Tips on Succulent Propagation from Leaves and Cuttings - Succulents Box
The common knowledge about succulent plants is they do not like to sit in water and sitting in water promotes root rot. So water propagation might contradict what we have come to believe about caring for and propagating succulents. I have read plenty of success stories from people who have had zero success with succulent propagation until they tried water propagation. In fact, some people only propagate succulent cuttings by the water method because they see faster results and greater success overall.
One theory I heard is that the reason why succulent cuttings do not rot in water is because water is not the main culprit for rot. Succulent plants sitting in wet soil are exposed to fungus and pathogens in the soil that introduce diseases to the plant, causing root rot.
When propagating in water, the plants are not exposed to the pathogens normally present in the soil medium and therefore, they do not suffer from rot. Another concern people have about water propagation is that the roots formed in water are not the same roots the plant needs to grow in soil.
Once planted in soil, they need to develop new roots more appropriate for growing in soil. Still, others that propagate through the water method say that the plants do just fine once transplanted from water to soil. I tried rooting three stem cuttings in water to see what happens.
I chose two different plants that I have had no problems rooting in soil. I thought choosing a plant that I know is easy to propagate would give me a better success rate. I used stem cuttings from a jade plant crassula ovata and an aeonium blushing beauty plant. I used three mason jars and filled it with water, then covered it with clear plastic and poked holes in the middle of the plastic.
I used purified drinking water we use for drinking. Some people use plain tap water. I heard of others using distilled water.
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I did not add any nutrients to the water. From what I read, this is not necessary. The three stem cuttings were then laid on the rim of the jar so that the tip of the stem cutting is touching the water. One method is to sit the end of the cuttings just above the surface of the water. The reason being that the cuttings will seek out moisture and start rooting. Another method is to let the ends of the cuttings actually touch the water.
I chose the second method but both methods seem to work fine. I left the cuttings in a bright area and tried to forget about them for a couple of weeks. We went on a family vacation right after this and when we came back two weeks later, the cuttings look the same as I had left them. No roots formed. Another two weeks later about 4 weeks total , I was surprised to see plenty of pink roots on the two jade cuttings.
So I left the plants in water for another week or two just to see what happens. Another 2 weeks passed by 6 weeks total from the beginning of this experiment and the jade plants grew more roots but the aeonium stayed the same. After about 6 weeks I thought it was time to transplant the rooted cuttings into soil so I took them out of the water and laid them on paper to dry for a day or so. All three stem cuttings were fine and did not rot or appear unwell.
The next challenge is to see how these cuttings would survive in soil after being in water for five weeks and growing water roots. The aeonium cutting barely grew any roots after five weeks but I will plant it in soil anyway.
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I prepared a mixture of cactus mix and perlite and placed the potting mix in little pots. The stem cuttings were then planted in the pot. You can remove a pup without roots, but you will have much greater success with ones that have roots already growing. Pups or offshoots without roots will eventually root themselves, but pups and offshoots with existing roots have a greater chance of survival on their own.
Remove the offshoot. You can use a clean knife to gently remove the pup or offshoot from the mother plant. Some offshoots or pups are easier to remove than others. Sometimes they can be separated by gently twisting the pup off.
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Other times you need to use a sharp tool to remove the pup. Carefully separate the baby plant from its mother plant by inserting the knife blade between the mother plant and the offshoot. Slowly pull apart the pup from the mother plant and sever the connecting root. If removing the pup while still planted in the soil, insert the knife blade into the soil between the mother plant and the offshoot. Slide the blade down the soil to sever the connecting roots.
Carve out a 2-inch radius in the soil around the base of the offshoot then dig a few inches down the radial parameter using the sharp end of a small spade. Insert the spade at an angle underneath the offshoot and carefully pry it loose from the soil to remove. Plant the pup. Once the pup is removed it can be planted on its own. Prepare a suitable well draining potting mix and fill a small pot with it. Plant the pup or offshoot into the soil.
Pack the soil lightly around the plant until secure. Pups and offshoots need a little more moisture than mature plants. Lightly mist the soil with a spray bottle every few days or when the soil feels dry. Once the plant is more established and rooted, decrease watering to about once a week.
Protect new plants from direct sunlight when initially planted on its own pot to prevent sun damage. Get a cutting. Snip a stem cutting from a succulent plant. Plants that have become leggy can be a great source of stem cuttings. Leave about two inches or more of bare stem.
How to Propagate From Succulent Leaf Cuttings
Let the cuttings dry. Allow the cutting to dry for a couple of days until the cut end have calloused or dried. Place in water. Find a cup that is the right size for the cuttings and add water. Place the cutting so that the end of the stem is resting just above the surface of the water. Place in a bright spot. Leave the cup in a sunny or well lit area.