Succulents have taken the gardening world by storm, partially due to the fact that they’re extremely low maintenance. The best way to get the most out of your succulents and save money is to propagate your own.
Leaf propagation is one of the easiest styles of succulent propagation to perfect, having only two to three small steps and a very high success rate. Leaf propagation is best for succulents that have become leggy and unsightly during winter time.
Choose the succulent you wish to propagate.
For the first time it is best to choose an elongated or ‘leggy’ plant. This means that the leaves are sparse or widespread due to lack of sunlight. These plants are the best choice for leaf propagation as the leaves are far apart to prevent breakage when removing. Plants that are not elongated can still be used, however they are more time consuming.
Remove the leaves from the plant.
To do so, hold the leaf close to the stem of the plant and gently wiggle it from side to side until you hear a light snap. It is important not to tear the base of leaf as this will cause rot and the leaf will die.
After removing all of the leaves place them in bright, indirect sunlight for three to seven days. A windowsill or tabletop that receives sunlight through the window is an ideal position.
TOP TIP: Direct sunlight will cause the leaf to burn and die.
It is important to allow the leaf to dry out, as placing it directly in soil will cause the leaf to absorb excess moisture and rot.
You will notice the base of the leaf will start to ‘callous’ in these 3-7 days. For most succulent varieties, this will look like a small pink bulb has formed where the leaf was detached. Some succulent varieties will simply have gone hard and white at the end. This is the time to place your leaves on succulent soil, by filling a tray or pot with soil and laying the leaves flat on top. Mist the leaf with water every two to three days and try to avoid too much direct sunlight in this stage as well.
In around 7-10 days, you will notice a succulent forming on the end of your leaf, though this may take a little longer for certain varieties so don’t be disheartened if you don’t see change for a few weeks. The original leaf will shrivel up and fall off when the new plant is able to survive on its own. At this point, you can plant your new propagated succulent into a pot, roots and all.
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N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.