How to Take & Grow Succulents From Cuttings




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

If you've ever gone down a plant-shopping rabbit hole on the internet, you've probably had succulent cuttings catch your eye. Or maybe you already have older succulents you'd like to refresh and restart? Regardless of how you end up with cuttings, they're a great way to grow succulents! (And often much cheaper than buying full plants, too!)

In this instructable, I'll show you how to take succulent cuttings, callous them, and plant them. It's a fairly simple process as long as you follow a few important rules.

Step 1: Tools + Materials

Here's what you'll need to take and plant succulent cuttings:

  • Small pot
  • Succulent soil
  • Chopstick, skewer, or other thin tool to make holes in the soil
  • Sharp scissors or an X-acto knife
  • Succulent plants or cuttings, whichever you're starting with
  • Container for watering

If you're using a full plant, I'll show you how to take and callous succulent cuttings on the next two steps.

Step 2: How to Take Succulent Cuttings

Succulent cuttings should be taken from the very top of the stem. I always try to cut below the first leaf node on the stem at least, but often cut them longer.

Make sure you have at least and 1-2 inches or so of stem. (Less than that, and the plant will have a hard time standing up straight in the soil, hindering root growth.)

These particular plants are ones I'm completely restarting because they did not get enough sun and become too leggy. I've already pulled these leaves off these stems to propagate those.

Step 3: Let the Succulent Cuttings Callous Over

This is the most important part: letting the cut ends of the succulent stems callous over! A callous is essentially the succulent version of a scab.

Because I live in such a dry place, I only callous mine for 3-4 days. Yours may take longer! It's always better to go longer if you're nervous. I let mine sit out on a paper towel on the kitchen counter until the stem ends are good and dry.

The stem ends will become puckered and tough looking when dry.

Step 4: Plant the Succulent Cuttings and Water Them

Fill your container with a fast draining succulent and cactus soil and press down lightly on the soil to compact it a little.

Using your tool of choice, make small holes for the stems in the soil. Place the succulents into the holes and push the soil in around them.

Once they're all in place, water them just until water begins to run out the bottom of the pot. Let the water drain completely and then place the pot in a bright, warm place. (Though I would avoid direct sun for the first week or so - gotta go easy on them while they recover and grow roots!)

Step 5: Wait and Watch Your Succulent Cuttings Grow!

It can sometimes take a little while for cuttings to get established, so be patient with them! It took mine about two weeks to start to feel like the roots were developing. Two months later, they've doubled (or tripled) in size!

To check your cuttings for roots, gently push them with your fingers. Cuttings that have not established roots will move around quite freely, but those with roots feel more anchored.

Basic care for succulent cuttings:

  • Water them only after the soil has COMPLETELY dried.
  • Always water until the water runs out the bottom of the pot.
  • Place the succulent cuttings on a windowsill or outside - wherever receives the right amount of light for them! If they don't get enough light, their colors will not fully develop and they will become leggy. ("Leggy" is when a plant grows tall and thin instead of the way it should.)

Enjoy your new succulents!



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    15 Discussions


    4 months ago

    Thank you Jessy for all of your instructables and classes. You were my first intro to etsy and home based business!


    7 months ago

    The succulents are looking delicious!
    I saw these very same plants growing out of a wall one day!


    11 months ago

    Oh my gosh, all your instructables are amazing!!! I especially love your plant ones!


    1 year ago on Step 5

    silly me. I think I must have actually made the whole leaf into a callous -- I just stuck the leaf into the dirt, and expected it to just root itself, like this Wandering Jew that I've kept alive for so long. And I guess I'd better check other postings from you Jessy -- I got a Bonsai last summer, and went through contortions trying to figure out how to just repot the little dear. It came with this really hard carapace of little rocks on top, I guess to protect it somehow, and I've been too scared to even take that weird rocky thingie off. It seems porous ... but the Bonsai plants -- I always think they are going to be even more temperamental than Jade, or sedum. Jessy, your enthusiasm is starting to get catchy. Thank you for your posts! 8-)

    Mo Poppins

    1 year ago

    Wow...thanks for this post, Jessy! I learned so much from this short 'ible. I have jade plants propagated from cuttings, and though they're all in close proximity to one another, all look different, mostly due to the content of the planting material they're sitting in. The ones in compost are thriving, the one in play sand mixed with other stuff, not so's hanging in there.

    I never knew that succulent stems should scab over first, before planting. I would've assumed that they'd have trouble absorbing water (like cut flowers), so I'm excited to do this intentionally!

    2 replies
    EmmitS1Mo Poppins

    Reply 1 year ago

    If you don't let cacti and succulent cuttings callous over, bacteria and fungi can penetrate the raw surface and cause the cutting to rot. The callous does slow the absorbtion of water, but that only encourages the plant to send out roots faster. Succulents have enough water stored in the leaves and stems to hold them over until the roots form.

    Mo PoppinsEmmitS1

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for the explainer, EmmitS1! It's nice to know why succulents are able to survive with the calloused stem.


    1 year ago

    Hi. Thanks for sharing. I only have one question. How often do you recommend to water succulents? I live in a place where we enjoy a rather warm weather in summer. Our temperatures raises up to 30 celsius degrees. My plants are in a well lighted area but do not receive direct sun through the day.

    4 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Completely dry means that if you insert your finger more than the first joint into the soil before reaching moist soil, it's ready to water in the summer. (This can be a tricky thing to do with cacti.) With a small pot (less than 3"diameter),this can mean several times a week. With a larger pot (over 6"), this can mean as little as once a month. In winter, most succulents will want no water and should be kept in a cold room. They need to be dormant at this time to set flower buds for next spring and summer. This is not universal, though, because some succulents, like Aeoniums , grow and bloom in the winter. When you water, water thoroughly until the whole soil mass is wet. Water running out of the bottom of the pot is a poor indicator that your plant is well watered. With some soils, especially peat/perlite based ones, the soil ball shrinks and the peat repels water when dry. This causes water to run across the top, down the sides, and out the bottom without wetting the soil mass. Water these soils with warm water and slowly so that the water has time to soak into the soil. In the spring, replant these plants into a soil containing coir in place of peat.


    Reply 1 year ago

    I’m not the author but I saw she wrote to water only when the soil has completely dried and then water until it drips out the bottom. That has worked for me, too. I’ve been told to water like it rains in the desert - seldom but thoroughly.


    Yep, AppleP1 is right! Waiting until the soil is super dry and then watering thoroughly is always the best. :) Most of the year they get a drink every week and a half or so, but in the hot days of summer I may water twice a week!


    1 year ago on Step 4

    Thank you for such a clearly written instructable. I will definetly be downloading this so I can try it once I have the proper container and soil.


    1 year ago

    Have you ever tried this technique with plants like Azaleas? I have some unique colored Azaleas and would like to use cuttings to plant more of the same. But I have never tried it before and was just wondering.

    1 reply