Succulent Water Propagation – How To Grow Succulents In Water


By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

For those who have problems getting succulent cuttings to sprout roots in soil, there is another option. While itis not guaranteed to be successful, there is the option of rooting succulentsin water. Water root propagation has reportedly worked well for some growers.

Can You Root Succulents in Water?

The success of succulent water propagation may depend on thetype of succulent you’re trying to root. Many jades,sempervivums, and echeveriastake well to water rooting. If you decide to give this a try, follow the easysteps listed below to maximize your success:

  • Allow succulent cutting ends to callous. This takes a few days to a week and prevents the cutting from taking up too much water and rot.
  • Use distilled water or rainwater. If you must use tap water, let it sit for 48 hours so the salts and chemicals can evaporate. Fluoride is especially harmful to young cuttings, traveling through the plant in the water and settling on leaf edges. This makes the leaf edges brown, which spreads if you continue to give the plant fluoridated water.
  • Keep the water level just below the plant’s stem. When you’re ready to root the calloused cutting, let it hover just above the water, not touching. This creates stimulation to encourage roots to develop. Wait patiently, a few weeks, until a root system grows.
  • Place under a grow light or a bright light situation outside. Keep this project out of direct sunlight.

Can You Grow Succulents in Water Permanently?

If you like the looks of your succulent in the watercontainer, you can keep it there. Change the water as needed. Some gardeners havesaid they grow succulents in water regularly with good results. Others leavethe stem in the water and let it root, although this is not recommended.

Some sources say the roots that grow in water are differentfrom those that grow in soil. If you root in water and move to soil, keep thisin mind. A new set of soil roots will take time to develop.

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How to Propagate Succulents: Complete Beginner’s Guide

Do you love succulents? If so, you’re not alone. This species of hearty flora are drought tolerant, require very little care, and come in a wide assortment of shapes, colors, and sizes. They also flourish indoors and out. With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why they’re such a popular choice among plant lovers.

Whether you’ve recently purchased your first succulent or you have a collection, if you’re interested in acquiring more, you might want to look into propagating your existing plants(s).

Propagating succulents is an easy, cost-effective, and enjoyable way to grow your own collection of these beautiful plants. In the simplest of terms, propagation refers to the act of growing a new element from an already majored element.

In this case, that element is succulents. In other words, propagating succulents involves using a piece of a mature plant and using it to grow a new one.

Interested in learning how to propagate your own succulents? If so, keep on reading to learn how you can grow your own plants from the ones that you already have and use them to expand your own garden, to give away as gifts to your friends and family, or even to sell.

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Succulents Box currently offers more than 200 varieties of succulents (both popular and rare ones) along with 5 monthly subscription boxes.

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Leaf & Clay offer a range of hundreds of types of succulents along with subscription boxes, pots & macrame.

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Lula’s Garden offers a selection of succulent garden gift sets from small single succulents in pots to full succulent gardens.

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The Succulent Source offers a huge selection of succulents, cactii and also gift sets and items for weddings.

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Planet Desert cater to succulent and cactii fans with a large range of plants, soil, kits and other supplies for creating your garden.


Why Should You Propagate Succulents?

Propagating succulents is the best way to fill out a pot-because the clippings are a lot more succulent than their mother plant. If you've noticed, succulents start to get leggy as they grow. And this is a good way to make sure your planters stay full and plump. Another reason to propagate? It's a very nice, personal, and inexpensive present to give to friends! Whatever your reason, as Martha says, "You can get a couple hundred dollars worth of plant off of one $9 plant! It's a very smart thing to do."


Taking Succulent Cuttings

Propagating succulent leaves and cuttings is easiest in spring and summer, when leaves and stems are primed for active growth. Most popular succulents propagate well from individual leaves or stem pieces.

  • Leaf propagation works best for succulents with fleshy leaves, such as jade plants or echeveria and sempervivum rosettes. To root successfully, the leaf must stay whole. Grasp the leaf with your forefinger and thumb and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it. Then carefully detach the leaf, with its base intact, from the mother plant.
  • Stem cuttings work well for succulents with distinct stems, such as stacked crassulas and spreading or upright sedums. How to cut succulents is similar to soft-stemmed plant propagation. Use a sharp knife to cut stem tips or take an entire stem for multiple starts. Make each cutting 2 to 3 inches long, with several leaves. Keep two leaves at the top and remove the rest.

Roots and new plants form at the base of planted succulent leaves.


  • Clean and sharp pruning shears or a sharp knife
  • Clear glass jar
  • Distilled water or rainwater
  • A mature succulent plant
  • Cactus and succulent soil mix (optional for secondary planting)
  • Small pots with drainage holes (optional for secondary planting)

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

Steps for propagating succulents in water: tips & tricks

Follow these essential steps properly obtain cuttings and start the rooting process of your succulent plants in water.

  1. Locate a healthy growth or an offshoot on your succulent plant.
  2. With your pruning shears, make a quick, clean cut through the base of the desired stem.
  3. Remove the severed piece from the mother plant. This is your cutting.
  4. Remove lower leaves if present on the succulent branch so that one to two inches of the stem is cleared away above the cut.
  5. Allow cuttings to callous for a couple of days. This is an essential tip because otherwise, the cutting will retain too much water and may rot instead of rooting.
  6. Place the calloused end of the cutting in a glass jar with the end only slightly submerged in a jar of distilled water or rainwater.
  • Do not use treated tap water, as chemical additives can inhibit the rooting process.
  • If the succulent cutting is very small, you can cover the jar or glass with plastic wrap and poke holes in the surface and stick the tiny stems through it to hold them in place.
  1. Place the water jar in a spot with lots of indirect sunlight. Use a transparent glass jar so you can watch for rooting, water levels, and water clarity.
  2. Place the container in a bright spot but away from direct sunlight and wait for roots to develop.
  3. Change water every couple of days so that algae doesn’t grow and water doesn’t get cloudy.
  4. Once roots start to grow after three to four weeks, they should be moved to a spot with more direct sunlight. It can take up to 6 weeks for some roots to emerge.

Instead of transplanting the rooted cuttings in a pot with soil mix, you can continue to grow your succulents in water, or they can transplant your succulent into soil and grow your succulents indoors You can also transplant your succulent to grow outdoors in gardens and planters. If you root a succulent in water and move it to a potting mix, the plant will need time to acclimate to its planting environment.


Watch the video: How To Water Propagated Succulent Leaves


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