How to Propagate Succulents

Photo credit: Retro Den

Photo credit: Retro Den

How Do I Propagate Succulents?

After people learn how to care for their succulents, the next question we usually get is, "how do I make more of them?" It's a natural impulse to want to create–good for you! We sat down and picked Succulent Sara's brain about her propagation processes based on her 30+ years of experience growing and cultivating succulents in her green houses. Enjoy!

The Best Conditions to Propagate Succulents

The best time to propagate a succulent is in the springtime while they are in growth mode. Succulents are dormant during the winter months so do not attempt propagation at that time

All images unless otherwise noted, credited to  You Are Photo Co.

All images unless otherwise noted, credited to You Are Photo Co.

How to Propagate Depends on Succulent Type

Now let's get down to it. How to propagate is based on what type of succulent you have. Below are three ways to obtain babies for propagation depending on succulent type. Note that Sara has never had success propagating single leaves into full plants outside of a greenhouse. Not that you shouldn't try this–just set your expectations accordingly!

1. Succulents with Multiple Stalks 

  • Cut the tops off of these succulents
  • The tops should be at least 3 inches tall so 1-2 inches and be stuck down in the soil
  • Use several pieces when propagating to get a good sized baby (width wise)
  • Note that Princess Pine has a few specific instructions for planting the clippings that apply just to it (see below).
Photo credit: Retro Den

Photo credit: Retro Den

2. Succulents with Single Stalk 

  • Wait for a baby succulent to grow from the mama plant
  • Do not remove the baby until it is about an inch tall (the longer they stay on the mama plant, the better chance of survival)
  • The babies are attached to the mama plant with a plant-like umbilical cord (weird!)
  • Gently remove the the baby

3. Euphorbias

  • Remove an arm by pulling down and twisting several times
  • Gently pull the arm (along with a tiny root) from the mama plant
  • White milky substance will come from the original plant, but don't fret! It will heal.
  • Lay the babies in indirect sunlight with no soil for 2-3 days to let them heal before planting
Photo credit: Retro Den

Photo credit: Retro Den

Photo credit: Retro Den

Photo credit: Retro Den

Tips for Succulent Propagation

Now that you have your baby, follow these the steps below to plant it:

  • Use the smallest container possible (e.g., a typical egg carton could ideally hold 12 succulent babies; containers should be less than 3 inches wide)
  • Plant the baby in DRY, quality soil.
  • Do not water for 2-3 weeks. After this time frame, water it like you would a normal succulent.
  • Do not put in full sun for 2-3 weeks. Indirect light is best for the babies. After this time frame, give the appropriate amount of light given the type of succulent.
  • You can pull the baby out of the container to check to see if it's fully rooted (i.e., when you pull out the succulent, does a root system come with it?)
  • Only transplant to a larger container once the baby is fully rooted.
  • If you are doing this in the springtime, the baby should have roots within a month.

**Exception: For Princess Pine succulent (pictured below), follow these steps for planting:

  • Water the soil before planting because this plant dries out so quickly
  • Water again when the soil is dry to the touch (do not wait the standard 2-3 weeks)
  • Keep in indirect light for 2-3 weeks.
  • Sara uses 8-10 pieces of princess pine as a baby
Here are a couple photos of the particular Princess Pine.

Here are a couple photos of the particular Princess Pine.

Photo credit: Retro Den

Photo credit: Retro Den

Succulent Propagation is Fun!

Now that you have Sara's propagation tips, get to it! Propagating plants can be great fun and if you are successful, you add to your plant collection with just a little bit of time and patience and love.

Check out our other springtime succulent care tips too!

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Succulent Care Agenda

Tips for keeping your plant happy each month!