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Tips for Growing and Propagating Succulents


Succulents are among the easiest plants to propagate, mainly because the plants have a strong sense of self-preservation. The drought-tolerant plants root with little encouragement from you, and new plants can be grown from existing ones. You even can ignore the cuttings for weeks, and the plants will be fine.

Gardening trends come and go, but the popularity of succulents has been going strong for quite some time. It's understandable. They require little supplemental water, and they endure with benign neglect. They can be grown indoors if you have sufficient light and can be used as temporary decor such as for place settings, and then added to your collection.

The plants also can be quite beautiful, and their unique sizes, colors, and forms make them a favorite.

General Care

Knowing how much to water your succulents is mostly trial and error. Most die from getting too much water, but if you notice the bottom leaves on the plant starting to shrivel, that's a sign the plant isn't getting enough water. Allow soil to dry between waterings.

Some succulents need full sun to develop color, but most appreciate some afternoon shade. If there are wide spaces between leaves, the plant isn't getting enough light. Burns on the leaves may indicate it is getting too much sun.

Many succulents are frost tender. During the winter, you can bring them indoors or place them beneath a tree or close to the house to help protect them. Covering them with a protective cloth or putting old-fashioned Christmas lights around them can help them survive freezing temperatures.

Succulents grow well in pots, but they'll do even better in the ground if you have the right soil. They need soil that drains well, and that's not most of our clay soils. You can amend your soil to make it more friable by adding sand and compost. Create your own soil for pots by combining perlite and sand with standard potting soil.

All plants need fertilizer, especially those in pots, but they will survive without it. They may not be as robust, but they will survive.

If you're worried about certain plants being lost in the winter frost, take cuttings from the plant in the fall and grow them plants indoors until spring. You may lose your outdoor plant, but you'll have something to replace it.


Most succulents can be propagated through cuttings or leaves.

For cuttings, simply snip off a piece of the plant and set it aside in a shady place. Let it rest for a couple of days to harden off, allowing the freshly cut end to callous over. Then pop it in a pot or the ground and water. Cuttings can be left for a couple of weeks before planting.

To grow from leaves, remove the entire leaf and set aside in a shady spot. In about three weeks, roots will form on the leaf, and a new plant will develop at the base.

Succulents can be rooted in water, but most will rot rather than develop roots. As they are so easy to root out of the water, there is not anything to be gained.



SUCCULENTOPEDIA: Browse succulents by GenusFamilyScientific NameCommon NameOrigin, or cacti by Genus

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