Succulents survive prolonged periods of drought by storing water in leaves, stems, or roots. Their stems or roots become thick and fleshy when retaining water. Most succulents prefer dry conditions and grow well in containers. They come in a variety of shapes and colors, and many propagate easily through leaf cuttings.
1. Collect leaf cuttings in the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. Choose a healthy plant with no signs of damage or disease from which to take the cuttings. Select healthy leaves without blemish. Remove the leaves from the plant, breaking them or cutting them off with a knife at the point where the leaf connects with the stem. Place the leaves on a piece of paper, and set them in a dark, dry, well-ventilated room for one to two days to allow them to dry and form callus tissue over the cut end.
2. Choose a container for the leaf cuttings. Select a container with drainage holes in the bottom and at least 4 inches (10 cm) deep. Consider containers in colors and shapes that accentuate the chosen variety of succulent and the space it will be growing in.
3. Mix one part potting soil, two parts vermiculite, and two parts perlite to create a well-draining growing medium. Fill the container with the mixture, tamping it down firmly. Leave an inch (2.5 cm) space between the soil surface and the top of the container. Water the soil with a watering can two to three times to ensure it is evenly moist.
4. Dip the cut end of the leaves in the rooting hormone. Push the cut end of the leaves down into the soil until one-third of the leaf is buried. Tamp the soil down around the bottom of the leaves to stabilize them.
5. Place the container in an area with a constant temperature of 65 °F (18 °C) or warmer. Choose a location with bright indirect sunlight. Water the leaf cuttings only when the top one-fourth layer of soil becomes dry. Mist the cuttings once per day with a spray bottle to increase the humidity level. Watch for new growth to appear four to six weeks after planting, signaling that the plant has established roots.
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
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