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How to propagate succulents by leaf and plant cuttings

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

One of the most rewarding parts of growing succulents is propagation. Seeing pups appear from a single leaf and growing into its own plant is such a treat!

Ghost plant pups on substrate
Graptopetalum paraguayense propagation

It's a free and easy way to increase your collection and even start sharing your plants with friends and family. I sell leaves and cuttings in my shop so I thought I'd give some tips on how to get the most out of growing new succulents via propagation.

Growing pups from a single leaf

The first step is to remove the leaf from the parent plant. It's key to ensure you remove the leaf fully intact without breaking any part of the leaf or stem of the parent plant.

A single leaf of Graptopetalum paraguayense
Graptopetalum paraguayense (ghost plant) leaf

Ghost plants are one of the easiest succulents to propagate. In this picture above the leaf has been removed and is ready to propagate.

Propagating leaves do best when left alone somewhere there's bright, indirect light to start to root. If you can forget about them for a while that's best! Fussing over propagated leaves is like watching water boil!

I like to keep my leaves in a tray on a north facing windowsill until they start growing roots. Most succulents will grow roots before they form a new plant but when they have roots they're ready to start taking up water.

A handful of ghost plant leaves
Leaves that are ready to go onto soil

When roots form I move the leaves onto planting substrate. This can be whatever soil or substrate you normally grow your succulents in. Place the leaves on top of the soil and water every few days.

At this point you can gradually move the plants into stronger light. Once they get a little bigger (for instance in the case of these ghost plants when they double in size) you can start to treat them like the rest of your plants and water when they look like they need it.

All you need to do now is sit back and watch them grow! Eventually the mother leaf will shrink and shrivel and fall off entirely. Some people remove the mother leaf when this happens but this can damage the young plant so I leave them until they fall off naturally.

Graptopetalum leaf propagation
Ghost plant pups with dried parent leaves

In this picture the ghost plants have almost entirely used up their parent leaves and are rooted in the substrate.

I'll usually leave them in the same pot until they're large and strong enough to transplant elsewhere.

And that's it! I highly recommend Graptopetalum paraguayense for those starting out with propagation. The success rate is very high with these plants and they're very forgiving.

Good luck! Feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments!

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