What’s better than succulents? More succulents! And more and more and…okay, so maybe I have a succulent problem, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If your succulents are starting to look a little scraggly or maybe sending out a bunch of offshoots, it’s a great time to easily and inexpensively increase your collection by using this guide on succulent propagation.
For many gardeners and houseplant enthusiasts, succulents can be a little bit of a mystery. While advertised as easy-care plants, they’re very different than tropical houseplants or garden plants. With a whole different set of care rules also comes new propagation rules!
Luckily, succulents have a habit of multiplying easily and even all on their own. Use this to your advantage to have more and more succulents to enjoy!
This post will cover…
- How to Divide Succulents
- Dividing Sedum Plants
- Succulent Propagation With Offsets
- How to Transplant Succulent Offsets
- How to Propagate Succulent Cuttings from Leaves
- How to Propagate Succulents from Stems
- Frequently Asked Questions About Succulent Propagation
- More Ways to Have Fun With Succulents
How to Divide Succulents
Let’s dive into the good stuff. Here’s what you need to know about dividing succulents at home.
Dividing Sedum Plants
Dividing succulents to get new succulent is simple when you know how to do it. Some succulents, like Sedum, can be simply divided by tearing off a clump of the plants with roots and tucking it into the soil in another spot. Use this technique for most of the hardy Sedum ground-cover-type plants known as Stonecrop.
For upright Sedum such as Sedum “Autumn Joy,” it can be as simple as removing a stem and setting the stem in soil. Yup, it’s that easy!
Succulent Propagation With Offsets
You can also divide succulents like Sempervivum really easily, and many will simply do the work for you by sending out smaller offset plants on a runner. These offset plants can be removed and planted elsewhere, where they will grow into big strong succulents and one day send off their own offshoots (it’s the circle of succulent life!).
The rosette of many “hens” will send out a large number of baby plants or “chicks” which is what gives them the name “Hens and Chicks.” You can see in this large Sempervivium that the chicks are forming underneath the plant.
Some of the larger ones have grown roots already, making them perfect for transplanting into a pot of cactus and succulent soil mix right away.
Remove these runners by cutting the stem as close to the base as you can. Cut the stem of the offshoot to be about an inch or two long and leave the cut end to dry in a cool, shady place for a day or so.
How to Transplant Succulent Offsets
Plant the succulent offshoots in trays of cactus soil, which has a good balance of drainage to help these little plants thrive. Learn more about cactus soil and how to mix your own in this post.
Water the offsets sparingly until they have set up some strong roots. When they are large enough, it’s time to transplant them to their new homes around the garden. I love plopping a bunch of succulent offsets into a pretty planter and watching them fill it in beautifully as they grow.
How to Propagate Succulent Cuttings from Leaves
While dividing is by far the easiest and most successful way of propagating succulents, you can also try propagating succulent leaves. This method requires quite a bit of patience to wait for the plant to grow and only works with some succulents, such as Echeveria.
Try this method out if you have no offsets, are unable to divide, or accidentally knock off a fully healthy leaf from your plant.
To begin, clip off an entire leaf (not just a piece of it) by gently twisting it with your fingers. Let the leaf-cutting dry away from sun and soil so that it can form a callous. This usually takes a couple of days.
Once ready, lay your succulent flat on top of cactus soil. Water the soil and keep it moist. Move it to their preferred lighting. Eventually, you’ll notice roots emerging and then teeny tiny leaves.
How to Propagate Succulents from Stems
Alternatively, you can propagate your succulents from cutting a whole stem. This works best for succulents with lots of stems and branches and follows a similar process to planting offshoots.
Use sanitized scissors to make your clipping just above a leave. You can take this from the top of the succulent or from one of its offshoots. Like the leaves, you will want to leave them to callous for a couple of days.
Next, bury the stem of the cutting in a cactus soil mix so the plant is standing up. Don’t bury any leaves. If needed, remove lower leaves. Add support if your cactus needs it such as a chopstick. Water the soil and you will soon notice roots!
You can also use this technique if your succulents have gotten leggy from not enough sun and no longer have leaves on the bottom. In this case, cut the top of the plant off and stick the stem in the soil. Soon it will reroot!
Frequently Asked Questions About Succulent Propagation
Yes, you can propagate succulent cuttings in water. However, the success rate for those grown in soil will be higher and it’s the recommended method for succulent propagation.
If you have divided a plant without roots, a stem cutting, or a leaf, you can expect to wait 3 weeks to form new roots. Once you give it a gentle tug and it resists, the plant has rooted. When growing from leaf cuttings, it can then take another few months before the plant is large enough to transplant.
As with any hybrid or cultivated plant, the producer of a plant can patent it. Under this patent, it’s illegal to propagate the plant in order to sell. You must have a license if you want to reproduce to sell. However, for home gardeners who are propagating just for enjoyment to multiply their stash (and to share with friends), it’s perfectly okay to do so.
Now that you have so many succulents growing, check out the Essential Guide to Succulents for everything you need to know about caring for your precious plants.
I have hens and chicks that are overcrowded. Can I pull out some of the large hens in the middle to make room? What is the correct way to do this? Thanks
Hi Gail, they are so forgiving. Just dig up a bunch, divide them in a few chunks and add one chunk back in. The rest you can plant elsewhere or give to friends. Have fun!
I now have old dropped succulent leaves that are growing the new tiny succulent plant and have tiny roots. How do I plant these? Do I cut away the leaf or plant it in the dirt too? Thank you so much!!!
Hi Dawn, I leave the old leaf and plant it beneath the soil. This way it can keep supporting the rosette while it roots in the soil.
I have one that has grown and grown so tall. There are no baby shoots. This was so small when I planted it and got huge and bloomed beautifully! How can I bring it back down to earth??
Wish there was a photo option here….the edges are ruffled….small pink blooms that shot out.
Hi Janet, I know exactly what you mean. Here are instructions for replanting those: https://gardentherapy.ca/modern-succulent-planter/
I have a sempervivum hen and chick called an Ohioan. I can’t find very much info on it but it seems to be propagating in a very unique way. it is splitting like a heuffelii (not sure how to spell that correctly) but it is also producing rosettes as well. have u ever seen a sempervivum do both?? if so what kind of sempervivum do this so I can research better care for the one I have.. Tia .
Hi Amanda, if I’m reading this right the semp is both growing new rosettes beside the mother plant and setting out smaller rosettes on runners? This is very common! I often look for these at the garden centers at the end of the season when the pots are bursting with new growth so you get 20 plants instead of one. My google results brought me here: https://garden.org/plants/view/74803/Hen-and-Chicks-Sempervivum-Ohioan/ but you might also really like these websites given your interest in succulents: https://debraleebaldwin.com/ and https://www.succulentsandsunshine.com/. Have fun!
Hi I have 2 plants that are stuck together by root and they got nicked off a big plant and I don’t know how to separate them because I don’t have a big enough pot what do I do?