weeks. That is totally okay, and will not cause root rot.
We recommend waiting until you have at least an inch-long root, and preferably a small rosette before transferring to soil. Before planting your new babe, allow the roots to dry out on a paper town for a day or two. Handle with care! Baby succulent roots are extremely fragile.
Once the roots are dry, you can nestle the roots into cactus soil, leaving the old leaf and rosette on top of the soil. Be sure your soil does not have added fertilizer as this can be too harsh on new roots. Keep the succ in a bright location where it receives a full day’s worth of bright indirect sunlight. Try to avoid prolonged direct sunlight. Once set up, your babe will be ready to grow big and strong! Eventually the mother leaf will shrivel and can be plucked off leaving behind a new baby succulent. Be sure to maintain a regular watering schedule after your leaf propagation has been planted for a few weeks.
Best of luck on your propagation journey! Remember, do not be discouraged if it does not work the first time. Not every leaf or cutting will grow roots, sometimes the succ will grow a ton of roots and no rosette and other times it might just wilt away and die.