Propagating succulents with cuttings is a fun and easy way to reproduce your plants. Let’s look at how long succulent cuttings can survive and other helpful tips !
Intro to Succulents
Succulents are the general umbrella term for a group of drought-tolerant plants adapted to survive dry, hot environments. They store water in their leaves, stems, and roots. Although the succulent leaves are often described as “fleshy,” their leaves are filled with moisture keeping the plant healthy during droughty conditions.
Succulents have thousands of different variations, each more beautiful than the next. The iconic cactus is succulent, and cacti in themselves have nearly 2,000 varieties– so you can only imagine how many other types of succulents are out there !
In recent years, succulents have shot up in popularity among home gardeners. As a result, many gardeners are scrambling to reproduce as many succulents as possible. As a result, it’s not uncommon for succulent owners to share cuttings, allowing for the propagation and reproduction of succulent plants.
We know succulents themselves can survive well with neglectful conditions, but how long can succulent cuttings stay? As we read on, we’ll answer that question, as well as provide helpful tips on growing the best succulents you’ve ever seen!
How Long Can Succulent Cuttings Survive?
The short answer is: it depends on the individual succulent cutting. Sometimes people clip off a piece of succulents and intend to propagate them but forget to follow through with their plants. But, I understand, life happens. So while it is vital to allow the cut end of the succulent leaf to be callous for 24 hours, some leaves can be left alone for up to one whole week without incident.
The main factor in determining how long a succulent cutting can survive is the maturity of the mother plant. Young succulent roots should not sit with exposed roots, as they are less mature and exposed to pests or disease. However, a succulent cutting at full maturity can withstand being exposed to the elements for a significantly longer amount of time.
How to Grow Succulents from Cuttings?
One of the most enjoyable parts of being a plant owner is propagating new plants. It’s so satisfying to duplicate your favorite plant so that you have multiple! Follow these easy steps to grow your succulents from cuttings:
- Choose a spot on your plant to make the cutting. This stem should be healthy and mature for the best rate of survival. Make sure you use a clean, sharp pair of clippers to cut.
- After you’ve cut your succulent stem, you cannot plant it immediately. You must first allow the cut-end of the branch to callous for 24 hours. Then, check back overnight, the cut-end of the succulent stem should have dried up and lost that “wet” look cut succulents have. Make sure you don’t leave the cutting exposed for longer than a week. The longer a cutting is exposed to the air, the more susceptible it is to bacteria or pests.
- Prep a small planting pot with appropriate succulent soil and plant the stem into the ground, cut-end first. Make sure the lowest leaf on the branch is sitting just above the earth but not underneath.
- Do not water your succulent immediately. Take your plant pot and move it into a location with bright but indirect sunlight. Keep your succulent there for about three weeks while the roots begin to sprout.
- Check back on your plant after three weeks to see if new roots have grown into the soil. Gently tug on the stem a little; if you’re met with any kind of resistance, then that means the roots have grown, and your propagation was successful !
- Once you are confident that roots have developed from the cutting, you may water your succulent plant accordingly. In this tender stage of the succulent’s life, you should water more frequently than you usually would with a succulent; allow the first 1 inch of soil to dry out before rewetting the ground.
- Succulents grow very slowly when propagated, so exercise some patience if you’re not seeing fast results. As they mature, you can move your succulent into more direct sunlight and water less frequently.
Preferred Growing Conditions
Sun & Climate
Your succulents thrive in sunny, bright conditions, so keep them right at your windowsill for happy succulents. If you don’t have sufficient natural light where you are, I would suggest some time under a grow light that can help your succulent. Choose a white fluorescent tube and position it 6 to 12 inches above your plants. Give them 14 to 16 hours of artificial light per day.
Succulents have adapted to enjoy indoors-living with the right amount of care. Try to keep the humidity in your home as low as possible, as moisture is one of the succulent’s worst enemies. If you do happen to own an air humidifier, don’t sweat it; simply move your succulent to a room in the house where the humidifier can’t get to it.
As we’ve repeated multiple times during this article (and we’ll probably repeat it a few times more later on), succulents need minimal watering. However, during the succulent growing period (spring & summer), you must give your succulents a watering once a week. Pour water into your succulent pot until you see water dripping out from the drainage hole at the bottom of the plant pot.
When succulent growth is at its slowest rate during wintertime, you only need to water your succulent just enough to keep it from wilting, about once every two to three weeks.
And remember: allow the soil to dry out entirely before its next watering!
Succulents enjoy a well-draining soil that is sandy in texture. Due to the immense popularity of succulents, most gardening centers will sell their premixed bags of succulent soil. These soil mixes replicate the natural soil conditions the succulent would experience out in the wild.
You can make your potting mix for succulents by combining one part of regular potting soil and coarse sand. Succulents are native to dry, desert-like regions. However, this well-draining sandy soil is an excellent dupe for the real thing.
As for pH levels, the succulents’ ideal soil is slightly acidic to neutral, so about 5.5. However, it can tolerate a range between 4 and 6.5.
Succulents require very minimal fertilizing, one of the many reasons this is a favorite among home gardeners. Select a houseplant fertilizer that contains more phosphorous than nitrogen. You should also halve the recommended dosage and dilute the fertilizer with water. Your succulents only need to be fertilized at most four times during the growing season (spring & summer).
When selecting your succulent plant pot, it would be best to keep in mind is drainage, drainage, drainage. Too much moisture is the number one killer of succulents, and if you choose an improper planter to house your succulents in, you might as well say goodbye to it.
Select a pot with ample drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess moisture to pass through. In addition, I would also highly recommend selecting a planter that is made from either terra cotta or unglazed ceramic. These two materials are highly porous and allow for water to be absorbed, keeping your succulents dry and happy.
Tips for Growing Succulents
Succulents are seldom victims of pest infestations. However, if you do happen to catch a glimpse of pests such as mealybugs or scale crawling around your succulents, wiping the leaves with a cotton swap dipped in rubbing alcohol will nip those pests in the bud.
Just like pests, succulents are also rare victims of the disease. As long as you maintain proper environmental conditions, your succulents will live a long, happy life. However, overwatering and lack of appropriate sunlight expose your succulents to bacterial or fungal diseases that can be fatal to your plant.
Once you’ve become more acquainted with growing succulents, you can try expanding to create your shallow dish garden, which contains several varieties of succulents. First, select succulents with similar growth rates, so they all mature around the same time. In addition, you should research the water requirements of each succulent variety to make sure they all need similar levels of water.
You only have to take one look at a succulent to know why they’re so popular with home gardeners. Their diverse varieties and easy care make them a top choice among homeowners for adding a little greenery to their home. Not to mention how satisfying it is to propagate your succulents. Succulents are a perfect gift to loved ones, and now you know how to do it for free !
I hope this article has cleared up how long succulent cuttings can survive, along with succulent care requirements. I highly suggest getting together with some other gardening colleagues and trading succulent cuttings with one another; it’s a fantastic cost-effective way to expand your garden and add variety! Now that you have all the tools you need, your garden will be unstoppable.
Brown, Deborah. “Cacti and Succulents.” The University of Minnesota Extension https://extension.umn.edu/houseplants/cacti-and-succulents
Mottram, Roy. “Nutrition in Succulent Plants.” British Cactus & Succulent Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, British Cactus and Succulent Society, 1986, pp. 9–13, http://www.jstor.org/stable/42792314
Sears, Cori. “How to Plant Succulent Cuttings.” The Spruce https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-plant-succulent-cuttings-5070077
Smyth, Danielle. “How Long Can the Roots of a Succulent Be Exposed?” SF Gate https://homeguides.sfgate.com/long-can-roots-succulent-exposed-59041.html
Streets, Jessica, Harris, Natasha, & Carpenter, Jody. “Succulents 101.” West Virginia University. https://extension.wvu.edu/lawn-gardening-pests/indoor-plants/succulents-101