How to QUICKLY Root/Propagate Succulents From Leaves




About: Wife and mother, and jill-of-all-trades. I can garden and grow things, crochet, knit, embroider, cross-stitch, sew, make hairbows, cook, make bread, woodburn, craft jewelry, hula hoop, belly dance, and prob...

Succulents will root without any human intervention/interference whatsoever. Most will sprout roots and form new plants wherever they fall, be it the patio floor under the parent plant, or the trunk of the car where some busy mom knocked off a few leaves. However, it can take weeks and weeks for Mother Nature to get Her process on. I have found that spraying the leaves with water every day will speed up the process, but alas, I am not only horribly impatient, I'm also terribly lazy... And thus, I came up with this method :

  • easy to do, with stuff you already have
  • works quickly, with little maintenance
  • newly formed roots are easily seen
  • works with most succulents leaves, hens-and-chicks, and sedums
  • will probably also work on a variety of houseplants (will test it out and update later, but spider plants seems a good candidate for this method)

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

You will need:

  • succulent leaves, mooched from a friend is best because it's free (or buy a plant and make 180 new ones)
  • a hot-food container from the deli of your local grocery store is ideal, but you can also use aluminum trays with matching lids, or just any tray-like container and some plastic wrap
  • small rocks or chunky gravel
  • good, thick paper towels
  • *rooting hormone; completely optional as this method works pretty well, and succulents are easy to root to start with, but since I had them on hand, why not?

Step 2: Line Your Container

Line your container with the rocks or gravel. It will help air circulation and ensure that your rooting environment won't stay too wet.

Step 3: Lay It On

Lay 2 layers of paper towels onto the gravel, and pour on a bit of water, a couple of spoons or so. Don't worry if you overdo it, because that's what the rocks are for.

Lay your succulent leaves on wet paper towel.

**Some folks recommend letting freshly picked leaves air-dry a couple of days in a cool, dry place to "callus" over, but since mine were scraped off said friend's patio where they've sat for a while, this was a moot point for me.


If you choose to use the rooting hormone, tap a small amount out to use in a disposable bowl or plate . I did that onto some construction paper in a paper bowl so that the white powder would be visible, and I can toss the whole thing away afterwards.

Dip the stem end of the leaves into the rooting powder, tap gently to remove excess, and lay it it on.

Step 4: Cover and Wait

The nifty hot-food container has built-in holes for ventilation, but you can either put some in yours, or loosely cover with plastic wrap. Keep somewhere with bright indirect light. (I've got mine on some cheap plastic shelving in my daughter's room because it gets great lighting)

The second pic is an aluminum tray with loose plastic wrap, lined with mulch instead of rocks (experimenting), and looks a bit downtrodden, but should still work!

Step 5: Wait for Sproutlings!

Check the moisture every few days, mostly in case of curious little persons who peeked in and forgot to replace your lid. Add a spoon of water if needed. Since the sproutlings are not directly using the water, I figured it was safe to use my ultra-heavy tap water. In about 2 weeks, your succulent leaves should look like this, or at least have some nice roots!

*Nice thing I've noticed: If allowed to dry out (thanks to little persons), progress will halt, but will resume when you re-wet the paper towel, rather than wilt and die off like soft cuttings like basil and coleus.

Step 6: Ta-da! Plant an Uber-mini-tabletop-garden!

Transfer to pre-moistened cacti growing medium. The roots are not anchored yet, so moving them is just a matter of placing the leaves wherever you want. Loosely cover the new plantings with plastic wrap or clear lids for a few days until the plants are established.

Step 7: Pitfalls

The drawback to this method is that because of the high moisture, imperfect leaves with any nick or scratch will rot quickly! And it does not seem to work for these two plants : sedum burrito, and the nameless Shrek-ear looking one. It's been 3+ weeks, and I have yet to see roots on any leaves from them. And one hybrid of hens-and-chicks just disintegrated overnight after being put in the box.

(Don't that let last bit scare you, I have other species of hens-and-chicks, as well as many sedums, that are rooting like crazy in that humidity!)

Step 8: So Tiny!

Hope this was clear and helpful! Happy growing!

3 People Made This Project!


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38 Discussions

Sibghat Bhatti

Question 6 weeks ago

What should be temperature bracket in which the succulents can be propogated? Please


Question 7 weeks ago

Can i use spray bottle to wet the paper towel?


Question 3 months ago on Introduction

Do you eventually remove the new plant from the leaf that it propagated from, or do you just plant it still attached to the leaf? Thanks!


Question 3 months ago on Step 7

Why do some of my succulent leaves get soft after 3 weeks?


Question 4 months ago on Introduction

Curious, did the mulch work as well as the rocks?


1 year ago on Step 6

Hicmy names kendra and i just started loving succulents can anyone send me cuttings would love to raise my own


Question 1 year ago on Step 8

I've never done anything like this before, but I am going to try propagate enough succulents for a ladies retreat in September. I'll need 60, and will be doing these from leaves using growth hormone. My question is (if they actually produce 'babies') how long will it take them to be about one to one and one-half inches in diameter? I know there's no way to know exactly, but can you give me an approximate? The ones I got, according to internet, are among the easiest to grow (?). Thanks


3 years ago

Hi everyone.

My name is Icelene Jordan.

I live in NC a little town called Harmony.

And I am writing to everyone today because I would like everyone that can are will help me out on this.

School is out and some kids on the streets due to know one is out to help them.

I love helping pp I do alot of couponing to help pp in need.

But as school is out I would also like to help our children around our little town.

I want to help the start growing plants .And as I see the best one to do is Succulents Plants.

I think this will help kids to learn of take care of things by putting care and love in to there plants.

But as I look in to price of Succulents I am asking if you pp out growing these will send me a cutting from yours to help me out on this .I will keep a record of how things are going with this.

So if you could help out I would love it.

Thank You

Icelene Jordan

161 Grose Street

Harmony N.C 28634

5 replies

Reply 1 year ago

are u still collecting succulent cuttings??? just came across this message??? would love to help if u want some?? let me know


Reply 1 year ago

omg/..just seen this was dated 2 years ago..i guess ur done with this project by


Reply 3 years ago

Wow, that's awesome of you! I'd love to help, however, I no longer have my collection of succulents to share. Moreover, I think growing succulent is not a good project for kids, as they are extremely slow growing. Even this "fast" technique takes weeks before you see a growing plants, and it slows down dramatically after that. I think kids will quickly get bored after the third day of "planting" succulents, and they look exactly the same...

Maybe you should look into COMPOSTING WITH WORMS. It's a project I've been promoting lately. It's great for children of all ages, and it spreads awareness of garbage waste and our environment, plus it makes great organic fertilizer for free. As I get more involved in this, I plan on eventually reaching out to schools and community projects and getting more people involved. Here is couple links for you to check out. (And I'm not funded or in anyway profiting from these links, only want to share my interest.)
This site also has a FB page that is a wonderful community full of worm loving folks, including several large scale experts.

And here is my humble worm bin that I made last year.

If you are interested or have any questions, message me, and I'll be happy to help. I also have worms I'm willing to share, if it comes to that. :)

Good luck, whatever project you end up doing!


Reply 1 year ago

That's a great idea. Where I love in California our town is focused on reducing waste, and they sell fancy worm bins at a deep discount (but I also made a perfectly good one similar to the linked instructables). Reps from or one of the utilities will do a presentation for schools, so there might be something similar in other areas (or master gardeners might provide that). Kids love them, and getting the right worms, learning how to keep properly moist so no smell, means even the parents will not cringe when the kids want to build one. Even apartment dwellers can have a smaller version so no one is left out.

If you do want to focus on gardening, though, as mentioned sunflowers are great. Also radishes are a good choice - they grow easily and fast, they don't get too large so each kid can have a separate container, and the fact that the radish is the surprise underground is always good. It's amazing how many children don't know where their food comes from.


Reply 3 years ago

What a wonderful thing to do! Children love garden time. I live next to an elementary school and my house backs up to the school garden. Children love to grow things. As beamerpook ,our host, said, they grow so slow. I'm a mother of four and they abandoned our project of a succulent garden growing out of an ol'gutted gas grill with a swiftness which I though was cool...its like living, moving art. However, I gave them giant sunflower seeds and pumpkins (bother such fast growing plants) and they love taking care of them.
Good deeds, are beautiful things.


Question 1 year ago on Step 1

Hi, I just started to propagate succulent leaves. I used a container from strawberries and added gravel and the two paper towels. My question, when it, or if it gets dry, do you add the water to the paper towels or can I just spray the water on everything. Thank you


Tip 1 year ago on Step 7

The "Shrek-Ear looking one" is a Gollum Jade if you wanted to know.


3 years ago

Hello! I read somewhere at honey is a good rooting hormone, is that correct?

3 replies
yogal82 SaraS115

Reply 1 year ago

Honey is an excellent rooting hormone since it’s a natural anti-fungal.


Reply 3 years ago

I have heard that too, but I have never tested it out myself.


Reply 3 years ago

oh okay, i will try it and see how it works!