How Do Succulents Reproduce
by Succulent MarketNov 3, 2020
Many succulent lovers have wanted to grow more of their favorite plants. Thankfully, succulents reproduce quite easily, so with a little knowledge under your belt, you will have your own little mini succulent garden in no time.
How Succulents Reproduce In Nature
Succulents reproduce sexually and asexually in their natural habitat.
Sexual reproduction occurs in plants when they are pollinated by another. This is usually with the help of a third-party, such as the wind or an insect or bee. Once the plant has been pollinated, it produces seeds inside of a fruit.
Asexual reproduction occurs in plants that do not require pollination; they reproduce without needing another plant involved at all. In succulents, this happens in the form of cuttings and offsets. Cuttings actually occur naturally when the succulent breaks or suffers damage, meaning the plant can still reproduce when it’s injured.
Methods Of Propagation
Propagation is the common term for succulent reproduction. This is because the majority of succulents are grown under expert supervision. Wild succulents reproduce any way they can, but homegrown succulents are handpicked to reproduce the most beautiful.
Here are a few methods of succulent propagation.
Natural cuttings occur when leaves fall off the plant. In succulent gardening, they are taken for propagation. It’s a great solution if you accidentally brush a leave off too.
Cuttings are popular in succulents like Sedum and Echeveria as they grow readily from this method. However, it’s important to note that not all succulents grow from leaf cuttings. The most obvious example is cacti since they have no leaves at all.
Stem cuttings are another method of propagation too. This occurs when part of the succulent’s stem is removed, rather than a leaf. It doesn’t cause much damage to the plant in most cases. In fact, it can usually grow back the cutoff portion. This is how the likes of cacti and others reproduce after taking a beating from their environment or damaged by wildlife.
With that in mind, stem cuttings are the fastest way for succulents to reproduce. When cut, it’s pretty much taking the entire plant. All it then needs is to grow its own root system. As mentioned, cacti grow best with stem cuttings as they tend to grow slowly.
Stem cuttings are also great for legging succulents too.
Now, another important note to make here is that all cuttings should be made carefully. Even though it’s a natural process in the wild, you should always have the plant’s health in mind.
So, to ensure that it’s kept as safe as possible, start by sterilizing your shears or scissors before making the cut. Wait for the wounds to callus before planting the cutting in soil.
These extra couple of steps will ensure your plants don’t get infected with any unnecessary bacteria or fungi.
Offsets are another popular way for succulents to reproduce. They are also known as offshoots and they are exactly what they sound Offsets are baby plants that grow from the base of its parent plant. It’s common in succulents like Agave, Aloe and Mammillaria. While most species of succulents grow offsets underneath the soil, others like the Kalanchoe species actually produce their offers on their leaves.
It’s just as simple to replant an offset as it is to remove it from its parent plant. Just remove the baby plant, either by cutting with a clean, sterile knife, or wriggle it free from the soil. Allow the offset to dry and callous before replanting.
Succulents seeds are only created from pollination. It’s common in the wild but it can be more difficult to do at home, especially in indoor plants.
However, seed propagation can be quite unpredictable. You can be quite confident about the results from cuttings and offsets, but with seeds, they can grow into something completely different than its parent plant, even if it’s with pollen of the same cultivar.
Further, depending on the conditions, it can take a while for the plant to pollinate. Seeds can take between a couple of weeks and an entire year to germinate. And even then, you still need to wait for the seedling to mature.
If you do go down the manual pollination route, just make sure to treat the seeds gently as they can be very small.