Succulent plants are nicknamed "Fat Plants" because they store water in their leaves, roots, or stems. The stored water makes these plants appear fleshy and swollen; their leaves plump and firm with the stored water.
The best-known succulents are cacti because nearly all cacti are classified as succulent plants, storing water within their flesh. Most cacti are succulents. However, not every succulent is cactus. Succulents make beautiful houseplants and are extremely desirable plants to propagate.
Propagation Using Cuttings
Propagating a new plant using a cutting from a mother plant creates a new specimen that is genetically identical to the plant from which it was taken. Therefore, successfully rooted cuttings are called "clones" because they are literally clones of their mother plant.
Many succulents can be divided and propagated from pieces cut from the stem of the mother plant with a sterile razor blade. The best place to take a cutting is at a stem node where the leaves or buds join the main stem.
The cutting should be dipped into the rooting hormone before it is placed into nutrient-rich potting soil. When using the rooting hormone, remember that less is more. You do not want to saturate the cutting; you merely want to coat the cutting with a thin layer of the hormone to encourage growth.
Propagation by Division
The method of division is well suited for succulents that create dense and thick root balls. These plants grow thick mats of tuberous roots that may be divided and transformed into several separate plants.
The plant must be removed from its pot, and all of the soil around the root ball should be removed; it is nearly impossible to remove all of the soil, so just try to get as much as you can. Once cleaned of dirt, you can use a sterilized knife or razor blade to divide the root mass into separate plants. Foliage will sprout from the divided root mass after the roots have stabilized themselves in the growing medium.
Propagation with Offsets
The majority of succulent species will produce small plants at the base of the parent plant. More clearly put, an established and healthy parent plant will generate babies that will form and grow at the original succulent base. These babies are called offsets.
These offsets can be carefully removed from the parent plant after they have grown at least two or three weeks. Removing offsets from the parent plant is beneficial to its growth because it redirects energy from the offset back to the parent plant. Most cacti produce offsets as does the succulent plant Hens and Chickens as well as most species of Aloe.
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
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