Succulent leaf propagation is such a fun and rewarding hobby. It’s pretty interesting to watch as a freshly plucked leaf starts putting out itty bitty roots followed by a little bitty plantlet. I actually get a lot of enjoyment out of it and it’s super therapeutic as well.
Plus, not to mention, FREE SUCCULENTS!
However, it’s not that easy for some. As a follow-up to the “How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves” post from June, I have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions that you all have had since then!
So without further ado, here we go!
Oh, real quick. The photos don’t necessarily go with the questions (except for the last one), I just had them on my Sd card and thought they’d look cute in this post!
Here we go…Again!
Should I use rooting hormone with succulent leaf propagation?
Generally speaking, no, you don’t. There are, however, exceptions to every rule. The leaves, if removed properly from the mother plant, contain everything they need to sustain them until new roots are formed, a plantlet is formed, and the leaf has dried up completely. Hypothetically speaking, you shouldn’t have to do a thing – not even water – until the mama leaf has withered. The mama leaf will provide the water and nutrients for the new plantlet to survive long enough to get established. Rooting hormone DOES however, contain fungicide and that’s always a good thing!
Why did my leaves rot/turn to mush?
Too much moisture in the soil for too long can cause your leaves to rot. Remember, your leaves can’t drink water if they don’t have straws (ie roots). If you are having issues with leaves rotting before any action takes place, try adding a layer of pumice to the top of your soil and then place the leaves on top. This will help to keep the leaves off of the moist soil yet at the same time, give the roots moisture to seek out. You’ll also want to avoid misting your leaves as this can lead to rot. Instead, add water out in front of the leaf with something like a squeeze bottle.
Full sun, shade, I’ve read so much all over the internet, I don’t know which is right – HALP ME!
You want your leaves to be in bright filtered light (aka outdoors shade). If you’re indoors, a south-facing window will work just fine.
Nothing is happening!
Give it time! Some leaves will literally send out roots while ON THE PLANT (my crested cubic frost does this if the leaves get bumped). Some leaves also are much quicker than others just because of the species! I’ve also found that larger leaves seem to take forever to create little plantlets!
Why won’t my leaves send out roots, it’s been over 2 months.
In super dry, arid climates it can be a challenge to get the leaves to send out roots. In this case, I’d recommend filling a tray with soil and covering with a layer of pumice or perlite. (See examples that HERE) You can water the soil which will encourage the roots to seek it out and the pumice will keep the leaves up and off of the wet soil which will prevent rot.
Can’t I just got to Lowes/Home Depot/XYZ nursery and take all the leaves I want without asking? They are laying on the floor and will just get thrown away anyway.
Theft is theft. Anytime you take something that doesn’t belong to you – especially without asking – it is wrong. Nine times out of ten if you ask, they will gladly give them to you and some employees will even help you gather them.
My leaves keep moving around/getting disturbed, how can I prevent this?
I have found that using thin wire to “pin” leaves down works really well (these are also a MUST if you’re prop’ing string of pearls, too!). Find some jeweler’s wire or (even metal paper clips) and cut to about 1 – 1.5 inches in length. Bend each piece into a horseshoe shape and pin down the leaves with it. Once the roots become established, they will hold themselves down and won’t need the pins any longer.
When do I move/plant in a larger container?
One of the best things about succulent leaf propagation is that you can move the baby to a larger container whenever you’re ready! I love to use recycled coffee pods and I’ve even tried them in seed starters (I like the empty pods better).
The roots have dried/withered away, what went wrong?
Did you pick your leaves up a million times to look at them? I have found this is the number one cause for dead roots.
My roots are not covered in soil, what do I do?
Cover them with a pinch of soil! You don’t want them to dry out so sprinkle just a smidgen of soil over top. As mentioned above, when you water, don’t get the leaves wet, but rather the soil in front of the leaves. Not only does this encourage root growth, it also helps to prevent the leaves from rotting.
Can you propagate a Gollum jade?
Yup! It just takes FOR-EV-ER. This guy here is months old but it’s still fun nonetheless!
When do I remove the mama leaf?
You don’t want to remove the mama leaf until it’s dry as a bone. That’s when you know it is done supplying the new plants with all of the nutrients and energy that it needs!
When it comes to succulent leaf propagation, experiment, try one thing, if it doesn’t work then move onto something else! That’s how we learn, that’s how we become better and that’s how we discover what works best in OUR area. Remember, what may work for me might not work for you in another part of the country and vice versa.
What succulent questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below and they could be featured in an upcoming post.
(A huge THANK YOU to everyone who asked these questions as well!)
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