If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing more thrilling than free things — and nothing more comforting than a home filled with plants. Lucky for people like us, Mother Nature is one smart cookie.
Back in December, I bought a few house plants; some succulents, a ZZ plant (you can’t kill that shit), a palm (more fussy) — the usual. Since then, they’ve all matured and can finally have babies through propagation.
Propagating plants is just a fancy term for essentially copying and pasting plants: creating new plants from existing plants. In most cases, all you need are one or two clippings or in-tact leaves from the plant. You can snatch these from parents, friends, and plants you already have. You can even find them on the ground floors of a lot of garden centers if you’re lucky.
Some plants require you take clippings and some, just the leaves. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to show you how to propagate a succulent from leaves.
1) Remove Some Leaves Carefully From Succulent Base
Hold your plant by the stem gently and pluck a few leaves taking as much of the base where they meet as possible.
2) Leave Them Alone For 3-6 Weeks
Let the leaves dry out for a few days or even for a week or 2 on a dry surface. Don’t water yet. You want the stems to get calloused and dry. They’ll look a little red and shrivel up a bit, but don’t fret. The beauty of this is that wherever you plucked from on the plant, a new cluster of leaves will grow in a few weeks.
3) Prepare Planters
You’ve waited patiently for your leaves to dry out, so now’s time to get your planters ready! I recommend using flatter, wider surfaces as the roots don’t need 6” of soil deep just yet. I used a loaf pan and a candy dish from Target. Once the plants get bigger over time, you can transplant to their forever pots, but for propagating purposes and to save on potting soil, shallow and wide is best. Fill the bottom inch with some rocks to allow the soil to drain and add in cactus soil, potting soil or soil made for clippings and propagating. It’s less fine and has more dried bits for new roots to cling to. Press soil down so it’s firm.
4) Dip Ends In Honey (Or Rooting Hormone) and Place On Soil
I’ve never used rooting hormone myself, but I’ve had great luck using honey (or honey mixed with some cinnamon). Dip the ends in and lay them flat ontop of the soil. Don’t bury the ends or plant them.
Over the next few weeks, the leaves will start to grow tiny baby succulents from the base. Watch and enjoy.
6) Snap Leaf Off
Once the baby succulents are large enough that you think they can go it alone, carefully snap the dying “mother” leaf off and throw away. Once each succulent is big enough, you can re-pot. Voila!
I’m currently in step 5 with mine, but I’ll post an update in a few weeks. For me, the more plants the merrier, and there’s no better feeling than being able to give plants to friends and family when they begin to takeover the house.