How to Propagate Succulents: DIY!

by Lynn KirkMay 15, 2021

how to propagate succulents


Learning how to propagate succulents is easy to understand and smart to apply. After all, can you ever have too many succulents? And besides, folks always welcome gifts from your gorgeous garden of goodies! So here’s a quick primer on the do’s and don’ts of how to propagate succulents.

What is plant propagation anyway?

In simple (really simple) terms, succulent propagation is asexual replication without pollination or seeds. The process involves using some part of a parent plant to produce a baby plant. Think of it as plant multiplication through cloning.

There are several different propagation methods. Some are simple, while others involve extra steps and extra time. The “best” method depends not only on the goals and preferences of the propagator (that’s you!), but also on the plant’s growing characteristics and form. So let’s keep succulent propagation basic by detailing the TOP 3 WAYS . . .

How to propagate succulents

 1. Offsets: Easy-peasy propagation for sempervivum, aeonium, and similar.

  • Check the base of your mature succulent plants for thriving offsets: leaf clusters with developing root systems that shoot out and attach to the soil.
  • Split off a healthy offset and gently pull the topsoil along with the offset’s roots.
  • Brush off excess soil from the roots and set it in a warm location with natural light — but NOT direct sunlight that can burn.
  • Let it dry a bit, then place it in a planter with succulent potting mix and gently cover with more mix.
  • Mist the soil at time of planting, then again whenever it dries out.

TIP: Since the newly planted offset is still developing, it will require a bit more water than a mature plant.


2. Leaf Cuttings. Ideal for sedum, echeveria, crassula, and other fleshy-leafed succulents.
    • Remove a healthy leaf from a mature plant with a gentle, yet firm tug. Or use a sterile knife and remove the entire leaf at the plant base.
    • Set the leaf in a warm location with natural light. Leave it be until it dries and develops a callous.
    • Once a callous is evident, fill a temporary pot or tray with succulent potting mix. Place the leaf atop the soil and set in a warm, bright location --- but again, NOT direct sunlight.
    • Mist the soil at time of planting, then again whenever it dries out.
    • After a few weeks, a pup with roots should sprout from the callous. Repot the pup and original leaf in succulent soil.

    TIP: Wait until the cutting is established before slowly adapting it to its customary light needs.

     3. Stem Cuttings. Suitable for succulents with definitive stems.

    • Use a sterilized knife to cut a stem from the original plant.
    • Follow the remaining steps for Leaf Cutting propagation – except do NOT water.

    TIP: The stem can rot if watered before roots develop.

    So why propagate succulents anyway?

    • COST-EFFECTIVE. Propagation means more plants at basically zero cost. All you need is healthy, established plants; repurposed, shallow containers; and the right succulent mix.


    • EASY. Increasing your garden collections is relatively simple, which is good news for those still developing the coveted “green thumb.”


    • REWARDING. There’s great satisfaction when you partner with nature and watch your garden grow.


    • MINIMAL TIME. It takes less personal time to propagate your own plants than to drive to and from a retailer, over and again.


    • EDUCATIONAL. You can teach your kids or grands about plants, nature, and stewardship as you show them how to propagate succulents.


    • GIFTS. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings require gifts … and the cycle never ends! Rock gardens of propagated succulents stand out as distinctive, creative presents compared to generic gift certificates. They’re also extra special since they’re custom designed by you!


    • FUN. Admit it. It’s fun to get your hands dirty. And it’s even more fun to share your successes with family and friends.


    So, now you know how to propagate succulents! As with all tasks involving Mother Nature, be aware that some pups will thrive; some won’t. But give it a try and contact Succulent Market if you need help. After all, our three generations of growers have practiced and perfected the ins and outs of how to propagate succulents. Our ever-growing, healthy inventory is proof!

    P.S. You can also expand your succulent inventory using collected seeds, but that's a topic for another blog!