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Why are My Succulent Leaf Cuttings Only Producing Roots?


Succulent plants are beloved by many for a reason. With juicy leaves, stems, or roots, they form a vast and diverse group of plants, offering easy-care plant choices for your home. Plus, they look stunning planted alone or as companions to other succulents or leafy plants.

Although many succulents are easy to root from leaves, not all of the rooted leaves will produce new plants. If your rooted leaf cuttings are refusing to grow, you may have tried to root the wrong succulent, not taken enough cuttings, or taken them at the wrong time of year.

Wrong Succulent

Not all succulents grow well from leaf cuttings. Some will root but seem to stall at that point, rather than sending up new leaves. For example, leaf cuttings of Hoyas are problematic. Taking leaf cuttings may result in deep roots, but a healthy plant never forms. If you want to propagate a Hoya, take a stem cutting.

Too Few Cuttings

An attempt to root only a single leaf may lead to disappointment. Some succulent leaves may root but never produce a plantlet. When possible, take several leaf cuttings to improve your odds that some of them will grow.

Succulent Leaf Cuttings Only Producing Roots

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Wrong Time of Year

Cuttings do best if taken just before the time of year when they naturally put out the most growth. Summer dormant types grow most vigorously in fall and spring while winter-dormant types shoot up during summer. Echeverias should not be propagated during summer. If you are patient, cuttings that root during the wrong season may eventually send up new leaves in a few months.

Rooting for Success

To take succulent leaf cuttings, snip or break leaves from a healthy plant, retaining their petioles, the leaf stems, if they have petioles. Lay all of the leaves in a bright, dry place, out of the direct sun, for at least two days to allow calluses to form over the cut edges before you pot them up. For a potting medium, use a barely damp mix of 1 part peat to 1 part sand or 2 parts of succulent potting soil combined with 1 part of fine grit. Insert each leaf or leaf stem far enough into the soil that the leaf can stand upright at a slight angle and mulch the soil with a layer of fine grit to help retain moisture and support the cuttings. If you keep the soil lightly damp, the leaf cuttings should root within three weeks to three months.



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